Judge Dredd is one of the most iconic comic-book characters ever created. Like Batman, Superman, the X-Men, and many others, he’s starred in countless stories across comics, novels, movies, and more.
However, unlike those aforementioned characters, Judge Dredd has enjoyed fewer successful video game adaptations. The likes of the Dark Knight and Wolverine have had more than their fair share of sub-par games, but they’ve starred in enough for the bad ones to be almost evened out by the good (or, at least, the decent).
Poor old Judge Dredd, on the other hand, is still waiting for his Arkham City. It’s not like the character doesn’t have oodles of potential, either – he’s a gun-toting law-enforcer in the ultimate futuristic city, with plenty of colourful, twisted characters to include as allies, villains, and NPC’s alike.
Earlier in the year, Rebellion (the video-game giant that actually publishes 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine) announced that they wanted to work with other companies to create new adaptations of their stable of characters. Alongside the likes of Rogue Trooper and Strontium Dog (who have both starred in their own games too), Judge Dredd is an obvious choice for new tie-ins.
So, with an eye to the future, what do we want to see in future Judge Dredd video games?
An Open Mega-City One to Explore
For fans of Judge Dredd and 2000 AD in general, the prospect of a new Dredd game made with today’s technology is incredibly exciting. The latest hardware is capable of recreating the vivid worlds and characters fans have seen to an amazing level, and we want to see future Judge Dredd games take full advantage of it.
Imagine being able to explore a massive Mega-City One with its mega-blocks, H-wagons, skysurfers, and more filling the screen. Given the sheer vastness and dynamism of Dredd’s city, being able to recreate the full city is a tall order, but even if developers could only give around half, this could still be an incredible, unique gaming environment.
Though 2003’s Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death wasn’t to everyone’s taste, it did manage to do a decent job of capturing the look and feel of Mega-City One. Technology’s obviously moved on quite a bit since then, but parts of that game still look good today, so we can only dream about how mind-bending a faithful recreation of Mega-City One could be with this generation’s (or the next’s) hardware.
It goes without saying that Dredd should have the freedom to wander on-foot or via his trusty Lawmaster, and the Grand Hall of Justice would be his base.
A Deeper Judgement System
To go back to Dredd vs. Death again, that game did a nice job with its judgement system, though it was pretty lightweight. As Dredd, you didn’t have any impact on what sentences perps received. All you did was press a button when prompted, and law-breakers would be arrested (for crimes as varied as littering and smoking in public to homicide).
While this was fun and you didn’t always have to arrest civilians unless you wanted to, it’d be great to see a deeper system at play.
As Dredd, you’re the walking embodiment of the law, and he knows it inside out. As a result, you might not get to choose the punishment for a particular crime, but you could have the option to alter the judgement calls of less-experienced or rookie Judges. For example, if they appear to have sentenced a killer to a too-lenient term in the iso-cubes, you could either extend it or leave it be.
The choice you make would impact your standing with fellow Judges and civilians alike: if word gets out that Dredd’s going soft, perps may try to take advantage; if people hear you’re tougher than ever, crime may lessen.
You should also have to hunt down wanted perps across Mega-City One, perhaps similar to Red Dead Redemption’s bounty system.
Missions in the Cursed Earth
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death may not have featured any missions in the Cursed Earth, but the tie-in to the 1995 movie starring Sylvester Stallone did. Despite being a 2D platform-shooter, the game managed to capture the Cursed Earth quite nicely, but there’s so much potential for future releases.
We’ve had Fallouts, Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim, and others set in vast, open environments. The Cursed Earth (the irradiated deserts beyond Mega-City One) is obviously huge, but even a small portion of it would make a terrific addition to a Judge Dredd game now.
You could either get to wander out as and when you liked, or only be granted access to complete certain missions. Hunting down perps or rescuing other Judges who’ve gone missing would break the city-bound action up, and make for an entirely different experience. You’d have to cope with the elements (sandstorms and torrential downpours), as well as all manner of mutants, gangs, and monsters.
Random events are pretty standard for open-world games now, so it’s only fair to expect these in future Judge Dredd games. With millions upon millions of people crammed into Mega-City One (the vast majority of whom are unemployed), the Judges have a tough time trying to stay on top of crime, which gives developers unbelievable scope to create wild, weird random events.
For instance, dozens of red dots might appear on your mini-map, with you expected to stop as many as possible within a short space of time, each of a completely different nature. Interrogating perps, executing those sentenced to death, and engaging in high-speed bike chases with fleeing suspects would all help to make Mega-City One feel like a living, breathing metropolis.
A Good Sense of Humour
Judge Dredd, and 2000 AD itself, has a distinctly dark, British streak of satirical humour. Dredd vs. Death managed to include some of this, and future games could include satire and dark humour in various means: dialogue trees; in Mega-City One’s OTT advertising; and the nature of some crimes themselves
Developers don’t have to aim for a laugh a minute or bouts of silliness, but with input from writers who have worked on Judge Dredd comics, future games could have the same satirical feel.
What do you want to see in future Judge Dredd games? Let us know!