Factor 5s canceled Superman game, codenamed Blue Steel, is one of the game’s bigger “what ifs?” Despite appearing like a promising action game, like an early version of Marvel’s Spider-Man, but not an open world, the game was shut down after the unfortunate closure of Factor 5 in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.
We’ve got a few glimpses of what could have been over the years, but now lead designer Salvatrix has shared a huge amount of details about what Factor 5 built, and opened a window for a game that has not yet really been fulfilled.
Most importantly, Salvatrix shared a video of an early build of Blue Steel’s game, showing Superman battling common and superpowering enemies, including a sequence in which he hits a villain through the interior of an office building. Superman can also be seen beating a villain into a building, leaving a huge strip of cracked bricks and concrete in the wake.
And videos! This was our first playable prototype during pre-production. Obviously, art is still in place, although more polished assets are beginning to be exchanged as Supes and Zod.
But it shows fights as you crash through offices! Https: //t.co/QI3wEdZBUD
̵1; Salvatrix (@DevSalvatrix) July 14, 2021
Salvatrix also shared a CG goal rendering video showing what factor 5 hope the final game might look like. In the video, Superman is seen fighting Doomsday, similarly throwing him through the building’s interior and grabbing him in the middle of the air. In particular, Superman also manages to explode a couple of city buses with its laser vision.
“We had not seen a game that really delivered on that promise [of aerial Superman gameplay] before, and to be honest, I have not seen it delivered since, ”said Salvatrix. “We had it fully functioning as a prototype, and went over to full production when the crash hit. All the main games were in place and had been proven. ”
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Factor 5’s Superman game aims to recreate the visual style of DC’s animated battle scenes, including air battles between Superman and his enemies, large urban environments, and even the ability to crash through buildings, scattering office equipment. Other effects included shock waves from individual hits, bumps on streets and buildings, and beating an enemy a block away.
While the gameplay was largely based on Justice League animated battle scenes, Salvatrix said that Blue Steel’s world design drew more inspiration from Superman animated series and architect Hugh Ferriss, whose work influenced the darker, more impressive sights of Gotham and Metropolis.
In screenshots, Salvatrix noted that Blue Steel had high highways, railroads and even airships.
While the gameplay may have been based on JLU, the environments were heavily based on both Superman animated series and artist Hugh Ferriss from the early 1900s – with elevated highways, railroads and airships. pic.twitter.com/69vazGZnRC
– Salvatrix (@DevSalvatrix) July 14, 2021
In addition to just appreciating the visual aesthetics (and working with the animated comic book style), the teams of movement at every height in the city created a city that felt alive no matter where you were – important in a game how much takes place in the air, ”said Salvatrix, referring to the fact that the blocking art style helped keep the team focused on games in the early stages.
Salvatrix similarly shared some concept art of Blue Steel, showing Superman battling the arch-villains Doomsday, Darkseid and even Livewire. But despite the flashy scenery, Blue Steel was not planned as an open game a la Arkham City or Marvel’s Spider-Man.
“While our engine could (and did support) REALLY large spaces (100-120 city blocks were unlikely), we decided that smaller dead balls (20-25 blocks +/-) worked better for the game,” Salvatrix said. “So each episode arc would take place on a series of these smaller maps, with remarkable landmarks in each. We also did not plan to limit the game to Metropolis. We had big arches planned in Metropolis (of course), but also on Apokolips. And we planned at least some maps for the ruins of Krypton, Fort of Solitude and Smallville. ”
Although Superman has not yet got his own modern video game car, he will show up in Rocksteady’s upcoming Suicide Squad game as a potentially mind-controlled villain.
What do you think of Factor 5’s work with Blue Steel? Does the world deserve such a Superman game? Let us know in the comments below.
Joseph Knoop is a writer / producer / Lex Luthor stand-in for IGN (understand that I’m bald).