One of the announcements coming out of Sony's PlayStation State of Play in January 2024 was that the popular adventure game Dave the Diver will receive a free DLC expansion in May 2024 containing official Godzilla content. The announcement comes after Minecraft getting its own Godzilla DLC in January, and a paid Godzilla DLC being added to the kaiju arena brawler GigaBash back in 2022. While it's always nice to see the King of the Monsters make guest-starring appearances in a variety of video games, it does beg the question why Godzilla doesn't just star in his own major studio video game.
Going into 2024, Godzilla is at his most internationally iconic, from being the subject of the acclaimed Apple TV+ original series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, to riding the high of the enormously successful feature film reboot Godzilla Minus One. Released in 2023, Minus One is the most financially successful Japanese Godzilla of all-time and the first to be nominated for an Academy Award, in addition to universal critical acclaim worldwide. 2024 also marks the cinematic continuation of the MonsterVerse with the March release of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and serves as the 70th anniversary of the Godzilla franchise overall.
Simply put, Godzilla is as globally ubiquitous as he's ever been, but hasn't starred in his own video game since 2014 – mobile games notwithstanding – with a PS4 game published by Bandai Namco simply known as Godzilla. Released to help commemorate the franchise's 60th anniversary, Godzilla wouldn't come to the North American market until the following year, under the title Godzilla VS, with a handful of new playable characters included. An arena brawler like 2002's classic Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee, the 2014 Godzilla was poorly received critically in North America and was a commercial disappointment.
This rough reception understandably informs why Godzilla has been put on gaming ice, at least as a playable character in a marquee title, for a decade, but the growing appreciation of the franchise and hunger for a new Godzilla game is palpable. There are plenty of arena brawlers, including past titles in the franchise like Destroy All Monsters Melee or 2004's Godzilla: Save the Earth, to serve as a gameplay template for future Godzilla games to follow. The important thing is to make sure that Godzilla isn't the only familiar Toho kaiju invited to the party.
What a Godzilla game needs and has been present in successful titles in the franchise's foray into gaming in the past is a whole playable roster of iconic kaiju spanning the multiple eras of the franchise. From the lengthy Shōwa era spanning from 1954 to 1975 to the darker Heisei era from the '80s and '90s and subsequent reinventions of the character with the Millennium and Reiwa eras, there is a lot of Godzilla history that can be celebrated in a new game. Past Godzilla games have featured multiple iterations of the King of Monsters, while adding favorites like MechaGodzilla, Biollante, and Jet Jaguar, and this tradition should be maintained.
Moreover, what a new Godzilla game needs to avoid is a rushed development window and excessive corporate oversight in how the iconic kaiju are depicted. This goes as basic as character movement, as much of the criticism surrounding Godzilla 2014 being how slowly many of the kaiju moved in the game, with reviewers feeling it was overly cumbersome. Another major source of criticism was relatively generic and uninspired level design, with more variety and optimization for multiplayer gameplay being major factors that should be kept in mind.
The number of Godzilla fans has only grown worldwide as the franchise takes on new levels of cultural relevance and international profile in the wake of its recent successes. Unless there's a secret project cooking, it's likely too late for a new Godzilla-starring game to come in time for the franchise's 70th anniversary, but the ongoing absence of a Godzilla game is only becoming more noticeable as the gap since Godzilla 2014 grows. As one of the biggest cultural exports from Japan, a country that saved the North American video game industry, Godzilla certainly deserves his own title once again and more than just in mobile games and guest-starring appearances.
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