Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Knight has only been out for a few weeks, and already we’ve got rumors and reports about what’s next for DC Comics’ heroes in the video game world. While there have been reports about a Justice League or Superman game for almost as long as the Batman: Arkham series has been successful, nothing substantial has ever turned up. A few different developers not named Rocksteady tried their hands at Superman and Flash games for the previous generation, but those never saw the light of day, leaving us with Batman: Arkham as the only non-MMO console experience.
Now, just days before San Diego Comic-Con is set to kick off, new rumors have surfaced that a Superman game is actually in the works… from someone. Maybe. That’s part of the problem with the rumor mill; it’s just too easy to fake things these days. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at this purported leak and see if there’s any possible truth to the idea that there’s a new Superman game currently in development.
Over the holiday weekend, the Daily Superheroes Tumblr (via ComicBookMovie) posted an image of what appeared to be a skin selection screen featuring Superman and his New 52 costume (the original one, not the new, new one). Comic Sans aside, the screenshot had all the hallmarks we’d typically attribute to such a menu, including the Xbox controller buttons, the character bio, and options to view other skins or return to the previous menu. Since these are commonalities between games, it’s also easy to fake a screengrab incredibly well, including throwing some crap filters on it to make it look a bit more authentic.
On Sunday, an animated GIF of the skin selection menu appeared on the Batman: Arkham Knight forums. While it didn’t offer much more insight into just what this game was or who was developing it, it did lend a tiny bit more credence to the idea that there was a Superman game in development at a mystery studio. However, since the menu only sticks on the Superman New 52 skin page, it’s also not out of the realm of possibility that this too was faked.
I spent some time this morning looking over the current crop of DC Comics-based titles (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Infinite Crisis, DCU Online) to see if there was any way this was just a re-purposing of assets from any of those games. While you could make the case that this model looks eerily similar to the Superman alternate skin from Injustice, there are some slight differences in the face model. The costume looks really, really, really close to that of Injustice, but if this mystery studio is working with DC closely (as it should), that similarity is likely due to sticking to the guidelines provided by the comic company. None of the other games currently available under the DC banner offer anything close to this in menu or character style.
We do know WB Montreal is developing a new open-world game, and that it’s currently still hiring for multiple positions within the company for said game. WB Montreal also developed Batman: Arkham Origins, the prequel to Rocksteady’s main trilogy. While Arkham Origins wasn’t exactly the most well-received game, the dev team showed some promise with what it could do once you got past the carbon copy-ness and bugginess that plagued Origins. Additionally, Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight is littered with references to Superman, Metropolis, Lex Luthor, and other Justice League members like Green Arrow, Flash, and Black Canary. Rocksteady is known for dropping hints about the next game in the series throughout the game world of whatever game is currently available, but it seems unlikely that whatever this Superman game is would come from the main Arkham devs.
As with any gaming rumor, it’s worth it to take even something as substantial as a working menu screen capture with a grain of salt. There are too many tools available to fans to consider anything absolutely 100% legitimate until there’s some actual concrete evidence. It also seems like odd timing for such a leak to happen, given that Arkham Knight only just released, and WB Montreal’s job listings went live around the same time. The hiring posts hint that it’s for a new intellectual property, but that merely rules out another Batman game from the developer, and not necessarily a game set in the DC Universe focused on a different character.
All that said, Superman is the next logical choice for a solo video game experience. The character is one of the most recognizable icons across the globe, and though he’s had his fair share of games over the years, none have truly captured the vibe and feel of what it’s like to be the Man of Steel. I’ll keep dreaming that there’s a true Justice League game in development, and we’ll have a range of heroes to choose from, but given how many different power sets would have to be developed, that seems incredibly unlikely. For now, we’ll just have to settle for the idea that there might be a Superman game in development somewhere for some platforms, and that it will include different skins to incentivize pre-orders and a season pass customize your playthrough.