Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Man of Steel himself, Superman, and fans are flying high in a number of ways to commemorate the occasion. One thing a lot of video game players can do, though, is use him to battle opposing forces in Tencent’s hit game Arena of Valor.
The company announced earlier this month that the hero would be added to the roster for the month as part of the anniversary festivities, the latest in a collaboration between Tencent and DC Comics. Supes joins Wonder Woman and the Joker as playable characters in the game, with more to come down the line.
To get further insight into Superman’s involvement with the game, we talked further with reps from Tencent to see what players can expect. You can play as him now through regular play and in the anniversary event, with more details available here.
First off, how hard was it to adapt Superman’s powers to a game like Arena of Valor? What’s probably the biggest challenge you ended up facing when it came to converting his character into the game?
When looking at a character like Superman, there is 80 years of history there, so you have to be very careful how you adapt him, as you're walking on hallowed ground. There's so much you can do with Superman as a character, so really the challenge is refining him down to which of his abilities and powers are iconic and uniquely "Superman."
When creating Superman as a video game character, are there any brand pitfalls that have to be avoided with his representation? Or anything that is a “must-have” like flight, or specific costumes? Furthermore, could any of his powers might have been too effective in the game without proper balancing? Like his heat vision?
This was the challenge - distilling down all of the epic decades of Superman lore into 3-4 marquee abilities that could be showcased. When representing the "Man of Steel," we really felt like flight and super strength were the abilities that needed to be conveyed more than any other. Once you combine those with this signature cape and look, then you get an unmistakable silhouette that has sent bad guys running for 80 years now.
Is it harder to create a brand new character like Liliana, or to create a character like Superman or the Joker based off of an existing IP?
Super interesting question! Each of these situation presents itself with its own unique set of challenges - for example, Liliana or any of the dozens of new characters we've created for Arena of Valor have to have entire backstories written, lore created, and their own brand guidelines laid out. This is a grueling process that takes months to do, and often is very difficult to limit the scope we're working from since we can use anything as inspiration. In some ways it's easier to work within the confines of an established IP since the scope is already established. However, creative interpretation is often taken away from you when working with a character that has decades upon decades of history. I believe that the roster we have in Arena of Valor offers the best of both worlds - characters from established DC universe, as well as brand new characters we've been able to create.
What makes Superman such a natural fit for a game like Arena of Valor?
The way that Arena of Valor is built, it's not a matter of whether or not a character is a fit in the game, but rather what class and role they'd be appropriate for. Superman breaks the strict mold and is a hybrid role and hybrid class as a Warrior/Tank and Mobility/Initiator. This means that he's able to absorb a lot of damage, and deal out attack at close range, but is also able to move quickly with relative ease. When identifying these roles and classes, the team takes a look at the character's lore and assigns the most appropriate role for them. For contrast, The Joker is a ranged Marksman whose class is Harassment/Finisher. The Joker specializes at poking and prodding, annoying the competition from ranger until he's ready to swoop in there and finish them off.
How was this collaboration between DC and Tencent born, and what other characters can fans expect to come from it? Perhaps Lex Luthor in gigantic robot armor…?
When Tencent decided to bring Arena of Valor to the US, we made the clear decision that we weren't going to simply port the title, but rather offer a slew of content that would immediately resonate with US audiences. The obvious choice of a partner was with DC, and the collaboration was born from there! Superman marks the third DC Super Hero that's been released in the US, and pits the Man of Steel among other popular characters such as: Wonder Woman and The Joker.
Which in-game characters do you believe would be best for pairing up with Superman? Or is he in, ahem, a League of his own?
Because of the nature of Superman as a close ranged tank fighter, the unorthodox partnership between him with either Batman (an Assassin class) or The Joker (Marksman) would be most advantageous. Seeing Superman fight alongside characters that he's often facing off against is a thrill for comic book fans of all ages to actively play through this childhood fantasy.
For players using Superman for the first time, what would you recommend starting out with? Power-wise, that is. Any tips or tricks?
Superman is a very interesting character to play as, because his movement speed and style changes completely when his stamina if full -- He changes from running to flying, and his abilities changes as well. His first attack Kryptonian Strength rams enemies and that allows Superman to shoot his heat-vision at them to deal significant damage. This is a great control ability that can redirect enemies to where you want to initiate a coordinated attack. (You can find more tips in the video below.)
Do you have a particular favorite Superman movie or comic that the team really tapped into when creating this version of him for the game?
It's hard to pick one specific reference point, but we relied heavily on the comics for their influence ranging in time periods even to early comics like Superman #145.
Finally - Who would win in a 1v1 fight, Batman or Superman?0comments
Amazing and impossible to answer question! The easiest way to answer this world likely be that because of the builds that Batman and Superman are respectively in Arena of Valor, Batman's gadgetry would be more advantageous in a solo-fight in the early game, while Superman would be very hard to take out 1v1 in the late-game. Seeing a fight between these two titans with skilled players would be a joy to witness!!
Arena of Valor is available for mobile devices now, and coming to Nintendo Switch sometime later this year.