Back in December at the 2018 Game Awards, we were met with a shocking and surprising announcement that Nintendo would be reviving a beloved series from the late 2000s: Marvel Ultimate Alliance. For those of you who have never played a Marvel Ultimate Alliance title, just as the title would imply, the games follow Marvel’s mightiest heroes teaming up against the powerful villains of the universe in fun beat-em-up gameplay.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is a very special title to my childhood. I played through the first two games many times with my friends during my early high school days, and it helped introduce me to many of the more obscure aspects of the Marvel universe, and ultimately put me on the path to become a comic-book mega fan.
When the announcement of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 came, I was ecstatic. And of course, as with any game that features a prominently large cast of recognizable characters, I immediately began to speculate on who I would want to see playable in this next iteration. Trailers and press releases for the title have revealed that the game will feature around 30 characters. While this description is quite vague, I am hoping that this means we get a little over or under 30 characters. We currently have roughly 28 (UPDATE: 36) characters confirmed for the game (which are listed below), so this means there are still a few more characters that have yet to be revealed.
- Black Panther
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel
- Doctor Strange
- Drax the Destroyer
- The Hulk
- Iron Fist
- Iron Man
- Ms. Marvel
- Rocket Raccoon & Groot
- Scarlet Witch
- Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
- Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
- The Wasp
34. Elsa Bloodstone
35. Ghost Rider
36. Luke Cage
Alright, before I get into the characters I am hoping make the game, I would also like to lead with a disclaimer that even if there are no more characters left to be revealed, I am still very happy that the series is coming back at all. With that, here are ten characters I would love to see show up in this iteration of Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
The Winter Soldier
If you can’t tell from looking at the already revealed characters, the roster of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 – The Black Order is heavily-inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its characters. One of the few remaining major characters from the MCU that has not appeared on the roster is Bucky Barnes, AKA the Winter Soldier / White Wolf. With an upcoming series focusing on him and Falcon for Disney+, I think that Bucky has a strong enough relevance that he could be a fun addition to the game, and as he has never appeared in an Ultimate Alliance title before, I think it could be a unique change of pace for the series.
Ghost Rider appeared in the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance title, and I believe he would be a fantastic addition to this roster. As of now, we have very little representation from the mystical-side of the Marvel universe, and Ghost Rider could fill that void. In addition, Disney has just recently announced a Ghost Rider series for the Hulu streaming platform, so this could also be great tie-in material.
It has already been announced that Thanos and the Black Order are the main villains of the game, but this does not mean that Marvel should pass on making their biggest bad of the last decade playable. Since the release of Infinity War and Endgame, Thanos has become a household name, and I think that Nintendo and Marvel would be smart to capitalize on his popularity, and make him a secret unlockable character upon completing the game.
While The Punisher TV series may have been cancelled by Netflix, this does not mean this should be the last we see of the character. Characters from Marvel’s TV slate have already shown up on the roster with Daredevil and Iron Fist, so why not introduce Frank Castle as well? Just like Ghost Rider, he could add an edginess that might be missing from the current roster, and as an overall popular character, I am sure that fans would receive this addition with open arms.
Now this selection has no real support other than the fact that I personally want him, but still. Most of you who even know who Moon Knight is probably know him from either the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance title, or from Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. I really have nothing to say other than that I find him super cool, and think his return to the series would be a shocking re-introduction for the character, that could hopefully help familiarize the casual market with him before Marvel (hopefully) introduces him into the MCU.
Another thing that you might notice from the first glance of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3’s confirmed roster is that there is a severe lack of villains and anti-heroes. While this is understandable, as it is often difficult to justify why heroes would work with villains, Magneto is a different case. Just like Venom, Magneto is the type to put aside his differences when the universe is at stake. He is not an “evil” character, but rather, a morally grey character than constantly clashes with our heroes. I think that his inclusion could fit organically into the conflict against Thanos and the Black Order, and would also bring one of Marvel’s most beloved villains into the fold.
Speaking of Marvel villains, while this one is more of a pipe-dream, it would also be fantastic to see Doctor Doom make a playable appearance again. Doctor Doom is (arguably) Marvel’s greatest villain. He served as the main antagonist of the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and made his playable debut in the DLC for that game. With Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox and its properties, it seems that they are more willing to use characters from those properties (as displayed by the inclusion of Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Storm on the main roster). However, we have still yet to see anything related to the Fantastic Four in the game. Perhaps including Doom as an unlikely ally to the heroes could serve as a re-introduction for the character into mainstream Marvel, as well as a setup for a (hopefully) Marvel Ultimate Alliance 4.
The Human Torch
As stated above, there is virtually no reference to the Fantastic Four in the game as of yet. While Doctor Doom would be a fun addition, it is more likely that we get one of the Fantastic Four as a playable character. While most would argue that Reid Richards would be the best choice, I would argue that he would need to take too prominent of a role in the story, and I doubt Marvel is willing to let a former-Fox property take the lead before they are ready to reintroduce them. The Human Torch would be a perfect solution to this, as he could serve as a reminder and reassurance to the market that “yes, we remember they exist,” but also limit the amount that the Fantastic Four need to be involved in the story. He’s also just my favourite of the four, so I’m being a bit biased.
Jean Grey is one of the most beloved characters in the entirety of the Marvel universe. Her film Dark Phoenix releases next month, and her inclusion into the game could be a fantastic tie-in. While Dark Phoenix is technically a Fox film, it has been reported that Marvel’s Kevin Feige actually reviewed the story and tone of the film to make sure that it fit with Disney’s expectations. Phoenix was playable in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 as a secret playable character, and her return to the series would be a welcome addition.
Link & Samus
Most of you are probably thinking that this is an insane desire for a Marvel Ultimate Alliance title, but let me give you a little bit of the history behind this. The image you see above is from actual gameplay of the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance title. Back when Activision was developing the first game, they had wanted to pitch to Nintendo the idea of including Link and Samus into the game as Nintendo-exlusive characters. As the Wii version of the title was the same as the PS2 version of the title, Activision began developing these characters using the PS2 version of the game. The rumour is that Nintendo discovered that Activision was using their IP on the PS2 version of the game, and shut down the project, leaving Samus and Link to be lost to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance series forever. However, now that Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is being published by Nintendo exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, it would be an amazingly delicious callback to this first game for Nintendo to allow Team Ninja to put Link and Samus into the game as secret characters. Seeing some of our favourite Nintendo heroes team up with Marvel’s mightiest heroes would definitely be an unforgettable experience.
So there you have it. Ten (well, eleven) characters that I would love to see be playable in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 either on the base roster or as DLC. I hope you enjoyed this article.