Marvel should adopt the Live-a-Live format for a Wastelanders game

Square Enix
Square Enix /

The Live-a-Live remake came out not that long ago and it is absolutely fantastic. The story in which you pick from a variety of stories that are completely separated from each other, with completely different play styles, made every moment of the game feel interesting and unique — even if some weren’t as great as others. And all these eventually find a common thread leading to a remarkably beautiful ending. You’d think that other games would be trying to ape this formula but so far nothing.

Marvel, a company that has been really struggling to find its place in the gaming world for a while now might have a property that would be perfect for the Live a Live style treatment and they don’t seem to realize it.

See, I’m not a big music guy so when I drive or work, I’ll usually have audiobooks or podcasts bumping. You haven’t lived till I pull up alongside you at a red light, bumping some sweet, sweet MBMBAM.

But a ways back, I found out that Marvel has FANTASTIC audio stories on Spotify. It started when my kids and I got REALLY into The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Radio Show. But from there, Spotify recommended to me a show called “Marvel’s Wastelanders.” No one is talking about this show and it’s easily one of the greatest things I’ve heard in years.

Here’s a breakdown of the story.

The first book, titled “Wastelanders: Star-Lord” takes place thirty years in the future when an aging Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon, the only surviving Guardians of the Galaxy, are tasked with retrieving an item from the planet Earth. When they arrive, after being gone for several decades, they find out that at some point something called “V-Day” happened in which the villains won, killed pretty much all the heroes, and split America up amongst themselves under the rule of President Red Skull, a president who’s bigotry and hatred made him a surprising hit with many Americans (that’s not familiar at all). The item Star-Lord and Rocket need to find though is out west in an area of America now known as the Doomlands, a massive mining operation that is run by, you guessed it, Doctor Doom.

There they find a bar run by an old woman named Emma Frost, and together they try to get the artifact while, at the same time, try to escape Doctor Doom’s number one henchman, Kraven the Hunter, a bounty hunter that now has his own reality TV show on state-run media where drones follow him hunting down people that dare to disobey.

After that book, it switches locations and characters. “Wastelanders: Hawkeye” follows an elderly Clint Barton, the only surviving Avenger, spared by Baron Zemo because Zemo thought it would be funny. Clint is now blind and working in the Ringmaster’s circus as part of show that makes fun of the concept of heroes in which he’s forced to, essentially, play a drunken clown version of his former self.

“Wastelanders: Black Widow” focuses on a state-run “security” company that spies on every resident in a building, discovering that one of the people in the building may be a former hero known as Black Widow. Along the way, layers upon layers of conspiracy unravel as the security firm obsesses over this elderly yoga instructor.

And the most recent one, “Wastelanders: Wolverine” is a heart-breaking tale in which Wolverine, one of the only surviving X-Men takes a young mutant under his wing (as he tends to do) and tries to escape to Canada when he finds that Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers are still alive out there. All while trying to escape Red Skull and his main hitman, Crossbones.

All of these stories, unlike Live-a-Live, take place around the same time. But like Live-a-Live, they all take place independently from each other. Each takes place at a different point in America. Each is completely unaware of the events taking place in the other stories. Specifically, because the new state-run media would never cover any sort of advancement the heroes might be making to take back the country. But all are working towards a similar goal. Stop the villains ruling over America and try to fix things, even a little.

Here’s why this would make a great Live-a-Live style game. Each one plays completely differently because the stories progress differently. Star-Lord’s story plays out like a spaghetti western with gun fights and uneasy alliances. The feeling of anticipation in knowing that the big bad’s men are rolling into town. Because of this, it could actually feel like a western with shooting elements similar to the Sundown Kid’s part in Live-a-Live.

Hawkeye’s story heavily focuses on his daughter rolling into town and finding out about her dad’s whereabouts. Trying to learn from him and eventually trying to be her own person. This feels a lot like Earthen Heart Shifu’s story in which you train your replacement.

Marvel Future Revolution: Black Widow
Netmarble /

Black Widow’s tale is told from the point of view of a security agent who starts to discover more and more as she examines someone she believes might be Black Widow. Her information comes from her talking to people and operating devices as she tries to put together what’s happening. Also, Susan Sarandon is the best person to play Black Widow ever. I will not discuss this further. This would be VERY similar to Cube’s tale in Live-a-Live.

And the current one with Wolverine, which hasn’t finished playing out, centers mostly on Wolverine as he discovers some horrible things about himself he wasn’t ready to examine and wonders where he exists in the grand scheme of good vs evil. A story that is uncomfortably similar to the first hidden chapter, the Medival Period, in Live-a-Live.

Long story short, Wastelanders could be the perfect game in which you have several short stories, all with different play styles, that, upon completion, could unlock a massive final chapter in which the stories suddenly tie together. It’s right there with so much potential and as long as Marvel doesn’t use the same people who botched Marvel Alliance 3, the majority of Marvel’s mobile apps, and the geniuses who decided to end Marvel Legends, they could genuinely have a hit on their hands unlike any comic book game ever made.