In a recent article, we highlighted 2000 AD's plans to adapt their most famous intellectual property Judge Dredd for the small screen. With the last two live-action adaptations of Mega-City One's most infamous officer of the law underperforming on the big screen, the British comic book publisher is hoping that the broader character development and increased audience investment of a weekly TV serial will prove to be the ideal medium for their flagship character. In the same article, we also pointed out that with 2000 AD being owned by video game software developer Rebellion, that maybe Judge Dredd would be better suited if it was developed as an AAA video game title. The properties violent and wacky content is virtually tailor-made for the interactive medium, content that would struggle to reach the intended audience, and thus recuperate its production costs if produced for the small screen. Although Rebellion will be working with IM Global for the planned TV serial, the British based developer and publisher have no previous experience in creating such content, yet have virtually everything they need internally to produce such a video game, nevermind that because they own 2000 AD the costs normally associated with licensing such a property would not apply in this case.
To remodel Judge Dredd: Mega-City One as an AAA video game title would be no small feat. The game would require a sprawling and expansive futuristic metropolis, modeled to reflect the economics of such a heavily populated super-city with vast tower blocks, sprawling industrial compounds and congested super-highways. Because of Mega-City Ones inferred size (the whole east coast of the USA and Canada), it is unlikely that the whole city could be realized within an open world video game environment as it would overwhelm the player, however, either of the Mega-Cities four regions (North, East, South or West) could instead be adapted, with the other regions added incrementally over time as new. additional content. The futuristic aesthetic of the game's locale could then be complemented with a violent, yet humorous tone, drawing parallels from the Gears of War and Saints Row franchises respectively, as well as the 1987 movie RoboCop.
For the core gameplay, players would play online within a shared world (co-operatively if desired) against elements within the environment, thus negating the open-world free-for-all players experience in games such as GTA V while benefitting from shared world aspects of Destiny. This would be achieved by having players adopt the role of Judges, Mega-City One's infamous law enforcement force, free to dispense the law how and when they see fit as the Judge, the Jury, and if need be the Executioner. To gauge each players performance as a Judge would require a karma system similar to the Force alignment system introduced in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, with Judges rewarded with access to 'missions' in line with their play style.
Judges could dispense law in a variety of ways, with the first being 'Bounties'. A system adapted from Destiny's system of the same name. 'Bounties' would be reported crimes which could be accepted or refused in real time by the player and investigated, possibly borrowing aspects from the detective mode showcased in the Batman: Arkham series. 'Bounties' could be complemented with randomly generated, real-time 'Crimes' such as robberies, murders and illegal transactions (drugs, weapons, technology etc.) taking place throughout Mega-City One at any given moment. Another, more violent method of dispensing the law could be through 'Peacekeeping', in which Judges maintain the fragile balance of Mega-City One's social order by reducing the expansion and growth of its resident gangs, each of which would control and influence the cities many districts, an in-game mechanic drawing inspiration from Saints Row the Third's gang system. This system could be bolstered with an adaptation of the Nemesis system that was introduced in Shadow of Mordor, allowing randomly generated gang members to populate and ascend the ranks of each gang.
Maintaining social order, collecting bounties, solving crimes and arresting/executing criminals would garner monetary rewards of which players could use to purchase, personalize and customize gear, weaponry, and cosmetics for their Judge. Further monetary rewards (including loot boxes) would be available through general progression as the players preferred type of Judge (Street, Riot, PSI etc.) and participation in the games PvP (Player versus Player) sections, which for the sake of narrative could maybe see the Judges participate in covert, undercover operations as a competitor in illegal street races or in violent, televised gladiatorial deathmatches.
Beyond initial release a video game adaptation of Judge Dredd: Mega-City One could be expanded upon with the addition of the cities (aforementioned) regions, additions to the games library of weapons, vehicles, and cosmetic options, the addition to the games library of possible crimes, bounties, and gang-warfare options. Furthermore, seasonal content could be incorporated within which Mega-City One could be blanketed in snow throughout December, or beset by zombies and the Dead Judges during October.
Adapting Judge Dredd: Mega-City One as a video game also allows Karl Urban the possibility of reprising the role of Judge Dredd and Olivia Thirlby as PSI Judge Anderson, through the use of voice work and permission to use the actor's likeness, both of which would require much less commitment than cameo appearances within a heavily scheduled TV serial production. As such the cast could also be expanded upon to include recognizable actors portraying other familiar characters such as Judge Hershey, Judge Death and the Dark Judges, Rico Dredd, Chief Judge Fargo, Mean Machine and the Angel Gang, and much more.
Together these components could see Rebellion compete with and possibly overtake the overwhelming success enjoyed by both Rockstar Games' GTA V and Bungie's Destiny series, creating a long-term AAA video game title that could become one of the biggest open worlds ever devised. Furthermore, for with future expansions and updates a video game adaptation of Judge Dredd Mega-City One could be modified to compete in an ever-changing market, such as for example becoming more detailed and more complex in regards to its 100 million NPC citizens, opening up the possibilities of a more interactive virtual environment, or by becoming an interactive way in which to tell the stories found in the 2000 AD comics.