New Iron Man Game Can Deliver Customization Batman: Arkham Couldn't

The announcement of a new Iron Man game has raised the prospect of suit customization, and with Tony Stark's key trait being designing his own suits, it's possible this new title could deliver customization in a way Batman: Arkham couldn't. Tony Stark is a genius in the Marvel universe and is constantly tinkering with his technology and improving it for different situations. Therefore, it would be great to see this in the upcoming title both in terms of faithfully adapting the character as well as in providing a myriad of gameplay opportunities for players.


EA and Marvel Entertainment has announced that Motive Studio, the team behind the Dead Space Remake, is creating an Iron Man game. Iron Man is touted as a single-player, third-person, action-adventure that will feature an original narrative, meaning - like Marvel's Spider-Man and Batman: Arkham - it is unlikely to take place within a preestablished continuity like Marvel's 616 universe or the MCU. EA's press release promised that the upcoming game would channel the complexity, charisma, and creative genius of Tony Stark, with Marvel Games' Vice President and Creative Director Bill Rosemann calling it "a love letter to a legendary hero" and "the ultimate Iron Man video game".

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One way to showcase Stark's "creative genius" would be to allow a level of customization practically unseen in other superhero titles to date. Whereas Rocksteady's acclaimed Batman: Arkham series allowed players to upgrade abilities, his arsenal of gadgets, and features such as body armor, this didn't impact the look and design of the Dark Knight's suit, which only changed due to scripted moments that saw it getting damaged over the game's campaign. The same could be said for another highly praised superhero title, Marvel's Spider-Man, as both that and the Batman: Arkham games provided faithful recreations of suits from across both characters' long histories. However, any customization to gadgets or abilities didn't come with a cosmetic change to the designs. With Iron Man, while Motive Studio could (and should) look back at many of Iron Man's suits from decades of Marvel's comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it could take things one step further and allow players to design their own suit from scratch, unlocking new parts as they go and applying them to make a suit perfectly tailored to their playstyle. This could be anything from applying more Hulkbuster-type features for a tank-type playthrough or using more nanotechnology to allow for a freer-flowing style of movement in combat.

Past Iron Man Games Have Lacked Full Customization

Iron Man 2008 Game SEGA

Despite Iron Man's popularity growing in recent years - in large part due to Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the billionaire playboy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - his video game appearances have been somewhat lacking. Iron Man most recently appeared as one of the main flying characters in Marvel's Avengers, but that title has been largely criticized in part for its live-service model, bugs, and was rife with microtransactions. Prior to this, Sega made movie tie-ins for Iron Man and Iron Man 2 but neither were warmly received by critics. Iron Man in particular dabbled with customization, with players able to unlock new suits and upgrade elements to suit their playstyle. Avengers included options to increase flight speed by putting more resources into upgrading thrusters, or upgrading repulsors, rockets, and the Unibeam to prioritize performance in combat. However, these upgrades also didn't come with visual changes to reflect where the resources had been allocated.

The best way for Marvel Entertainment and Motive Studio to truly make players feel like they are stepping into the shoes of Tony Stark would be to create their own suits and channel his creativity when it comes to technology. This doesn't mean that the new Iron Man title can't add suits from movies and comics, as Batman: Arkham, Marvel's Spider-Man, and even Marvel's Avengers have proven that players will obviously want to explore the game's world in their favorite suits. However, a creative way to implement them into this customization model could be to take the parts that have been unlocked throughout the game and use them to create those suits from the character's history, with achievements and special abilities based on moments in that specific run that could be granted to players once they do. This kind of feature would help make the upcoming Iron Man title different from other superhero games on the market, and would be in keeping with its main character's key abilities.