The same sorts of questions are being asked now about Marvel Heroes that were asked when City of Heroes first released: where’s the villains? Now, I don’t know that Gazillion will ever go down the route that Cryptic (then developer of City of Heroes) did and create an entirely new game to give representation to Marvel’s more villainous types, but we have been hearing the developer talk of adding villains to the game that have been, perhaps for a time, on the other side of the fence.
With that in mind, I have a couple of villainous candidates in mind that I’d personally like to see added to the Marvel Heroes roster:
Songbird (formerly Screaming Mimi) started her career as a villain, eventually joining Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil. Zemo went on to form the Thunderbolts, a group of villains (including Songbird) that iinitially posed as heroes until they realized they actually enjoyed being heroes more. The Thunderbolts have a varied history in Marvel Comics lore, but Songbird has been with the group since its beginning and even acted as leader for a time alongside Hawkeye.
Songbird’s abilities come from her bionically modified vocal cords, giving her the ability to produce supersonic screams and even create sonic constructs, such as wings that enable her to fly. Aside from the potential for sheer damage her powers afford her, Songbird can produce screams of a specific note on the musical scale, each with different detrimental effects, ranging from causing anxiety to outright hallucinations. This presents an opportunity for some fairly interesting crowd control effects.
Given the lack of sonic powered heroes we have in Marvel Heroes at the moment as well as the somewhat poor male: female ratio of the current roster, I’d much rather see Songbird join the roster than the more obvious choice of Banshee.
As a number of other characters on this list, the Juggernaut likely needs no introduction. The Unstoppable Juggernaut is one of the most iconic villains in Marvel Comics, but he’s also made a number of attempts to reform himself, including joining the X-Men at one point and later the Thunderbolts for a time.
Gameplay wise, there isn’t a whole lot that would set the Juggernaut apart from some of the game’s existing bruiser characters like Thing, Colossus, and the Hulk, but I could see Gazillion putting more emphasis on movement powers with Juggs and possibly a whole lot of Tenacity to make him truly unstoppable.
Elektra has gone back and forth between hero and villain numerous times. Initially, Elektra began as an assassin for the Hand and then later the Kingpin. Her heroic ventures include stints with S.H.I.E.L.D, the Thunderbolts, and Heroes for Hire. Currently, Elektra is a member of the Thunderbolts under the Red Hulk. There are few Marvel characters that I can think of that have gone back and forth as much as Elektra has. Heck, this inner conflict was present even in her very soul (literally).
Truthfully, Elektra would probably be a somewhat boring addition to the Marvel Heroes cast from a gameplay point-of-view. Similar to the issues with the Juggernaut, there are already quite a few other characters in the Marvel Heroes roster that would likely bear a strong similarity to Elektra in terms of gameplay, though I’m sure Gazillion could come up with some interesting twists. After all, they took a simple brawler like Luke Cage and turned him into a pet class. Anything is possible.
That said, you can’t ever have too many ninjas and Elektra is one of the coolest Marvel ninjas of them all.
Magneto has done some atrocious things in the Marvel universe, but he’s also a multidimensional character with a lot of depth and nuance. Magneto isn’t often a villain to be a villain; he’s simply an extremist. And yes, even that puts it lightly given some of the things he’s done. Still, Magneto has made several attempts at reformation, including leading the New Mutants and even now serving as a member of the X-Men under a much more hardline Cyclops.
Of all the characters we’ve mentioned today, Magneto offers the most interesting gameplay possibilities as the master of magnetism. As a villain players already fight in Marvel Heroes, we have an idea of the nature of his powers, such as his ability to generate a massive force-field and bend metal around characters, crushing them slowly over time. I’d like to see Gazillion use Magneto as an opportunity to make heavy use of the game’s interactive and destructible environment. It’s one thing being able to pick up cars as the Hulk and throw them at enemies, but how about having a character like Magneto manipulate these objects at range?
The symbiote has had many hosts, but even the most iconic version of the villainous Venom (Eddie Brock) was really more of an anti-hero. Sure, he took things to the extreme when fighting crime, but his intentions were frequently in the right place. Venom is one of the easier villains to justify adding to the game, as the character is vastly different from host to host. Heck, even Flash Thompson gets a go as “Agent Venom”.
On the gameplay front, Venom would probably play as a bit of a cross between the game’s existing bruiser characters and the more agile fighters such as Spider-man. I’d love to see Gazillion put an emphasis on the shapeshifting properties of the symbiote, in particular. Venom should be able to manifest tendrils, claws, and the like and lash out at his foes from mid-range.
Which anti-heroes or villains do you think would fit in on the Marvel Heroes roster and why? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB