Amazon Prime's hit series is perfect for the world of videogames, and my pitch would have a game ready in time for season four
If you haven't seen Amazon Prime's The Boys yet, it is one of the best TV shows going right now - so long as you have the stomach for it.
A show that's definitely not made for children or the faint of heart, The Boys is essentially a darkly satirical look at the world of superheroes - that is, if superheroes weren't virtuous saviours of mankind but instead deeply flawed and often egomaniacal human beings manufactured and controlled by an incessantly greedy corporation.
Unlike standard superhero fare, Prime's smash hit features buckets of blood and gore, over-the-top brutality, incredibly dark humour, and some rather disgusting debauchery that is often downright disturbing.
Despite its extreme content, it somehow manages to avoid becoming gratuitous and blends its insanity with superb writing and pacing, poignant insights into our current society that are regularly hilarious, and sublime performances from the likes of Antony Starr (seriously, I don't care for award shows but Starr deserves an Emmy for his portrayal of Homelander this season), Karl Urban, and Jensen Ackles.
Based on the comic series of the same name, The Boys' morbidly colourful world has already transitioned to the TV screen with aplomb and Amazon is wasting no time in expanding the franchise: earlier this year a cartoon version, Diabolical, that more closely resembles the original comics and features many of the live-action show's voice actors, was released on Prime Video and a college-themed live-action spinoff dubbed Varsity is in the works for a release sometime next year.
More of The Boys content is certainly a good thing, but as of yet there has been nothing on any videogames in development set in the franchise's universe, outside of a social media post last year from the official The Boys Twitter account that asked fans what a videogame of the show might look like.
The world of The Boys is rife with opportunities for a videogame adaptation and just off the top of my head there are tons of diabolical possibilities.
An Avengers-style adventure that allows gamers to play as each of The Boys as they brutally hunt down various supes and eventually work their way through the Seven is the most obvious choice, but an ambitious game of that sort will require a hefty budget and plenty of development time in order to get it right.
Another enticing possibility would be a game based on the Seven "created" by Vought Entertainment; players would assume the role of each of the corporation's superheroes as they fought crime and super-terrorists.
It would feature a story that painted the "heroes" as family-friendly protectors of the people, but given Hughie's electronic prowess that's largely forgotten at this stage, he could contact the player and give them "cheat codes" or inform them of "glitches" that show the player the dark side of the supes. Not only would it be a cool way of breaking the fourth wall, it would serve as a cool excuse to let players wreak havoc in an open world similar to a super-powered version of Grand Theft Auto.
Even a retro arcade-style side scroller which has seen renewed popularity with the likes of TMNT: Shredder's Revenge would be a cool addition to The Boys' universe, but the best solution is often the simplest, and in this case it is the perfect fit - The Boys x Mortal Kombat.
The crossover is basically the most obvious thing in the world, with both entities known for their gruesome and over-the-top violence. Many of the deaths in The Boys are pretty clearly inspired by the classic gaming franchise and as a result the characters would fit seamlessly into the Mortal Kombat universe.
NetherRealm Studios' latest and greatest entry, Mortal Kombat 11, has added plenty of characters from iconic film franchises to its roster via DLC packs, including the likes of Rambo, the Terminator, Spawn, Robocop, and even the Joker, though additional content for the game stopped coming out last year as the team turned its focus onto new projects.
Rather than adding characters from The Boys into the last MK game however, I propose a standalone title that uses MK 11's engine, featuring arenas lifted from scenes from the show and of course the characters from The Boys.
Building a AAA game from the ground up typically takes at least a few years of development time and plenty of resources, but given that NetherRealm already has a fully featured engine with all the mechanics required, The Boys could enter the fighting game market within a year and time its release around when the next season of the show hits sometime in mid-to-late 2023.
Effectively, NetherRealm would simply need to add new characters and stages to what it already has, and release it as a standalone title at a lower price point than a normal game (the $30-$40 US range seems right) given that it's "borrowing" so heavily from a pre-existing release.
Like Mortal Kombat's other DLC characters, each of The Boys' fighters would have their own fighting style and signature moves rather than simply being a re-skin of existing MK characters, and the stages created for this title would also feature environmental weapons/interactions that alter the battlegrounds you fight in as matches progress.
NetherRealm already has plenty of experience with superhero fighting games as they've previously released two Injustice titles that feature DC comics' famous assortment of characters, and before that a Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe crossover which largely did what we'd be looking to do with the Boys - infuse the world of Mortal Kombat with super-powered characters.
That MK vs. DC title is the clear inspiration here, and it shows that NetherRealm knows how to make characters like Homelander (The Boys' parody of Superman), Queen Maeve (Wonder Woman), A-Train (the Flash), etc. really shine in a fighting game.
The one knock that crossover received from fans was that, unlike typical Mortal Kombat games, fatalities were missing and the gore was basically entirely removed due to DC not wanting their iconic characters to be brutally dissected or have their spines ripped out on screen.
With The Boys, no such limitations exist and NetherRealm would be free to make the bloodiest, goriest fatalities that have ever graced gaming.
Imagine Homelander tearing apart a victim limb by bloody limb, Butcher pulling out a compound V-infused baby to laser a supe in half, or A-Train dragging a victim across the pavement at super-speed to shred their corpse into pieces.
The roster would of course include the series' main supes like Homelander, Soldier Boy, Queen Maeve, Black Noir, A-Train, The Deep, Starlight, Stormfront, and Kimiko, while Butcher could represent The Boys with special attacks that call in MM, Frenchie, and Hughie to aid him in combat.
The idea of character variants would also be lifted from MK11 for certain characters - Butcher for instance, could have a normal non-superpowered version that relies on firearms and assistance from his squad to take on supes while a variant version features Butcher when he's on temp-V; given Homelander's array of powers, he could have a variant that relies more heavily on ranged attacks with his eye lasers and ripping apart/throwing objects from the environment, with another variant featuring more brutal hand-to-hand techniques and throws to mix things up.
A team-up of Amazon and NetherRealm really seems like a no brainer that would not only be easy to implement and much less financially risky than building something from scratch, but would also be awesome for fans and can be released quickly rather than forcing fans to wait years for a AAA outing that (may or may not) be in the works, which will hopefully come at some point down the line - but why not cash in now and later?
Amazon could even offer alternate costumes (perhaps comic-accurate versions?), bonus fatalities, or an additional character exclusively for Prime members, and maybe even make a physical collector's edition that's exclusive to Amazon; this could include things such as a limited-run reprint of one of the comics or some other collectables for fans to show off.
It's an easy and low-risk proposal that Amazon would be stupid to pass up. If anyone at Amazon is reading this and takes my idea up the chain, all I ask in return is for a lifetime Prime membership (and maybe a gift card of a generous denomination?).