New Black Panther Game – 9 Features it Needs

Here's how EA and Cliffhanger Games' Black Panther title can make good on its immense potential.

Posted By | On 25th, Jul. 2023

New Black Panther Game – 9 Features it Needs

Marvel is continuing to make big moves in the gaming industry. Recent years have seen the company partnering up with varying developers to try and successfully adapt some of its biggest names and properties into games, and barring the odd failure like Marvel’s Avengers, those efforts have, by and large, reaped great results, from Insomniac’s Spider-Man to Eidos’ Guardians of the Galaxy.

Plenty more of that is on the horizon, and recently, EA added another game to that list. In addition to the Motive Studio-developed Iron Man game, the company has confirmed previous reports and announced that it has established a new internal studio, Cliffhanger Games, to work on a AAA single player action-adventure Black Panther game. It’s an exciting prospect, given the inherent strength of the property and its potential of being made into a great game, and even though it’s obviously going to be a few years before the game is ready to be played, there’s plenty that many will already will be hoping to see from it- ourselves included. To that end, here, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about.

OPEN WORLD SETTING

Cliffhanger Games has confirmed that its Black Panther game is going to take players to Wakanda, which isn’t surprising, though of course, how the game uses that setting will be a crucial factor. As time has gone on, the notion that not all games need to be open world has become increasingly easier to agree with, though this would be one game where we’d say an open world setting is definitely a must-have. Leaks prior to the game’s announcement claimed that it would indeed be open world, while recent job listings have confirmed the same as well- our hope is that gets made official sooner rather than later, because not going with an open world Wakanda setting would be quite a waste.

RICH WORLDBUILDING

Wakanda is and always has been one of the most alluring parts of the Black Panther IP. From the visual splendour the fictional nation exhibits in droves to its rich cultur and history to its unique scientific and technological advancements, Wakanda has been a fascinating place across mediums over the years. Our hope is that the game will make good on that front, too. An open world Black Panther game would be the perfect opportunity to let players dive into the setting and thoroughly immerse themselves in it, learn more about its people and their culture, see what secrets it holds by exploring every nook and cranny. If Cliffhanger Games’ Black Panther title can deliver in those areas, it’ll be doing great justice to the IP.

COMPELLING VILLAIN

When it comes to telling superhero stories, having a compelling villain tends to be just as important as having a great central protagonist. Thankfully, Cliffhanger Games is going to have an excellent pool of antagonists to choose from for its game. While it remains to be seen how many core villains the game will end up having, the main big bad is the one choice that it absolutely can’t afford getting wrong. With the likes of Killmonger, Doctor Doom, White Wolf, Man-Ape, Ulysses Klaw, Kraven the Hunter, and many others, Black Panther stories have had some excellent villains in the past, so hopefully one of them will be ale to take centerstage and elevate the game’s story.

MEANINGFUL CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCE MECHANICS

Marvel's Avengers - Black Panther - War for Wakanda_04

In their official announcement for the Black Panther game, other than describing it as a single player third person action-adventure experience, EA and Cliffhanger Games didn’t drop too many other details, though interestingly enough, a few more crucial tidbits did emerge not long afterward, courtesy of multiple new job listings. Something that stood out in particular was mention of Open Story, which is described as “a highly innovative” new system to enable interactive storytelling centered around dialogue choices.

Of course, a job ad isn’t the best place to glean details about a game, and there’s plenty of questions to be asked about how this system will work. But if the Black Panther game is indeed putting choice and consequence mechanics at the forefront, Cliffhanger Games needs to make sure it does it right. All too often we see games touting similar mechanics, only to present players with little more than the illusion of choice (if that), so our hope is that the story in Black Panther will react to what players are doing in meaningful fashion.

QUALITY OPTIONAL CONTENT

This one sort of goes without saying, but then again, it always has, and there’s still no shortage of examples of games where the optional content fails to live up to expectations. Where optional content in superhero games is concerned, the Arkham trilogy remains the gold standard, and we’d love to see the Black Panther game do something along those lines. Have entire storylines and important villains dedicated entirely to side questlines, use the optional content as a means to fuel that worldbuilding we spoke of earlier, and if choice and consequence mechanics are indeed central to the experience, use them to integrate side quests with the main story in unexpected ways. A Black Panther game that does that is going to be an exciting prospect, to say the least.

FUN TRAVERSAL MECHANICS

If there’s one thing that superhero games need to excel at (and often do), it’s traversal. From the web-swinging of Marvel’s Spider-Man to the gliding and divebombing of the Arkham games, there’s just something special about being able to use superpowers and special abilities to traverse a vast world. That is another area where expectations will be high from the Black Panther game. Given who we’ll be playing as, movement will need to be slick, fast, and precise, and using that movement to make navigating the world more enjoyable will be just as important. And hey, if the game throws in some fun mounts or vehicles for good measure, that’s even better.

REWARDING UPGRADES AND CUSTOMIZATION

marvel's avengers black panther

Always feeling like you have the leg up over the vast majority of enemies you run into is a big part of the power fantasy of superhero games, and that, of course, is something that makes it trickier to balance quite a few other aspects of the gameplay- like the progression, for instance. How do you make upgrades and progression feel meaningful and rewarding, without ever making it feel like your current build isn’t strong enough or making you really feel like you’re the superhero the game is having you embody? That’s a line that the Black Panther game will have to toe, but thankfully, there’s plenty of opportunity in this area for some solid progression mechanics. Of course, imagining a system where you’re making unique and varied upgrades to your suit to alter the way you play is infinitely easier than actually implementing such a system in the game, but our hope is that Cliffhanger Games will be up to the task.

A GREAT EXPERIENCE OUTSIDE THE BLACK PANTHER SUIT

Playing as the Black Panther will obviously be the USP of the Black Panther game, but as if often the case with superhero stories, stepping outside of the suit and also focusing on the person that wears that mask can be just as compelling as the superhero themselves. Some games do that well, others don’t – Insomniac’s Spidey titles being prime examples of both from time to time – but Black Panther in particular is an IP where it’s easy to see how the story and gameplay could still be engrossing when you’re not actually in the famous suit. You are, after all, going to be playing as the King of Wakanda, so we’d love, for instance, to see a game where the governance of Wakanda as T’challa (assuming he’s the protagonist) is just as important to the experience as the actual superhero stuff when you’re in the Black Panther suit.

ITS OWN IDENTITY

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s popularity has been a massive boon for Marvel and all of its properties, shooting many of them from relative obscurity into mainsteam pop culture fame, though we’re hoping Cliffhanger Games won’t feel creatively tied down because of that. Rather than sticking too closely to the visual identity of the MCU’s take on the Black Panther universe, we’re hoping to see something that feels wholly new and original while still staying true to the IP’s core, whether it’s character designs we’re talking about or even what Wakanda looks like. The Spider-Man games have done an excellent job of carving out their own identity, while conversely, Marvel’s Avengers failed on that front quite miserably, while Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be somewhere in between- hopefully, the Black Panther game will be more in line with Spidey, or, at the very least, with Guardians.


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