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Superman: Blueprint for a Great Video Game
Batman has been in the media a lot over the past few years. Appearing in The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Lego Movie, and of course, the critically acclaimed Arkham series of video games, which comes to a close next year with the release of Batman: Arkham Knight.
Somewhat surprisingly, the patron saint of Superheroes has not been so fortunate in terms of video games. I’m talking about Superman, ladies and gentledudes, and no doubt when I talk about Superman and video games in the same breath there’s some cringing. I can certainly understand said cringing. Still, I’m of the mindset that nothing is impossible. Even making a fun Superman game. All you need is the right combination of ingredients. With that in mind, I offer my blueprint for a great Superman game.
The Right People
No game comes to fruition without people willing to back it. For many series it can be hard to find the right team. Thankfully, in terms of Superman, there are a number of people from DC Comics that can relied on to do the Man of Steel justice in video-game format. People like Bruce Timm, Grant Morrison, and Geoff Johns are just some of the people who could lend their talents at delivering a quality interpretation of Superman, that will not only entice those new to the franchise but deliver enough for long-time fans of the character. In terms of who from the gaming community could be the ones to take this monumental task, that’s a bit of a tricky question. The easy answer would be for the folks at Rocksteady to take on the project given their level of success with the Batman series, but I feel such a move would run the risk of thinking people DC wants another Arkham game with a Superman paint job. No, I think there are other worthy studios that could deliver a prime Superman game. Ubisoft and Bungie both come to mind. It may seem a bit of an odd pairing, but I think Square Enix could also deliver in this department.
Adaption or Original Story
Personally, I’m of the school of thought that for something like a video game, an original storyline would be the best. Now, this isn’t the time for fan-fiction, so I’ll tentatively say we’ll focus on a story that could be adapted for a video game. I personally enjoyed the first arch of Action Comics when the New 52 launched. Getting to see glimpses of Clark’s past and his rise from an urban defender to planetary savior was really entertaining to see, and I think that the best way to approach Superman without making him seem “overpowered,” as he’s so absurdly been labeled, is to take him from his humble beginnings. From the days when he leaped from place to place and was seen as a public menace, to the day the Metropolis (and the world,) needed him most.
Huh…cool. Totally resisted the urge to push my own story idea for a Superman game. +1 for me.
How do you make a fun, challenging game with a character like Superman? A guy who can one-shot a regular human, a man who can’t be hurt by bullets, a man who can run over 600 miles per hour at full speed. A question many games before have failed to answer. We’ve already got a base by going with a fresh-off-the-farm Clark Kent. Stealth is not what Superman is about so that’s out. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is a good example of how a character like Superman handles things, but I think there should be a little more given what Superman wants to do.
Along with playing as Superman, I think Clark Kent should also have a big part of the game. While Superman isn’t the stealthy character, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent probably leans more to the stealth side of things. Giving characters the chance/option to play as Kent, take things a little slower and interact with people in ways Superman can’t, I think would not only add a fun, new dimension to the game and also shed a little light on the Clark Kent persona and make him more than just Superman’s secret identity.
One thing that can be kind of disappointing is when you get to the end of the game, but there’s really nothing to do from their. Dishonored was one of my favorite games, but gave pretty much no reason for me to play it over, (considering I did my stealthiest job the first time around, and I don’t have the mentality to play Mr. Hack-n-Slash.) I think people should have a reason to go back and play a comic book game, the same way they go back and read their favorite comics.
Maybe let the players get the chance to play a different sort of game as Lex Luthor? Maybe we get to play some side-missions as Steel? And of course, Superman’s gone through so many different costumes, I’d say it would be kind of cool to have some of those be unlockable. There’s of course, the Pre-Flashpoint costume, Godfall, Man of Steel, Superman Red/Blue, Val-Zod, Long-haired, Batsuit (yes, Superman wore a costume modeled after the Batsuit at one point,) just to name a few.
Now of course, these are just my ideas on how to make a great Superman game, but my main point is that it’s not as impossible as past entries in the series have made it seem. Superman has this tag of being “overpowered,” however, take into account the context of his adventures and I think he’s reasonably powered for what he has to face on a regular basis, and I think putting that power in the hands of players and fans would do a lot to not only create a new generation of fans but also help the character connect more with people and simply give them a great way to experience the Man of Steel.
What do you think? Who would you like to see in charge of a Superman video game project? What would you like to see? Sound off and share your thoughts.