Batman and Superman appeared in video games that failed to capture the spirit of both characters. Batman’s fortunes improved with Rocksteady Studios' wonderful Arkham Asylum and the equally superb Arkham City. With a third Batman game, Arkham Origins, due for release this October, we can't help but ask the following: when is it Superman’s turn? Even though he played a key role in Injustice: Gods Among Us, he still needs his own high quality adventure. With Zack Snyder's Man of Steel hitting theaters next week, now is the perfect time to return to gaming.
That said, here’s what Rocksteady got right with Batman, and how this could apply to a future Superman game.
The Power of Flight
Batman cannot fly naturally like Superman, but he gets around just fine, thanks to extendable wings that let him hover, swoop and glide. In Arkham City, maneuvering him around the environment was a breeze thanks to a solid control scheme, and the same could easily work for Superman.
The Man of Steel would be able to travel further than Batman and at greater speed. It would help for the development team to add pinpoint-style controls when it comes to turning, pursuing enemies (think of a lock-on system similar to Namco Bandai's Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, but with flying people in place of the jets), and adding some offense, like being able to air punch an enemy.
Both Arkham games feature smooth fighting. Thanks to a well-crafted system, the Dark Knight has no problem striking multiple enemies at once and countering incoming hits to avoid taking damage. Superman can obviously do the same thing, but deliver more power with his hits.
The right development team could expand upon Superman's move set, giving him a ground pound attack and disorientating enemies by flinging his cape. He could then deliver finishing blows that would either put down a foe or knock them into their buddies.
Speaking of evildoers, Superman could fight in outer space against Darkseid's alien forces, or take on some of Lex Luthor's allies, who have Kryptonite gloves.
Super Abilities for the Win
In the Batman games, Rocksteady found a way to utilize the Batarangs, as well as Batman's other tools. While Superman doesn't need projectiles of that nature to get the point across, he can use other abilities in a similar sense.
For instance, let's say you've got a wall to get through, similar to the ones that Batman takes down with exploding gel. Superman could use his freeze breath to turn it into a huge ice block, then bash through the wall; this also applies to enemies.
On top of that, Superman's heat vision could destroy rockets, melt ice, drop something on people’s heads and solve puzzles within the environment using an aiming system similar to Batman’s.
Finally, Batman's Detective Mode serves as a great foundation for Superman's X-Ray vision, which could be used to see through objects and track down baddies.
Expansive Plot and Gameplay Opportunities
Batman: Arkham City has this great free-roaming feature that lets you take part in side missions while continuing the main storyline at your leisure. With an equally massive number of characters in the comic book series, the same could be done with Superman. One second, he prevents a natural disaster from destroying the city, and the next, he meets up with fellow members of the Justice League. Moreover, a Superman game would obviously introduce several villains, including Bizarro and Darkseid.
Considering the popularity of the Batman games, it probably won't be long before DC Comics considers bringing the Man of Steel back into the spotlight. The sooner the better, and we hope the powers that be turn to the Caped Crusader for ideas.