Games get cancelled all the time — and for many reasons. Sometimes it’s down to financial issues, other times ideas just don’t work. In the case of Superman project Blue Steel it was unfortunate timing, a global financial crisis, and a cancelled Superman Returns sequel that brought about its downfall.
In a recent Twitter thread, Salvatrix, a developer on the project, detailed exactly what the game could have been, if circumstances had been different.
Blue Steel was reportedly in the works at developer Factor 5 between 2007 and 2008, with it being designed as a tie-in for the planned sequel to Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. While that film never ended up happening (like due to the poor reception for the original), it appears the project was cancelled even before the film sequel was, as financial blows caused by 2008’s GFC led Factor 5 (and the game’s publisher) to close.
According to Salvatrix, the Superman project was inspired by cartoonish action, with brawls being the focus of combat. Alongside this, the game had mid-air fighting and a large open city you could “crash” into during sprawling, shockwave-heavy fights. The team didn’t want to use traditional Superman tropes and specifically avoided having robots or kryptonite-powered people being the main villains.
“We hadn’t seen a game really deliver on that promise before, and to be honest I have yet to see it delivered fully since,” Salvatrix said in the thread. “We had it fully working as a prototype and were shifting to full production when the [global financial crisis] hit.”
Sadly, this crisis meant the game became financially unviable, and was soon cancelled.
Superman game art reveals iconic villains
Early prototype images shared by Salvatrix showed off a world partially inspired by animated show Justice League Unlimited, while concept art depicts gorgeous, action-heavy scenes featuring villains like Livewire, Darkseid, Brimstone and the Parademons (which have since appeared in the live-action DCEU).
— Salvatrix (@DevSalvatrix) July 14, 2021
The lighting and shadows here are superb, and reveal a unique vision of Blue Steel‘s darker, more grounded world.
While the initial Unseen64 reveal for this game claimed it was an open world title, Salvatrix stated it would’ve taken place in smaller locales tied together by a story spanning Metropolis, Apokolips, Krypton and Smallville.
The new details paint a very exciting picture about what Factor 5 had planned and while the project was never released, the concept art and ideas behind the game remaining very intriguing.
You can check out the newly revealed footage from the planned project below.
As you can see, it’s not a polished prototype — but what is here looks exciting.
It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into what could have been — and the lost potential here is a real shame.