After re-confirming their ability to craft a spectacular fighting title, NetherRealm Studios is promising big things for Injustice: Gods Among Us. Not just hinting at a story that keeps fans of comic books and gameplay that pros will love entertained, but a few new ideas on how to continue support for the title past launch day.
Those fighter fans who spent time with Mortal Kombat, the team’s return to top form, already know how refreshing the game’s approach to story turned out to be. Rather than being a throwaway aspect of a game that only cared about fighting, the loose plot that led from one fight to another was both entertaining and in keeping with the source material. Unsurprisingly, NetherRealm is looking to do the same with Injustice.
The above trailer shows that besides some Justice-Leaguer-on-Justice-Leaguer combat, the new game will obviously have some greater story driving the plot. Exactly what the developers have in store isn’t clear, and in speaking with the PlayStation Blog, NetherRealm head Ed Boon explained why:
“With every game we do, there are things that worked and things that didn’t. In Mortal Kombat, the Story mode just worked. We didn’t promote the story leading into launch and it ended up surprising people. So we want to continue that tradition and offer a deep, elaborate story experience in Injustice. And with these [DC] characters, who have decades of history behind them, there’s a ton of stuff to draw from. We can’t wait for people to see the Story mode in this game.”
Keeping expectations low is always a good plan, particularly with fan anticipation likely to rise as the release approaches. So far only a half-dozen fighters have been revealed – most recently Nightwing and Cyborg – and it’s anyone’s guess as to who else will be included. Boon did confirm that the development team has its preferences and ideas, but Warner Bros. also wants to see certain characters appear alongside the ‘Big Three.’
We’ve made a list of those characters we’d love to see added, and hopefully the developer’s commitment to including fighters based on more than just fan appeal means good things for the finished product. Regardless of how many characters are completed when the game is released, that doesn’t mean more would be impossible.
Boon had previously commented that the team had big plans for extra content, as they “definitely want to introduce unexpected characters [via DLC] to Injustice. That’ll be our strategy.” After running into technical issues following the release of DLC fighters with Mortal Kombat, those claims might seem somewhat foolhardy.
In an interview with Polygon, Boon noted the hiccups caused by selective downloading alongside regular game updates. As he sees it, a solution isn’t impossible, but will require help from several parties:
“The fundamental problem is getting the data to everybody’s machine…I personally believe that the solution is to design a system that pushes it everyone so that it’s just an update that downloads the content when a new character is available and you can’t get online until you’ve downloaded it. I think that’s a solution that could work. That’s the approach I’d like to take. We just have to work out the logistics with the [platform holders].”
It’s hard to tell if Boon is speaking of free downloadable content – unlikely – or merely optional content presented in the form of an unavoidable update. The logistics, as he notes, would be difficult to nail down, but the idea is intriguing. If it could help to solve problems with glitched downloads, then we’d be all for it. Of course, a widespread update doesn’t guarantee flawless execution.
All of these ideas and goals are great, but does the move to beloved comic book characters and over-the-top action mean professionals, or ‘hardcore’ competitors should look elsewhere? Apparently not. In an effort to please both crowds, the studio is intent on building a game that is immediately satisfying to comic book fans and up to the standards of the best competitive fighter players around. A point made clear when NetherRealm brought Injustice to EVO Championship Series, among a veritable who’s who of elite gaming:
“One of the reasons we brought [Injustice] to EVO is that audience is certainly one we want to serve…We definitely got good feedback. Some people were asking about the super moves: ‘How long do they take to [play out]?’
“If you play in the Batcave, you have a different strategy than if you play in the Fortress of Solitude. My guess is we will certainly offer at least one stage that is traditional, because you never know what’s going to be banned in tournaments. We’re definitely aware of the EVO guys and we’re going to put things in the game to accommodate them with a more stripped down version.”
The developers are aiming high trying to serve two audiences, and from our experience with Injustice at E3, they’ve got some ground to cover before playing a match is instantly accessible.At this point the team seems to know that the game is far from finished, so hopefully we’ll be surprised.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is scheduled for a 2013 release on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.