Recent rumors have pointed out that Rocksteady, the developer of the Batman Arkham trilogy, has set their eyes on an open-world Superman game. While there hasn’t been any confirmation from the studio’s side, we expect an official announcement to be made at this year’s E3 Conference. After all, the studio has been teasing something special that they’re working on in the last few years, and Rocksteady’s Superman game makes sense considering how well they handled the Dark Knight.
[NOTE: RockSteady has not confirmed that it is working on such a title. We’re using the latest leaks as a guiding light to point out what we wish a potential game should include]
First, the basics. Clark Kent is a wildly different character from Bruce Wayne. While the rumors have pointed out that you won’t be able to play as Kent, we’d welcome some optional, or even narrative based, missions that let us play as the reporter. After all, the Arkham trilogy did let us play as the billionaire and those were pretty fun.
The Rocksteady Mocap studio. Calm before the storm… pic.twitter.com/creAOFtsBW— Rocksteady Studios (@RocksteadyGames) January 30, 2018
Similarly, Metropolis is vastly different from Gotham. No more neon lights. No more gothic dark alleyways. Just look at the image below. It paints a clear picture of how the city should be represented. Traditionally both cities have mirrored the characters that inhabit them and seeing it brought to life would be great.
Speaking of environments, we’d love to see destructible ones. With Superman, it makes sense. You’d think that a game involving the Man of steel fighting bad guys with that level of power would wreck an entire city, and you’d be right. Just recently we saw it happen in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, and its follow-ups. It could even play into a morality system, like Mass Effect, where the public’s perception of you changes as you (intentionally or not) destroy the city.
As for power levels, Superman ranks right up there at the top when it comes to it. Its part of the reason why adapting Superman is so hard since he’s just too powerful. How do you make such an incredibly overpowered character relatable? You nerf him, of course.
Personally speaking, I wasn’t a fan of the character just for that reason. It wasn’t until I caught up on Smallville that I appreciated the last son of Krypton. What that show (forget the cheesiness) did well was to nerf Superman down to the most basic level. He was still strong and fast but wasn’t nearly as strong as he is in the comics. Rocksteady’s Superman will have to share some similar traits with the Smallville one if they want it to succeed.
This is what another one of the leaks suggests. That the character of Superman will be highly nerfed so that the game is actually enjoyable and evokes a sense of challenge. After all, no one would enjoy a game just ploughing through their enemies, right? Especially after we know how the world would react to that (Dawn of Justice).
Just to be clear, here is all we know about the (potential) game will include from the leaks:
- Big open world Metropolis (about 3 times the size of Arkham Knight with a lot more buildings)
- Can’t play as Clark Kent
- The main villain is Brainiac
- Nerfed Superman (TAS Levels)
- Semi-destructible environments(think AK, no buildings are falling over)
- Combat system integrates the flying (kind of like DBZ, you can punch someone then zoom towards them and repeat)
- Set within the Arkhamverse
- Tons of easter eggs to Superman’s lore, and some of the events that took place in the Batman Arkham Franchise
One of the more interesting things to have come out of this leak is that it’ll be set within the Arkhamverse. This can make way for interesting cameos from other characters that we’ve already seen. If Rocksteady chooses to set this game after Arkham Knight, it might even be able to provide some closure to the events of that game since its ending was left open-ended. It could even pave way for great DLC content.
So what about the story? Considering the 80 years of comic book history, I’m sure the writers at Rocksteady will be able to come up with something worthwhile. Although there is a multitude of versions to pick and choose from, Rocksteady’s Superman will have to be unique. We’ve seen unique takes on the character before (ala the Injustice franchise), but this one should include the core characteristics from both the pre-52 universe (a ray of hope) and the post-crisis universe (a badass).
It would also be interesting to see many of the other characters from the Superman mythos in the game, be it Lois Lane in a supporting role or Lex Luthor being the real big bad.
Superman has never had any good luck when it comes to gaming, but Rocksteady might just change that. After all, no one thought games based on superheroes could be legitimately good until Arkham Asylum came along.