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Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Thought of it First V: Random Super-Hero Ideas

Just some random concepts that sprung up in my head.

The first was considering exactly what would make a good Superman video game. He's a super-hero I've always enjoyed (my favorite incarnation being his bro-mantic pairing with batman in the Batman/Superman comic series) although I'm not a hardcore comic adept by any means. Some people may find him boring (bah I say, they probably don't like paladins either) but that's never been an issue for me. But with a character like him I could see him being a challenge for a writer. That certainly hasn't stopped many, many writers from making a great story with the Man of Steel. Unfortunately when it comes to video games it's a different story. In fact I don't know if there's a single super-man based game that could be considered universally "good", especially when it comes to capturing his vast array of powers accurately.

Obviously older games can be excused due to limited graphics, technology, etc. But modern gaming certainly should be up for the challenge. However, current super-hero or epic action (DMC or God of War) use RPG elements, buying up new abilities with whatever in-game currency is available. Obviously this doesn't work with Superman, a game where you start with only a few powers and "buy them up" would be an insult to the character. 

So here's an alternate idea. As superman you have access to all your powers right from the start but you're limited by your Focus. Focus being how much you're concentrating on one particular aspect of your powers at once. Focus can be split up among different powers freely and reassigned at will. So just by switching to your character menu you can shift focus from one power aspect to another. 

So for instance you might divide Supe's powers up in the following ways: 
  • Might: Pretty self-explanatory. Putting more Focus in Might gives you the ability to lift heavier objects, strike for more damage, etc. It also affects your invulnerability. Superman obviously is never at risk of being knocked out or killed (excepting special circumstances or powerful enemies) but if your Might isn't boosted then you can more easily be knocked back or stunned.
  • Speed: Investing focus in super-speed gives you much, much faster movement and increased attack rate. Important to note that this only increases the character's actual speed (see below). This also includes flight, completely "nulling" speed Focus may limit you purely to gliding or leaping. 
  • Senses: Enhanced super-senses will give kind of a grab-bag of abilities. Partially it'll probably grant some "map-modding" abilities like showing enemies on your mini-map, and "radar" effects to show the location of danger, victimized civilians, etc. Primarily though it grants bullet-time, slowing the rate at which events occur. This does not increase your movement ability but it does provide more time to think about the situation and react. Obviously combining it with focus in Speed allows for some amazing things. 
Now, you've got other powers that don't scale up or down (heat-vision is a good example), although the slow-down effect of something like Senses will certainly synergize well. Other abilities might be picked up as "stunts" throughout gameplay (for example super-breath as a stunt of Might, becoming more powerful the higher your Might Focus) or through specialized button comboes relying on player skill. Focus may or may not increase throughout play (the game could follow Superman through stages in his career from smallville to metropolis to cosmic level play).

Now the following isn't exactly my idea...I just remember reading it somewhere (honestly I don't remember where...if there's anyone who knows what the heck I'm talking about feel free to mention it in the comments) and thinking it was a terrific idea. Challenges in a super-man game should be more like a complex, multi-solution puzzle rather than a straight up brawler. Say for instance you've got a giant mech trundling down main-street and firing missiles and lasers all around. Your goal is not only to defeat the bot and save civilians in danger but to ensure that you do so in the least amount of time or the minimum number of "moves". The three main powers would grant a variety of different ways to tackle the challenge in potentially hundreds of different ways.

And of course there should be a World of Cardboard bonus level where you can simply cut loose and demolish the scenery at will.

The second part of this is an idea I had a while back. You know the show Deadliest Warrior? Well if you don't it's a show which compares different warriors throughout history in a "who would win" battle. It can be quite fun so long as you don't think too hard about it because some of their assumptions are amazingly terrible.

Well, my thought is why not try this with super-heroes? Comics have been doing this for years with various super-hero misunderstandings and "vs" titles. Of course the answers are rarely consistent from comic to comic and always depend on the writer and the situation. But you could certainly carefully examine the abilities and limitations of each character in a "neutral territory" situation and work out once and for all who would actually (on average of course) win in a fight.

Of course unless the show was actually produced by one of the big-two comic publishers the licensing rights would be obscene. And while the really interesting version would allow cross-overs (such as Thor Vs The Flash) it would be pretty tough to get permission from the publisher to let their character lose the fight. Still, a show like this could become immensely popular if for no other reason than the permanent flame-wars every episode would spark off.

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