Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Approach a Superman Video Game

As one of the biggest fans of Superman comics, films, TV and Cartoon Shows alike, I have been dreaming like so many other people in the world of a way to live as Superman in a virtual world. You would assume that with today's technology and today's latest creative edge going to much of the video game industry as well as television, that creating a video game based off of one of DC Comics' most treasured Superheroes would be in the works. Well, Rocksteady Studios already made two award-worthy games: Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Batman: Arkham City.

What Rocksteady Studios managed to do was not only combine great game mechanics as far as hand-to-hand combat, stealth, gadgetry, mobility, and puzzles, but also managed to create an intricately weaved storyline with multitudes of depth and great overall voice acting talent. The art direction was superb as the underbelly of Gotham's dirtiest criminals came alive in their own element. In Batman: Arkham Asylum we get a first hand account of inside the devil's den, an all out circus filled with Batman's A-list offenders. Although the story didn't reveal too many villains to encounter, Batman: Arkham City surely made up for that as Batman himself took to the streets to battle even more of his arch-nemeses in a world rich with detail, depravity and intrigue.

So what does Batman have to do with Superman? Well I feel that Rocksteady Studios did such a fantastic job re-creating a day in the life of Batman, that it would take nearly the same amount of effort and attention to detail to create such an immersive experience as to play a game featuring The Man of Steel. By simply exploring the game itself and the environment such as Arkham City, you know that each architecture piece or set piece was meticulously crafted to tell each and every story imaginable.
In order for this to happen to a city such as say Metropolis, one has to look at the style and architecture differences between the two cities. Gotham in general is an older city, but a grittier city and a lot of it's buildings are rustic and old looking. There is grime and grit and you would expect such trash and debris to liter the grounds as much as it did in Arkham City. Metropolis has many names and it often goes by "The City of Tomorrow". The buildings are far more developed for less of a lower-urban locale and was established as a monument to one of man's greatest achievements: Progress. The buildings will be tall and grand, and the metals to be a bit worn with age, but still pristine to show the city's namesake. You can tell which buildings will be older by their more than noticeable architecture style.

Understanding Metropolis as a character herself will be important to build a world where Superman can flourish. Superman takes to the skies and oversees the great megalith-bound city and all of it's many inhabitants. To build a city worthy of such an act in a game would be crucial. There were countless times when I just grappled to a gargoyle and crouched as iconic as Batman, just to do it. Looking at the world through his eyes is what made the experience for me.

Next you have a map where the player can see the entire city and spot out major iconic locations where parts of the story has had its fix there. Such locales include, "The Daily Planet" and "Star Labs" not to mention, "Clark's Apartment", "Lois Lane's Apartment" and "Stryker's Island" name a few. Using a map in an open world game is useful for many reasons. For instance, if Clark hears of a building burning down, or some thugs are knocking off a bank or something, the player can look to the map and set a point on the map where he needs to get to. From there, Superman can take to the skies and quickly see via the world where he managed to highlight his destination. Now depending on importance or ability upgrades, will depend on how fast he gets there. One can simply fly in a split of a second to the exact location, or the player can manage to fly there "manually" to feel more like the Man of Steel. I will get back to powers/abilities a bit later.

The flight mechanics have to be reasonable, much like how Batman's glide ability worked so well. Visually capes aren't a problem anymore in games and to see Superman fly with his iconic red cape flaying in the wind behind him, or to see it react when he lands abruptly on the ground will be quite a sight. Flying should be in any case easy to do with the thumb sticks where the left controls where he flies and the right if held down will send the player into bullet-like speeds.

I understand that narrowing down Superman's abilities in a way that can be brought into a gaming world is quite a task. Superman, unlike many of his fellow heroes, has almost an unlimited list of powers and attributes. He has flight, strength, different types of vision, intellect, super-breath, near-invulnerability, speed, etc. Giving a player the right to be a God from the get go might not seem like the best way to approach Superman's gifts. I also have considered taking his powers away and letting the player experience and earn Superman's abilities over time. That may not be the same thing as well, considering that Superman always has his abilities, he is always Superman. I guess you can bring in some red-sun generating machine that wipes Superman of his powers and allows him to get through the tutorials with the player, but what I was thinking was a much different approach.

Like I had said previously that playing Batman: Arkham City is like being Batman for a day. You literally step into the cape and cowl and you are on the job from the get go. You have to think what it's like to be Superman on a daily basis. Of course there is going to be the occasional story-bound bad guy or villain, but in the every day circumstances of his job as a hero, Superman has to face every day challenges. Superman is a living breathing God amongst humans. He has to be able to control his powers so that he can not destroy literally everything in his path.

Take a burning building for instance: There is a building about to collapse and there are people still trapped high above the streets within this burning structure. 1) You fly over to the site where fire trucks and such are trying but failing to do their jobs. (Perfect job for...) 2) you pick up people screaming with your precise super-hearing, and then you scan the building with your X-Ray vision. 3) you find an entry point, but you can't fly too fast to land or the bottom will cave and will kill anybody who is underneath. 4) You hover and land gently with the thumb sticks, and you quickly want to use your super-breath to blow the fire out. 5) You can't blow the fire out because blowing the fire out might make the support beams too unstable and will collapse the roof above. 6) you decide to use your ice-breath to add support to the beams, and settle the fire long enough to get the people out safe. 7) You freeze breath a pathway on the wooden floor so people can have a walkway to get to the exit. 8) You start to clear people out, but you notice that the exit structure is going to collapse. You make a last minute decision to brace and hold the structure up so you can make sure the last person is out safe. 9) Once you use your X-ray vision to see that there is nobody left, you release the structure, and you saved the day.

With these kinds of decisions that the player has to make, they can use Superman's abilities in different ways to solve how he can save the people he is trying to save at the moment. This allows a number of outcomes based on the player's decisions and the crisis at hand. When Superman has to deal with inner-city problems, these kinds of challenges are to happen. I also don't want to just limit Superman to the ground, as it were. To allow the player to feel more free as The Last Son of Krypton, Air challenges can come about, and what other way to better demonstrate his flight and strength, not to mention the player's keen smarts is to save an airliner from plummeting to the earth or into the ocean....more on that later.


How to organize Superman's powers into manageable tools for gameplay: I would first assume that the player can toggle between different attributes on the D-Pad. I would also split his major qualities into 4 select-able tools: 1) Heat/Laser vision 2) Super Breath 3) Freeze Breath 4) Super Speed(on ground)

When Heat Vision is selected (1) left trigger can aim, and right trigger can execute laser blast. Same goes for items 2 and 3. Super Speed can be selected and used whenever the "A" button is pressed. Press it once and select a direction on the left thumb stick and Superman will execute a quick-dash type of movement. This will also be available in the air as well. Hold down the move button and keep it held will start Superman into a run and then the longer you hold it, the faster he will gradually get. Ease off the button and he will slow down. (This attribute can only work on the ground or on a surface) Each ability will have a strength meter which gauges how much of each power a player is using according to the world around them. For example: Super Breath. If Superman has to use his breath to ward off a hostile incoming tsunami from hitting the big city due to Weather Wizard's weather machine, the player can activate the Super Breath and hold it down to create a strong enough gust of wind to blow the Tsunami right back into the ocean. This power level will not be right to use if he were to blow missiles back from oncoming helicopters or put out a fire. So initially, the player has to regulate how powerfully Superman can use his main powers. (Again it goes back to "What would it be like for Superman?")

His multitude of vision abilities will be put into the left bumper on the controller. Much like Batman's "Detective Mode" Superman will be able to toggle between X-Ray Vision, and other modes of infrared and color spectrums that are built into his array of powers. This would be handy if the player needed to find bombs that were hidden, enemies that are around a corner, unseen victims, or certain signals that are being transmitted around Metropolis.


Now what worked for the Batman titles was having a compelling story and not to mention great voice actors. Tim Conroy and Mark Hamill were great as their legendary roles, and the rest of the voice actors were spot on as well(I thought the Penguin and Mr Freeze were awesome). The reason for such a great story is because they brought in none other than Paul Dini, the creative genius behind Batman: The Animated Series we all loved in the 90s. If there was ever a person to pen the story of Batman's all time game iterations it was him. As a fellow writer I can appreciate the level of depth that he brings to his characters and stories. I never missed an episode and the villains and situations that the characters on the show found themselves in felt more real than anything I had ever seen in a cartoon show. To me it was like watching a TV show, not a cartoon show. To honor the great work that was done both by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, I would bring back Tim Daly as the voice of Superman/Clark Kent, Dana Delany as Lois Lane, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, and of course Michael Ironside as Darkseid.

The story for Superman has to have all the same refinements and attention to character development as any other well thought out game plan. Superman can't ALWAYS be putting out fires or battling tornadoes or bank robbers. There has to be a thread of plots that weave through points of major action to excite and inform the player. Now I know what you're thinking....have I thought about writing a Superman story??? And the answer is a big fat DUH. I have had plenty of nights dreaming of a world where a man in blue and red tights and a red cape flies around saving the day. The approach I had settled on eventually was a story that starts with Jor-El and ends with Kal-El. In a nutshell, I had crafted a way to introduce Zod, Brainiac, and start the path of Superman's ultimate feel that what he does with his powers is eventually the right thing to do. Did his father have an ultimate plan for his son? Now here is where I go a bit into my own world of storytelling...

First of all, I believe in the three-act structure for storytelling, and of course you have to leave things a bit non-linear for gamers to get out a bit of the storyline and stretch their legs a bit. I also tend to pull from the source material for inspiration. There was one particular comic series that really spoke to me, "Superman: Birthright". Written by Mark Waid and drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, Superman: Birthright was meant to bring Superman into the NOW and they had created one of the best comic origins that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

The comic explores issues such as how his family (Ma and Pa) felt about him being a hero, and his first assignment as a journalist in West Africa during a bloody tribal dispute. Clark uses his abilities to get to the bottom of political aggressions while promising to protect an activist and his family. I thought this was a great way to help Clark have a place where he could go "undercover" and really feel out his powers, but it was also a move to help him get a job at the Daily Planet.

Now as a big Superman fan I feel it is necessary for Clark Kent to be as important as Superman himself. Clark is the identity that Superman has made for himself while being on Earth. I feel that in a game the player can have the ability to change from Clark to Superman at will. I compare it to the game Transformers: War for Cybertron. One of the coolest parts about that game is that the player had control over when a Transformer would transform. I see this game no differently. If you are somewhere as Clark and you need to change into Superman, you can do that. If you need to go somewhere as Clark, you as Superman would need a "safe zone" where a hidden pre-packed suitcase with Clark's items would be stored(In my mind, if I were Superman, I would hide sets of clothes all throughout Metropolis just in case I would need to change and fall back under my alter ego). These locations would be layed out for the player in the mini-map for convenience.

Another aspect of the story would be incorporating villains into the mix to challenge Superman. First of all it is probably a well known fact that most us wouldn't know a list as extensive as Batman's Rogues Gallery for Superman's villains. I think that most of us would probably stop at Lex Luthor. But there are quite a few that get some real bashing time with The Man of Steel. Brainiac, Darkseid, and Doomsday are my top 3 choices to be game changer bad guys for Superman. These three villainous characters offer challenges that are not easily defeat-able. Brainiac, a super-computer created on Krypton hellbent on destroying the Universe as we know it challenges Superman's wits and keen intellect. Darkseid, a war-mongering tyrant from an alien war-based world, Apokolips challenges everything Superman stands for as a hero, and Doomsday, the mega powerful Alien lab experiment with the destructive force of a hundred nuclear bombs and a thirst for blood challenges Superman's physicality and ulitmately leads to his death on Earth.
Then you have other villains that populate Metropolis. Lex Luthor for one is the top dog. Taking over the portrayal of a land tycoon obsessed with real estate and wealth and power, and replacing it with a cold, emotionless powerful business man and founder of Lex Corps. (Thank you Paul Dini). Not only has Lex managed to start one of the biggest military business operations,(second only to Wayne Tech)but he did it legitimately(as far as we know) and has gone to fund much of Metropolis's building contracts and has developed parts of Metropolis herself. Most of what Lex Luthor does is cloak and dagger, and within the shadowy confines of his company. His tall looming towers are symbols of a man who has amassed great wealth and power and stands up to oppose Superman in the public view.

I would also bring in Metallo, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Bizarro, (mention)General Zod, Professor Hamilton(S.T.A.R. Labs), Mongul, Parasite, Weather Wizard, Kalibak,Livewire, Lobo, The Toy Maker, etc. These are lesser on the threat level, but still hold challenges for Superman.
Next I would populate the city with thugs, goons, and the occasional military faction or two to test Superman and the player. So not only do we have natural disasters, but actual villains that run a muck as well and gangs of thugs and bruisers to come in and wreak havok in Metropolis.

Now it must be puzzling to think how these events will unfold. I would introduce a villain from the major list to help drive the story and get the player to the final end or boss battle as it were. Bringing in too many villains would just muck up the story. The reason why Batman: Arkham Asylum worked was because of The Joker. There were other villains that posed as threats to Batman, but The Joker was always there leading Batman around with cheese through the maze. The reason Batman: Arkham City worked was again there was a central villain guiding the hero's actions. In this case it was Hugo Strange.

So which villain is it going to be? I would start by doing a parallel story arch with Darkseid. The way he is set up is that you have to bring the threat down on a major level. The reason Batman was so easily lead around by the Joker is that Batman himself is a detective. A detective is only as good as the crimes he is investigating. In an open world environment, the game designers want the player to seek out everything in the world. The player has to be there. The side missions were just the cherry on top when it came to this one simple rule: Keep the player interested. With Superman, everything has to have a bigger scale of threats for the player to really feel they are doing their job. So having madmen who rig parts of the city to explode with bombs deep underground, and having Superman use his X-Ray Vision or hearing to detect and defuse the bombs in time would be fun, or to try and find escaped villains from Stryker's Maximum Security Prison, would be a cool side mission. Not to mention setting up Professor Hamilton's ultimate fall to villainy after being long time friends with Superman.


Darkseid is a formidable opponent for Superman. Lets take a closer look at Darkseid and see how he can pose a major threat and push along a major storyline for a game.

As we may or may not all know by now, Darkseid was an heir to a throne deep, within the darkest recesses of space on a war-torn world known as Apocolips. On Apokolips, Darkseid reigns as supreme ruler having had his sons and mother banished from their homeworld. He conquered and killed his brother who in turn was responsible for manipulating Darkseid's skin into a rock-like surface. As his rage and hunger for power grew, Darkseid managed to seek a device called, " The Anti-Life Equation" where if posessed would bring its user ultimate control and influence over all sentient beings in the Universe...Darkseid would become a God and rule over all of the Cosmos. As it turns out in order to allow his master plan to continue, he creates swarms of alien soldiers to carry out his bidding across the galaxies. Earth became a well known target for Darkseid over the years and low and behold had encountered Superman on numerous occasions. Darkseid's physical prowess is almost as powerful as Superman and his mental capacity for an never-ending bloodlust for war and chaos makes him a foe not to be reckoned with. Using Apokolips technology transplanted deep within sections of Metropolis, Darkseid had managed to create a powerful standing on Earth without even being there called, "Intergang". Intergang is a group of highly loyal constituents who use their technologies to do a lot of evil in Metropolis. Later on they become a cult that ultimately worships Darkseid and plans to bring him to Earth to mold Earth into a planet much like Apokolips.

In a potential story with Darkseid being the major threat, Intergang will have to play a pivotal roll in the enemy challenges for Superman. At first we start to introduce the existence of Intergang gradually as more and more events unfold. As Superman notices the alien tech being used by Intergang, he becomes suspicious of their whereabouts. Later on you see more and more outlandish acts being committed by this terror organization. Their technology gets more and more funded until eventually Superman has no choice but to investigate further. The more Intergang members Superman locks away, the more they talk about the coming of their "Master" and how Superman will not be able to stop him from creating "The new Apokolips" on Earth. As soon as Superman hears "Apokolips", he heads out to his Fortress of Solitude(Yes its going to be in there)and proceeds to ask his "Father" data crystal array for all known knowledge of Apokolips. There Jor-El tells his son that the data he is requesting was not included in the original crystal given to him in his vessel he arrived in as a child(The green one that made the Fortress of Solitude in the films). As it turned out, there was a hidden data crystal that was taken directly from Krypton's archives. Jor-El had hidden it in fear that his ship and his son would be found by General Zod(Leader of the Kryptonian Security Council)who was actually manipulating the Kryptonian council which condemned the planet Krypton to its eventual demise. The hidden crystal was stored within the vessel itself and in order to access it and all its data, the Kryptonian ship has to be active. In order for the ship's onboard crystal array to be activated, the star drive must be in space. The vessel as it is now does not work within Earth's atmospheres due to the crash landing it experienced when it first arrived.
So, Superman must take the vessel out of Earth's atmospheres and venture into space in order for the crystal array to work properly.

This will allow a change in decor for the game and us as fans get to see Superman AND his Kryptonian ship out in space. (Nerd-gasm!!!)

Moving right soon as Superman gets the data needed, he uploads it to the crystal array back in the Fortress and descends back to Earth. Having the ship work again Superman makes a home for it within the Fortress of Solitude and there he can learn all the Data he was missing. Among that data were mentions of an evil Super-Computer named Brainiac, Apokolips and the first known record of Darkseid, and General Zod and the Phantom Zone.

Now as Superman gets closer and closer to ridding the city of these sycophantic terrorsts from Intergang, he discovers a plot linked to...S.T.A.R. Labs? Apparently there were traces of Apokolips technology within S.T.A.R. Labs and was being used to generate a reverse-Phantom Zone like device to pull people out of trapped dimensions. Originally built for Superman years ealier to try and communicate with his fallen parents. The device was created by Professor Hamilton. Although it didn't work properly, Hamilton made several adjustments to it along the years. As a trusted friend and colleague of Superman, Hamilton had spent years doing research for The Man of Steel but never recieved any credit or payment. His experiments hardly worked, but Professor Hamilton managed to collect quite a lot of information on Superman. It wasn't until the B13 event and the ultimate sacrifice of Hamilton's professional career that lead him to mentally unravel and blame Superman for his misfortunes. Hamilton disappeared and was never seen or heard from again.
When Superman goes to S.T.A.R. Labs he finds not only Apokolips technolgy--modified for a pull from an inter-stellar travel point(Apokolips)but encounters a mysterious figure...named "Ruin". Is this masked man responsible for the Intergang attacks? Does Ruin know the whereabouts of Professor Hamilton? Why go to S.T.A.R. Labs? Why occupy Hamilton's old lab?.....

Well, as it turns out, S.T.A.R. Labs was nothing more than a failed attempt by Intergang. But what is revealed by "Ruin" is that Darkseid is coming to Earth, and the portal with the working technology is somewhere in Metropolis...time is running out.

Lex Luthor
While all this is unfolding, Lex Luthor is brought into the mix by starting his campaign as the next President of the United States. This infuriates Superman because of the past dealings that has been had between the two. Lex has claimed to be turning over a new leaf and with his generous donations to the city's infrastructure, Lex is well on his way to winning the votes in Metropolis. Lex's plan is to simply do one thing, but is really doing another. For example, his company has been sending generous amounts of funds to build up the city's Police Dept. and Prison facilities. In actuality, he is sending better weapons and tech to criminal organizations so that it would appear that he is helping the city rid of criminals, but really, he is helping them by giving them better ways to break the law. In this instance Lex has turned to arms dealing as a way to help fund his Presidential campaign.
As more and more criminals get outfitted with LexCorps tech, Superman now has to deal with the escalation problem. He knows Lex is up to no good, and he needs to stop him at any costs. The tricky part is trying to stop the weapons supplies going out to criminals. He has to then try and locate and destroy wherever those crates are being stored. Well Lex understanding that Superman can't see through lead, has managed to hide all his weapons caches in lead-based storage crates in Metropolis Harbor. Since Superman can't see which crate contains what, he has to look inside each one or at least find a manifesto with credible evidence linking LexCorps to underground arms dealings. This looks like a job for....Clark Kent?

Since the crates are there "legally" and Superman has promised the US Government he won't use his powers for his own purposes, plus he doesn't want to tip off Lex Luthor or anybody involved, the player now has the ability to play as Clark. Using his press connections, and knowing that a large shipment of priceless artifacts from West Africa (see what I did there? If confused, see above sections about West Africa), which are to premiere in the Metropolis Natural History Museum. Surely there is going to be press there and obviously Lex will be using the artifacts as cover for his weapons caches. Alongside the Mayor who will be cutting the ribbon to the famed exhibit (one exhibit being from Addis Ababa) will be none other than Lex Luthor himself who is receiving aide from the Mayor for his Presidential Campaign; whom Lex promised to make his running mate if he gets chosen.

So Clark needs to find "missing" crates he couldn't find at the docks, at the museum. If he can find the shipping manifesto with the matching numbers, he will have enough evidence to allow the US Government and the business bureau to investigate Lex and LexCorps. Now it would seem unfair to include Clark in on the museum opening and not have Lois and at least Jimmy there taking press photos.

The stage is set. Lex Luthor and the Mayor unveiling a rare and never-before-seen exhibit from Africa, which includes a shipment from Addis Ababa which we all know contains Kryptonite. As Clark finally discovers the crates after roaming the museum for a while, he manages to find the manifesto. On the other hand, a group of heavily armed military personnel arrive to come and steal the precious gems and such from the exhibit. In actuality, Lex Luthor planned everything. By playing innocent to the crime about to be committed, his name is cleared by the public. Behind the scenes, the thugs work for him and are there to make a switch with the other weapons crates. The icing on Lex's cake is that Superman will be arriving shortly. Lois Lane is among the press and wherever there's trouble, Superman will not be far. By now Clark hears all the commotion and has found a place to change into Superman. He then sneaks out another way and makes his triumphant entrance into the museum.
Superman confronts the militants and demands them to let the people go and no one else will get hurt. The military personnel oblige and release the people from the museum. Now, Superman can quickly do away with these guys, except.....what do they have in a lead box? Can it be? Kryptonite. The last one to leave is Lex. He simply walks out of the room , and mutters under his breath..."kill him".

Struggling to find his footing, Superman hears Lex and decides to make a dash to fight for his life. In my story Kryptonite weakens and eventually kills Superman the longer he is exposed to it. For the fight to last with these thugs, Superman has to act on his feet and defend himself. The short time he has been exposed to the radioactive pieces of his homeworld has managed to weaken him to the extent of a mere mortal. He is not dying, but is going to feel every brutal punch and every brutal attack.

So here we have the player who not only gets to change from Clark to Superman, manage to get into a scuffle with a major military faction and now has to fight his way to survive. This is now adding a certain game experience that no player has really had the option of ever playing: Superman vs human enemies in a fist fight. We finally get to see Superman get his butt kicked a little, and as Superman fans we get to see him be the hero and go toe to toe with thugs at a very weakened state. This in turn makes Superman appear to be more heroic. That was my major complaint in a lot of Superman lore. Kryptonite was such a device like a light switch for Superman. No matter the amount of Kryptonite or the prolonged exposure, Superman as soon as he knew it was there, became instantly if his abilities were shut off like a light switch. In this case, the small amount found at the museum was enough to weaken him, but not completely inhibit his motor skills or completely take him out of commission.

Lex Luthor as a character has his own motives. Of course he wants to destroy Superman, but Lex is no random bad guy or evil scientist. Despite his origins Lex was revamped back in the 90s as sort of a crafty and devious business man. This makes sense as Superman's opposition because Superman is literally powerful beyond belief and has no real need for money, whereas Lex is a very wealthy powerful man who has made a life throwing money around as a way of displaying his prowess both in the business world and in the real world.
With Lex turning his attentions to the campaign trail, he is bent on making a world that exists where Superman is not needed. He has spent so many years and so many dollars trying to thwart The Man of Steel, but his ploy now is to do it in a way that would make Superman hurt the most. Understanding part of Superman's psyche where he greatly desires to shake his "alien" persona and heritage. In a way Superman wants to know about where he comes from, but he never wants that knowledge to influence how his life is or how he sees himself. Clark wants to be human so much that he literally created a way for him to be among his peers without feeling like an outsider. The funny thing about it, is that no matter how Clark or Superman acts, he will always be different. Superman has to find a way to feel normal in his own skin. Most of us humans always dream to be super powerful and a hero, but Superman wants more than anything to be human.

Supporting Cast

Another great asset to a good story is the supporting cast. Not having interactions with Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen would be a crime. Being able to explore a rich world such as the one painted so well over numerous years as Superman should give some development time for the characters in the classic story to age and feel real and to grow. Lois Lane is not only a fast talking female reporter, she's a woman who is in a place where she has a lot of freedom to be a strong independent woman. She has a sort of leadership role over Jimmy and sometimes even Clark. She can hold her ground and she allows her wits and her charm to get her into places that most reporters get access to...which often times leads to Superman often times getting her out of scraps. To me personally, Lois's character compared to Superman's is that she reminds me of a that one particular girlfriend who is dating the football star. She knows her boyfriend can clean up any mess her busy wordy mouth can get her into. She's afraid of very little, and that's part of the appeal for Clark. Clark sees her as this superhuman among humans in her desire for greatness and her way to not show fear. Clark likes that because he feels that he can really be himself without his Superman persona getting in the way.
Jimmy Olsen in my mind is a valuable asset to the daily Planet team, as it were. He takes the photos, but he also manages the website for the Daily Planet. Jimmy should be tech savvy like much of the young people his age would be in this modern era. He is a bit of a minor character compared to the big hitters, and what Jimmy wants by now is to be a real journalist. Taking photos was never his real plan but it got him in a door that most people would avoid. Jimmy Olsen wants to get his career off the ground, and wants to be taken seriously as a photojournalist. I feel in this type of storytelling it is a good thing to show character growth. Whether in a film medium or a video game, richer characters even if they are minor, if shown that they have grown over time, will be better characters and in turn will help make the overall product better.
Perry White is still the Editor and Chief of The Daily Planet but he is shifting into a time where retirement looks closer and closer. With the events that unfold within all these events, his main concern is his work. A classic workaholic, Perry is a man who has learned to care for Lois and Clark, and his entire staff. Although L and C are his tag team of reporters, he always manages to pull the best journalism out of both of them. He remains a solid piece of Americana that will stand true,even in the face of real threat.


The long lasting relationship between Lois and Clark has lasted longer than most marriages. I don't necessarily want to push them towards any notion of marriage just yet, but ideally, her actions must fuel his actions in some sort of way that can put Superman or even Clark in a place of real emotion. That is why I have in my little slice of the Superman pie the two are openly dating. She knows Clark is Superman and Lois has promised to keep his secret. This is integral in their story as lovers and characters. Things begin to feel more real and more at risk when Lois knows that Clark is Superman. Clark must be stronger now more than ever for Lois as well. Pulling them into everyday challenges as a couple is new ground that can be greatly explored. Lois has a real hard time accepting that her boyfriend has the world's most dangerous jobs and that even in the back of her mind his job will always win. For Clark, no matter what he does as Superman, he is always thinking of Lois and how he has to manage to come back to her night after night, facing some of the greatest challenges a hero has to face. It is the fact that their love transcends all of those challenges is the reason why they work so well together. They never truly let those outside forces dictate where their relationship is going to go. Even in the face of an alien invasion from the planet Apokolips, Lois knows that Clark has to do what he must do to make sure there is still a planet and a girlfriend even to come home to.


So in the wake of Metropolis's most tested and darkest moments, a man...a man of steel comes to her rescue. Superman has withstood the test of time solely because of his ideals, what he stands for, and his ability to be the hero that all other heroes want to be. I am sure with great thought and execution there will be a great Superman story to be told within the medium of digital storytelling. As a major fan of the big guy in blue, I have felt that this article was necessary not just for me to write, but for the thousands of fans out there who, like me, have felt that Superman has gone without a great game to be played. With countless attempts over the years it is clear as to see why it would be so difficult, but sometimes we have to look beyond whats on the surface and dig deep to get what we want. If Superman: The Man of Steel ever turns out to be good, then I am sure the fans will have another way to adore and look up to Earth's Greatest Protector, a man we all know as Superman.

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  1. Personally, i think they just need to take a logical approach to the gameplay, for the tutorial in the beginning have you play a segment of superman growing up, as an adolescent or a teenager, just getting used to his powers, maybe even having his father be the one to 'coach' him in controlling them (kinda like with smallville) and then once you have the controls down and everything flashforward to the present day with a cutscene, and then have you dive straight in, and instead of it all being "Superman against the clock to save the day" have it be "Superman's brute against Superman's Brains" Make all of the interactions with badguys require outsmarting them, Superman is god like, don't limit that; but instead, emphasize that his enemies KNOW he's godlike and wouldn't mess with him unless they thought they'd figured out a way to beat him. Make every rescue a puzzle that has to be executed quickly, but don't give it a specific timer and just say "GO" "Uh-oh, Time's up, they die"
    for example, take the classic scenario of Lex has Lois in a train car about to plummet to the earth hundreds of feet below, with an identical one on the other side of town; with the flip of a switch, Lex can release a clamp holding them both, simultaneously. In games past where they went wrong was that they made it a time challenge, instead of that, if they had made it a puzzle to be figured out, we could have a good game. Allow for multiple methods for saving the day: One method, while standing directly in the middle between the two, give you the ability to weld the entire clamp solid with his heat vision on one train car,and then save the other one. Make the player realize the mental strain of being superman, not the physical. Limiting his powers will just make it super clear that you AREN'T Superman. Lex is a Super Genius, but so is Superman, but that doesn't change that what Lex lacks in physique he still balances the fight with his SUPERIOR intellect; make the game CHALLENGING, the reason i loved arkham city was because of the amazingly complexity behind the game, it wasn't as cut and dry as "Do this here" it was, "What do you WANT to do here?" stealth? brute force? outsmart?
    They need to make this game, we're all waiting for it, but they need to execute it right. I'm sick of time challenges, and kryptonite around EVERY corner, don't give me a health meter, and don't give the city one either, if superman lets ONE person die outside of a cutscene where it's for the story, then make them restart just like they did with Arkham City, and have a small "game over" cut scene like they did in Arkham City, have Lex Gloating that Lois is dead, or Toy Man taunting him with the fact that all the kids at the zoo were mauled by Chimpz. Don't make it an E rated game, we want a game that puts peoples LIVES at stake, that's the reason that Superman 64 is the worst game ever; saying that no real people can be in danger is ridiculous.
    And as far as people playing as superman and wanting to attack people, if they accidentally do, make the person get knocked out and drop, if they do it repeatedly, have a "Game Over" cutscene with like Martian Manhunter or something scanning his mind and finding out that he's really ultra-man from the Crisis universe, or something of the like, Even Batman restraining him just to find an alien mind control plant on his neck or something, If someone plays with evil intent, punish them for it, just as they would if superman acted that way in the comics.
    We need some degree of darkness to it, and we need real stakes!
    even throw in an optional Bizarro mode for the people that want to play that way.
    I want a game that makes me feel like Superman, just like Arkham City did with Batman.
    I'm more of a Superman Fan than anything else, so i want them to FINALLY get this right for a change!!!!!

  2. I totally agree with that. I had considered the young Clark tutorial for some time. It would be particularly interesting to see Smallville portrayed in a video game format. To be able to walk around where Clark walked around, to see his childhood home and to see places where he and Lana had been to....what an experience that would be. I was sort of thinking that Clark would have to revisit there as an adult and have flashback sequences as he remembers certain parts of his childhood growing up.
    And as far as getting this game done, I am in fact wrapping up a 3 year degree in Game Art and Design. I can manage to make certain parts of a "game" or environment that can give more of a visual cue to the parts I explained in my article. I was also planning on writing other articles soon about other game ideas that have been brewing in my massively nerdy brain of mine. For example, I was going to include a part two to my Superman article, and when I was visiting up north at the game studio that is working on the new Lara Croft game, "Crystal Dynamics" ( I have a good friend who is working there)I was informed of LucasArts planing to reboot their entire approach to games, so I thought I would write a few articles on how to Bring back the "Bounty Hunter" series but with Boba Fett in a 3rd person action adventure game based off of the novels included in " Tales of the Bounty Hunter" and a possible creation of a game series to the likes of "Gears of War" style gameplay, but the story would revolve around the Mandalorian Civil War. It would be a Gears/Halo Reach mash up with tons of Star Wars reference and space battles as well as ground combat. In the Mando Civil war Jango is mentioned later, but to examine the conflict and to fight battles as Mandalorians...would be pretty badass.

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my article. It is always nice to meet fans of Superman and stories/games alike. If you have any questions or comments please feel free and if you guys want to see me build an environment or whatever for a gme in 3D. leave ideas and/or suggestions. Lets get this game made!!!