Seconds after we saw the announcement teaser, Marvel’s Wolverine was immediately one of our most anticipated future video game releases.This new superhero title from PlayStation and Insomniac Games is predicted to launch sometime in 2023 with no gameplay shown yet or any major clues on where Wolverine’s story will take us or which famous characters will be making an appearance.
Here we make some predictions on Marvel’s Wolverine. A combination of educated guesswork based on what info we have, as well as our own dream-like visions of how this upcoming PS5 exclusive will take form.
Where will Wolverine’s story take us?
With an entire lineage of comic books to pull from, which of Wolverine’s many saga’s will Insomniac seek to adapt in its upcoming Marvel game? Scrubbing through the cinematic announcement trailer, there aren’t really many clues to go on. We see Wolverine nursing a drink at a bar, surrounded by debris and beatdown thugs, with no overt indication of when or where the game takes place.
What we’re hoping to see here is a story told over many years instead of being isolated to a short series of events, as seen in Insomniac’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales. This can go one of two ways, depending on how Insomniac wants to portray Wolverine. On one hand we could see him depicted as an ageless warrior who is some 200 years old, clawing and boozing his way through history, or we could see a more familiar take that centres on the Weapon X Program where Wolverine has his bones infused with the indestructible Adamantium.
Marvel’s Wolverine is being directed by Brian Horton (creative director) and Cameron Christian (game director), who were in charge of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and they will no doubt want to put their own twist on Wolverine’s story, though we’d hazard a guess that Weapon X will be a likely focal point for the game’s story. As we’ve seen in numerous comics, movies, and games, Wolverine is never truly free of his origins, both physically and mentally. Constantly hunted by clandestine agencies, Logan always seems to be on the run while also searching for who he really is.
Which Marvel characters will appear?
So far the only confirmed character for Marvel’s Wolverine is, well, Wolverine himself. From what footage and images we’ve seen, it’s very likely that the game will star James “Logan” Howlett as our leading hero, with Insomniac stating that they want to stay true to the character’s DNA. However, the Spider-Man developers also reveal that they want to “look for opportunities to make [Wolverine] feel fresh and truly reflect the Insomniac spirit”.
There has to be a deliberate reason why the PlayStation-owned studio is honing in on Wolverine instead of the X-Men as a whole. Wolverine’s scarred past and unique powers make him a particularly resonant character with scope for an emotional, era-spanning storyline.
What we’re most intrigued to see is which companions and villains Insomniac plans to weave into Logan’s story. Going back to the Weapon X Project gives us a handful of immediate antagonists who could pursue Wolverine throughout the game. This could include Weapon X’s mastermind, William Stryker, as well as the mutants he experimented on such as Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike, and maybe even Deadpool. There’s also scope to shed light on lesser known characters from Wolverine’s past including John Wraith, Maverick, Mastodon, Silver Fox, and more.
There is an even greater rogue’s gallery to pick from, however, which could see players beamed from one time/location to another between stages. In one chapter we could be on the hunt for Wendigo in the untamed forests of North Canada before winding up on the streets of Japan, dicing up Yakuza thugs and crossing blades with Silver Samurai.
There’s also a question mark lingering over the X-Men’s inclusion in Marvel’s Wolverine. In a roundabout twist, we could see the superhero team somehow become the villains in this game, though it’s just as likely they’ll have smaller cameo roles.
Marvel’s Wolverine gameplay predictions
Knowing how well Marvel’s Spider-Man went down, there will be an obvious temptation to replicate that same formula, albeit swapping one superhero for another. Taking an educated guess, we’d say Insomniac is aiming for a more linear experience, that Marvel’s Wolverine won’t feature an open world like Spider-Man and will instead resemble a traditional action game – rumours from March 2020 suggest a God of War-like blend of open sections for exploration along a mostly linear narrative path . This would certainly go hand in hand with the studio’s approach if they wanted to tell a story that spans multiple timelines and locations. It also allows the developers to focus on what would matter most in a Wolverine title – visceral combat.
Even though it was born during the era of slapdash movie tie-ins games, X-Men Origins: Wolverine still holds up surprisingly well after all these years. Raven Software’s inspiration was clear, closely mimicking the bloody combat/puzzle-solving/platforming cocktail that made those original God of War games such timeless hits.
There’s a gap in the market for a traditional character action game with a AAA PlayStation budget. One that doesn’t try to expand or bend the formula to include roleplaying progression mechanics, large hub-world environments, or shoehorned live service elements. Our hope is that Marvel’s Wolverine will barrel from one cinematic set piece to the next, featuring frenzied combat sections that boast dynamic interactivity with some scope for the occasional slice of mindless hack n’ slash action.
It’s likely we won’t hear anything about Marvel’s Wolverine for another several months. Sony no doubt plans to drip feed details on story, characters, and gameplay as the publisher gradually builds hype while getting its big 2022 PlayStation exclusives in players’ hands.