Dark Horse Wants to Turn Its Comic Book Stars Into Video Game Heroes

Dark Horse Wants to Turn Its Comic Book Stars Into Video Game Heroes
Hellboy already got a head start in Injustice 2. (Screenshot: Neatherrealm Studios/Warner Bros.)

I mean, DC’s got Warner Bros.’ gaming studios. Marvel went big to get Spider-Man and Avengers games out. So it kind of makes sense that Dark Horse wants a piece of the pixelated pie for its bevy of comics licenses — there’s a lot of potential.

Announced via press release today, Dark Horse has formed Dark Horse Games, a gaming and digital series division that will work with third-party developers in both the gaming and animation space to leverage its comic book properties, which include 415 IPs. Everything from Hellboy and Sin City to Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy may be used to create video games, webtoons, and animated series.

The division’s current focus will be working “with some of the world’s top gaming studios” to create major “AAA”-scale (the game industry’s answer to big-ticket, blockbuster titles) games based on its properties for multiple gaming platforms, from consoles to PC, to mobile and streaming devices. Beyond that, the division’s first-party team will dive into Dark Horse’s back catalogue to refresh “older and less established IPs as gaming-first IPs.”

But as mentioned, despite the name, Dark Horse Games won’t just focus on gaming adaptations of the publisher’s comics. The press release says that the division is working with “content production studios” to develop webtoons and anime series, with some unannounced titles already in production. It’s a move that makes sense — like we said, the biggest publishers in the industry are already leveraging that status (or their place in wider corporate conglomerates, another equally distressing trend) to develop their comic creations into transmedia properties. The comics industry has spent decades slowly transforming from one of publishers creating comics, to publishers creating ideas that begin as comics that they can then turn into movies, shows, animated series, and now games further down the line. Dark Horse might as well try to get its own place at that table too.

Now where’s my Hellboy knockoff of XCOM with the BRPD though?