Welcome to Let’s Make a Game! This is the first installment in a new feature where we explore how we would make the games we want to see. Today, we’re going to make a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game with a little help from Batman: Arkham City and Darksiders, so let’s get started.
First, let’s talk art. There’s really no need for another cartoon-style TMNT game right now. The TMNT franchise has been incredibly hit-and-miss in the game department, and it seems to falter most when appealing to the newest generation of fans. There seems to be quite a strong following, or at least fond fanbase, among older fans of the original run and that is who we will focus on today.
I think our TMNT game would be best suited falling somewhere between Joe Madureira’s comic style and the supremely awesome “fan art” of Dave Rapoza.
Ultimately, it would fall into a blend between Batman: Arkham City and Darksiders. Dark with a hint of color, but maintaining a hint of that ominous feeling of danger and despair.
TMNT usually always takes place in a cityscape, and there hasn’t been a much better city built lately than Arkham City, so I see that as the perfect jumping-off point. You’ve got basically everything you need for a pseudo-open-world TMNT game; with everything from buildings to streets and alleys, and even a nice sewer system to explore. Ideally, I’d love to see a solid single-player campaign where you could switch characters at specific points (perhaps sewer grates or pizza parlors). I’d also like to see four-player co-op via Xbox Live and PSN. Imagine cleaning up the streets of thugs, Foot Clan soldiers, and the occasional Mouser, all with the help of your turtle brothers.
TMNT has a huge stable of characters that could easily foot the bill and give the Turtles a run for their money; Krang, Shredder, Lord Dregg, Baxter Stockman, Rat King and Leatherhead, Wingnut and Screwloose, and of course a little friendly competition from Casey Jones wouldn’t hurt either. You could even have Slash and Venus DLC and a mysterious watcher in the form of Usagi Yojimbo.
Yes, it’s a recurring element, but it’s hard to think of a more engaging and rewarding combat system than that of Batman: Arkham City. Playing through the combat challenges as Robin and Nightwing is actually what prompted me to set Batman: Arkham City as the foundation for a TMNT game. Playing as Catwoman also made me realize you wouldn’t have to walk around as a brooding, face-smashing, bone-breaking, loner all the time, but you of course may want to when playing as Raphael. Play through the extreme combat challenges in Batman: Arkham City as the staff-toting Red Robin and tell me you don’t feel just a bit like Donatello. Give Nightwing a couple of sais and you’ve got one hell of a Raphael. Having said that, Rocksteady would be the absolute perfect developer for our game, and Bebop would agree.
The Turtles may not have the Dark Knight’s arsenal of gadgets, but they’re no slouches when it comes to maneuverability. They are ninjas after all. I would say they would have little to no problem traversing a city similar to that of Arkham City, and would probably be much less afraid of the water. The sewer system would probably need to be expansive and maybe serve as a quick-travel route depending on the size of the map. I would definitely forego the Turtle Van as a means of transportation, but a cameo would definitely be welcome.
As far as difficulty, I wouldn’t again place it right in between Darksiders and Batman: Arkham City; an area where it’s not impossible for kids 10 and up but still engaging enough for adults. After all, I can’t imagine a TMNT game would get licensed for anything above a T-Teen rating anyway.
Music might be a tricky area, but there would have to be an inclusion of some version of the original theme to really put a bow on it.
(Please excuse my terrible design skills.)
Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Release Date: May 2013
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, PS Vita
Players: 1-4 Xbox Live, PSN
So I think our game sounds pretty great. Yes, it borrows a lot from Arkham City, but no more than Ubisoft and Game Arts borrowed from Super Smash Bros Brawl when they made TMNT: Smash Up a few years back. Sometimes a good game engine should be utilized to the fullest!