Man of Steel the Video Game?
The Arkham franchise nails the Batman experience. What would it take to turn gamers into Superman?
June 27, 2013 - 7:00 am
That said, what would it take to make a satisfying Superman video game? The nature of the character requires rethinking established game mechanics and leveraging the emerging power of next-generation hardware to present a scope and scale heretofore impossible.
What does it feel like to be Superman? What does it feel like to be a god, capable of destroying anything or anyone, faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive? Surely, it ought to feel damn good! It ought to feel liberating, exciting, and above all empowering. However, it also has to convey upon the character a significant sense of responsibility.
How does Superman interact with his world? Pretty much any way he sees fit. He can fly. He can travel at tremendous speed. He can bust through structures, natural or otherwise. He can kill just about anyone with a minimal amount of effort. But these abilities suggest all manner of consequences.
What are Superman’s limitations? Physically, there isn’t much that can stop him. Kryptonite is a contrivance which the recent film respectably avoided. Superman gets his power from Earth’s sun. He could therefore be reasonably contained to its proximity. Regardless, the more relevant limitations are emotional and moral. Superman can kill. He can destroy. But should he? Will that achieve his goal? He seeks not only to protect Earth but inspire humanity. Will wonton destruction accomplish that?
Considering these questions leads us to imagine certain game mechanics. Character progression has become a staple of gaming, starting out with basic abilities and leveling up to more powerful ones. Superman shouldn’t play that way. He should be brimming with power from the outset. The challenge should be reining that power in, scaling it to a given situation, and avoiding more damage than necessary.