It’s hard to remember when Marvel didn’t overwhelm the cultural landscape. But once upon a time, the world simply enjoyed superhero movies without having to know about its interwoven universe or post-credits cameos. Two years before Marvel Studios released Iron Man, Marvel let Activision run with its comic book license for two solid dungeon RPG games, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, released for every console that existed at the time. The games are remembered for letting fans make up their own teams to explore different worlds throughout the Marvel Universe.
It’s pretty dumb there hasn’t been a third game, especially now.
The hook of the Ultimate Alliance games weren’t their groundbreaking gameplay (I remember it being repetitive, honestly), but mixing and matching four characters at a time and seeing what cool power dynamics come out. The games included all types, including triple-A players like Wolverine, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Captain America, as well as then-lesser known (because they didn’t have a movie or Netflix show) Elektra, Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Black Panther, Moon Knight, and yes, Deadpool. There were way more depending on the select console and extra content.
In the time since Ultimate Alliance 2, a solid six years ago, Marvel’s profile has only swollen to obscene proportions, turning obscure characters like Ant-Man, Black Widow, and Falcon into household names. New superheroes have risen to popularity, like Miles Morales and the current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan. A Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3 that takes full advantage of current-gen console tech and an even bigger Marvel Universe sounds like a no brainer.
Except there is a reason: mobile games.
Tablet and smartphone games have reached near ubiquity, becoming a much more flexible and far-reaching platform than the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and even PC. There’s no shortage of Marvel games on the smartphone market, either. Just take your pick: Marvel: Contest of Champions, Marvel: Future Fight, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, even Marvel: Puzzle Quest, all of which take Marvel’s wide universe and adapt it for smaller smart devices. They’re free, and somehow make way more money than any console game realistically can in 2016.
Some fans even call the free-to-play MMO Marvel Heroes a successor to the Ultimate Alliance games. Though it had a rocky beginning upon its release in 2013, it’s apparently undergone several drastic improvements. Apparently, it’s pretty decent.
But I don’t give a shit. Ultimate Alliance 3. That’s what I want: a dungeon crawler RPG for my Xbox.
I want a third Ultimate Alliance to let me explore the new post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe. I want to play a new team with Spider-Gwen, Kamala Khan, Ghost Rider, and Jessica Jones and see what the hell happens. Sure, it may not include the Fantastic Four or most of the X-Men, but hey, Totally Awesome Hulk! Silk! Jane Foster Thor! Daisy from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! All the Spider-Men! I want a deep as hell roster with standard 2016 graphics (because, honestly, the original games looked like garbage) and I want to watch other people experiment with teams on Twitch.
I know, I know. We can’t always get what we want. But if the House of Ideas can’t get assemble their crap for a solid idea like this one, then are they worthy of that title?
Oh, hey, Marvel is making a 1:1 full-scale Captain America shield for just $100. It’s for cosplayers and Halloween costumes. Damn, that’s a good idea.