Something I have an invested interest in is the behind the scenes information of things. I love reading about how things, like say, a train wreck of a movie came to be, or why a game never came to stores. Over the past couple of days I’ve been compiling of list of comic book games that for some reason or another, never saw the light of day and will feature these in a five-part series where I’ll look at a few at a time. Today I’ll take a look exclusively at some Superman games that were destined to never be played by the public.
Having amazed the world with their ability to make a fun Batman game on the NES, Sunsoft turned their attention towards another DC comics property, Superman. The company originally started making a Superman game on the NES, either with or without the permission of Warner Bros. or DC, but could not acquire the license to release their game. Not wanting to scarp the project, changes were made to the game and it was christened as “Sunman,” though even with these changes, the game was never officially released. Over time, a near completed version of the title was found by a European collector and can now also be downloaded as a ROM for public play.
This is not the first time Sunsoft found themselves in this situation, as a game that was supposed to be based on “The Terminator” was morphed into “Journey to Silius.”
To say that Superman 64 was a disaster for all involved would be taking it lightly. The game is universally known as being one of the single worst video games of all time, licensed or otherwise, and is spoken in conversations with the likes of the infamous E.T game on Atari. Titus, the developer and publisher of the game, tried to salvage this with a port to the much more popular but less powerful PSOne system. BlueSky software was commissioned to port the game to the PSOne and was intended to be a direct conversion of the N64 game. After the, to put it mildly, less than stellar reception of the game on Nintendo’s platform, Titus instructed BlueSky to overhaul the entire game to get away from the stigma of the previous version. In the end, BlueSky did succeed in completing the game to the point where pre-orders were taken for it, but Titus lost the license from Warner Bros. and thus it met the same fate as Sunman before it.
SUPERMAN (PS3/XBOX 360/Wii)
Let me tell you the story about a company by the name of Brash Entertainment. Brash wished to change the gaming world’s perspective on licensed video games by making software that was a step above the obvious film/TV tie-in’s that were brought into existence to bank on the popularity of a name. Their output? Space Chimps, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Tale of Despereaux. Needless to say the company no longer exists, and this is the first of two outings from them that will appear in this series.
Brash also obtained two licenses from DC Comics: One being Superman, the other which will be discussed in another chapter. The now defunct publisher hired a developer with some pedigree to helm the project; Factor 5, who I’m assuming was picked because the games they’re most known for involve flying (Rogue Squadron, Lair.) Brash’s story was shortly lived, having opened in 2007 and then closed in 2008, and the Superman project was never completed unlike other games that were picked up after their closure like Saw (based on the film series) and Prison Break. Developer Factor 5 also closed shortly after, having suffered financial difficulties from the PS3 flop Lair and the loss of the Superman project.
Join me for Part 2 where I’ll discuss some more cancelled DC Comics projects.