Just the idea. But it’s a good one!
Making a Superman game is hard. Why? Because Superman is an overpowered character. He’s the symbol of hope, and by that theme alone, he is unstoppable. I mean if you read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series you remember he one an imagery competition by being Hope.
Naturally, the opposite is despair, so Superman needs to fight more existential battles rather than tests of strength. But since personification of that scale is best suited for the Japanese anime culture, we can still use bad guys and magic sticks to make the people of Metropolis (the the universe it lies in) feel despair.
However, I believe I have a good idea for a good beginning. Realize I made this before the 2018 Spider-man game, nearly three years ago in fact, as the Google Docs file tells me.
Enough for my rambling, let’s get on with the show!
First game: Clark Kent growing up in Smallville learning of himself and his powers. He gets to know Earth, and about the morals of good and evil. Makes friends, including Lex Luthor and female friends. Time skip to Clark in his teenage years learning to use his powers in secrecy while balancing a normal life of trying to be a human. After his first successful mission, it time skips to his travels to Metropolis, fully adult and well into his role of being Superman, including having his suit and looking for his job at the Daily Planet. He finally gets his break to reveal himself to the public and while shaky, he saves the day. Then the Superman hype begins. And the beginning of Clark Kent/Superman balancing act begins.
Game play: The method of playing relies a lot on high jumping, fast running, flying, and switching between powers like Batman switches between gadgets. The city has a health bar, not Superman (yes, borrowing this from the Superman 2006 game). And the health bar is contained within the missions, so there is free roaming so the player can enjoy the mechanics of flying around. There can be specific instances superman himself can have a health meter: when the sun is gone, when he is transformed or taken advantage of via magic, Kryptonite will not be introduced yet.
Setting: For the first game it’s mostly small scale, but high in detail to teach the player that superman lives in a cardboard world, and he must try to not break it. Places like Smallville, Metropolis, Gotham, Star City, Jump City, Steel City places he visits mainly as Clark Kent for job missions and personal vendettas are all filled with buildings and people and life.
Presentation: Of course with today’s technology, it’s nothing to make everything look good. The challenge would rely in keeping the balance of great looking graphics, multiple towns, and computer AI people, villains, and enemies to stay looking good, and still have enough depth in the cities and DC universe. Because Superman can be anywhere in no time flat, the machines shouldn’t limit where he can go, and what the villains and Superman should be able to do. And since this is the beginning for Superman, he doesn’t have to be as strong as he will be in upcoming titles. And in speaking of what he can do this may be a drawback, but this first game features a young Superman, which means vulnerable to magic, love, conflicting morals, conflict in making choices of going on a trip with Lois to get a good story, or staying in town to keep Lex from successfully winning the town over by looking like a hero. Nonetheless, he will still be Superman, thus he will have a variety of his powers, eye beams, frost breath, flight, super strength, superhuman speed, and others. And his powers can affect the health of the town. But his powers can also heal and fix the town. Since he is Superman, he can fix a building in a series of mini-games through varies button mashing sessions to earn extra experience, or points, or currency, or fame. If you leave them idle they go to Lex who uses the advantage to make himself look better.
Story: The story as hinted from earlier entries can rely on the relationship of Clark and Lex. Clark goes from being a small-town boy to a big city man with a secret of being a superhero. Lex grows up with Clark and they become friends, but have different worldviews. Those views are what make them grow apart. And later they come back as adults, to Lex, Clark takes a humble route of being a journalist, while he looks to improve Metropolis through force and his secret of underground tactics and under the table handling. Yet, they have an interesting relationship as adults, seeing as Clark is a man of the press and Luthor still holds Clark in some regard as they were friends as kids. Clark uncovers the dark dealings Luthor has been using and plans to take it to light, but Luthor plans to deal with Clark harshly. It is then that Luthor no longer keeps his facade of a do-good citizen but reveals his underhanded plan or controlling the town through force. Superman then takes on Lex, who with an army of robots and his own special suit and realizes the man of steel is unbeatable. It is then revealed that the conspirator that has been helping Lex is none other than Brainiac, who has been analyzing the man in blue since he revealed himself.
Brainiac then takes over Lex’s suit, with the man still in it, and vastly upgrades it. He then turns half of the town into a giant Brainiac-looking war machine that goes to collect everything the town can have to make himself the strong, and then go on to every other town and do the same until the entire world is consumed under Brainiac, and then he will go on to other worlds in the galaxy. Superman in this moment has to save a vast amount of people, in greater numbers, and in faster time than he ever has before. As a building lights up and starts becoming a part of Brainiac, Superman must go through a series of challenges of button mashes to save everyone he can, or stop the mechanics from connecting to a building to begin with. When Brainiac has enough of Superman’s interference, he uses what power he has to bring the man of steel down. Superman quickly learns he can’t completely destroy the building at his current state, and with it being night and the sun intentionally blocked out by Brainiac, Superman must dismantle the giant war machine and then attack the heart of it and take out Brainiac.
Once inside the heart, Superman finds a fusion of Lex and Brainiac. Brainiac is all prepared with the magical Spear of Destiny he found with his extensive knowledge of Earth history. Superman must then fight Brainiac/Lex until it doesn’t look good until Lex takes over for a minute, giving Superman a second chance to turn things around. Defeating Brainiac, he frees Lex and the giant war machines crumbles and the day is officially saved. Lex goes to prison, and Brainiac is kept locked away. The game is finished, but, there is post-game working to do, where you can find the fortress of solitude to give Superman a home away from home. And Metropolis needs to be rebuilt so you can rebuild Metropolis back and earn some great things in doing so.
So, did you like it!? I hope you did, I had fun making it. Tell me how you feel! And if you have comments, critiques, or add-ons, let me know!