Marvel's next video game could redefine the Fantastic Four for MCU fans
The first family comes to gaming.
Disney is going all in on video games. D23 Expo is a Disney-specific Comic-Con that is packed with announcements and panels from all the properties the mega-corporation owns. Typically, this is an event that shares first looks at Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel movies and TV, but this year will include a Disney and Marvel Games Showcase. With confirmation that Amy Hennig’s Marvel project will be in attendance, fans are theorizing it could bring one of the most beloved superhero teams to video games.
Introducing the Fantastic Four could be the perfect opportunity for Marvel to revitalize a team that has long sat in obscurity due to the film rights belonging to Fox. But with a Fantastic Four movie on the horizon, this is the perfect time for a video game to introduce them to a new generation.
Having served as creative director and writer on the first three Uncharted games, Amy Hennig is a big deal. Having left Naughty Dog in 2014, Hennig was working with Visceral Games on a Star Wars game until EA closed the studio. In 2019 she announced she would be creating a games studio for film production company Skydance Media.
Not much has been shared about the upcoming Marvel project from Hennig, but the announcement for the Disney and Marvel Games Showcase calls it an “ensemble game.” This has sent fans scrambling to decide what team from Marvel comics the game could focus on. The biggest theory is that it will focus on the Fantastic Four.
Created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Fantastic Four are made up of Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing, and the Human Torch. As Marvel’s first superhero team in the Silver Age of comics, the Fantastic Four is often referred to as the publisher’s “first family.”
With the return of the film rights to Marvel and a film slated for release on November 8, 2024, the Fantastic Four is about to rise in popularity again. Capitalizing on this, Marvel is already introducing a new Fantastic Four comic, something they have done in the past to endear readers to characters they will soon see on screen. With the success of Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Eidos Montreal’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it is only natural that the Fantastic Four will make their way to games.
If Amy Hennig’s Marvel project is indeed a Fantastic Four game, then it needs to take inspiration from the best comic in recent memory: Jonathan Hickman’s 2010 run. Now known as one of Marvel’s big hitters, Jonathan Hickman has written the Avengers and X-Men. But in 2010 he took over writing duties for the Fantastic Four. His story quickly focused on the multiverse — a topic the MCU is putting front and center in its most recent movies — and follows the Fantastic Four as they try to stop universes from collapsing in on each other.
While Hickman’s run is known for iconic moments like the Council of Reeds and setting up the massive event Secret Wars (which is being explored in an upcoming Avengers movie), it also portrayed the relationships between each team member. This combination of cosmic threats and down-to-earth moments would lend itself to Amy Hennig’s strengths as a writer and developer. It also opens the game to a diversity of settings and characters to pull in. Recent Marvel games have remained distinct from the MCU in telling original stories, often introducing beloved characters and cameos from the comics that have not appeared in the movies yet.
The Fantastic Four presents itself as a perfect property for Amy Hennig to play with in an ensemble-focused game. Yet even if the upcoming Skydance New Media project isn’t the Fantastic Four, it's only a matter of time before Marvel’s first family makes their way into games. If, and when, they do, they shouldn’t be afraid to take inspiration from the sour material.