Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No – it’s a round-up of six canned superhero games.
With Injustice: Gods Among Us riding the charts high and Iron Man 3 raking in the cash at cinemas, we thought now was a pretty good time for a look back.
Lobo – Mega Drive, SNES
Considering DC’s Lobo is the first extra character to be added to Injustice, Ocean’s 16-bit brawler Lobo is a fine place to start.
This one-on-one beat ‘em up was due out in 1996, which would have made it a very late release for both the Mega Drive and SNES. It featured a rendered art-style similar to Killer Instinct and Clay Fighter but looked rather lifeless and ugly when compared to these two. Backdrops lay motionless; characters were small and crudely animated.
Review copies went out to the ‘90s press, including Game Pro and Nintendo Power, where it received something of a mauling. Ocean, consequently, pulled the plug. Fans of Lobo did get to play it eventually however – playable versions were dumped online.
Kemco had another crack at developing a Lobo game in 2003, this time for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but it too failed to materialise. Given how shoddy their Batman: Dark Tomorrow game was, it was likely to have been for the best.
Batman: Dark Knight – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
You don’t need to be a genius to realise that cancelling a videogame sets back the publisher an awful lot of money. It has been estimated though that EA’s decision to cancel Pandemic Studios’ open world Batman game cost them over $100 million in lost revenue.
Batman: Dark Knight was never officially announced, which is why this might be the first time you’ve heard of this tie-in. It was even seen as something as a ‘secret project’ within EA itself.
Gary Oldman let slip of the game’s development during an interview with Game Trailers where he claimed that a lot of time and effort had gone into Batman’s gliding abilities. As an open world game, ‘flying’ from one location to another would have naturally played a big part.
A couple of reasons are known for the game’s cancellation. Firstly, EA’s ownership of the Batman license was due to end in December 2008 and so Pandemic was under a lot of pressure. Koktaku reported that they’d already thrown out six months of work after being told it had to tie-in with the Dark Knight, rather than an everyday Batman game. Secondly, Pandemic had decided to use their engine for The Saboteur, which wasn’t designed for an open-world game. This lead to a ton of technical issues, which didn’t exactly help development to come along swiftly. Shortly after The Saboteur was released, Pandemic was shuttered.
Incidentally, a prototype of a Victorian-era Batman comic book tie-in entitled Gotham by Gaslight did the rounds a couple of years ago, but failed to find interest from publishers. There’s some rather foggy footage here.