It’s fair to say things have been a bit turbulent for DC. over the past few months. Following the merger of comic book icon owner Warner Bros. with Discovery, almost all of his plans were thrown into doubt. Although games like Gotham Knights now gearing up for release, DC’s live-action plans have been completely turned upside down. Between the cancellation of 2022’s DC Fandome and the ongoing issues surrounding the DCEU, fans currently don’t know what shape its future TV shows and movies will take.
One corner of DC’s multiverse that arguably characterizes it best is Arrow and the wider Arrowverse. Although Arrow and his combined series of TV shows has garnered plenty of acclaim, it looks like The CW’s experiment is about to come to an end – at least on the small screen. For a long list of reasons, it’s easy to believe that the Arrowverse could live on in different forms. One MMO in particular, might be the perfect medium for shows like the flash, batmanand super girl to be continued in the future.
In many ways, The CW’s Arrowverse was ahead of its time. While DC struggled to create a shared live-action universe for its big-screen characters that could rival Marvel’s MCU, the TV network arguably excelled on the same front. Following the successful launch of Arrow in 2012, a long list of characters and series followed in the wake of Oliver Queen. So much so that, 7 years later, the universe that incorporated the hero’s alter-ego into its name was able to convincingly adapt the iconic Crisis on Infinite Earths cartoon storyline.
Although the multi-episode crossover was able to reunite Superman, The Flash, Black Lightning, and a long list of other heroes, its accomplishments failed to protect the Arrowverse in the long run. Thanks to several behind-the-scenes factors, in the early months of 2022, The CW began canceling most of its superhero-themed programming. With DC owners currently restructuring the publisher’s production from top to bottom, all signs point to the Arrowverse ending in the format fans have come to know.
As it stands, the only Arrowverse show still in production is the flash, which received a final season to wrap up its stories. Although Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch led Superman and Lois once launched as part of the Arrowverse, DC went to great lengths to sever those connections. Similarly, the next network of the network Gotham Knights show is a completely standalone project. This means that when Barry Allen’s series reaches its season finale, the combined universe will go silent on live-action.
Arrowverse’s MMO Potential
Just because the Arrowverse’s time on the small screen seems to be over doesn’t mean fans have seen the last of its characters. As a comic book publisher, it’s no surprise that DC has frequently extended the life of its print shows. The CW is clean Smallville, for example, received a famous post-TV series that even featured a recognizable Justice League roster. While the comics therefore seem like an avenue that DC will eventually explore, the games industry could provide an equally suitable alternative in the form of an MMO.
Thanks to the Arrowverse’s interconnected nature, characters, and locations, it’s easy to imagine an MMO based on its strong reception. After all, much of the groundwork to make its theoretical universe believable and engaging has already been done on screen over the past decade. Along the same lines, superheroes and their eclectic mix of otherworldly powers also suit a medium such as gaming remarkably well. Players need only look to the success of the Arkham and Injustice franchises for proof of this.
From a simple, mechanical standpoint, all of the key concept pieces are already in place for an Arrowverse MMO to succeed. Even some of the genre’s theoretical limitations wouldn’t necessarily be major stumbling blocks. The idea that players can’t always play as their favorite licensed heroes in MMOs could be solved by the Arrowverse’s own composition. Most superheroes in the universe had support teams, so creating a powerful new member of one of them who could fight alongside a mentor could be a solid solution.
If DC and The CW need further proof of the viability of an Arrowverse MMO, there is a list of contemporary examples that both sides could consider. Even though their genres, themes and mechanics are different, star trek once suffered a crisis similar to the one approaching the Arrowverse. Following the polarizing reception at Company in the early 2000s, the iconic sci-fi series disappeared from the small screen in 2005. The Prime Timeline wouldn’t return to television until 2017. Star Trek: Discovery. However, for long periods of this deviation, the star trek online MMO entertained fans with brand new adventures in the universe they loved.
There’s reason to believe that once the dust settles on DC’s restructuring plans, a similar Arrowverse project might be possible. Thanks to Greg Berlanti’s continued role in the publisher’s live-action projects, one of the key minds behind the initial formation of the universe is still around. Theoretically at least, there’s a chance he could help with storyline planning and other aspects of development. On the other hand, finding a suitable studio to create the theoretical MMO might be the biggest stumbling block. Between games like wonder woman and Gotham Knightsmost WB teams are currently busy.
Provided a development studio can be found that has the time to develop an MMO, there is reason to believe that DC and its owners would allow an Arrowverse game to thrive. It’s worth bearing in mind that this wouldn’t be the publisher’s first attempt at a superhero MMO. This is because in 2011, DC Universe Online launched on PC and PS3. Although the game has faded from public attention in recent years, it is still updated to this day. From a storytelling, gameplay, and success perspective, most of the work has already been done for an MMO based on Arrow and her CW peers to perform.
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