The PAX West panel called “The Quest for the Perfect Superman Game” featured appearances from Jared Petty, Greg Miller, Kat Bailey, Gary Whitta, Sydnee Goodman, and Barlog as they talked about the history of games based on the hero and what it would take to make the perfect one. Superman games haven’t been received as well as other superhero-centered games in the past, and while the attendees’ pitches at the panel were purely theoretical and don’t mean that they’re actually working on the games, Barlog had some ideas for his own take on a Superman game.
Game Informer reported on Barlog’s comments during the PAX West panel and said that the God of War director first joked about a game where Superman has a child and has to learn how to teach him and adapt to that, a nod to his most recent game in the God of War series. More seriously though, his first pitch for a game harnessed the spirit of the TV series Smallville and the game series Persona.
In this theoretical Superman game, players would control a Young Clark Kent as they would’ve seen in the TV series. While going to school and progressing through normal life, Kent would come to terms with his superhero abilities and would have to balance his coming-of-age moments with his heroic alter-ego. Barlog said that this would literally involve taking tests in school and dealing with a high school dynamic while being a hero, but he said that such an idea would lean too far into Persona, so it’s not something he’d do.
Instead, he pitched another idea where you play as a version of Superman who has to realize that he can’t help everyone. He said that players would start out hearing people asking for help on a small scale, but nobody would know yet who Superman was. As you save more people and make yourself known, these cries of “Help!” will instead turn into cries of “Help, Superman!” as the hero becomes known. It’s then that players – and Superman – would be hit with so many requests for help that they realize not everyone can be saved, and players have to deal with the consequences of that. The game would build up to Superman struggling to come to terms with the idea that he can’t save everyone while still trying to figure out a way to do so.
He added that Ninja Theory would be an appropriate fit for a Superman game like this, the developers responsible for games like DmC: Devil May Cry and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.