Last week at Sony’s PlayStation Showcase, Insomniac Games announced a new Marvel Universe building off the success of Spider-Man. In addition to Spider-Man 2, they teased a game about everyone’s favorite fast-healing Canadian mutant: Wolverine.
On the most recent Thanks for the Knowledge, John Warren had a great conversation with Managing Editor Steven Strom and Staff Writer Mike Williams about this news, focusing especially on what to look forward to in Spider-Man 2:
Listening to them, I couldn’t help but think about what I want out of Wolverine.
Wolverine is a weird character. No, I don’t mean because he’s got metal on his skeleton or because he’s shorter than I am or because one of his powers is ‘enhanced smell’. I mean that he’s aggressively marketed as an angsty, macho loner even though canonically he’s been a member of almost every single Marvel team of heroes and is constantly mentoring teenagers and being besties with his teammates.
Somehow, Wolverine’s gruff warmth and endearing crankiness has transformed into frequent portrayals as some kind of tragic anti-hero, which sucks, not just for X-Men fans sick to death of bad adaptations, but for the hirsute Canadian himself, who probably just wants to crack open some cold ones with the girls and stop having Weapon-X PTSD.
Wolverine is a chance to start fresh with our strong friend Logan. So, here’s a quick wishlist of what I would like to see in the game:
1. I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is already be Wolverine
If Wolverine is an origin story, I am chucking my console out the window. What stories made Wolverine the most popular mutant? It was him being cool and old and already good at fighting, not him stumbling naked through the snow with his claws out like “aaaa what are these!?!?” Wolverine is a guy drinking some beers and smoking some cigars and kicking some ass and being Wolverine. That’s the guy Marvel readers fell in love with, and that’s the guy I want to play.
2. I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is hairy and Canadian
No X-Men adaptation has ever made Wolverine hairy or Canadian enough. I want the PS5’s processors to be running as hard as they can because they are outputting so many individual strands of body hair. I want to need subtitles to be able to understand my guy’s thick Canadian accent. Wolverine is essentially Rowsdower, and no one has ever understood this, but if Insomniac can understand this, then they will make a very good game.
3. I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is disgusting
Logan is a nastyboy. He’s gross. Do a search in your search engine of choice for “how gross is Wolverine” and you’ll see lots of posts made by comics nerds detailing his gross ways. I want my Wolverine to be a dirty, stinky, beer-guzzling slob who’s covered in blood and uses the claws that he usually keeps inside his body to slice and grill food. This is a crucial aspect of his character that is frequently forgotten. I don’t want to be able to forget how gross he is.
4. I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is pretty close to the floor
James “Logan” Howlett is a short king. He’s the short king. He’s canonically 5’3″!!! If he isn’t short and consistently shorter than all the other big strong adult men he’s fighting in Wolverine, I’m chucking my console out the window.
5. I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is be a great friend
The Wolverine teaser was just him at a bar by himself, and also the game is called Wolverine, not Wolverine and the Homies, so it’s going to be a solo game. Still, I would like to move away from the boring loner vibe. It’s unclear where he’s at in his life trajectory during this game, but Wolverine either making friends throughout the game or communicating via phone and text with existing pals is a must for me— even if he’s just dodging people’s calls. The context of “this is a guy with close, dear friends” is necessary to balance out the whole “tiny, hairy rage monster who smells like blood and shit” thing.
6. I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is teach teens
Even better than friends? Kids! Everything that goes for Wolverine having friends goes double for Wolverine mentoring kids, which is why it’s such a crucial touchstone for Wolverine stories. Wolverine’s mentorship helped Kitty Pryde come into her own. It gave us some of the very best Jubilee moments in comic book history. Logan is probably the best Wolverine adaptation that exists, and it also knew you gotta give the Canucklehead a kid. Maybe Wolverine won’t feature a cool teen sidekick for the whole game, but we need one (if not more!) at some point. I could also be into something where he’s getting hounded by teens asking him for advice about teen things throughout the game. Imagine him covered in bad guy blood after you’ve just done a completely awesome fight and getting a text from his little buddy Jubilee about her teenage problems. That’s the complexity that makes Wolverine the guy we love.