2001 Merchandise & Miscellaneous News Archives
August 30, 2001: Sneak Peek at Up-Coming Superman GameA sneak peek at the new Superman video game under development
By Mike Wilcox.
While it's still very early days in the development of this project, the Infogrames team behind the upcoming Superman game recently opened the doors of their Sheffield based studios in the U.K., and were happy to spend as long as I had talking the game up and discussing some of the finer details of the game play. Accompanying me for this tour of their offices was the team's senior producer, Rob Smith.
I began by asking Rob, what kind of game can we expect? "Well, in traditional gaming terms, this next gen version of Superman plays out as a 3rd person action-adventure game, where you, as Superman will have to combat a variety of terrorists and other nasties. The actual game play is a combination of combat, rescue, stealth, and puzzle solving". But of course, setting it apart from virtually every other title in this genre is the fact, as well as running around and blasting things away, you will have the ability to fly, plus use super human powers.
The story behind the adventure sees Lex Luthor come into contact with some evil aliens who provide him with access to a variety of hi-tech weapons, for use against Superman. Lex Luthor of course doesn't like getting his hands dirty so he becomes involved with Metallo, also known as the cyborg killing machine. So it's this deadly relationship, along with a sizeable collection of apocalyptic weapons that is certainly set to put Superman to the test. Of course not all the weapons are available to start out, instead throughout the game there is a steady increase in weapons development, as Luthor's research team reverse engineer the alien technology and apply it to their earth based technology, so for example you'll see an enemy character who starts out with a pistol, which is then upgraded as the game progresses. So during the game's timeline, there is a natural steady progression of different weapons, which will then in turn increase the difficulty level of the game.
All Superman's main powers and abilities will be available to the player, such as the trusty heat-vision, of which there are two version, one is a longer more intense beam that can weld and melt objects, and heat them up, or a shorter pulse type beam which can be used to blow guns out of enemies hands, or knock them over. Hand to hand combat also plays an important part. Moves include standard punches and kicks as well as 3 punch combos, which feature a finishing style move. As part of Superman's super powers, a first person perspective option is utilised in the form of SuperVision which allows the player to zoom in and out of locations around the playing area, which will be needed when scanning buildings for enemies on approach from up above.
The game will feature a decent variety of characters, somewhere between 20 and 30 in total, that all play an important role in the game, as it's a heavily narrated, story-driven game. Rob Smith adds, "We worked very closely with DC Comics to do with the plot. All the main characters you'd expect are included, such as Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Jimmy Olsen, Super Villains - Livewire and Parasite, plus Professor Hamilton and Angela Chen, who will actually be used to convey information to the player through cut scenes. We've also been careful to design familiar environments so that fans of the series will recognise a variety of locations, such as Strikers Island Prison, LexCorp, STAR Labs, and of course The Daily Planet."
Graphically, the game utilises processes called Cell Shading and texture mapping, helping to give it a real cartoon style look. The DC Comics art director and one of the producers paid a special visit to the Infogrames team, and taught the game's artists how to get the characters actions and movements, and all the environments looking similar to the television animated series.
While not a lot was revealed about Superman's long list of enemies, I was told to expect 4 main enemy types ranging from grunt level enemy characters, foot soldiers, squad leader, and commanders. Groups of these characters will actually work together to attack Superman, with the use of some smart squad based tactics. The player will also need to think strategically about how to play throughout the game, so for example combat makes up a large portion of the game, but you don't have to use hand combat or heat-vision. Spread throughout the levels will be exploding barrels, which will prove a much more intelligent and efficient way of getting rid of enemy characters.
While it's fair to say, what I saw was very much a test bed of what is being planned for the game, as it's still very early in the development process. The idea behind the game, and the technology being trialed looks extremely promising. When I asked what the timeframe was looking like for the game, Rob told me we can expect to see the finished game on PS2 around September/October 2002.
Copyright © 2001 Mike Wilcox. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the author.
Have an opinion on this? Want to discuss it with other Superman fans? Then visit the Superman Homepage Message Board.
2001 Merchandise & Miscellaneous NewsListed below are all the Merchandise & Miscellaneous News items archived for 2001.
- January 19, 2001: Gotta Have Soul: Superman Embarks on an All-New 3-D Adventure
- February 6, 2001: Superman Stamps from Kirgistan & Tadjikistan
- February 8, 2001: Warner Bros. Store Closures
- March 14, 2001: Large Super Hero Collection up for Auction
- April 22, 2001: DC Projects in the Works
- May 25, 2001: Clark Kent/Superman Doll
- May 29, 2001: New Superman Games - Update!
- June 4, 2001: New Superman Games - Update!
- June 6, 2001: Superman At Jack!
- June 11, 2001: Superman on Stage!
- June 24, 2001: 2001 Superman Celebration Report
- June 24, 2001: Satirical Superman Film - Hotel Superman
- June 27, 2001: Superman in Topps Vault!
- July 8, 2001: Superman Roller Coaster Still No. 1
- July 8, 2001: DC's Tenth Web Animation Showcases DC Direct Superman Set
- July 17, 2001: Schylling Superman Toys
- July 17, 2001: New Online Superman Episodes
- July 19, 2001: Animated Justice League Merchandise
- July 19, 2001: Superman Celebration in Brazil
- July 21, 2001: DC Launch DC Direct Website
- July 26, 2001: DC Direct at the San Diego Comic Con
- July 30, 2001: Fans Looking to Create Superman Game
- July 30, 2001: Superman Homepage Voted No. 1
- July 31, 2001: Alaska Comic Store and Lois Lane
- August 1, 2001: Lifesize 7-Foot Superman Statue
- August 2, 2001: DC Comics Teams Up with WizKids
- August 6, 2001: Cuban Anti-Superman Statue
- August 7, 2001: Superman Roller Coaster Crash
- August 24, 2001: Fan Petition Over Hasbro Action Figures
- August 30, 2001: Sneak Peek at Up-Coming Superman Game
- September 18, 2001: Operation Superman
- September 23, 2001: Superman Relief Fund
- October 22, 2001: Toys R Us Superman Action Figure 4-Pack
- November 2, 2001: Superman BellyWashers!
- November 4, 2001: Superman Homepage Reviewed in Australian Magazine
- November 21, 2001: Superman Homepage Featured in TV Guide!
- November 23, 2001: New 9 Inch Superman Figure
- November 26, 2001: New Superman Game Information
- November 29, 2001: A Stern Superman Webisode
- December 3, 2001: New Superman Escape from Krypton Game Online
- December 3, 2001: DC's Website Promoted Through AOL
- December 9, 2001: Pocket Super Heroes from DC Comics
- December 14, 2001: New DC Hero Fast Food Promotion
- December 19, 2001: Ending Hatred of U.S. is a Job for Superman!
Back to the News Archive Contents page.
Back to the Latest News page.