This past week, the Symbiote-based Spider-Man villain received a brief teaser for its upcoming movie, which featured a surprising lack of the titular creature. While Venom has rarely appeared on-screen during the multiple reboots of Spider-Man, the antihero has seen its fair share of the spotlight in video games, from alternate costumes to final bosses and even the occasional playable character. Most of his larger roles occurred in the 90s, however, with none of his recent appearances primarily focusing on Venom, such as his appearances in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Regardless of the impending movie’s level of success, Venom is more than deserving of a well-crafted modern video game and there are a few key elements that can help drive the title to go above and beyond.
Much like the Venom movie is supposedly aiming for an R-rating, a properly-executed Venom video game deserves to have the opportunity to go as far as it needs to to fully embrace the villain. While the combat should certainly have room for unique and gruesome kills, there’s no need for the developer to go over-the-top with blood and gore; much like how Rocksteady was able to address darker themes in Batman: Arkham Knight thanks to its M-rating, a Venom title could still provide the hard-edged atmosphere and sequences that the Symbiote warrants without resorting to Mortal Kombat-levels of violence. Although a T-rated Venom game could still prove to be a worthwhile experience, the gritty nature of the comics that Venom primarily stars in could only truly be represented by an M-rated title.
The Shady Sides of New York
Speaking of gritty, most open-world Spider-Man titles have opted to show New York City as a stereotypical city, with the hustle and bustle of the traffic and job-having citizens vastly outweighing the less-populated and seedier areas that the real-life New York has to offer. Thanks to the back-alley nature that a character like Venom has to offer, a potential developer could show off a side of New York City that is less familiar to Spider-Man fans, with decrepit buildings and desperate criminals to fill the streets. This setting could work well either from a linear or open-world perspective, with both offering plenty of possibilities for mission design and exploration in a darker side of the long-standing location.
Alien Abilities Galore
The most appealing part of a modern Venom game is arguably the large potential that an arsenal of Symbiote abilities has to offer within the realms of combat and traversal. Not only does the Symbiote grant the host additional strength, it also has the power to shape-shift or become invisible, as well as various shared capabilities with that of Spider-Man. If used smartly, each of these powers could be integrated into engaging mechanics, such as short bursts of invisibility to assist with stealth, or much like in Insomniac’s upcoming take on the friendly neighborhood superhero, close-quarters combat that seamlessly includes web-related abilities. The wide variety of skills this creature has to offer practically begs for an upgrade tree and showcases another example of the high potential that a new Venom game would have to offer.