10 DC Characters Too Difficult To Adapt To A Video Game

Split image of Flash, Giganta and Atom DC feature

With the upcoming transition of the DCEU into the DCU, DC Comics are looking to expand their universe into the video game landscape. The success of the Arkhamverse and Injustice titles are encouraging signs of what’s to come, but there are some villains and heroes that probably won’t ever be playable in their full forms.

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Due to their power sets and the narrative difficulties that come with them, these characters are almost impossible to faithfully adapt. They might be far too strong, or feature abilities that mechanically just wouldn’t work in a video game. Perhaps one day a studio will work out how to push past these boundaries.



10 Superman

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Superman is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. He can turn back time, fly, move at tremendous speed, shoot lasers from his eyes, and blast enemies with his freeze breath. It seems impossible to bring all of those elements into a game.

Superman is simply too much to adapt to the screen. Players would defeat enemies with such ease that a traditional structure simply wouldn’t be viable. If Clark Kent was to be depowered, it would remove any excitement for the game, but to include so many abilities within the gameplay mechanics would surely overcomplicate development.

9 The Flash

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Kid Flash, Impulse and Jay Garrick in DC Comics

No single video game has managed to master super speed effects. Whether it’s the Flash himself, or his influential sidekicks such as Kid Flash and Impulse, the skills of a speedster are incredibly complex to take from the page to the screen in a cinematic form.

To then try and allow players to control Flash’s power makes everything more difficult. Surely players should be able to travel great distances with that kind of ability, but no map would ever be big enough to account for that. Plus, with time travel and Flash’s power to phase through objects, there’s no way all of that can be implemented without becoming game-breaking.

8 Martian Manhunter

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Superman and Martian Manhunter staring out at the ocean in DC's The New Frontier

Martian Manhunter’s abilities are so specific, but they are rarely seen in video games because they are impossible to get to grips with. Firstly, he can change his appearance. That kind of power would have to be limited by the narrative, as there have to be boundaries on how players can shapeshift.

Manhunter’s flight and super strength would certainly be applied with ease, but his mental abilities are also troubling. Psychic powers open the doors to all kinds of exciting set pieces that could only be implemented in controlled scenarios. Players might be able to move things at will, but when it comes to setting messages in the minds of enemies, there are very few titles that have successfully used telekinesis.

7 Green Lantern

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Hal Jordan returns to Earth after he quits the Green Lantern Corps in DC's new Green Lantern series.

Green Lantern has been adapted into a movie spinoff before, whether it’s Hal Jordon, Jessica Cruz, John Stewart, or another member of the Corps. But it’s not easy to get the construct power base properly depicted. The problem is, the Lantern invites its user to create anything they can imagine.

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Green Lantern’s power is just not going to be viable in actual gameplay mechanics and the limits set on players will always be disappointing. While the scale of the Lanterns’ universe is definitely a great backdrop, unless the powers they are gifted with have no boundaries, any version put to consoles would likely be disappointing.

6 Vixen

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Vixen summons the ancient spirits in Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth

Some of the best and most underrated DC Comics involve Vixen, who utilizes an interesting power set of her own. Channeling the gift of her ancestors thanks to a totem that has been passed through generations, Vixen can summon the powers of the animal kingdom.

Whether it’s the strength of an elephant or the speed of a cheetah, Vixen has a skill for every scenario. But how that ever-evolving roster of abilities can be adapted to a video game is anyone’s guess. The inconsistency of the powers would have to be removed, with a very limited set of gifts implemented, barely reflecting the actual potential of the character.

5 Dial H For Hero

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Dial H for Hero with Superman

Dial H For Hero isn’t a specific character and that’s the problem. The idea behind the concept is that anyone can pick up the phone and Dial H. In doing so they will transform into a random and never seen before hero, with a totally bizarre and unique power set.

The inconsistency of H’s powers means that no video game could actually help this concept to work. There would be too many skill sets in place and eventually a limit on what players are able to transform into. To see repeat heroes defeats the object, but this would have to be one of the biggest ensembles of all time to actually function as it does on the page.

4 Giganta

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Giganta pursuing her opponent at night in DC Comics

Giganta is certainly an imposing figure in the DC Universe. The villain could easily be added to video games like Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, from a narrative perspective, but her powers could never be adapted. The character can grow to unbelievable sizes.

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Although there have been games where kaiju monsters are marching through cities, reaping destruction, there haven’t really been any with a believable human lead. Surely Giganta would crush any opponent and there aren’t many scenarios she can be placed in that would actually allow for a challenge. From a design perspective, the environmental destruction needed would also be astronomical.

3 Starro

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Justice League of America battling Starro in their first appearance

Just like Deadshot or Harley Quinn, Starro could narratively become a leading character in a villain-based game like Kill The Justice League. But players could never actually control this giant starfish, it provides far too many complications. The scale of the beast is an issue from the offset.

But with psychic powers becoming complicated to adapt, the only thing more troubling is how to get players to actually control each individual arm. What’s more, the fact that Starro can fire off smaller starfish to control its minions adds another dimension that would surely have to be applied similarly to the mind control in the Middle-earth series, without player autonomy.

2 Atom

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Ryan Choi as Atom

If Giganta provides a problem when it comes to growing big, DC’s Atom provides that same issue with shrinking to a tiny size. Regardless, of the character within the suit, the only way to adapt the character is by setting the whole story in a Honey I Shrunk The Kids-esque world.

If Atom was to be adapted as he is in the comics, shrinking and growing as enemies attack, it would take a lot of thought and attention to function without issue. Camera angles and henchmen AI might cause the biggest problems, as players need to see the action and feel like they are facing a genuine challenge.

1 Danny The Street

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Danny The Street in DC Comics

Danny The Street is a genuine street. The character is most associated with the base for Doom Patrol, but since it can control everything on its land, it has also demonstrated transformative abilities. It has become Danny The Ambulance and even Danny The World.

The only way the character could be applied to a game is in a Sim scenario where players get to control the lives of those NPCs on Danny. The Street couldn’t fight crime in a traditional sense, and it’s a bizarre concept to explain to audiences to begin with. Danny might ultimately be the most impossible of all, especially since it can’t really move.

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