The Avengers tower is a pile of rubble, Professor Xavier is buried under what remains of the X-Mansion, and an augmented Carnage is roaming the streets of a half-wrecked Manhattan island with Nick Fury's head on a symbiotic spike. Every major mutant/hero headquarters was hit hard and fast and most major capitols around the world are in complete chaos.
Apocalypse has returned from decades of slumber and is pushing the world "forward" by injecting every human being with his "Judgment Serum" - a concoction derived from his own blood that kills 9 out of every 10 humans who receive it. Those unfortunate enough to survive become brainwashed super-humans (Judicators) tasked with administering the serum to the rest of humanity in the most extreme version of genetic-cleansing the earth has ever witnessed before: forced evolution.
Earth's mightiest heroes and even villains are left scattered and scarred by the realization of how few are truly left and the unfathomable task of the mounting opposition rising against them. Can they cooperate and coordinate quickly enough to strike Apocalypse down before his army or rather the "conversion" is complete? With reinforcements being added only by the small syphon of freed Judicators to supplement them, the final Resistance of Earth must find a place to turn the tide and stop the madness with whatever final will they can muster.
With Apocalypse's new four horsemen: Magneto (War), Black Queen (Famine), Plague (Pestilence), and Carnage (Death) - all augmented by the Master's ancient/celestial technology, will the odds be too great for the remaining valiant to overcome?
How's that for a Marvel-MMO pitch?
Having played a significant amount of DC Universe Online, and tinkering around enough in Marvel Heroes 2015 - I can't help but sit and wonder why Marvel hasn't tried to build a full-feature MMO somewhat like its biggest comic-competitor DC Comics has. Marvel certainly has the capital and marketability - given the company's recent homeruns hits within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Building an MMO for Marvel fans should be a no brainer.
Marvel 2015 just doesn't do it for me. I'm just not that into flying around as the 17th Iron Man I can see on screen, or the 24th Hulk. It's just such a downer to the whole experience. If I'm playing a game that forces me to be a canon character - then I should get to truly be that hero, not be surrounded by 10 other duplicates... It's totally self-defeating.
Believe it or not, the scenario I provided in the beginning of this column was actually the premise for a forum role-playing game I created years ago - before DC Universe Online was ever announced - yet it functioned almost entirely the same. You give Marvel fans the ability to play and fight right alongside the heroes and villains they've grown to love, with their own new and unique superheroes that have been "born" through the application of the Judgment Serum. The game lasted four about three months before I realized I no longer had the time to continue DMing an experience that had erupted to over 40+ active players and characters. Even creating sub-DM positions to aid the process wasn't cutting it, too many people wanted to play.
To me that just screams game-potential. I don't care who you are.
Just armchair pitching this concept right now I can already envision a tutorial that shows the application of the serum to a player's newly created character. They drop down and convulse, they nearly die, and then they rise as a survivor of the serum - a Judicator ready to receive their mandatory brain-washing / mind-control by Mr. Sinister himself (Apocalypse's right-hand man).
Except the "new convert" is intercepted en-route to one of the Master's many conversion facilities and is broken free by heroes of the Resistance. The next short bit of gameplay would entail some of the players favorite characters teaching them how to wield their newfound powers and abilities. Players could even choose out of a selection of mentors or instructors that could lead them through the early minutes of the game as they begin to grain power and grasp their potential.
Sure, it doesn't fall perfectly in line with Marvel canon - but neither does the MCU.
One thing I love about what Marvel has done with their recent crop of movies is fit the stories into modern times and technology and make the same characters we've known and loved for decades finally relatable to people today, without the massive learning curve of reading past issues. And anyways, isn't the whole point of it all telling a kick-ass story that informs people about world and cultural issues and shows that even heroes wrestle with everyday challenges like any average person?
That's what comics have always been to me, and that's why I've always longed for a real MMO that puts players (and fans) at the wheel right in the thick of the epic adventures they've heard, seen, and read about for years.
What do you think? Would you be interested in a Marvel MMO with the narrative I described above? Would you want to take on Apocalypse and his growing army of superhuman survivor converts... or would you join the enemy and carry out the dark Master's will after all? Maybe you go rogue and serve whichever side benefits you the most, who knows - anything is possible. It's only an idea after all.
If you were interested in picking up and playing a game like this or maybe you have an idea of your own, go ahead and voice your opinion in the comments below (or in our resurrected TenTonHammer forums) - after all, you never know who might be reading.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Marvel Heroes Game Page.