Electronic Arts have announced that they are working on a new single-player Black Panther game, led by their new studio known as Cliffhanger Games, in partnership with Marvel Games. Cliffhanger Games will also be working under Kevin Stephens who had previously served as studio head at developer Monoloth Productions, who are known for their fantastic Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor games.
An all-new #BlackPanther story begins here at Cliffhanger Games.
— Cliffhanger Games (@CliffhangerDevs) July 10, 2023
Beyond that, there’s not much to report. That being said, we feel as though it’s a perfect opportunity to speculate and even dream about what we would love to see from this upcoming Black Panther title.
1. An All-New, Engaging Story that the MCU Has Not Yet Covered
Sure, this one sounds like a no-brainer, but hear us out. While this game has been reported to be a single-player experience, it has also been reported that the game will take advantage of a large, sandbox-open world, giving players free rein to explore the world of Wakanda. The only worry here is that deep, nuanced emotional narratives can often take a back seat to open-world experiences, which tend to pride themselves on freedom and variety, rather than something more concerned with a linear, focused and ultimately cinematic approach.
Rumours have also been circulating regarding the story kicking off shortly after the death of the Black Panther, as we take control of the mantle’s successor. Wakanda Forever? We hope not. There’s no reason why the team at Cliffhanger Games couldn’t marry these two concepts in new and unique ways, but given the character and history of Black Panther in comics and films have already given way to some unique characters and story arcs, we can’t help but wish we get something fresh and exciting in video game form.
2. Plenty of Parkour
Yes, it seems like another no-brainer. But we would love to see the Black Panther whizzing about through the trees and structures of Wakanda with a satisfying sense of speed and weight. I’m sure that’s easier said than done, but various examples like the numerous Assassin’s Creed games still show that there’s a place for parkour within an open-world setting.
While we would also love to see the implementation of vehicles and technology, there’s no denying the absolute layup that this would be for traversal in general. Would those claws possibly allow us to scale nearby trees and buildings at will? We sure hope so.
3. Batman Arkham-Style Combat
The Batman Arkham series might have started the trend, but it’s hard to imagine an open-world superhero beat ’em up without this type of combat. But I guess it’s not worth fixing if it isn’t yet broken. That fast and fluid combat would feel right at home in the claws of the Black Panther. I admittedly appreciated Black Panther’s addition to Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers game even if I felt that the character’s unique abilities were ultimately limited due to the janky and repetitive combat mechanics.
The team at Insomniac have clearly succeeded with Marvel’s Spider-Man and it only seems like the logical approach here, as both characters walk the line between fluid combat and the intermittent use of gadgets and tech.
4. Interesting Side Content
Open-world games are only as good as the content they’re filled with. For as fun as it might be to leap around with a refined parkour system, we’re hoping there’s some content for us to get around to. I feel like Cliffhanger Games might be looking to Insomniac and their take on Marvel’s Spider-Man for some inspiration, and I don’t blame them. For as interesting and well-paced as that story was, the remaining side content also felt like a trip worth taking and made that version of New York City feel real and lived-in.
While Wakanda is not only fictional but an entirely different city in terms of its layout, we can only hope that the inhabitants of the city will give this Black Panther and players alike something to keep them busy long after the credits have rolled.
5. The Start of a New, Interconnected Gaming Universe… An MGU, Perhaps?
Developer Motive Studios are currently working on an EA-published Iron Man game. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is on the way to the PlayStation 5 later this year. Marvel’s Wolverine is also in the works at Insomniac. Any chance of these being connected? Probably not. But besides the logistical nightmare that such an idea would impose, it would be nice to see this tie into Motive Studios’ Iron Man game, given the two titles will sit under EA’s publishing umbrella.
The MCU initially juggled multiple studios, so I guess we can dream after all.
At the time of writing, there is no official release date or exclusive platform, although we feel as though the shift to Unreal Engine 5 will see this released exclusively on next-gen consoles. Stay tuned for more news as it breaks.