EDITORIAL: Ideas On The Next Superhero Game By Rocksteady Studios
Batman - Arkham Asylum was the game that redefined the superhero genre back in 2009, giving us the ultimate Batman experience, 2 years later, Rocksteady Studios raised that bar even higher( similar to how The Dark Knight raised it from Batman Begins I guess) with a superb sandbox game that has everything from an excelent story in a well established universe, superb mechanics, and top notch voice acting, Arkham City has it all(except multiplayer).
DC fans have been wishing for a shared movie Universe, ever since Marvel started the MCU, and since having the JLA on the silver screen is still unlikely for the near future, I have some toughts on the next best thing!
After the huge succes of 2011s "Game of the year", Rocksteady started teasing a new superhero game based on characters from DC Comics. Recent news say that this new game will be an Arkham Asylum prequel, set in the early years of Batman and The Justice League. As much as we all would love this to go down, I feel that DC has a lot of characters that could have their own game before that happens.
I want this game to be set in the same Universe as the Arkham games, and have many similarities when it comes to combat, story, boss fights and so on, but the setting has to be in complete contrast with the darker, film noire-style environments of Gotham(at night) and for this I belive Superman is the best chice. An open-world and sunny Metropolis to explore as the Man of Steel is the best way to go.
In order for an open world to work, Metropolis should be shaped similar to GTA IV's Liberty City, a big place to work with, but surrounded by infinite water so that you can fly in any direction without limit( I say this because no mather how big the open-world is, the players will always be tempted to go even further. Just in case you are curious, there is absolutley no way out of Arkham City, I've tried them all).
In terms of timeline there are two posibilities: We can have the Arkham-style 8-10 hour crysis in wich you are limited to one (game)night of play,or most preferably, a story that takes a longer period of time, similar with the Assassin's Creed series where years of the protagonists' life pass while playing the game.
Making it familiar:
As I mentioned at the begining of this editorial, the game has to be similar to the Arkham games in many aspects, despite the fact that Batman and Superman are very different, they both have their unique characteristics that defines them, while The Dark Knight has a huge arsenal of gadgets and vehicles to compensate for his lack of superpowers, Superman has it all(flight, super-streght,heat vision,etc).
In both Arkham games you never start the game with all the gadgets, you have to have Alfred, or Robin deliver them, and that makes the game more fun, so in order for this to work with Superman I tought of something similar that can also help story-wise: Johnathan Kent and Jor-el will both have important roles in the game, as fathers and menthors, so the game will begin with Clark only having super speed and super strenght to begin with. Like I said, the game should span over the course of a few months, but with every threat on Metropolis, Kal-El will need guidance from his fathers, this way, between game chapters, players can visit the Kent farm and the Fortress of solitude for some father and son time, aquiring a new ability and having a little tutorial to get used to it, this way it will be just like Batman getting new gadgets via Batmobile,Batwing or Robin. The new abilities would be :flight, heat vision, x-ray vision, super-hearing and freeze-breath.
While the Batman games are mostly made of : fighting multiple enemies, invisible predator rooms, boss fights an free roaming, the Superman game will have the exact same things plus a new game-type more suited to him that will allow players to save people from crashing planes,derailed trains, natural disasters, stoping nuclear missles from hiting the city.
One of the best things about the Arkham series are the challenge rooms, taking out enemies from the darkness. This would be pointless with someone like Superman who can't be injured by men with weapons, so the challenge rooms will be delicate situations, with many hostages and little room for mistake in order to be challenging but also fun.
The fighting of multiple enemies is a lot simpler to do, Superman can fight meteor-freaks(similar to Smallville), other kryptonians or aliens, super-powered robots, or even a negative-zone level could work.
One of the key things about Batman is that he is the world's greatest detective, but Clark Kent, as a reporter of the Daily Planet, has a lot of potential to do detective work as well, and this would fit in perfectly with the game, using his x-ray vison and (when needed) combining it with super-hearing Superman will put Batman's detective mode to shame.
When it comes to his rogues, Superman has a decent gallery, not like The Dark Knight, but a lot of them can make very interesting storylines:
Lex Luthor - he is the Man of Steel's Joker, very smart, has unlimited funds, and manages to fool everyone around him that he is a good man with good intentions, many times succeding in making Superman look bad in the public eye. Perfect for main villain(simillar to Hugo Strange) that is pulling the strings, he's power suit can be saved for latter in the game or a sequel.
General Zod - He is Clark's equal in strenght and abilities, and having Faora on his side can't hurt either.
Doomsday - stronger than Superman(somewhat similar to Bane in Batman's Universe) a fight with him will have Kal-El become the brawler we all want to see at some point.
Darkseid - more of a Justice League foe, but only Superman is near his power-level(can make an incredible Boss fight)
Brainiac - he(or it) is perfect for the main villain role, being almost impossible to stop or anticipate.
Methallo, Toy Master, Black Adam, Lobo, The Elite and virtually any Superman villain can have a role(big or small) in the game.
Lois Lane - doesn't need to make an appearance, but can feed information and keep Clark grounded while progressing trough the story.
Watchtower - same role as Oracle in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City
Dr Emile Hamilton - helping Clark with his detective work
Kara Jor-El(Supergirl)- playable character(or saved for a sequel)
Conner Kent(Superboy) - playable character(challenge maps)
Jor-El - playable character in flashbacks?
For fun the developers can add extra skins: Animate series, New 52, Blur(Smallville), Christopher Reeve suit, Young Justice, Man of Steel movie suite, and make challenges similar to Arkham City's Riddler's Revenge.
As it's a fashion in open world video games to have collectable items, it would be nice to borrow the idea of The Amazing Spiderman's devs to scatter comicbook pages around the city so that you can read original issues from the Adventures of Superman in HD.
I would like to keep a sense of continuity in all Rocksteady games and name it after it's location Superman - (Crysis in) Metropolis.
I hope you liked my ideas,and more importantly, I hope that this game will be made. Some constructive criticism is always welcome and I would like some suggestions for voice acting, I will try and expand this (for now) fictional DC Gaming Universe with new characters very soon.
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