This Is How I Think We Can Make A Superman Game Work. How About You?

I didn’t like Man of Steel as much as some people, but I have to admit that it was good seeing a Superman streak across the big screen again. As I watched Kal-El punch Zod across the giant screen, one thought blared through my brain: how the hell is it that it’s been seven years — almost this entire console generation — since there’s been a fully-featured video game starring the Last Son of Krypton?! (Sorry, Man of Steel mobile game. You’re not quite it.)

Superman has been a tough character for video games to get right. But I think if there’s any hope for a halfway decent big-deal Superman game to crash onto our planet, then it can’t be tethered to the release schedule or marketing plans of a Hollywood movie. Having a Batman game come out on its own worked for Batman: Arkham Asylum, after all. Nevertheless, our prospective Super-game could be inspired by existing stories in the comics themselves. And 2007’s Superman and the Legion of Superheroes would be a great place to start.

Written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Gary Frank, the storyline finds 31st Century super-team The Legion of Super-Heroes coming back to the past so Superman can help them squash a xenophobic metahuman and his squad of flunkies.

Here’s why I think the time-travelling saga would make a great playable experience:

  • Moments: When the Man of Steel says, “I’m for everyone,” this story arc delivers, in my opinion, one of the best moments in recent Superman canon. And S&TLOSH gives readers a good explanation as to the whys and wherefores of the tight bond between Kal-El and the extraterrestrials in the Legion.
  • Cast: With its huge membership rolls, the Legion of Superheroes could give you the opportunity to play with co-op or multiplayer design. Imagine a Horde Mode-style where you get to deploy Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl and Wildfire against an invading army of Khunds.
  • Legitimate threats: The storyline has a plot twist that robs Superman of his insane, nothing-can-stop-him power levels. Not to mention, The Legion’s rogues gallery has a few villains capable of providing Superman with real challenges.
  • Setting: From the future version of Superman’s Metropolis stomping grounds to alien planets like Colu, the 31st Century of the DC Universe should make an amazing environment that could let artists go wild.

But those are just my thoughts. What Last Son of Krypton story arc do you think would be a good foundation for a video game? Drop some art and some thoughts into the comments below. Who knows, maybe the powers-that-be at WBIE will get some inspiration.


Comments

    Superman will never have a good game. The problem being that it is Superman. He's a god, can't die, no injuries, very few weaknesses. He's like playing the game with "god mode" on.

      You appear to be thinking of Golden Age Superman, whose powers did escalate to godlike status. If they pick a Superman from the right time period, he is surprisingly weak. At some points he has been weak enough for bullets to bruise him. He has also always had a weakness to magic that most non-comic media hasn't really explored.

      However, I think the solution might be to make it a game with little direct fighting, such as a modern adventure game (with focus on story, like Walking Dead, rather than puzzles).

        Or, alternatively, stop thinking they HAVE to base the entire game around Metropolis. There's no reason you couldn't go into outer space with Superman and fight?

          I agree, and it's not hard to come up with a simple plot device.

          Aliens attack the Earth, they encase the planet in a forcefield, that forcefield stops the suns rays giving Superman his full powers, makes him vulnerable. He's effectively running at low power, and can be worn down. But he's Superman he won't stop trying to save people so despite his weaker state he keeps taking on the problems as they find him.

          Start the game in the dead of night, so when it's daylight he starts getting more powerful. Devices that mimic the Suns rays could be seeded around the place by the JLA so he can receive quick power boosts. Of course the aliens aren't stupid and destroy these things as fast as they can. The smaller ones just burn out quickly.

          And yes after defeating the Final Boss and breaking the shield you get to mop up the left overs with a fully powered Superman.

          As far as game Mechanics go, you have two bars. Health and Power, to use your limited powers you expend energy that recharges over time, but only when you've got full health. So all the powers are there, flight, heat vision, super breath, X-ray, Speed and Strength. He can throw a punch but if he needs to catch a car he expends power, and if he needs to put it down rather than throw or drop it, the power will start to drain health, once the power is gone. Superman wouldn't let a car full of people get killed because he's not on his A game.

          Done right with a good mix of saving people, stopping the aliens and of course all his enemies who want to take a shot at him while he's weak you could make a good game. I'd also like to see things like the rest of the JLA taking care of things, but not being present.

    Superman's weakness is not himself, it is the people he tries to protect. You make the game around his speed and precision.

      Which is pretty much how the Superman Returns game handled it. Superman was pretty much invincible, but Metropilis had a health bar.

    Hey look it's The Thin-oh wait, Quicksilv-i mean The Falco-oh sorry, but there's Marvel Gir-ah maybe not, but that's def Arch Ange- oh....

    Why would you make a game where Superman is less powerful than you expect him to be? I think it is a lazy and overused excuse as to why a Superman movie or game wouldn't work. "He's too powerful, it'll never work" GET CREATIVE FOR @#$^%[email protected] sake. What would be wrong with making a game from the perspective of Clark Kent? In a sandbox style environment, you try to be a reporter, tracking down informants, getting to bottom of some scandal or what not. Inevitably, the time comes to bust out the cape and tights to do what Superman does. The game shouldn't be predicated on 'how are you going to create a villain strong enough to fight superman', the game should be predicated on 'how can we make being Superman fun for 20 hours'. Having all that power and not abusing it would be a good way to go about adding a challenge to the game. Perhaps the story changes if people see you change from clark to superman, or if you decide to use heat vision to melt a taco bell to the ground, or if you don't sufficiently protect the innocent people of Metropolis. It doesn't have to be about the bad guy, I want a game where I can BE superman. Focus on that and I'd buy it.

    Lego Batman 2 DC Super Heroes... ?? Superman was incredible in that game. The theme playing when you fly just turns it up to eleven.

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