Electronic Arts and big-name licenses have gone hand in hand for many years. It's not surprising that the megapublisher is making a game based on the upcoming blockbuster film Superman Returns, but what might raise eyebrows is that the development studio tasked with creating the game is EA Tiburon, better known as the house that brought you Madden. We recently had a chance to look at a noninteractive trailer of the Superman Returns game at a preshow event. While the game does share some similarities with other superhero-inspired, free-roaming, crime-fighting games, there are a number of aspects to Superman Returns that will help set it apart and give it a uniquely Superman feel.
The game will, of course, include the likenesses and voice talents from the film, including Brandon Routh in the title role, Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, and Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. The city of Metropolis will also be very much a star, as you will be able to seamlessly explore above and below the massive city, which will stretch out over 80 square miles. The area is so massive that the developers said it takes minutes to fly across, even at equivalent speeds of 800 miles per hour. The video we saw did indeed show off some impressive vistas of the city, as Superman rose up over top of behemoth skyscrapers and raced in between them with an impressive sense of speed. We also saw this as Superman dropped into one area of the city, and civilians and car traffic, as well as other nice urban details, came into view on the ground.
Unlike other crime-fighting games, Superman Returns promises that the player won't be troubled with trivial tasks such as stopping purse snatchers or foiling carjackers, according to its developer. Instead, the 50 objectives you'll need to accomplish in the game will be truly Herculean tasks that require a superhero, such as fighting the 60-foot tall Metallo or saving people from disasters like a bridge collapse. To help you do these tasks, you'll have access to all of Superman's signature abilities, such as super strength, high-speed flight, laser vision, and more. You can use the environment to help you, such as by picking up a light pole or a car to use as a weapon, or using your laser vision to ignite or blow up key elements. There will also be melee fighting techniques you can learn, such as the "thousand fists" move, where Superman zips in and out of the screen in a blurring flurry to repeatedly punch a target.
In all, the developers promise about 30 hours of gameplay in Superman Returns, which is slated to ship June 26 on the Xbox 360, Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, and PC platforms. The version of Superman Returns we saw appeared to be running on a current-generation platform, so some of the details may not apply to the portable platform versions of the game. Superman Returns is currently supposed to appear at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in playable form, so stay tuned for more coverage from GameSpot as new details on the game emerge.