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Opinion > DC

Where’s The Good Superman Game?

Superman has existed for almost 100 years, yet he's never had a single memorable game.
Where’s The Good Superman Game?

Why is it so difficult for modern media to understand the concept of Superman? Outside of examples such as Superman & Lois and Smallville, nothing really gets Superman. Man of Steel has Superman be a depressed loner instead of the literal beacon of hope (don't get me started on the ending of that movie), Justice League turned him into a blank slate so he could threaten the rest of the team, and the video games aren’t much better. 

Injustice: Gods Among Us makes Superman a despot dictator thanks to the machinations of the Joker and takes the premise to absolutely wild illogical extremes, making it so that he’s completely irredeemable, despite the attempt from the second game in the series to find a way to actually redeem him. Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks like it's going to do much the same, with Superman being captured by Brainiac and forced to do his bidding while we have to defeat him and the rest of the Justice League.

A Superman game should make him the very beacon of happiness and hope. He’s not a loner, he’s got an expansive supporting cast and a family. He’s not Batman (although contrary to what adaptations will have you believe, Batman ISN’T a loner and has possibly the most expansive family in all of DC comics, but that’s neither here nor there). He should be always working with characters like Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Bibbo Bibbowski (he just loves ‘Sooperman’), not shying away from the idea of it. 


There’s also a massive issue that a lot of people have when it comes to thinking of the best way to show failure in a Superman game: how do you make a man who is basically immortal take damage? There are a few ways you could do it such as making it so that every enemy somehow has kryptonite (it’s contrived, but if you find a way to explain it then you can probably get away with it pretty easily) so that you can get away with causing damage to Superman. 

Personally, though, there’s an idea I’ve heard over the years that I love, which is that instead of Superman himself taking damage, you represent his health bar through damage to the city. As Metropolis landmarks such as Bibbo’s bar, the Daily Planet, the Six Boroughs, and more from throughout Superman’s history are destroyed through the course of a battle, your health bar is chipped away and once it reaches zero there’s nothing left to save. It works in a way that doesn’t mean you have to depower Superman and can still play with everything that he has to offer such as heat vision, cold breath, and super speed.

You could also dot additional tasks throughout the world, with super speed coming to mind as the one that you could play with. Sure, Superman isn’t The Flash, but he is faster than a speeding bullet, so why not have time trials dotted around the world that can unlock alternative suits as you beat them? You could have looks such as his 90s look with the mullet, Superman Blue, the Kingdom Come Superman outfit, the New 52 Superman Outfit, and a lot more that can make doing side activities like this actually worth your time. 


One of my biggest worries with the upcoming release of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is that I’m worried Rocksteady don’t fully understand a lot of the characters they’re writing. They clearly understand Batman, they’ve had multiple games to prove that, but I’m worried that they won’t get why Superman is loved by so many and why he’s one of the greatest superheroes of all time, and possibly one of the most famous fictional characters of all time. Sure, this is an alternative take on those heroes and an exploration of what happens when they fail, but the audience has no real reason to connect with any of these characters. Other than Batman, we’ve never met these versions of the characters before, we’ve never seen Rocksteady’s Wonder Woman or Superman, so why should I care that they’re not the versions of the characters that I remember from the comics?

Previous Superman games haven’t exactly been great. They vary from being considered one of the actual worst games of all time ever (Superman 64) to just being middling movie tie-ins that aren’t really that great and absolutely aren’t remembered (Superman Returns). Unlike Superman’s fellow Justice League member, Batman, he hasn’t had the chance to have multiple beloved and critically acclaimed games. Hopefully, in this generation, we can finally see the man of tomorrow come to a good game, and we can see truth, justice, and a better tomorrow on our consoles.