We live in a world where superhero movies are the most popular films at the box office. We also live in a world where video games based on superheroes are enormously popular. “Spider-Man: Miles Morales” is probably still the best game on the PlayStation 5 even more than six months after the console’s release. The “Batman: Arkham” games are quite rightly considered among the greatest video games ever made. Despite all of that success, Superman can’t get a look in. The most famous superhero of them all has a mixed record at the box office and an outright bad one on PCs and games consoles.
The last time a Superman video game was released to mainstream consoles was 2006, which saw the release of “Superman Returns.” It was very loosely based on the film of the same name. The movie got poor reviews from most critics, but they looked like birthday greetings compared to the venom directed at “Superman Returns.” From bad graphics to poor gameplay and underwhelming use of the license, the game was unfortunately guilty of everything it was accused of. It also killed the Superman gaming franchise stone dead. Because of the failure of “Superman Returns” on the PS2 and Xbox, we never got a new Superman game for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 or Xbox One. The closest we got was a few preview shots of “Superman: Blue Steel” in 2008, but that game was cancelled in a state of half completion. From a gaming perspective, the franchise appears to be cursed.
Even with so much adverse history behind the franchise, there’s still an audience for Superman games. When a fan-made a Superman demo using Unreal Engine 5 recently, the internet went crazy for it. At last count, seven different Superman-themed online slots games were doing good business at various online slots websites. Most entertainment properties would struggle to maintain the public’s interest in a single online slots game over the long term. For Superman to be capable of maintaining five – with more thought to be on the way to slots sites like Rose Slots Canada in the future – the spending power of the superhero’s fanbase must be enormous. Those fans deserve more than a few ancient games and online slots to play with – and we have good news for them. After years of unsubstantiated rumours, something might finally be in the works.
If you’re interested in superhero games, you’ll probably already know that WB Games is currently working on a new “Gotham Knights” game based on characters from the Batman world. It’s currently slated for release, and Superman might make a guest appearance in it. That wouldn’t be unusual. The game “Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League” is also scheduled to be released next year, and Superman will definitely be a key character in that. It’s a continuation of the “Batman: Arkham” series and ought to be fantastic. That isn’t the big news either. The really big news is that WB Games is also working on another triple-A game that’s as-yet-untitled but is widely believed to be the first standalone Superman game in fifteen years.
The specific branch of WB Games that will handle the new game is WB Games Montreal, which is probably enough reason to be cautious about its prospects. The Montreal subdivision has existed for more than ten years, but in all that time, the only game it’s ever brought to market is “Batman: Arkham Origins.” Everything else it’s ever worked on has been abandoned or cancelled prior to release. This proposed new Superman game could meet with the same fate, but there are signs that WB is at least taking its development seriously for now. The company is currently advertising for experienced game developers to come and work for the Montreal division on a “new IP AAA title,” and the salaries being offered are substantial. WB Games Montreal was created solely for the purpose of handling games set in the DC Universe, so there are very few things this new game could be other than Superman so long as nothing has changed.
At this very early stage, we have no idea what the game might look like or what the plot might involve. Developing triple-A games is a process that can take years, so we don’t expect to see this new game until 2023 at the earliest. It’s conceivable that it could take even longer. However, what many fans are likely to be hoping for is something akin to the “Batman: Arkham” series with Superman in the lead role rather than Batman. The Arkham games did wonders for Batman’s character, eventually establishing a whole new universe of continuity that endures to this day. Through the Arkham games, we’ve seen a fresh take on the origin of Batman’s character and new perspectives on his rivalries with his biggest enemies. The same approach could be taken with Superman. Given the raw power that the current generation of consoles has at its disposal, it’s a very exciting prospect.
We’ve become accustomed to disappointment where video games are involved – and especially so when those games involve Superman. Most of the games that are rumoured to be happening never happen in the end. Even when games do appear, they’re bad. We’ve already talked about the negative reception to “Superman Returns,” but we could have written an entire article on how and why “Superman 64” is one of the worst video games ever released for any platform. While Batman games are generally good, Superman games are generally bad. That being said, it’s high time that someone gave the franchise another chance. Most young gamers hadn’t even been born when “Superman 64” was released, so they don’t have that bad taste to wash out of their mouths. Even with Superman’s lack of vulnerabilities and frankly irritating demeanour at times, it should still be possible to make a genuinely compelling, enjoyable game with the character at the heart of it. We won’t start counting any chickens until we’ve seen some gameplay footage from this new project, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.