Hey there! I'm a huge Superman fan and I've longed for a great game starring him. I thought I'd share my ideas on the subject! I'd love to know what you all think, but before we start:
- Story is simply a placeholder since it's not my forte, but don't feel this piece is "complete" without one.
- Please forgive me for the length, size of the pictures, and any of my obnoxious repetition.
- This is a rough draft, and I am occasionally updating it on my downtime.
Brainiac has bottled Metropolis and empowered super-villains in order to finally get rid of Superman! Drained from your fight with Doomsday, you need to find other means of regaining your strength. As the Man of Steel, you must stop Brainiac and his allies, restore your beloved city, and save the day!
George Newbern hands down. His voice is iconic to Superman, nearly in the same sense that Kevin Conroy's is to Batman. He is also capable of showing more than enough emotion for what I would like to see in a Superman game.
I believe either Rocksteady or Avalanche should make the game. I trust Rocksteady with it due to their past with Batman, making fantastic story/gameplay driven tales for one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. But, I also feel Avalanche could do it thanks to their experience with the Just Cause games. They build enormous open worlds accompanied by gameplay that is fun, over-the-top, and destructive. But honestly, at the end of the day it comes down to passion for the character. Rocksteady loves Batman, which I feel is one of the reasons their games are so great. If a developer's love for the character drives their hard work and effort towards the game, it'll show in the final product.
This is Avalanche's work in action. My favorite part of this whole trailer is definitely the beginning. I love how the environment around him looks as he's falling through the sky. I can just picture Superman's cape raving around while soaring through beautiful, sun drenched clouds.
In Arkham Asylum, Batman had his own look given to him that is original to that game, while also being inspired and looking like Batman should. When I think of how Superman should look in this game, I lean towards something like this. I'm mostly talking about his face, hair, and the perfect size of the "S" symbol. The suit of course would be something original, but inspired.
The gameplay will be centered on feeling like you are Superman. As a powerful force of good, you will use your abilities to save lives and go toe to toe with other gifted foes in epic combat, such as Livewire, Metallo, Parasite, and more.
Superman Returns actually had some great concepts, but didn't execute them very well. I'll occasionally reference this game throughout this post to make comparisons.
Many people think it isn't possible to make a Superman game because they feel he is invincible or overpowered. This is false, as Superman has a number of villains in his rogues' gallery that can harm him. Superman is almost always holding back so he doesn't hurt anyone, which gives reason as to why you wouldn't be able to do anything super intense in the game unless it calls for him to use such power. Even if this was a problem, a developer could make him something akin to "Man of Steel" Superman, still powerful but not ridiculous.
I think Superman should have a health bar, but only in certain situations. This provides tension during certain points in the story and forces players to be on their toes when this becomes part of the gameplay. I could see this occurring more often when fighting certain bosses.
"Zero" to Hero
Something Superman is famous for is switching from Clark Kent to Superman in a phone booth. I feel this can be a very powerful feature in the game, going from Clark Kent to Superman at will. His transformation could be done at almost anytime (certain missions would prevent this feature) via super speed. When becoming Superman, an animation could occur where Clark pulls his shirt apart to reveal the S symbol, then spinning into a blur that quickly changes outfits. It'd be a cool reference to give players the option to switch in a phone booth too.
With help from Dr. Hamilton, you will restore your powers to their normal state throughout the game. Your abilities will become more potent as you progress and you'll unlock skills tied to those powers.
I personally feel it shouldn't take you the entire game to unlock your full power-set. Instead, I'd like to have all my powers back at around 25 - 35% through and after that continue to upgrade with damage, skills, health etc.
Physical combat will consist of a block/attack style. You can block or dodge incoming attacks and then counter with what you feel necessary to get the job done. Essentially a powerful boxing/brawler feel that he's shown in the comics. Ground Takedowns are especially helpful as well.
Ground Takedowns - This is useful against enemies who are knocked down. Superman will deliver a formidable blow that will KO or destroy the opponent. Animations could vary greatly.
Powers and Skills
This will come in the form of a meter that you can expend decent fractions of in order to use your Amped Powers (See Below). It will slowly deplete when using powers that draw from this resource and regenerate by itself. It will fill even faster depending on your altitude (after city is restored). This is endless for a period of time after you Sundip.
Unlocked near the end of the game, you can fly towards the sun while in Space (See "Space" near the end of the post) via seamless cut-scene from there. This will make your Solar Power Meter endless for a period of time while increasing damage and durability.
Superman can perform a Super Move when your hit counter becomes charged, which can be used on the following.
- Liftoff - Everything slows down around you before Superman speeds towards his target and delivers a powerful uppercut, dealing tons of damage and knocking them skyward.
- Super Slam - The Man of Steel raises his fists in the air before bringing them down with great force, causing AoE damage. This will also knock enemies into the air.
- Thunderclap - Superman crashes his hands together, leading to a massive shock wave that deals AoE damage and knocks down enemies.
This power will allow you to punch enemies into buildings, beat them into the ground, and knock them senseless. You can utilize your surroundings by picking up objects, whether it's a car being thrown or hitting them with a light pole. When holding an enemy while floating or on the ground, you can use Charged Punches that will create large shock waves and send that foe sailing through the air. Your opponent colliding with objects deals damage. This is useful for leaving them open to Flight Combat (See below). When your hit counter is charged, normal punches will deal more damage and make small shock waves.
Charged Punches - When grabbed, you can hold down the attack button to ramp up a powerful swing. These are useful for getting an enemy away from you, or into the air for Flight Combat.
Super Strength will play into the ability to jump long distances. Jumps aren't charged. As soon as you hit the jump button, you'll leap. But the longer you hold it after jumping, the farther you'll go (ala Prototype 2). This comes in handy earlier in the story when you can't fly right away.
This seemed to be the best thing about Superman Returns, as it's what made us feel most like Superman. The feeling of traversing through the air at speeds exceeding 800 mph is a rush, especially when you break the sound barrier. Though, I feel it could be kicked up several hundred mph throughout the game. This is so flight simply gets your around quicker, feels more intense and empowering, all while providing a sense of progression. When you achieve higher speeds for flight, I think it should build up over time, making you faster and faster till you reach the cap. A toggled 1st person view would be an awesome addition as well, I think. Flight will also play a role in fighting, known as Flight Combat (See Below).
I believe this video illustrates perfectly how I'd love for this to feel in a video game.
Up, Up, and Away!
This simply allows you to launch skyward and continue flying after holding down the button for flight. The longer it's held, the faster you'll fire upward. You can perform this while holding an enemy as well, taking you into Flight Combat.
Flight Combat is performed by using "Up, Up, and Away!" while locked on, which will activate your flight and launch Superman towards his enemy so you can continue through the air with them. As you fly faster throughout the game, it will impact Flight Combat because when crashing enemies through buildings or into the ground, faster flight speeds will increase damage. Upgrades will allow you to punch your enemy at super speed during Flight Combat, eventually being able to use "Heat Vision" at the same time. You can fly through buildings with your adversary but when doing so it will limit you to a single floor. You have the options of dragging them along the floor, ceiling, or through objects and walls before exiting out the other side. Your opponent can retaliate via Quick Time Event (ala Shadow of Mordor's death QTE). If you fail the QTE, your enemy will free themselves of your grasp and knock you downward. Succeeding with the QTE will result in your choice of continuing with the Flight Combat or using a different attack (Charged Punch or Heat Vision, etc.)
This power can be used while running, flying, or to enhance your perceptions. When running, you can use the shoulder buttons to shift into a higher tier of speed. When making turns around street corners, slow motion will kick-in. This allows you to easily choose what path you'd like to take.
- Tier 1: 60 MPH
- Tier 2: 120 MPH - This speed will allow you to run on water.
- Tier 3: 180 MPH - You can also run on water at this speed and you will automatically dodge obstacles in your way.
This is toggled and will draw heavily from your Solar Power Meter, allowing the player to witness actions around them in slow motion. When being used, your abilities will become Burst Powers (See Below).
While "Perception Speed" is active, powers will become more abrupt and lighter versions of themselves. "Heat Vision" becomes "Heat Blast", while "Freeze/Super Breath" turns into "Freeze/Super Gust".
"Heat Vision", "Freeze Breath", and "Super Breath" will be bound to the D-Pad. Selecting the same power twice will switch to a more powerful version of that ability (ala Superman Returns).
This power will draw from your Solar Power Meter.
- Freeze Breath - Continuous compressed air from your lungs that can be used to freeze enemies. This can be used mid combo to freeze an opponent, providing you with opportunity. You can use this to combat random events such as crimes or natural disasters.
- Amped Freeze Breath - A large blast of icy wind that freezes multiple enemies for an extended duration.
- Freeze Gust - Freeze Breath becomes Freeze Gust when Perception Speed is active. This allows you to freeze opponents to the ground, preventing them from moving for a short time.
This power will take from your Solar Power Meter.
- Super Breath - Continuous air from your lungs powerful enough to blow enemies away. This can be used mid combo to knock an enemy into the air.
- Amped Super Breath - A powerful burst of wind that can send multiple enemies flying through the air into objects, dealing damage.
- Super Gust - Super Breath becomes Super Gust when Perception Speed is active. This allows you to knock down multiple enemies while they're "slowed".
This power will take from your Solar Power Meter.
- Heat Vision - Continuous beams of heat from your eyes that can be used to damage opponents.
- Amped Heat Vision - A large burst of Heat Vision that deals huge amounts of damage to multiple enemies or a single target, depending on whether or not you're locked on to one.
- Heat Blast - Heat Vision becomes Heat Blast when Perception Speed is active. This allows you to knock back multiple enemies while they're "slowed".
Much like Arkham City's "Detective Mode" this will serve the purpose of seeing through walls to view enemies and solve objectives. This will be an important ability when doing missions as Clark Kent. It should look far more natural than "Detective Mode" and less technological.
This power will alert you of dangers throughout Metropolis. Situations that require Superman's attention will ping the player to a location somewhere in the city. The noises being heard can help describe what is taking place at the pinged location.
Ordinary crime could be handled with little effort from the boy scout, so many deem this boring. Whether it's a thug robbing a bank/store, beating up a civilian or snatching a purse, I personally feel it could be made empowering, fun, and even humorous by having Superman's actions "behave" differently against normal thugs in the sense that his physical attacks and his powers will become more delicate, making it possible to use your powers lightly on regular criminals.
- Freezing a thug in place, and using a light melee or other action to K.O. (refer to point 4)
- Heating up their weapon/freezing their hands if they attempt to take a hostage as leverage to get out of the situation, and continue with light melee or other action to K.O. (refer to point 4)
- Blowing them down with a firm gust of wind (chance of K.O.)
- Making Superman interact with them differently than he would meta-humans. For instance, instead of punching them through a building, have Superman capable of performing light takedowns at the push of button. This could include flicking them, slapping them, or shoving them back several feet with a light touch of the palm. The player could go on to take them to the MPD (Metropolis Police Department) or leave them for the police. The latter could be done via super speed animation that has Superman run off-screen and back, typing the criminal up too fast for us to see.
- If a thug does fire a shot at a civilian, the player could use Perception Speed to stop the bullet with Heat Blast, Super Gust, or Freeze Gust. You could simply move in front of the bullets before they reach the civilian, having them bounce off of your skin.
Super Speed Enemies
Enemies with Super Speed can require toggling "Perception Speed" to defeat, otherwise they're practically blurs hitting you and can't be locked on. To rebuttal, players could do a number of things, like toggling "Perception Speed", and using Heat Blast, Freeze Gust, or Super Gust on them. Amped Powers can also do the trick due to the fact that they cover more ground if you aren't locked onto a target. A well placed/timed Super Slam or Thunderclap can slow them, and knock them down or back into objects, dazing them. There are different ways that these fights could be handled, it's simply up to the player on how.
- Using "Freeze Breath" with "Perception Speed" toggled to halt them in place, and proceeding to strike them however you'd like.
- "Heat Blast" will knock them back so the player can overpower them afterward while they're dazed. .
- "Super Gust" will blow them off their feet so Superman can finish them off with a Ground Takedown.
- As stated before, a well placed/timed area attack will slow/daze them as well.
Super Strong/Durable Enemies
Enemies possessing super strength and durability will give some of the most fun fights I've had the pleasure of thinking about. They will be able to grab, punch, and throw you at buildings, while also being capable of stomping you into the ground. They will be able to take your blows and deal some back to you. Their greater durability will allow them to take a lot more damage compared to other enemy types. Players should encounter no more than 2 at one time.
Example: This video again.
- You could start punching them and hit them with an uppercut (Liftoff) mid combo or wreck them with a Charged Punch. This sends the enemy into the air. You can continue by locking on and launching yourself towards them for some Flight Combat. You could go on to slam them into the ground or through a building.
- You can chain combos together with your powers. From hitting your enemy with a gust of "Freeze Breath" mid combo that chills them to a standstill. This allows you to chain along another combo (This will be balanced and won't be spammable) or knock them in the air and finishing them with an Amped Power.
- Your punches will have a chance to knock certain enemies down, while specific powers could be used to do so as well. After that has been done, it's lights out after a Ground Takedown.
- Having enemies who can fly can require flying into your adversary or hitting them with your powers to slow or stop them.
I'll add more enemy types soon.
These are random events in the open world that include the following and more. They are jobs for Superman that yield experience to be used towards skins or damage/health upgrades.
- Bank and store robberies
- Purse snatches
- Hostage situations
- Trapped innocents (moving/destroying a structure to free them)
- Falling aircraft
- Natural disasters (Explained more later)
- Runaway train
- Returning child's balloon
- Ping to Superman via "Super Hearing" by a sinking submarine calling for help. Player must dive into the water and lift the submarine, placing it safely upon land.
- Super Hearing will alert Superman of a falling plane in the sky somewhere on the map. The player must get to the plane, grab it and level it out or put it gently on land, depending on whether or not the plane is on fire (simply a visual indication of what action needs to be performed.)
- Ping to a train that has been sabotaged and Superman must stop it before it crashes, killing innocents.
- Hearing a getaway car and subduing the bad guys before they can manage to get away.
During these missions, you will play as Clark Kent. Objectives that require your secret identity will play much like Predator missions from the Arkham series, but allowing you to use some of your powers. (Playing as Clark will make your powers act as if Perception Speed were active)
- Sneaking passed guards or knocking them out with a flick to the head (Silent Takedowns ala Arkham Knight).
- Freezing guards or objects.
- Destroying objects with Heat Blast to distract enemies.
- Knocking enemies into objects, walls, or one another with Super Breath.
- Using X-Ray Vision to find certain items, people, or locations to accomplish objectives.
Mister Mxyzptlk has come to Metropolis, laughing at the situation your in. He wagers that if you can make him say his name backward and complete his trials, he'll leave with a reward to boot. These are missions that will be odd in nature, often changing reality. Challenges could consist of things like being shrunk and fighting action figures.
After much thought, I feel Metropolis should have health (possibly divided into sections) much like in Superman Returns. The city's health can be invigorated by stopping crimes, natural disasters, super powered foes, and rescuing the city's inhabitants.
Superman Returns: The Videogame did a very poor job here. In size, the map was good but was clumped together and surrounded by a mountain range. When I envision Metropolis, I see something like a great city that is possibly divided into parts, some being bigger than others. The map must be very large. Superman Returns had an 80 sq mi. map, which is big but can definitely be outdone. Something 1/4 the size of Just Cause 2 (Would be 125 sq mi.) but with more city sounds great. This allows the player to not feel like they can fly around the whole city in 10 seconds while also making sense of natural disasters, etc.
The A.I. for the civilians of Metropolis needs to of course, be relatively smart, but also very capable of running and getting away from dangerous fights between Superman and his opponent most of the time. Ideally, I would have a Superman game try to keep hurt citizens between 2 - 3 unless under certain circumstances. Superman Returns had injured civilians, which is good if you don't have 10 people needing to be carried to the ambulance. Cases like this influence the player to maybe carry 1 or 2 of them to the emergency vehicles, while leaving any others behind because they feel it's too tedious. This takes away from the experience of feeling like Superman. Honestly, it made me feel kinda bad, even when I couldn't help it because sometimes the EMS would be far away, and the injured victims would disappear off the map. It would do nothing but refill the city's health, which is a great idea but I think there should be something extra in it for the player, so it's more rewarding to do good.
- Civilians who are in their cars should stop what they're doing, and start running when danger is close or can be seen from a distance. The same goes for pedestrians.
- Citizens cannot be harmed/targeted by Superman's powers (friendly fire).
- Carrying the injured to a hospital or close EMS should yield an experience bonus to spend towards upgrades while also regenerating a fraction of Metropolis' health.
- Civilians can help each other get away from danger, to a nearby ambulance, or call an ambulance to help. This is a good idea which allows for more citizens to be injured to improve immersion, while leaving some for the player to save if there are any.
Now, Superman Returns needed more common occurrences. You'd get the occasional building on fire, but nothing else that seemed rather typical or "everyday." Only the first and last levels are natural disasters, something that I believe should arise, but somewhat rarely while playing.
- I could see Metropolis having something much like New York's "Central Park", and under certain weather conditions, there's a chance lightning could spark a wildfire which could call for your Super Breath or a way of supplying large amounts of water. Building fires would also be a random occurrence.
- Metropolis lying close to large body (or bodies) of could render it prone to tsunami's or floods. Large waves which can be taken care of via Super/Freeze Breath.
- Earthquakes occurring and resulting in unavoidable damage to the city, but causing dangerous situations for some of the populace.
- I feel meteor showers should also transpire, but very rarely. The player could destroy them in different ways depending on their size. Brute force by flying straight into them can destroy small - big meteors, while heat vision can destroy small - medium. Flying into one and slamming it into another could save time.
- Tornadoes. Of course, these can range in size. The player could get rid of them in different ways depending on how big or small they come. A powerful thunderclap could dissipate it. Switching to the "amped" Super Breath and blow it away. Building up a very high speed while flying and then soaring through the vortex could also get rid of it.
I do not feel that buildings should topple and be destroyed as a result of the player fighting. But the buildings that do get damaged can be repaired via super speed animation, providing XP to the player if they choose to take the time to go to the damaged building and perform the repair. When fixing the building, Superman flies around it after insane speeds, covering the whole thing in a red blur before stopping to reveal the structure looking good as new. If the player does not do this then construction teams will be shown at that building later, fixing it in a fair amount of time. The construction workers will call out to Superman and ask for help with the work load, leaving the option to fix the building and gain XP open for you unless the player decides to leave it to the A.I.
(Flying into most objects won't stop Superman. They will be destroyed, deformed, or damaged.)
I think of this as a special place for Superman. The player can fly here by heading skyward and possibly hitting a point that activates a seamless loading screen of the them flying out of Earth's atmosphere and having Superman float there. I feel this could be much like Bruce's Crime Alley feature in Arkham City. Very inspiring music playing while floating above Earth and maybe having a slight green glow off in the distant of space that represents Krypton. Flying towards the North Pole will take the player to the Fortress, while flying towards anywhere else will send them back to Metropolis.
Fortress of Solitude
I feel players should be able to get here from Metropolis or Space by flying towards it or through the pause menu. Costumes and challenge maps could be accessed through a Crystal Terminal or through the main menu (ala Arkham Knight).
Using PlayStation controls. When flying with an enemy the player must use the left analog stick to fly.
⦁ L2: Lock-on Targeting
⦁ L1: Hold for Block / Hold and move to Dodge / Double tap for Speed Tier Down
⦁ R2: Use selected power / Throw
⦁ R1: Hold for Super Speed during flight / Double tap for Speed Tier Up
⦁ Square: Attack / Hold for charged punches / Swing or slam object / Hold to swing or slam object harder
⦁ Triangle: Toggle Flight / Hold for Up, Up, and Away! / Hold while locked on for Flight Combat.
⦁ Circle: Grab / Throw / Hold to throw harder/ Pick up or Put down civilian
⦁ X: Super Jump/Hold For Greater Leap
⦁ D-Pad Up: Heat Vision/Amped Heat Vision
⦁ D-Pad Left: Freeze Breath / Amped Freeze Breath
⦁ D-Pad Right: Super Breath / Amped Super Breath
⦁ D-Pad Down: X-Ray Vision / Put Civilian / Object Down
⦁ Left Analog: Move / Flight Control during Flight Combat / Press For Perception Speed
⦁ Right Analog: Move Camera/Aim/Flight Control/Press for 1st Person View during flight
⦁ Touchpad: Map
⦁ Super Hearing is passive
R2 + Square: Ground Takedown
Holding Square + Circle w/charged hit counter: Liftoff (Powerful Uppercut)
Holding Square + X w/charged hit counter: Super Slam
Holding Square + Triangle w/charged hit counter: Thunderclap