Spot On: Putting the "super" in superhero games

Action-packed comic adventures should fit gaming like a spandex jumpsuit, so why do so many of them turn downright villainous?

According to canon, Superman has only two major weaknesses: kryptonite and magic. However, gamers might want to add a third: interactive entertainment. It has been 30 years since the Man of Steel first took on games with the Atari 2600, but he has yet to land a signature success, with major releases ranging from fair to abysmal.

"Rings! My only weakness!"

Gaming adaptations have claimed more victims than just Superman. Characters like Batman, Spawn, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and a host of others have endured uncanny beatings at the hands of reviewers over the years. While there are definite exceptions, the intersection of comics and games is still littered with disappointments. To find out why these titles might have a less-than-super track record, GameSpot spoke with creators of superhero games past, present, and future.

With great powers come great logistical difficulties

As vice president of Marvel's interactive business, Justin Lambros works with development studios to create games based on the comic book maker's vast catalog of characters.

"One of the biggest challenges is just making sure that the character is game-able, frankly," said Lambros. "Not all characters are meant for games."

For instance, the brute strength of the Incredible Hulk and his relatively simple motivations ("Hulk smash!") are a natural fit for games. But Lambros says it would be much trickier to represent the abilities of characters like the wheelchair-bound psychic Professor X or the sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange, in a way that would live up to the expectations of their fans.

"Take Hank Pym," Lambros said of the size-shifting character that has fought crime under the aliases Ant-Man, Giant Man, and Yellow Jacket. "His character is science and experiments and trying to figure things out. One of the challenges is how that would translate into gameplay."

An Ant-Man game would have to make compelling gameplay out of talking to ants and shrinking...

Lambros might have to address the issue of an Ant-Man game soon enough. While there's no gaming tie-in yet, director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced) is set to helm a 2010 feature film based on the diminutive do-gooder. If there is to be an Ant-Man game, expect it to arrive directly alongside the film. Lambros pointed out that all the advertising to increase public awareness about films works to promote the merchandising tie-ins as well.

"The amount of money and marketing power and reach that's put behind any movie is going to dwarf any game's [marketing] budget just with the reach and the power that the studios have," Lambros said.

If Ant-Man has a movie coming out and his gaming glory is still far from assured, the picture is that much bleaker for other, movieless Marvel B-listers.

"I would love to do that," Lambros said of making games based on more obscure characters along the lines of Moon Knight. "There are a lot of characters I have fondness for that aren't the top roster guys but have cool power and backstory. But I'm still in the licensing business, and I rely on my game partners and publishing partners to get behind these products, and they gravitate toward the known quantities, the movie launches and that sort of thing."

Striking while the Iron (Man) is hot

That translates into hard deadlines for development teams, as few companies are willing to delay a game and miss out on the lucrative theatrical promotion window. (Although that's exactly what Electronic Arts did with Superman Returns, pushing the game back to coincide with the holiday DVD release of the film because of the difficulties associated with making an open-world game.)

As Lambros explained, "We always want to do the best thing for the product and the brand, so there are discussions about [delaying game tie-ins], but we always want to hit when the iron is hot and come out with the film."

In addition to having a hard deadline on one end of the development, Lambros said gaming tie-ins often aren't brought into the process early enough in the film's development.

"It's very rare that you have over two years [to make these games]," Lambros said, "but we're working hard to get those plans working and get early preproduction work on games way in advance of the movie so we've got more than two years to build a stronger game and raise the bar."

Sega's Marvel deal allows game development to get a jump on movie production.

Part of Marvel's solution to that problem lies in its current movie-based game deal with Sega. The four-brand deal involves games based on the Iron Man movie, as well as upcoming projects for Hulk, Captain America, and Thor. While those last two film projects don't have too many specifics nailed down, the deal lets Sega get the gears moving on those projects further in advance of the release of the films.

Hulk smash conventional wisdom!

To see the impact a film tie-in can have, one need only look at the last couple of Hulk games. In 2003, Vivendi Games and Radical Entertainment launched Hulk, a game tie-in for the Ang Lee-directed film of the same name. The game was released about a month before the film and received unspectacular--but still respectable--reviews. Fast-forward to 2005 and Radical's second crack at the license, The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction. The game had no movie tie-in, but its open-world approach to the character and ability to "weaponize" anything from a car to a cow led to a much more positive critical reception. Even so, Lambros said the second game sold "not nearly as well" as the first.

"Ultimate Destruction was a superior game definitely," Lambros said, "but it didn't hit as big an audience... It's that awareness that came with the big-budget Hulk film, the Super Bowl TV spot, the hype, and the big June opening."

Why puny humans no buy good Hulk game?

Marvel is taking lessons from that for the next game featuring the green goliath, Lambros said. With a new Hulk film set for release this summer, Marvel has development studio Edge of Reality working on an accompanying Ultimate Destruction-style open-world game that he hopes will capitalize on the Hulkamania at its highest point.

Having worked on both Hulk and Ultimate Destruction, Radical Entertainment executive producer Tim Bennison is well aware of the special challenges a superhero game presents developers. Many of the problems are cascading, perhaps aggravating or creating new challenges.

"People expect the Hulk to be the strongest guy in the Marvel Universe; otherwise you're not delivering the Hulk," Bennison said. "Everybody knows Hulk can jump across buildings, so you've got to deliver that and put it in an environment where he can jump over buildings, and that means an open-world game, which is hard to develop and get right."

And even if a developer can create an open-world game that faithfully replicates a character's powers and can deliver it in time for a theatrical tie-in, there are other issues to consider. While Radical was fortunate that the unchecked rage of the Hulk lends itself to a game like Ultimate Destruction, it's not an appropriate solution for more straight-laced heroes.

"There's this concept of a moral code that a lot of superhero characters have, which, quite frankly, players don't have," Bennison said. "The concept of a Superman game is really tough to pull off, and not just because of technical issues. It's because of the fact that Superman doesn't do bad things, and players--especially in an open-world game--want to do bad things. Being told that you can't push the school bus off the cliff because that's not what Superman does is annoying to a player."

Finish him...or not.

As annoying as that design decision might be, it isn't always the developer who is making the decision. When a developer makes a game based on a comic book, a film, or any other property, the licensor has the final say in how its brand and characters are depicted.

For instance, Midway is developing the recently announced Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, but the game won't feature the gory fatalities for which the fighting franchise is known because DC isn't about to sign off on having its heroes rend opponents limb from limb (or vice versa) in an M-rated game. Despite the absence of severed heads, Mortal Kombat creator Ed Boon said the gameplay will still be distinctly MK.

You can do this to Scorpion. You can't do it to Batman.

"This game without a doubt is going to be brutal and intense and dark," Boon said. "That whole presentation we've always given Mortal Kombat is not going to go away. In fact, the general fighting experience is going to be more intense than in previous games, but there will definitely be a line we won't be able to cross without becoming an M-rated game."

The level of violence wasn't the only uncrossable line DC set.

"[DC] gave us guidelines that in my opinion were pretty general," Boon said, "It was stuff like Superman does not kill, basic actions their characters don't do. And then there were things about the looks of the characters, making modifications."

Boon said the developers could have guessed most of the guidelines, but when it came to how DC characters would act in the game's situations, the team enlisted DC scribes to ensure authenticity to the comic brand. However, Mortal Kombat is a brand unto itself, having been licensed for movies, cartoons, toys, and more, so Midway isn't about to turn over complete story control to external parties.

"The DC writers help with the DC characters," Boon explained. "How Scorpion behaves or what he says is written by our writers, the guys on our team who wrote the story. The DC guys really helped us with the DC characters and how they would react in a situation when they're confronted by this Mortal Kombat character."

The integration of the two universes and the resulting approval process prompted Boon to design the development schedule to mitigate any associated delays or hold-ups.

For the MK vs. DC game, Boon needs to blend the two brands without alienating either fan base.

"We have a cast of 20 characters, 10 from MK and 10 from DC, and we front-ended our production of the characters," Boon said. "We did all of the DC ones first because we wanted to get them through the approval process. You send them design sketches of the characters, you send the final 3D model of the character, the special moves... There's a lot of back and forth to get those approvals, so we front-ended it to get ready in case there were any major hiccups."

Even if Midway and DC representatives agree on how to handle something in the game, it's not necessarily a done deal.

"There's DC, and then there's also [DC parent company] Warner Bros.," Boon said, "and within each group there are multiple people who look at the content and comment on it. We've had incidents like that, and anytime you're licensing something, you're going to get that. There have been things one approved and the other had issue with, and vice versa."

Creative license revoked?

The problem of dealing with multiple licensors is a familiar one to Secret Level's Jeffrey Tseng. The director of Sega's just-released Iron Man movie adaptation had a particularly trying licensor experience working on Atari's 2003 Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds game for the Xbox and PC.

"That one had many issues in what the underlying direction for the title would be," Tseng said. "Atari wanted to do a more action-based game. It was tough for the guys at [Magic creator] Wizards of the Coast to wrap their heads around that because they basically just do the card game. And in between there was also [WOTC owner] Hasbro, which wanted to be in on the communication between us. It's not that anybody was really screwing things up; it was all about the speed and frequency of communication to make things go smoothly."

Tseng said that the process was greatly streamlined for Iron Man. Where most Marvel movie adaptations would require approval from the comic book creators as well as the film studio, the two were one and the same on Iron Man, the first in-house film from Marvel Studios. He also called it the best relationship he'd ever had with a licensor, which might not be surprising considering that his contact at Marvel, Lambros, was a producer at Iron Man publisher Sega immediately before assuming his current position.

While other comic-movie games run into problems with developers getting the filmmakers and the comic owners to sign off on everything, the Iron Man film was made by Marvel's own movie studio, so Sega needed only one party's approval.

Beyond tight time schedules, translating powers into fun gameplay, and communication issues with licensors, Tseng said there are additional problems caused by making games based on films and stories that are themselves still in the process of being made.

"Let's say you're doing a game on a new fantasy movie that's coming out," Tseng said. "Sometimes it's hard to get access to the script. Sometimes there isn't even a script. A lot of times they'll change things halfway through a project and say, 'Oh, he's not going to use a sword; now he's got a bow.' And you can obviously see the effect that has on a game in terms of level design and all sorts of things."

Tseng said his team was fortunate that Iron Man was a firmly established character, so they knew they could rely on certain abilities and game mechanics that would be in the film. For instance, the team had Iron Man's in-game flight mechanics locked down before the filmmakers had theirs finished, although tweaks in the film did require some last-minute scrambling, such as to incorporate the suit's "air brakes."

It wasn't just additions to the film that put restrictions on the game's developers. Things left out of the movie placed entirely different limitations on the Secret Level team.

"The first question everybody asks is, 'Is he going to be drunk in the game?'" Tseng said, referring to Iron Man's alcoholic alter ego Tony Stark. "The second thing is, 'Is [supporting character] War Machine going to be in there?' That's pretty much across the board. But both of those things are dictated by the film. Obviously the guys over at Marvel are aware of this and they're looking at it maybe for the next film. Those are things that we wanted to integrate too, but we can't get ahead [of the movies]. Maybe in the next title."

Bizarro World

Games are a bigger business than ever before, and companies are banking on tie-ins as more than just an afterthought. Just as they might command more respect from outside licensors now, games are themselves becoming hot licenses and jumping the divide into the various media from which they so frequently borrow. Marvel has produced a variety of Halo comics in recent years, Image is working on a comic for Electronic Arts' Dead Space, and DC is making comics based on Gears of War and Radical Entertainment's current project, Prototype.

Having seen the licensor approval process from the other side with the Hulk games, Bennison is gaining a new appreciation for his counterparts' concerns as Prototype prepares to branch out beyond games.

Prototype was designed from the ground up to be adapted into other media, but comics will be the first extension of the brand.

"It's very interesting because you really do have to have a solid set of written-down ideas as to what the universe is about," Bennison said. "It's not just the character and his name and what he can do. Way beyond that, what's the backstory? What are the bios of all the secondary characters? What are the rules we do break, and what rules don't we break? What's the tone of the whole IP? How do we treat humor? Do we allow the humor in? If so, what's the style? How do we put a clamp on things getting over the top? Everything about the IP is translated into the other medium and has to conform to that."

At the same time, Bennison has to straddle the line between preserving the integrity of his own brand and preventing his partners from doing their jobs properly.

"We've got a lot of control," Bennison said. "We review every mock-up cover from the artists, we reviewed the over-arching plotline for the multi-issue series, and we're doing multiple revisions and comments on the script we're getting from the writers. We'll be reviewing mock-ups on the pencils and whatnot too. DC has been really great, really collaborative in allowing us to participate in the process, but we don't tell them how to do their job; they're the comic book experts."

While many of the challenges facing developers of superhero games are inherent to the process, Bennison believes things are getting better, particularly with the film adaptations.

"Movie people now are starting to understand how long it takes to make a game and how the timescales are different than for a movie," Bennison said. "They're understanding that if they want to get a quality product out, they have to approach developers earlier. In terms of which games work for superheroes, more successful models are coming out. The problems will still be there, but people are getting smarter about them."

While it's possible for a shoddy game to rack up sales on the strength of a strong tie-in, Lambros said licensors would be wiser to make sure all the games bearing their brands are of a high quality.

"Gameplay is king at the end of the day, so you can't put the Spider-Man or Iron Man or Hulk name on a crappy game, because it may sell but you won't sell the next one and you won't be moving the industry forward or changing the perception of [licensed games]," Lambros said. "Nobody wants another lousy licensed game."

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184 comments
Dannez
Dannez

This is getting out of hand "creative restrictions" and whatnot.. At first i thought it was a cool idea letting DC comics make a comic about Mercer (from Prototype) and his violent journey... nut now i fear that with all goddamn fear of not selling magazines to kids cause their age, they are gonna make Mercer and pals gay Not cool. It's all about the cash nowadays, not about creating something cool that people will remember, and at the same time keeping the creative integrity that says "I will do what i want to my work and idea, and this is how it is supposed to be." Remember who Batman used to be, anybody?

murie110
murie110

all those games megamaster named are gay and i mean that from the heart! but i strongly agree with gangsterjc everyone likes the evil route plus prototype looks freekin sweet

gangsterjc
gangsterjc

Hulk ultimate Destruction was the only game that was great,The inc hulk? No that was really a buggy piece of garbage,I think that prototype Will be a great game since the guys who are doin it did Hulk ultimate Destruction which was pretty dam fun! Cant wait for prototype guna be good,ALSO THE ONLY way junk like iron man and that crappy super man game made money was becuase of "Big" fanboys who just buy a system for that preticular garbage,since they are supportin "it" even tho controls suck and crappy bugs,Leads to think video gamers arent buyin this stuff just Idiotic fan boys...COM ON PROTOTYPE COME OUT!!!!!! k im done Also super man and iron man R to Goody goody Every body likes the evil side rite?everybody wants to kill not save!our blo stuff up Nobody wants to be good anymore how many PPl r guna be bad on Fable 2 i wonder lot more then Good and those who play as good r prob only in it for the achevments,Good has died Every body is evil inside! every body hates every body and destroyin stuff in a video game and killin shud only be in a video game,Since every body knos showin Homicidele urges in public isent good, Basically im sayin u vent urself better wene ur bad in a video game.

megamaster32
megamaster32

Lets face it some game movies are bad like the ant bully or chicken little the onliy good games of the official movie are like the hulk spiderman 123 and superman returns they dont make it that good because its really a game off of the officiial movie and they dont take some time on it like i said some game movies are good and some are bad

TwinTiger
TwinTiger

Usually the problem is trying to make a game version of the movie instead of making the game prequel or a sequel of the movie. That way, developers are not trying to stick with the movie's plot. They could try to do like Superman Returns and release the game with the DVD (that should give developers an extra three months to work on the game). But the downside to that is if the movie doesn't do well, it will hurt the game sales. That'll be made worse if they have to wait for the game. That's the problem when business gets too involved with creativity. It would probably help if the developers had the foundations and engines of different types games already created; so when they get the license for a specific title, they can add the characters to it... hopefully that can shave off some production time. Who knows....

scytheofluna
scytheofluna

I'm really hoping Sega just copies Hulk Ultimate destruction and improves the graphics. That was the one good superhero game in history. The Spidey games have been okay, but aside from the web swinging there isn't much to them, and the combat has been terrible in all of them. I want an Assassin's Creed style Batman game with a fully explorable open world Gotham City where you can call the Batmobile from anywhere in town grapple to any point and fight major battles from the comics or face random goons in the street. Later on they can give you access to the Batboat and Batwing or Batcopter for GTA style chases. I also want a WWII era Captain America game based on the Gears of War template with a side order of Dark Sector's glaive mechanic for Cap's shield. How cool would it be to pop up from cover, send the shield flying into a Nazi's face, pop off a few shots with a Thompson submachine gun, then catch the shield just in time to block a few fragments of shrapnel and then bash another baddie in the face? Do these developers have no imagination? I have no game development experience whatsoever and there are two great game ideas waiting to be made right there. Assassin's Creed and Gears are begging to be ripped off in comic adaptations. Just do it already.

Koal_Jadian
Koal_Jadian

what?! Then why the heck was IRON MAN the WORST game ever made. The graphics are 12 years behind and the controls are terrible. The menus are awful. The "level-up" system doesn't even do anything and you can't control it. What a terrible game. And transformers? was Anyone was foolish as me to play that piece of garbage? Pleae do NOT let Sega make more marvel games. I don't want Thor ruined like Iron man.

markimsoad
markimsoad

its a free movement? like gta?! :)

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

There is one basic to being a superhero that is either overlooked or forced in most superhero videogames and that is the alterego. I mean take the first Hulk movie tie-in game they forced you to become Bruce Banner instead of allowing you to choose. Could you ever be Clark Kent by choice in the Superman games? I think not.

Then there's the Spiderman games you don't get to choose to be Peter Parker do you?(I've played Ultimate Spiderman but to the best of my memory I do not recall being given the choice at the push of a button to become Peter Parker or revert back to Spidey. Even in the movie tie in of Spiderman 2 there was an icon you had to be on and that was for a prescripted cinematic nothing you directly controlled.)

Before you say who wants to be Peter Parker might I add that in doing so you'd be more likely to blend into a crowd of NPCs and possibly become lost to any nearby super thugs. Thus adding a Splintercellish element to it.

I know that Prototype is coming out soon and I've heard about his Darkman like ability to become anyone here's hoping it works. I could definitely see it becoming second hat to such extent that players will ask why couldn't you do this in other games?

LordAndrew
LordAndrew

I think the games that tie directly into movies sell better though. Even if it releases alongside the film, it seems that it has to actually be related to the film or the sales won't meet expectations.

Solidshark21
Solidshark21

It sounds to me like they make it more complicated than it has to be. If they want to cash in on a license they should create original games based on the characters prior to the movies. They could have done a iron man game that didn't tie into the movie but released the same day as the movie that way they wouldn't have needed a script. Plus you wouldn't be seeing the exact same scenes that you saw in the movies. If i were the developers i wouldn't even give marvel and dc enough power to dictate what could and couldn't go into the game. If they were so unwilling to be flexible with their characters the game studios could create their own characters and give them powers just like the comic characters. You would have more instant classics like freedom force or city of heros. If that happened marvel and dc would eventually come around.

cocomacoco
cocomacoco

its about times, i would have bought a good Iron Man Game with my eyes closed, but there's no way i'm buying this crappy fliyng bunch of metal.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Freedom Force and Freedom Force 2 were great examples of comic book/superhero themed games. The thing is though, they featured original characters made by Irrational, not licensed ones from Marvel or DC or some other brand-name company. Very good characters though, who were well designed and voice acted, which was a pleasant surprise.

GabrielN
GabrielN

What most of you seem to be missing is that the crappy tie-ins DO sell pretty well. Simply put, fans are idiots. That's why there's no incentive to make them better.

AngelCage
AngelCage

he said that Hulk is perfect for a game... but i simply can't remember a good or almost AVERAGE hulk game... The only good superman game that i have played is one from SNES... the deatha nd return of superman or something like that... the snes had some good Spidey games too... nothing memorable. And there's Batman Return of snes wich is pretty good actually. The most sucessfull super hero games are without a doubth some of the Xmen games (some... one of them), One of snes with hulk -the only good game with him-, captain america, spidey and Iron man... i can't remember the name and the crossovers of capcom... nothing more. and that MK-vs-DC "Marvel vs Capcom wanabee" will just be a crap-wagon...

Gruug
Gruug

The only game which I thought ever came close to actually depicting "superheros" was(is) NCsoft's MMO City of Hero/City of villians. Every other game has come up extremely short so far.

cooldude03
cooldude03

Superheroes and Video Games should go hand in hand. I think the character creators should be more hands on. I believe most of them feel it tarnishes the name when the game fails. So they would put the extra touch to make sure it's good.

iamsthedogfood
iamsthedogfood

R3DN1N3 I agree. The only way their going to make money in the long run is to get the support of gamers by making quality games. Just relying on movie hype to sell rushed low-quality games is not good sustainable business. Licensed content rarely makes a good game anyway. too much BS.

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

This is a no brainer. Games like this have NO time to develop properly. All they care about is making that quick buck. Seriously, games like this insult me and gaming as a whole. Movie based games shouldn't be allowed to see the light of day. They delayed Superman for more development and yet it still sucked. Honestly this genre like the yearly Madden games that come out will never get better. Ok so the developers get some extra months to make the game..... whoop-de-doo. Nothing good. I loved the Iron Man movie which surprised me. I was thinking it was gonna be another miss but it turns out it wasn't. However, as much as I like the movie I will never get the game. It's just trash, and frankly an insult to my wallet.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Okay... For Mortal Kombat - add this code: If (characterA = MK) and (characterB = MK) Then Fatalities = True Else Fatalities = False End If This way you don't have to remove Fatalities all the way. Simply cut them out if a DC character is fighting in the round. Fatalities are one of the defining features of a Mortal Kombat game. Removing this just seems wrong. Even if Batman wouldn't rip someone's head off, he could still strap on some handcuffs, throw 'em over to commissoner gordon, who then throws them into Arkham. Iron Man was another crappy licensed game. Sure some of the mechanics were okay and the game wasn't complete crap. But it's all repetitive and dull. Maybe these people need to take a look at how they are going to get these games released. If they want a good superhero game, they are going to need two years of development. If a movie only takes one year to make, then make the movie while making the game, but hold back the movie for an extra year so that the game can release as a better product that will garner more sales. If you have a game with as much quality as GTA IV or Halo 3, then you can expect some major return on investment. Imagine you release a movie that sells as much as Spider-Man or Iron Man and then add to that a game that sells $500 million. I think that it would be worth the extra year of waiting for the movie release so that the game product brings in that much more with it. If you release a crappy licensed game, the people who bought it, likely won't be buying the next game that comes with the next movie. If you release a game that is killer to go along with a blockbuster movie, you have one heck of a money-making IP established and you have more money to invest in a sequel. I'm sick of hearing people talk about how hard it is to make a good licensed game, but then also continue to talk about how the games need to be better. Make the frackin games better and quick trying to rush the development cycle! Nothing will get fixed unless movie studios start seeing the value that the game counterparts can have if given the development time. Superman Returns didn't get much better with more time, but (1) it was a new EA developer (2) the game didn't have a good setup in the first place (3) The developers still felt rushed to get the game out the door. 'nough said?

coold_steam
coold_steam

ya we dont want another lousy games still these type of games r not on my list

jknight5422
jknight5422

"Nobody wants another lousy licensed game.", Lambros said. Then why the hale does he keep making movie tie-ins? They stink on ice. This hasn't changed. But above he says it sells more! So he would rather sell a game that sucks to make more money than produce a game of quality that people will like for years to come. They failed to mention the success of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. There was no movie tie-in. That game was excellent. Everyone should boycott movie tie-in games & perhaps they'll quit producing them.

Gravidtron
Gravidtron

Ant-Man game: sandbox version of Zelda Minish Cap, bob's your uncle it's done. Of course the hard part is making good puzzles and fight sequences...

DiabolicalX
DiabolicalX

WHAT no limb ripping in an MK game???

GuyverV
GuyverV

imo, ultimate destruction, x-men legends and it's progeny (II and ultimate alliance), and the first spider man game (on the ps1) are the best comic book games. they nailed the worlds and the characters.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"frogman666 with computer AI why dont they make it so the normal Kombatants have fatalities when they fight one another and when its a DC character they a have some sort of big hit combo that just renders them useless. but I guess that wont work because they will want to aim this to a teenage audiance"

Or you know how in the more recent MK games you can switch fighting styles? Why not give each and every MK character two fighting styles fatal and nonlethal. But give the DC characters brutal and nonlethal. Brutal would be slightly beefier damage and combowise than the nonlethal and while fatalities would not be doable they could atleast be averted. Fatal would be beefier than nonlethal and allow fatalities to be done.

An even better idea might be to have the fighting styles be set to the default setting of one (nonlethal) and have the xbox 360 be set by the game to rated T from in game. This way if they want to market to the younger audience and not be sued they'd genuinely be promoting that.

However in the event that they don't want to lose their fanbase they could keep it by allowing you to go to switch fighting styles to two. Then from ingame you'd be prompted to enter the password (if there is one for your rating prohibitor on your 360) then you could play it to it's fullest.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"StoneTempleDude Laudade, if it was up to the developers, I'm sure that they as well would love to take their time to make a good game, but there are other factors - like the movie studios, for one, who may want the game to be launched at the same time as the movie. This is why I feel for devs: not only do they not get enough time to make good games, but later they have to take all the flak for it while the studios scoop up the earnings and go off to plot their next movie/game combo. Posted May 11, 2008 7:22 am CT"

People keep bringing up Spiderman 2. But let's look at where it came from first there was Spiderman the movie tie in game. It was not an open world game it was fairly linear.

Then Spiderman 2 comes along first of all the developers spent extra time and care just to get the city of New York right then everything else. Sure there were some glitches and areas where the game would freeze but for the most part they defied what had become the norm at the time for movie games and that is the ongoing mentality that they must suck cause there's not enough time to make them right.

It can be done heck it has been done again look at Spiderman 2 they did not rush that one did they?

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"bobo3682 just stop buying the crap... don't buy iron man, it's crap... the hulk game was fun, spiderman 2 was good, marvel ultimate alliance was kinda lame the rest is crap. No one is interested in making a good superhero game they just look at it as a way to cash in."

Spiderman 2 was the last superhero videogame I bought. I rented Hulk, and the Fantastic 4...and I agree with you those two were bad. Thankfully I beat both as rentals. Hulk Ultimate Destruction seems better than that other Hulk game I rented I haven't bought it but have played the demo. Ultimate Spiderman wasn't bad (I played it at EB Games) but it reminded me of Spiderman 2 but with more comicish graphics, Spiderman 3 also reminds me of Spiderman 2 I already own Spiderman 2 why do I want to buy the same game again?

I'm a bit confused why did they make another Hulk movie so soon that's not a sequel to the Ang Lee one? They could improve upon it with the sequel instead of trying to pretend the first one never existed.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

"But Lambros says it would be much trickier to represent the abilities of characters like the wheelchair-bound psychic Professor X or the sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange, in a way that would live up to the expectations of their fans. "

Um if I may interject here? Doctor Strange could be handled like Psychonauts power and stage developmentwise. Granted that game did not do so well commercially I see a lot of parallels betwixt the characters powerwise. The Astral Projection could be handled after a context sensitive button combo renders his current target stunned almost like GdOW then he could Astral Project inside of them and look for whatever secrets he needs to piece to gether where he needs to go next or what he needs to do next meanwhile when he's in the real world he could use his telekinetic power in a way that's akin to Midway's Second Sight. In a side note since he was once a surgeon I think his fear of surgery should be addressed as an ever present danger as he tries to save the lives of the victems of his nemises since all other docters might have been scared away by them he'd be the only one left behind to do the surgery. But it would not just be a simple operation he has to enter their bodies using his astral projection power to...

What you need to do is look at the superhero's powers that they have at their disposal, look at what has come before it game experience wise that might fit it closely, then try to apply what works best out of that to the superhero game. If you can find an interface or a way to make the game more so fun and original without straying away from the character and their origins? Then by all means go for it. Openworld games don't always work best for all superheroes unless some thought is put into how they'd get around. Transportation would be key and although Dr. Strange starts off with a car its destroyed early on in a snowstorm...His telekinesis on the other hand...

"Gameplay is king at the end of the day, so you can't put the Spider-Man or Iron Man or Hulk name on a crappy game, because it may sell but you won't sell the next one and you won't be moving the industry forward or changing the perception of [licensed games]," Lambros said. "Nobody wants another lousy licensed game."

Agreed:)

Chilipepper87
Chilipepper87

It is unfortunate that DC had to be involved with MK. First of all DC sucks, all the characters where tights and are pretty cheesy. Think of it-superman(gay), batman(gay), Flash(gay), they all suck !!! Then u got marvel- sure they have a lot of cheesy characters, but thankfully you never here about those nubs and you get Iron Man, All the awesome X-Men, Spiderman(hes okay), and a crap load of more cool stuff. MK should have just went solo and focused on an awesome singleplayer experience and made a pure quality MK game, which is something we haven't seen in a long time. Now MK gets a dubbed down crap appropriate for Teen ratings game which is really queer just like DC.

Desulated
Desulated

Rule of thumb: NEVER buy games based on movies, TV shows, or whatever.

gin_rummy89
gin_rummy89

The Punisher (PS2, Xbox, PC) is awesome. IMO it is the best superhero based video game ever. any third person shooter fan should check it out if you've got the time.

jaycromer12
jaycromer12

Does anyone else find it funny that the writer actually suggests how to make a good Antman game without knowing it? The character is less action and more of a puzzle solver, therefore make the game more about the puzzles. Use the shrinking to create puzzles out of the enemies, akin to Shadow of Colossus. To keep some action the enemies could include a battle portion, which switches to action based puzzles after a while. A special dodge could be made from the shrinking ability, but limited in use by the natural vertigo which would result from constant size changes. I think it could make for a neat game idea.

Lone_Wolff
Lone_Wolff

Just make a game on the same level that the Chronicles of Riddick was on, and you'd be set. That game was better than the movie O.o

X-RS
X-RS

well, spawn on the snes is alright...

azafirster
azafirster

I think games based on movies generally suck, no matter what the excuse is. I won't even look at those games, its usually a big letdown. I want my money i spend on games to be worth it. I wont cash out $60 for a game, and regret it when playing the game.

gator64
gator64

Marvel sucks end of the story.

hunter8man
hunter8man

Movie based games are usually just a cheap cash-in that doesn't take the needed time and care to make a truly great game. There are a few exceptions to this, but it still baffles me as to why it still happens. As for the DC vs. MK game, if MK doesn't have fatalities then I would rather play Street Fighter or Tekken instead.

Pacifica6
Pacifica6

Why not put the DC villians in a Mk game? DC is truly the worst of all comics conglomerates and incredibly STUPID too. I doubt the Joker would mind killing anyone - and he'd be dope in MK. TOTAL @SS CLOWNS - DC you lose. Again.

bobo3682
bobo3682

Pal , I read the paragraph, I know there is a lot to game movie development that I don't understand, and I never tried to act like I did. Thing is Iron Man just came out and it is crap. They are better off not even producing a game to coincide with the release of the movie. They are better off taking more time to develop the game and release after the movie's success. Maybe coincide with the DVD's release. I know they are under contract to poop something out by a certain date, good or bad. You put a bunch of words in my mouth, all I'm saying is there is nothing being done to make superhero games great. It's not like you need a blockbuster movie as an excuse to make a superhero game, and I understand licensing is a problem which is why developers are more apt to create their own hero/character and build a great game around their own intellectual property. The best superhero game I've played was Hulk Ultimate Destruction and that was years ago... where's the improvement? I'm not trying to seem like a understand something I don't smart guy... I just know that superhero games are crap and continue to get worse and I'm sick of it.. It sucks when you have to create new heroes, because the heroes that everyone knows and loves are so loved and well known they're too expensive to buy the rights for making a good game. Thanks for the newsflash though genius.

Lance_Kalzas
Lance_Kalzas

Bobo3682, did you not read the last paragraph? Let me quote it for you: "Gameplay is king at the end of the day, so you can't put the Spider-Man or Iron Man or Hulk name on a crappy game, because it may sell but you won't sell the next one and you won't be moving the industry forward or changing the perception of [licensed games]," Lambros said. "Nobody wants another lousy licensed game." Please pay particular attention to his last sentence. They don't want to make a lousy game. There is a lot to film and video game development that you obviously do not understand. Developers are under a contract to have the game ready by the time the movie comes out. Obviously they're interested in changing the perception of movie and comic book video games so they'll SELL more. Plus historically speaking, developers have never been given enough time to make the game into a quality product. It says this as well in the article. It's in their best interests to make a great game because then when they go to make a sequel, people will remember how good it was and want to buy that as well.

bobo3682
bobo3682

just stop buying the crap... don't buy iron man, it's crap... the hulk game was fun, spiderman 2 was good, marvel ultimate alliance was kinda lame the rest is crap. No one is interested in making a good superhero game they just look at it as a way to cash in. If you want a a good super hero game you have to create a new hero with no "cash-in value." Only reason they keep producing this crap is cause people still buy it.... those retards.

M-D-L
M-D-L

I just want to kick Superman's ass with Liu Kang then i can die a happy man:)

Assassin-Ninja
Assassin-Ninja

If "Superman doesn't kill" then don't put him in a game that's only selling point is that it does.

Impostorzim
Impostorzim

My god! After 17 years, the beast is finally tamed! The thing that made Mortal Kombat shine in its glory days was the fact that it was so controversial. Also on the other hand, DC has had its trunk full of horrible licensed games since way back on the SNES with Batman Forever. That hasn't changed and never will. Sorry Batman.

Chungarunga
Chungarunga

The best comic book hero game "The Darkness"

jsrock_on54
jsrock_on54

the only good dc hero is batman, hands down

thelastguy
thelastguy

Yes, Spiderman 2 was the best superhero game