Recently, the YouTube channel Did You Know Gaming published a video outlining a canceled open world Superman game. Much like their coverage of the unreleased Dark Knight video game, this story is a tragic tale of a licensed games publisher and a game development studio.
Brash Entertainment a gaming publisher first formed with the sole purposed of being a licensed game factory for Hollywood. They even went so far as to set up headquarters on Sunset Blvd which most consider the epicenter of the entertainment industry. The publisher had inked a deal with Warner Brothers to create games based on DC Comics properties which included The Flash and Superman. Game studio Factor 5 had pitched to be the developer on the Superman game which was to be a marketing tie-in to the never made Bryan Singer sequel to 2006’s Superman Returns.
The game would have followed a similar trajectory to the proposed film by utilizing villains Brainiac and Darkseid. Factor 5’s vision of the game would have been the first open world Superman game. Picture Superman in Grand Theft Auto but without killing hookers or carjacking civilians. What would have ended up being called Superman: Man of Steel (not to be confused with Zack Snyder’s film) was to utilize villains and characters from across the DCU such as Livewire, Brimstone, Killer Frost, and a playable version of Supergirl for a mapped out multiplayer mode. In fact Factor 5 was looking to make the game a mashed up homage of Superman moments from across all media even adding a fight with General Zod inspired by the Superman II film.
Even with months of work the game never got past the concept art phase and only a target video was ever created. The video showcased an epic battle with Doomsday that was to showcase the game’s ability to have Superman mid-air fight with villains by smashing them through buildings which render in real time.
Unfortunately, Brash Entertainment’s rush to get out inferior games based on other properties such as Alivin & The Chipmunks garnered them a reputation no investors were willing to back which led to the publisher’s collapse. Factor 5 followed shortly by putting all their eggs in the Superman basket and not taking on other funded projects. Even after the Brash closure, the studio held out hope another publisher would pick up the game in the middle of the global economic crisis of 2008. More in depth details on this story including art and target can be seen in the video’s entirety below.
Superman: Man of Steel had all the best intentions of righting the wrongs of every previously made Superman game including that awful Superman 64. However, their paved road was flawed from the begining by the admission of never having a clear story for the game. What made games like Batman Arkham, and The Wolf Among Us great wasn’t mechanical. It was speaking to the target audience on the only level they understood and appreciated, good story. So fans of comics most infamous name will have to wait for another developer to take on the almost cursed gaming legacy of the Man of Steel.
I’m looking at you Telltale.