What A Superman Game Can Learn From The Spider-Man Game, Part 1

by Tito W. James

Marvel’s Spider-Man built upon the heavy groundwork laid out by the Batman Arkham franchise. It’s only a matter of time before a daring game company cracks the code to make players feel like the “Man of Steel.” Here are some suggestions as to what Superman game developers can learn from the Spider-Man video game.

Powers

Flight: It has to be possible to fly at any time virtually anywhere. The problem is why wouldn’t players go rocketing off into the sky never to return? This could be rectified with sky-barriers. Brainiac likes collecting cities in bottles; therefore a big dome over the environment Superman is flying through wouldn’t be out of the question. Game developers must make Superman’s ability to fly just as effortless and fun as Spider-Man’s swinging.

Developers could also make a multiple planet system like in the upcoming Beyond Good and Evil 2. However, there’s no reason a Superman game has to be open-world. Linear-level design worked for the original God of War trilogy and Bayonetta, and I’d envision a Superman game to have a similar action focus.

Laser Vision: I suggest a target lock and execute system like the “dead eye” mode from Red Dead Redemption or “mark and execute” from Splinter Cell.

Freeze Breath: Use this as a slow layering technique. Video games have played with the mechanics of ice for quite some time. Superman’s freeze-breath could be used in puzzles to build bridges as well as in combat to encase enemies.

X-ray Vision: similar to “Detective Vision” or “Spider-Sense”. This can be used to see through walls to spy on enemies and spot weak points to attack on larger opponents.

Super-Strength: Superman should  be able to use large melee weapons. We saw a little of this in Spider-Man with throwable objects. However, Superman should be able to pick up a car, set it on fire with laser-vision, then chuck it at an enemy. I’d love to use a wrecking ball or the propellers of a helicopter as a destructible weapon.

Super-Speed: He’s faster than a speeding bullet. Games have used slow-motion and dodging mechanics for a while now. The difference is that Superman could try to catch the projectiles to keep them from hitting innocent people.

Durability: Ok, the go-to line is that Superman is impossible to write because he can’t die. I don’t think Superman should be harmed by terrestrial weapons like guns and knives. But when it comes to extraterrestrial weapons and life forms, they can harm him.

Superman’s durability could yield interesting game mechanics like traveling through environments that would be toxic to most people, like swimming through lava.

Collectables

Superman could collect alien species Monster Hunter style and house them in his menagerie in the Fortress of Solitude.

Include unlock-able suits. This was by far one of the most addictive parts of the Spider-Man game. No one is ever going to agree on what Superman should look like. Just make a version for the game cover that fits the tone of the video game, then make the suits for Christopher Reeve, Man of Steel, and Smallville. I know that I’m just going to keep Superman in his edge-lord 90’s black suit as soon as I unlock it.

Tito W. James

Tito W. James writes action adventure comics for all ages that juxtapose creepy content with beautiful imagery. He is the mastermind behind CROSSBONE JONES and GANGSTERS VS GATORS. Tito’s goal is to create comics that capture the bombastic fun of old comics with the emotional resonance of new ones. ​

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