The Vertigo Comics Games Wadjet Eye Never Made

On today’s episode of Things That Might Have Happened And Could Have Been Cool But Didn’t Happen But The Idea’s Still Cool So That’s Cool, it’s the time retro adventure game folks Wadjet Eye might’ve made games based on DC Comics’ moody Vertigo line. It didn’t pan out, but they get as far as whipping up ↑ a nifty bit of artwork showing Hellblazer‘s John Constantine hanging out with The Sandman‘s Dream and Death.

That could have been cool but didn’t happen but the idea’s still cool so that’s cool, and Wadjet head honch Dave Gilbert says they plan to revisit the “dark urban fantasy” idea.

“Fun fact. We once were in talks with WB to do games based on Vertigo comics. Didn’t happen, but we did a test image,” Gilbert tweeted yesterday. Click on that to see the artwork full-size. He added, “I always wondered ‘what if’ and the desire to do a dark urban fantasy hasn’t gone away. Hence, ‘Unavowed’, our post-Shardlight project.”

Shardlight, of course, is Wadjet’s recently-announced post-apocalyptic adventure game, which is due in spring 2016.

Vertigo was the imprint DC created for their ‘mature’ comics, which meant lots of horror and artsy things, pulling together comics including The Sandman, Doom Patrol, and Hellblazer (though some had their brightest days before Vertigo even started, like Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run and Grant Morrison’s Animal Man). Dickhead magician Constantine and the cheery Death were favourites of mine and ah, I would’ve been very curious to see how games turned out. Adventure games probably would’ve been the best way to explore comics like that too. There was a game of Keanu Reeves’s Hellblazer movie and… looking on the bright side, we can at least say the film gave us Peter Stormare as Lucifer and Tilda Swinton as Gabriel, and they’re always delightful.

Anyway! As we always say here on Things That Might Have Happened And Could Have Been Cool But Didn’t Happen But The Idea’s Still Cool So That’s Cool, that could have been cool but didn’t happen but the idea’s still cool so that’s cool.

(Also, speaking of John Constantine and adapting Vertigo characters and old comics happenings, I always dug Ultimate Eye for the Vertigo Guy as a response to the silliness of Marvel’s Ultimates imprint. Remember the noughties, eh? Eh?)

19 Comments

  1. dethtoll says:

    Haha, I totally would have played this too! What a shame.

    As someone who didn’t get into Constantine until he was folded into main DC continuity he’s quickly become one of my favorite characters. I admire his dogged insistence on being an utter cock.

    • Buggery says:

      Oh man, look, stuff the shitty new Constantine. Go pick up a collected edition of one of the later stories from the Vertigo run. The earlier ones are good too, obvs.

      Constantine’s thing (before DC proper got its grubby mitts in) was that he could do magic, but tended to rely more on being a tricky dick. Like the time he had lung cancer. So he sold his soul to each of the lords of hell and then committed suicide. So they either had to bring about the apocalypse to fight over his soul or… cure his cancer so that he could live a few more years and they could sort out the whole mess.

    • SaintAn says:

      Then I have good news for you. Tonight he shows up in Arrow, and if we’re lucky they’ll reboot the TV series into a spinoff of Arrow and add that to the DC TV Universe which would be way more inspired by the comics.

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    Bluerps says:

    Huh. Well, that thing that didn’t happen could have been cool, I guess.

    I didn’t know about Unavowed, but now I’m already excited about it. I wish Wadjet Eye would be faster at making games. :D

  3. Turkey says:

    Welp. Another nail in the Vertigo coffin, I guess.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      Heavens willing, Vertigo might be on the resurgence (last month had at least two great new titles, Gabriel Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke’s magical realism miniseries The Twilight Children and Gail Simone and Jonathan Davis-Hunt’s horror comic Clean Room, and there’s always their only remaining long running title, Kurt Busiek’s Astro City), but yeah, I doubt they’re ever gonna reach the height they did until the last decade. Image Comics pretty much took their place as the haven of creative freedom, with Dark Horse, Boom! Studios and Oni Press tailing them – and they all have the advantage of actually publishers instead of an imprint reliant on the whims of a company.

      • ensor says:

        Karen Berger leaving DC was for all intents and purposes the end of the line. She was Vertigo, shepherding all those classic titles throughout the decades, until it was clear DC wanted its intellectual property back to stick in its mucky, pee-filled sandbox.

      • ensor says:

        …And you’re absolutely correct to say that Image has now supplanted, with flying colors, the nurturing, risk-taking, long-form creative space Vertigo once reigned over.

  4. Fomorian1988 says:

    ARRGH! This could’ve been so awesome! I mean look at it – that Constantine is even better than Matt Ryan’s in that NBC series, and Death… I don’t think the Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sandman movie will have a Death as faithful as this one. Dream sorta okay at best (he doesn’t look as good without the robe he tends to wear), but this is a test image, so it could’ve been improved. Add potential Lucifer Morningstar from the Mike Carey and Peter Gross Sandman spin-off and The Swamp Thing, and this could’ve been amazing. Dammit, D… WB, I mean.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      That’s still how Morpheus looked when he was trying to blend in during modern times. I always liked how Gaiman would change up his outfits depending on the time period the story was set in.

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        phuzz says:

        My first thought when I was that screenshot was “oh hey, there’s Neil Gaiman in the middle”.
        I guess there’s all sorts of of author/character crossover going on there.

    • crazyd says:

      Coulda traveled forward in time to meet with Spider Jerusalem…

  5. Det. Bullock says:

    Wadjet Eye Vertigo games?
    Wht is it always the most awesome stuff that never happens?

  6. Emeraude says:

    Lovely.

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    gritz says:

    Holy shit I would have paid so much money for this. WB is the king of excellent video game decisions.

  8. ensor says:

    Always though Gabriel Knight was just a poor man’s Constantine.

  9. EighthNote says:

    If this got made, and Neil Gaiman was in charge of the writing team, I would never play anything else. Has Neil Gaiman written for games? Neil Gaiman should write for games.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Always thought Sandman would make a really interesting setting for games but not sure how you would adapt as the nebulous and fluid nature of its world would be hard to capture in any kind of game systems. A point & click adventure would not be my first thought but maybe a more linear scripted affair would be the only way to adapt it as the telling of stories is kind of a core theme.