If you clicked on this post expecting it to be an intelligently written, well-thought out, point filled analysis of why a video game featuring action film stars as fighters hasn’t been made yet, you best check out of this reasonably priced hotel. This is no such post. Because there is literally not a single reason that a game like that shouldn’t exist by now. Not only would it be a guaranteed monetary smash, but with the right development team behind it, it might even be kinda good. Strike that, it would definitely be good. “How do you know this, oh sweet, sweet Dylan?”, you ask, gently cooing my name as you file paperwork for me. Firstly, don’t call me that. I play the field, and am no one’s “sweet, sweet” anything. Secondly, I’m going to tell you exactly why it would be good.
Reason One: The Fighters
The most obvious thing to touch upon. Think about all the iconic action heroes that could make their way into this game (Let’s call it Hollywood Smackdown: Battle at the Box Office). The likes of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, and Nicholas Cage, just the tip of the iceberg. You have heavyweight headliners that can actually fight, like Van Damme, Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris. Honestly, the fact that you’re still reading this and haven’t already dashed to your local stop for games has me concerned. Several iconic looks, personalities and fighting styles would be on exhibit. Not to mention the opportunity for some incredible voice acting.
Reason Two: The Story
HS:BatBO‘s story is painfully obvious. Arnold, relegated to babysitting his millions of illegitimate children and knee-deep in Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, is finding child care painfully dull. He wants out. Suddenly, Van Damme (who, it turns out, actually is a Time Cop, seriously) crashes through the ceiling of his house. He convinces Schwarzenegger to accompany him to the future, where an evil corporation is staging a competition of the greatest fighters of all time, because that’s what evil corporations do instead of pleasing stockholders by turning a quarterly profit. Arnie agrees. Once back in the future, there’s a funny moment where a short man, played by Danny DeVito in a cameo role, asks Arnold if they know each other from somewhere, to which Arnold replies “No, it must have been my twin.” 0.00047% of the games audience chuckle at this reference. The game makes several more similar references, always to the film Twins. And one to Jingle All the Way.
Once inside the staging area, they meet the other competitors. Some, such as Stallone, Jet Li and Steven Seagal, were all recruited by Van Damme. After the Expendables 4 was yet another mega-hit for the highest grossing franchise of all time, they made a pact to always fight in dangerous, off the books tournaments together. The others have a number of interesting reasons for being there. Tom Cruise ended up making the right call with Scientology, which gifted him with the power to jump through time and space whenever he wills it. Nicholas Cage, it turns out, had been doing every single film part sent his way in an effort to save money to develop actual Immortality. It didn’t work. So he ended up making a deal with the Devil, just like in Ghost Rider. He didn’t get any of Ghostriders powers or looks, but he can’t die of old age. Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan are naturally immortal. Bruce Lee had been brought back as a hologram after the enormous success of G4′s incessant television advertisements featuring the late warrior, eventually gaining independent thought when Skynet became a reality. No one really knows how or why Bruce Willis ended up in the tournament, but he did.
None of the plot actually involves a fight for the top spot at the box-office.
Reason Three: The Fighting Techniques
One of the best parts of the HS:BatBO, besides the award-winning story (penned by Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that will inevitably and expertly handle the large cast of characters by giving each plenty of screen/development time), will be the deep and inclusive fighting mechanics. When you have a cast of characters as iconic as these, you also get their iconic move-sets. Arnold’s style is focused around his alter-ego Turbo Man. He flies around with his jet-pack, running in to things. Van Damme utilizes his time-traveling abilities to phase in and out of being, avoiding his opponents attacks. Other than that, his list of moves is identical to that of Guile in Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game.
Tom Cruise’s style is more defensive. His size makes him a difficult target to hit, and the ability to predict crimes from Minority Report means he always knows the enemy’s next move. Because in the future, as in the present, hurting Tom Cruise is a crime punishable by death. Stallone fights using small toys that are alive, a hobby he picked up from playing the Toymaker in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. Nicholas Cage steals the Declaration of Independence. Jet Li, Bruce Lee hologram, Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris are all actually skilled at fighting for real, leading most players to consider them boring. Most battles are waged using Arnold, JCVD, Cruise, Stallone and Cage. No one picks Bruce Willis.
Reason Four: Costumes
These stars have sported some great looks over the years.
- Turbo Man suit
- Terminator outfit
- Conan the Barbarian
- Business attire from Twins
- Around the World in 80 Days garb
Van Damme’s costumes
Tom Cruise’s costumes
- Knight and Day jacket
- Jerry Maguire clothing
- A Few Good Men uniform
Nicholas Cage’s costumes
- Ghost Rider outfit, but no flaming-skeleton skin
- Con-Air hair
- John Travolta
Bruce Lee Hologram’s costumes
- Tupac hologram
Chuck Norris’s costumes
- Hairy chest
- Waxed chest
- Judges clothing from Dodgeball
- Rocky V costume
- Rocky Balboa costume
- John Rambo costume
- Toymaker costume
Jet Li’s costumes
- All the cool ones from all the movies. Especially Hero. Hero is awesome.
Jackie Chan’s costumes
- Shanghai Noon costume
- Shanghai Knights costume
- Tuxedo tuxedo
- Medallion medallion
Steven Seagal’s costumes
- His usual outfit
- Any of the Japanese outfits he’s ever worn
Bruce Willis’s costumes
Reason Five: The Film Adaptation
The game would be a tie-in to the eventual movie, which would gross more than Avatar, Avatar 2, Titanic, The Avengers and Seabiscuit. James Cameron would come out of submarine-research retirement and finally direct the Aquaman movie like in Entourage for real. It would be pretty good.
Reason Six: The Soundtrack
4 Non-Blondes. The whole thing.
I’m basically begging for someone to steal this idea and make it. Begging. Whether or not an actual, established studio ever does anything even close to this, we live in an age where people devote entire days to making new .gif’s of Tom Hiddleston. Granted, this is a worthy endeavor, and must never stop, but it also means that we as a human race are talented enough to band together and make this a reality. Our lives will revolve around HS:BatBO one day, and I intend to be around when that day comes.
Oh, and if you were wondering, the main bad guy is Polish Impressionist painter Julian Fałat. In the context of the game, it makes complete sense.