EA has formally announced that it’s working on a Black Panther single-player game. In a tweet, the publisher confirmed that its new Seattle-based studio Cliffhanger Games is developing an original story-driven game that explores the world of Wakanda. The project is led by Kevin Stephens, who served as Monolith Productions’ studio head when Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was being conceived. Originally codenamed ‘Project Rainier,’ the title is a result of EA’s partnership with Marvel — established last year — to make at least three new games. The Black Panther game is still in early development and therefore does not have a release window.
“We’re dedicated to delivering fans a definitive and authentic Black Panther experience, giving them more agency and control over their narrative than they have ever experienced in a story-driven video game,” Stephens said in a blog post. “Wakanda is a rich Super Hero sandbox, and our mission is to develop an epic world for players who love Black Panther and want to explore the world of Wakanda as much as we do.” While the term ‘open-world’ is not mentioned anywhere, its description as a sandbox suggests that the game could be heavy on exploration — something like Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, where the world activities create a sense of openness and freedom. It’s also worth noting that the team is still being assembled, with Cliffhanger Games putting up job postings for anyone interested, on its official website.
No further details were revealed, but back in 2022, games journalist Jeff Grubb claimed that the game’s premise is set after the death of the Black Panther in the beginning. Thereon, players will be tasked with completing a set of trials or challenges, in order to become the next incarnation and king of Wakanda. That said, it might not necessarily hint towards the death of King T’Challa since we have no idea what timeline the game is set in. In the comics, Wakanda was ruled by King T’Chaka, who got into trouble with the villainous, Vibranium-obsessed Ulysses Klaw, ultimately leading to his demise. Upon returning to his homeland after finishing school, his son T’Challa secretly took part in an open challenge to become the Black Panther we know now. So, there’s a possibility that we could be playing an origin story. At this point, I’m just speculating, though.
Black Panther is second in the line of three games EA has in development under a deal with Marvel. One of them still hasn’t been announced, while the other was revealed to be an Iron Man game from the Montreal-based EA Motive, the same studio that previously worked on the Dead Space remake (review). In recent years, Marvel has been partnering with numerous big studios to expand its video game portfolio, with Insomniac Games bringing Spider-Man 2 in October and a standalone Wolverine title. Even Amy Hennig’s new studio SkyDance Media is leading the charge on an untitled World War II set game, starring Captain America and Black Panther as leads.