Why have we never got a Joker game? 10 supervillain games we need to play

Scott Baird
Dr Doom, Joker, and Venom lead our coverage of supervillain games we want to play

There are countless superhero video games in the world, but what about their foes? These comic book supervillains need time to shine in the video game world. 

Some of the best video games of all time are the ones starring evil people. The protagonists of GTA V are more vicious than most video game villains, while the Dark Urge in Baldur’s Gate 3 lets you succumb to murderous desires and have a lot of fun in the process. 

Despite this, comic book villains are rarely given prominent playable roles in superhero games. Usually, established supervillains are only playable in ensemble casts, like the Marvel vs. Capcom or NetherRealm DC fighting games

Superhero games can be massively successful if they avoid the live service model, so the time has arrived for the villains to be given their time in the gaming spotlight. These villains might have moonlighted as heroes at some point, but these games would focus on their heinous adventures before they turned good.

10. Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy #2 cover

Plant-based powers rarely appear in video games, especially for protagonists, even though it’s a niche with a lot of potential. A nature-based hero could create vines to grab enemies, influence their minds with poisonous mist, and create sentient plants to rise from the floor and rush their foes, Pikmin-style. 

Poison Ivy would be a great fit for this powerset, thanks to her near-elemental control of plants. Her goal of wiping out humanity to save the planet could also introduce lots of interesting moral choices, especially when faced with the prospect of killing her love interest, Harley Quinn

While superheroes are an obvious foe for Poison Ivy, you could also use the approach of her acting as an eco-terrorist who targets destructive businesses, like Avalanche in Final Fantasy VII or the cast of Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood. This would give her lots of enemies to face, as businesses hire mercenaries to stop her, and she uses her nature powers to crush them.

9. Legion

David Haller Legion X-Men

David Haller, also known as Legion, is the son of Charles Xavier and one of the most powerful mutants alive. When he was introduced, those powers were split across Legion’s multiple personalities as they vied for control of the main body. 

A Legion game is an ideal candidate for a title that leans heavily into the “hallucinations inside the protagonist’s mind” stages similar to the ones we saw during the Scarecrow’s fear gas sequences in the Arkham games. Legion attempting to reassert control of his body between stages while the evil sides pursue their own wicked agenda in the real world. 

While Legion started out as a villain and performed a lot of evil deeds (such as unintentionally kicking off the Age of Apocalypse timeline), a video game storyline could give the player a chance to go either way, where they can embrace the dark side or unite all of the personalities in one. 

Kind of like The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, but good

8. The Hood

The Hood #3 Dark Reign

Kingpin is the king of crime, but he wouldn’t necessarily be the most interesting character to play in a video game. 

Enter Parker Robbins, aka The Hood, who possesses a magical cloak and boots, granting him a range of superpowers. He used these artifacts to build a supervillain criminal empire, one that threatens heroes and his fellow villains alike. 

A video game based on The Hood could go for the strategy/X-COM route, where you assemble groups of supervillains to take on crime missions as you slowly grow your empire. These would increase in difficulty, as the mall cops and security guards make way for The Avengers and the X-Men, putting your strategy muscles to the test as you send C-tier villains into the meatgrinder against Wolverine and Thor.

7. Arcade

X-Men villain Arcade

This X-Men villain has appeared in several video games, and his gimmick of creating murderous theme parks for superheroes to escape works really well for a level.

But what if the player was the one creating Arcade’s Murderworlds? 

This concept isn’t completely original in the video game world, as the Deception series does this in a fantasy setting, where the player sets trap combos in arenas to deal with pesky invading heroes. 

In an Arcade game, you’d be dealing with superheroes, so you’d have to design deadly theme parks to negate their powers and advantages. It’s kind of like Rollercoaster Tycoon, but the objective is to hit the Hulk with a rollercoaster.

6. Prometheus

Prometheus (Villains) DC Comics

“Batman Arkham Asylum but with a supervillain” is a no-brainer. It’s just a shame that we don’t have one yet, as there are many candidates for the protagonist role. 

For me, the best choice would be Prometheus, a Justice League/Batman villain who has no powers but is essentially an evil version of the Dark Knight. Prometheus is a highly trained combatant with gadgets and a sharp mind, but what makes him a good fit for a game is his copying ability.

In his first major appearance, Prometheus could copy the physical abilities of other people and switch them out via compact discs in his helmet. This concept fits well for a Metroidvania (which the Arkham games fall into), as Prometheus learns hero and villain abilities, adding them to his database. 

So, what’s the premise? Prometheus is a supervillain who wants to take down the Justice League despite having no powers. You have to use your wits and stolen abilities to take them out individually, as you crush Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, the Flash, Wonder Woman, etc. This all leads to a final fight with Batman, who has no powers but is just as good at fighting as you are and has no weaknesses to exploit. 

If this sounds like the premise of the Suicide Squad, it pretty much is, except without the multiplayer live service nonsense. 

5. The Mandarin

The Mandarin Marvel Iron Man

The archnemesis of Iron Man may not have had a chance to trade blows with Tony Stark in the MCU, but there are plenty of opportunities for him to do so in the world of gaming. 

Full disclosure – Mandarin’s only on this list because his ten magic rings are awesome. They’re ideal for a video game, where you slowly increase their power as his mastery of their strange powers increases. These could have skill trees up the wazoo. 

What would Mandarin do in his game? Shoot people with his rings, obviously. 

In terms of story and character, all developers would need to do is drop the problematic Orientalist aspects of his character and depict him as a badass supervillain who has come to America to forge a criminal empire and boom-ring shooting time.

4. Mystique

Supervillain Games we want to see

Shapeshifting is a power that’s surprisingly sparingly used in video games, especially in the stealth genre. 

There are lots of shapeshifter villains that could be the star of a video game, but Mystique is one of the most popular, and her goal of seeing Magneto’s dream of mutant supremacy coming true is filled with interesting storytelling possibilities. 

Mystique is an ideal candidate for a Hitman-style stealth/assassination game, in which you alter your form and gather information to take out high-profile targets, needing to pick the right appearance for the job.

This would culminate in a level based on the lead-up to the events of the infamous “Days of Future Past” X-Men comic, where you have to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly while facing off against the X-Men, who have Wolverine on the team, whose sense of smell is strong to see through your disguises.

3. Venom

Venom clinging to a wall.

Venom is toeing the line here, as he has starred alongside Spider-Man in different games, mostly because the two are really similar in how their powers work. We have yet to receive a Venom solo game, however, even though he has starred in his own movies. 

A Venom game is so easy to pitch because of his similarities to Spider-Man. Just put him in one of the Insomniac Games and have you swing around the city and commit crimes instead of stopping them. It’s simple and awesome – fans would line up to play it, much like they lined up to watch the first Venom film. 

Luckily, it seems like we will one day get a chance to don the symbiote suit, as the Insomniac Games leak revealed that a Venom game is in development, even if it hasn’t officially been released yet.

2. Dr. Doom

X-Men/Dr. Doom 98 cover

The Fantastic Four’s main villain might seem like a surprising choice, but a video game centered around Dr. Doom could be an ideal way to explore his backstory and show how he became the ruler of Latveria. 

While Dr. Doom is best known as a supervillain, sorcerer, and ruler of a nation in the current timeline, he wasn’t always such an important figure. A video game following a young Victor von Doom’s rise to power, as he brings a nation to heel, would offer a fresh look at the character. 

Dr. Doom uses both science and magic to accomplish his goals, and this could be a central part of the gameplay, as focusing on one means losing out on the advantages of the other. Doom has to try and master the arcane and the futuristic while establishing himself as a leader, all leading to the day when four superheroes challenge one of his plans.

1. The Joker

An image of The Joker in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.

The biggest potential supervillain video game idea in history – A Grand Theft Auto-style game where you play as the Joker. 

A game in which you play as the Joker during their rise to power, as they slowly take over Gotham City, would make for an electrifying experience. The Joker is an ideal fit for a GTA protagonist, as he’s wicked enough to commit terrible crimes without remorse and has tons of personality. You can also take different approaches based on existing versions of the character, ranging from the darkly comedic Mark Hamill Joker to the cruel and calculating Heath Ledger Joker. 

The Joker might be Batman’s greatest villain, but he’s no Juggernaut or Darkseid—he’s still mortal. This means you can’t rely on superpowers to save the day; you would have to use the Joker’s gadgets and goons to pull off victories. 

The Joker is playable in the Suicide Squad game, but he’s born for the spotlight, as his solo movie proved at the box office. A Joker GTA game where you rise to power, leading to a climactic showdown with Batman, would be an incredible experience.

If you’re a budding supervillain get the latest on your superheroic rivals by checking out our HeroFest schedule here.