The Boys Is Ripe For A Fighting Game
With the Injustice series likely on hold for an unknown amount of time, Amazon has to strike the fighting game market now.
Since The Boys leaped off the comic book pages for the bright lights of Amazon Prime in 2019, one thing has been on my mind. The property would be amazing if it were adopted as a fighting game. Between Kick-Ass, Injustice, The Boys, Super, and Invincible, we are in a wonderful era where a more mature (and in a sense, realistic) take on superheroes and vigilantes has been welcomed with open arms. There will always be Marvel movies and kid-friendly cartoon shows, but it is a breath of fresh air to see the amount of physical damage and death that comes when multiple superpowered beings fight.
Honestly, it has been kind of shocking that out of superhero fighting games, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe is really the only bloody superhero fighting game out there right now. Sure, there is the Injustice series, however, there’s not anything really equivalent to fatalities. Beating Green Lantern as Sinestro and not being able to “Finish Him” leaves a little more to be desired. This is where The Boys comes in, and the timing could not be any more perfect than it is now.
The show has progressed through multiple seasons, and it is currently spawning a couple of spinoffs, one of which takes place in a college setting, the other being The Boys Presents: Diabolical, an animated and multi-episode anthology series. The Boys centers on a world where superheroes are real and are pop-culture products of a company called Vought. Among these heroes (who are more villainous than heroes except for Starlight and Maeve) are The Boys, a group dedicated to bringing certain ones to justice by law or by their own hand. Right now, its popularity has never been higher, and it is time for Amazon to strike while Homelander’s heat-visioned eyes are still hot. Here is my idea as to whom should develop a fighting game based on The Boys and what it could look like.
The immediate thought of who should be behind this project is NetherRealm Studios, known famously for its Mortal Kombat Franchise. However, there is an issue when it comes to this pick. In January, NetherRealm’s Senior Production Manager Jonathan Andersen posted a now-deleted tweet of his desk. If you looked past the artwork for past Mortal Kombat games, you would see a computer file with “MK 12_Mast” which more than likely prompted Andersen to delete his tweet. So, let us speculate that Mortal Kombat 12 is in fact in development — while I have no doubt the studio could handle working on multiple games at once, there is the issue of Injustice and their uncertain relationship with Warner Bros. Studios.
Back in July of 2021, rumors of Warner Bros. possibly selling NetherRealm began to surface, causing the studio to publicly deny them. It is important to mention this all happened during Discovery’s acquisition of Warner Bros. from AT&T. Discovery is currently cutting shows and is still getting things in order, so it is unsure what the future of NetherRealm’s relationship with them will be. This is the current reason behind NetherRealm shifting its focus away from its DC Comics-based Injustice series and focusing more on its own titles like Mortal Kombat. While what I am about to write is just speculation, a part of me feels there is something in NetherRealm’s deal with Warner Bros. that does not permit them to make games around other superhero and comics-based properties.
So that, mixed with the possibility of Mortal Kombat 12 being in development, makes me believe The Boys will have to fight elsewhere. That elsewhere is in Amazon’s own backyard. In 2014, Amazon acquired Double Helix which is the studio responsible for season one of Killer Instinct. While the studio is now defunct after merging into Amazon Game Studios, Amazon could make its own fighting game of The Boys if it wanted to.
AN UNTESTED AMAZON
However, there are no fighting games among the titles developed by Amazon Game Studios, so the idea of literally building the game from the ground up is a massive undertaking. So, if NetherRealm might not be available and Amazon does not want to be the developer, who could fill that role? Iron Galaxy, the Chicago and Orlando-based studios that took over duties from Double Helix after the Amazon merger. During a certain period, Iron Galaxy had to sit down with people from Double Helix and learn everything they could about Killer Instinct and its development process, so it’s not as if they don’t have the chops.
To this day, seasons two and three of Killer Instinct hold a special place in my heart. The ability to play as a character like Maya and be able to have multiple combat options and moves (in terms of weapons-based and unarmed combat) brings me back to my glorious childhood playing Mortal Kombat 4 for days on end. Imagine fighting as Butcher from The Boys and having an arsenal of powers and weapons at your disposal. Iron Galaxy could implement a feature where he takes Compound-V (serum used in the comics and the show to give people powers) as he does in the show and in the comics.
Kimiko, aka The Female, is kind of like Sabertooth from the X-Men, she has superhuman speed, strength, and stamina using a variety of athletic moves to overcome her enemies. One of her finishing moves could involve breaking all her enemy’s bones and finishing off by brutally ripping off their face (as she does in the show).
Black Noir has a mastery of knives, so his finishing move could involve him carving someone into a Jack-O-Lantern. He is also very proficient in martial arts and could also have a finisher surrounding that skillset as well. A-Train is a speedster, so let us make his finishing move one where he runs at superspeed around the world and makes four passes. In the first three passes he runs into his opponent with his shoulder chipping away part of their body, then on the final pass just runs through them knife through Vought-labeled butter. The Deep’s finisher could be him riding a shark or a school of piranhas and them feasting on the loser.
LET ME PLAY IT ALREADY
You get the idea — the characters have limitless potential for the genre. And given the expansive roster, there’s always room to add latecomers as DLC. And we haven’t even touched on possible stages yet — the top of the Vought tower, The Seven’s meeting room, The Boys’ office, city streets, countryside areas galore? All easy picks.
Personally, I really would love to see a game like this get made (if I haven’t made that clear by now), but this should seem like a no-brainer for Amazon. It’d do the same thing for superheroes in fighting games as it did for superheroes in television and film: help widen a whole new avenue of gritty, grounded, brutal representations of the niche to explore. At the end of the day, a fighting game based on The Boys would bring fighting games to another tier of gaming.