Game Theory

New Invincible Project Could Be The Superman Game We Never Got

Skybound could beat DC Comics and WB Games to the punch.

Animated superhero in a yellow and blue costume with fists clenched, preparing for action under a st...
Prime Video

Skybound, the comic publishing house turned entertainment juggernaut, is looking to fund a video game based on their popular superhero book and television series Invincible.

The company announced Monday that they’re starting a crowdfunding campaign for a game set in the ultraviolent superhero universe. Despite the grassroots effort to produce the project, consider their project “anything but indie,” according to a press release.

“We've hand-picked our own team, consisting of more than 30 gaming industry veterans to make it happen,” Skybound said, naming Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Epic Games.

Instead, the crowdfunding route is an effort to ensure that series creator Robert Kirkman (co-creator of The Walking Dead) retains total creative control over the project. Skybound will retain the rights to develop and publish the game, to provide “increased value to our stakeholders.”

Playing through Invincible’s superhero exploits would make for a the perfect Superman game.

Courtesy of Prime Video

The project has raised $450,000 from 206 investors as of Tuesday afternoon. Skybound has also said they raised an additional $18 million in capital from investors on Republic.

Though it’s still too early to parse any real details from the announcement, there is at least one reason superhero geeks like myself are keeping an eye on this one — this could be the Superman game we’ve all been waiting patiently for.

Superman is long overdue for a proper video game. Even though he’s the most iconic hero of all time, he’s scarcely appeared in video games. Barring some playable appearances in Warner Bros. developer Netherrealms’ Injustice series or the odd cameo in the legacy MMO DC Universe Online, he’s nowhere near as ubiquitous in gaming in the same way that Spider-Man or Batman is.

The most obvious reason for his absence in gaming is his powers. Making a game that accurately captures the feeling of being Superman, giving the player super-strength, super-speed, and near-invulnerability, doesn’t exactly lend itself well to a medium that’s meant to provide a challenge.

Superman plays a prominent role in Injustice 2.

WB Games

Of the three solo Superman games released in the last 25 years, 2006’s Superman Returns stands alone as the only one to deal with this unique design challenge in a way that feels true to the character. There are some bright ideas in this otherwise mediocre and forgettable movie adaptation. The decision to give Metropolis a health bar instead of Superman is especially inspired, incentivizing the player to mitigate as much damage to the city as possible.

Developer EA Tiburon also did a great job conveying just how fast Superman is. There are few moments from the PS3 and Xbox 360 era of games more awesome and gratifying than breaking the sound barrier for the first time as you zoom from one end of its massive open-world map to the other.

The Superman Returns video game adaptation had some genuinely great ideas.

Electronic Arts

But it's been 18 years since Superman Returns, and not a single studio has stepped up to make a full-fledged game about The Man Of Tomorrow. And players are noticing his absence. Before the Suicide Squad reveal in 2021, players convinced themselves that London-based developer Rocksteady was working on a Superman title after wrapping the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham trilogy.

At a time when once-obscure characters like Blade and the bizarre cast of Guardians Of The Galaxy are all showing up on video game consoles, it’s so weird that Superman is nowhere to be found. But Skybound’s announcement could finally rectify that and some how beat DC and WB Games to the punch.

Thanks to their alien heritage, both Invincible and his dad Omni-Man share many of the same powers as Superman. If either of them are involved, better yet playable, developers will have to creatively contend with all of the challenges that make Superman an anomaly of a video game protagonist. It’s an exciting prospect for fans hoping to see a talented team of developers finally crack the code. It’s sure to be a lot bloodier than I imagined an eventual big-budget Superman game would be. But with Warner Bros occupied with supporting the live-service Suicide Squad gaming and the upcoming Wonder Woman title from Monolith, I’m more than okay with concessions like these.

Whatever this project is, it won’t be the first time Invincible has crossed over into gaming. Last November, Terrible Posture Games and Skybound released Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, a visual novel-RPG hybrid that earned decent reviews from critics. Its characters have also been featured in Fortnite’s multimedia metaverse and the latest entry in Netherrealm’s iconic fighting game series, Mortal Kombat 1.

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