Gamers that love superheroes have had plenty of titles to play over the years, with big comic-book names like Batman and Spider-Man sharing shelf-space alongside off-brand super-concepts like inFAMOUS. However, there’s always something a little bit alluring about the ones that got away, which is why we’re here rounding up some of the cancelled superhero games that we never got to play.
We’ve just got a bit of housekeeping to do before we start: this list isn’t intended as a compendium of every superhero game that ever got cancelled, but more a rundown of the most tantalising ones – the ones we really wish we’d had a chance to play. If we missed a cancelled superhero game that you particularly loved the sound of, please do let us know in the comments at the end.
Without further ado, then, let’s get down to business with our list of cancelled superhero games that we’d still love to see realised…
An open-world Superman game
There have been loads of cancelled Superman games over the years, including a project from the makers of the brilliant Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II, with the Man Of Steel’s incredibly powerful array of abilities seeming to cause a bit of a headache for developers and publishers.
We recently heard about two cancelled Superman games that Warner Bros apparently tried to develop in recent years, and one of them is particularly tantalising – the idea of an open-world Superman game that would send you flying around Metropolis and tackling iconic villains, a bit like the Supes version of an Arkham Knight or Spider-Man PS4 experience. Apparently the idea was binned shortly after its inception and concept art-ing in 2013, but we’d love to see that core concept resurface at some point. Also, a company called Brash Entertainment tried to develop an open-world The Flash game in 2009, which sounds like another cool idea.
The Daredevil PS2 game
Although Spider-Man has had plentiful video game outings by this point, Marvel’s other New York mainstay has struggled to find a footing in the virtual world. A game entitled Daredevil: The Man Without Fear was developed by 5000ft Inc during the PS2/Xbox era, and the footage that has circulated since makes it look like they were onto something really fun – imagine traversing the city in that iconic red suit and bringing violent justice to some local criminals.
Now that the Daredevil Netflix series has been and gone, perhaps it’s the perfect time for Marvel Games to revisit the idea of giving Matt Murdock his own interactive adventure. Maybe there could even be courtroom-set levels where you have to crack cases the old-fashioned way?
The binned Damian Wayne game
Batman has had his fair share of cancelled games, including a ditched tie-in for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, but earlier this year we heard about a particularly interesting Bat-project that seems to have been binned: concept art has leaked suggesting that Warner Bros Montreal, the makers of Arkham Origins, at one point developed a future-set Batman game that would’ve taken Bruce Wayne out of the Bat-suit.
Seeming to jump forward in time, the game apparently would have Damian Wayne in the cape and cowl, and it would’ve counted Two-Face, Gorilla Grodd and a female Black Mask among its villains. Scuttlebutt seems to suggest that this isn’t the same project that WB Montreal has been teasing recently. But with the Canadian studio and Rocksteady both gearing up for mysterious new releases, hopefully it won’t be long before swooping back onto Gotham’s obscene amount of gargoyles.
An Arkham-adjacent Suicide Squad game
Speaking of cancelled games from Warner Bros Montreal, you might remember that the company teased the formation of a Suicide Squad within its Arkham Origins game. However – despite the fact that Harley Quinn, Deadshot and a bunch of other squad members were already established in the universe – the planned game never ended up happening.
Recent rumours on Twitter have suggested that the varying skill-sets of the iconic villains would’ve been crammed into the Arkham franchise’s pre-made game engine, which could’ve been a tough task. Whyever the game was dropped, we’d still love to play as the Suicide Squad in a AAA game – a team of skilled villains being sent on government missions is a practically perfect premise for action-packed levels of chaos and carnage.
The Avengers taking on the Skrulls
Around the same time that Joss Whedon’s first Avengers film was in development, THQ Studio Australia was tasked with crafting an Avengers game that was meant to release alongside the film but tell a different story. The game would’ve focused on a conflict between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the shape-shifting Skrulls, and it would’ve launched on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and perhaps even Nintendo’s Wii U.
An action-adventure game with plans for co-op elements, this title would’ve tasked you with taking on a Skrull mothership that was hovering above Earth. Sadly, problems at THQ led to the project being cancelled a fair way into production. There is, of course, an upcoming Avengers game that Square Enix is set to publish, but it’s totally unrelated to this one. Smashing up some Skrulls back in the PS3 era could’ve been really fun.
A Justice League Mortal tie-in
One of the great “oh what might have been” moments in geeky history is Justice League Mortal, the movie that Mad Max director George Miller signed on to direct in 2007 and came very close to making. A cast was assembled (include Armie Hammer as Batman), a script was written, and rumour has it that shooting was days away from starting at one point. Plus, there was also meant to be a tie-in game for Justice League Mortal.
The team at Double Helix was developing it, and they carried on working after the plug was pulled on the film (we’ve gotten into the reasons behind the film’s cancellation in another article). The Justice League Mortal game never came out, though, although concept art did eventually arrive online. The team at Double Helix went on to make the Green Lantern tie-in game, but it’s a shame that they never finished Justice League Mortal. With the film dying a death, a game version would’ve provided a neat way for the story to live on. The film’s script was eventually linked online, but that’s not quite the same as playing through the film’s events for yourself.
The Gotham By Gaslight game
As Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions proved long before Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse hit cinemas, video games can provide a great way to introduce audiences to alt-dimension versions of their favourite heroes. DC could have got in on that parallel universe action with a game based on the Gotham By Gaslight comics, which repositioned the Dark Knight in a 19th-century Jack The Ripper mystery.
Word on the web is that that Day 1 Studios and THQ tried to pitch the game in 2010, presumably to DC and/or Warner Bros, but their pitch wasn’t picked up for further development. That’s something of a shame, considering that the prototype footage that has since appeared online paints a promising picture – it’s clearly a work in progress, but foggy locations and billowing cape look great. We’ll just have to pop over to a parallel universe to play it.
There you have it – seven cancelled superhero games that we wish we could’ve played! To see some titles that are actually coming out, see our list of every upcoming superhero game.