Although Warner Bros. is reviving their interest and stake in the Harry Potter franchise with few words given to the future of their DC Comics properties (at least outside of Superman and Batman), Time Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara is actively talking about further developing the DC brand elsewhere: specifically, in the interactive gaming environment. Coming off of notable recent successes like the Batman: Arkham series and the fighting game Injustice: Gods Among Us, Tsujihara expressed a great deal of enthusiasm when discussing future translations of the DC Comics Universe to the world of video games.
Talking about the broader forthcoming strategies at Warner Bros. at a financial conference, Tsujihara did say that a broader film strategy was “forthcoming” (I remember the same thing being said in the nineties when Superman Lives was being developed), but his greater focus on DC relayed his apparent excitement at the potential developments they’ll be making on the brand at WB Games. Specifically when talking about the future, Tsujihara said,
…but we are on track to having a great year in games and we feel very good about where that’s going. And as you said it’s being driven – the new franchises that we are going to be zoning are going to be DC franchises. We think there is big opportunities to build off of what we are doing throughout the rest of the company in games as well.
After the blockbuster releases of Injustice and Arkham City, it’s easy to see where a lot of this confidence comes from. Not only were these two games in particular commercial successes, but they were also highly regarded critically. With Arkham Origins on the horizon for next month, there is also the forthcoming free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game Infinite Crisis coming later this year, as well as a game based on the animated series Young Justice and even a DC-centric entry in the emergent puzzle Scribblenauts franchise. While the prequel Arkham Origins is being developed by WB Games Montreal, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City developer Rocksteady Studios has been largely silent on any details whatsoever regarding their next project. While fan speculation has led to countless places, including the developer taking aim at a worthy game adaptation for Superman (which would be about time), an errant tweet by definitive Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy may have indicated that Rocksteady is already hard at work on the follow-up to Arkham City for next-gen consoles like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.
As a big DC Comics fan, I’m of course very happy that Warner Bros. is demonstrating some confidence in exploiting the countless franchises and stories that are possible through the characters and situations afforded by the DC Universe. While Warner Bros. won’t be winning any footraces with Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox, or Sony in regards to the creation of superhero movies, the DC Comics video games released of late definitely seem to be winning the superheroic war on consoles. When comparing the sales figures and collective critical receptions of games like the Arkham series, Injustice, and early buzz about Infinite Crisis when compared with games like Deadpool or Avengers: Battle for Earth, it’s pretty clear to see that DC properties are currently a bit more well regarded by the public.
While it’ll always be frustrating having to wait for a good, proper Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or Justice League film, the enduring wait can definitely be made a little less painful by picking up a controller and becoming those characters yourself. Let’s hope the trend of good DC Comics games continues, because if it does, it might be easier for some fans to give WB a pass on their DC film failures if we get a game that allows us the freedom of rising above the clouds with a red cape on our backs.
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