If there's one thing guaranteed in an Injustice game, it's that there'll be extreme variations on how the characters look. While many people weren't down with the creative liberties taken in the first game, Injustice 2 features much more realized and streamlined designs that both fit in the context of that universe while still being iconic for the DC characters. On top of that, the gear system adds new ways of how you can alter your characters and even helps them to emulate other members of the DC roster. It's clear that appearance of the fighters was extremely important to Netherrealm this time.
Due to the new mechanics and characters brought into the fold, there was a lot of work that went into making them look the way they do. Those that worked on the designs have come to the public and released a lot of their initial concepts for some of these fighters. They both provide an interesting look at their intention, while giving us a hint of what could've been. Some of them are awesome and make us wish we could see new similar skins added, while others were understandably removed. Either way, these concept designs are insane. Read on for 15 unused character designs in Injustice 2.
16 POISON IVY
Poison Ivy is a character that didn't necessarily need to be in Injustice 2, but then again, the more characters, the better. A lot of controversy surrounding her is how provocative she tends to be, and that always factors into her design. It's clear that Netherrealm played around with a few different routes when designing her costume.
On the left, we have a much more conservative spy-esque look for her. While it's nice to see some variation, we have to say it doesn't fit the character very well. The design on the left is reminiscent of how she looked in the Arkham games. Overall, her final look was well thought out and provides a decent blend between these two extremes. Gotta say, though, that green skin goes a long way.
15 BLUE BEETLE
The Blue Beetle is a hero entirely based on technology. Due to his popularity in Young Justice and other DC media, it was his turn to step in to the spotlight. The final design reflected his appearance in the aforementioned animated cartoon, featuring a sleeker design and a fully expressive face. Having characters visibly emote is more important than you may think.
That being said, we still feel there's a place for this unused design. It's a bit chunkier, but it is quite snazzy. We especially like the neon blue wings in the back as well as the detailed mask. It all blends together very well, but we understand why it was scrapped for something more recognizable. Still, if this could be incorporated in the game somehow, we wouldn't complain.
14 BLACK CANARY
Black Canary lends herself to great design choices, and these two pieces of concept art are no exceptions. The outfit on the left is clearly inspired by the comics, featuring more color and a tighter look overall -- we particularly like the gold accents on the suit. The one on the right is a bit more grounded and gothic, taking some elements from her costume in Arrow.
That said, the look doesn't fit her character entirely, so we're glad to see it go. Her final design is a bit more classic, combining a bit of color and her classic fishnet stockings. At the same time, she still retains her "tough as nails" personality that must be reflected in her outfit. She did keep the jacket too, which added just the right amount of roughness to her design.
13 THE FLASH
DC's speedster, the Flash, is a character you'd think wouldn't go through many design changes. Yet here we are. His look in the first Injustice game left a little to be desired, and we appreciate his look in the second entry. It's a bit more classic with gold accents, a slimmer outfit, and not so many lines to get lost in.
However, it is worth mentioning that the silver accents and massive lightning bolt of the costume above are quite eye-catching. It's bold and still retains an iconic look for the character. That said, we're not on board with those shoulder and arm guards. Also, it's important to mention that the helmet on the right looks insanely ridiculous, and neither do those glasses in the middle.
12 STATIC SHOCK
The one valid complaint that we share with the gaming and comic community is that Injustice 2 doesn't need Mortal Kombat characters guest starring in a fighting game full of DC characters. DC has such an impressive amount of history that there are any number of characters that can be added as DLC that aren't from Neatherrealm's other property. Case in point, this unused character design for Static Shock, or simply "Static".
Giving the cornerstone of Milestone Comics (a DC imprint from the early '90s) a more modern look with the addition of tattoos, hat and killer kicks, this piece of concept art by Marco Nelor still has us crossing our fingers that he makes his way into the game via some DLC. However with Black Adam already in the game and with what looks like Raiden on his way, our hopes are officially dashed.
11 HARLEY QUINN
The bride of The Joker was bound to be one of the mainstays in the Injustice universe due to her popularity among the fans. While her final design was heavily inspired by the 2016 Suicide Squad movie, it's clear that there were different interpretations thrown around during development.
In this design, she takes a much more comic-inspired approach with a twist of visual insanity. She is loaded with broken shackles and chains, showing that she is beyond saving mentally. On top of that, she has a torn straightjacket for a shirt, which is a nice touch in our minds. Personally, we like this design and would've liked to see it in the game. However, based on her arc in the story, it wouldn't have fit too well.
Firestorm was added to Injustice 2 because of his inclusion in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, but that doesn't mean that we hate it. The idea of two characters bonding to form a nuclear superhero is really cool, and that needs to be reflected in the final design. Unfortunately, the actual look for Firestorm in the game isn't all that great, and features a helmet that looks too silly to take seriously.
We definitely wish that this concept art was seen through to the end. Not only does the addition of the mask prevent the character's head from looking off, but the suit itself looks like it was ripped straight out of the New 52. We would've been able to respect this character more. In short, we want this to put some gear together and make this costume for Firestorm.
One of the first DLC characters announced for the game was Starfire, the princess of Tamaran. Being one of the few prominent Teen Titans to not be featured in the game, it makes sense that she'd be included later on. When originally designing her costume, it's clear that the artists made some, let's call it, notable differences.
This look overall is much closer to the comics, and we are in love how long and fiery her hair is in this incarnation. The final look for Starfire isn't bad. Her costume had some more thought put into it while still keeping her iconic look intact. Her hair is shorter, which we think is a darn shame. Overall, both the concept art and the final version have their ups and downs.
8 GORILLA GRODD
The telepathic gorilla from DC Comics make a massive appearance in Injustice 2, and the artists knew they had to create an imposing design to go along with it. The final design is much more royal, featuring a set of armor and a helmet that turn Grodd into the lord he always wanted to be.
However, we have to point the sheer terror of this interpretation. Gone is his king-like armor, and in its place are cybernetic enhancements all over his body. He still has a helmet connected with cords that communicates his telepathic excellence, and that design is further accented by foreign markings all over his body. While a bit generic in color, this design demands your attention and would be enough to scare anyone away.
7 WONDER WOMAN
In Injustice: Gods Among Us, the big arc for Wonder Woman was that she saw Superman's bloody war against violence and completely stood by him. While she acted as a moral compass, she eventually defected into his Regime completely, and even fell in love with him all while watching him became a tyrant right before her eyes.
This concept art directly communicates that relationship, as she is given a cape very similar to his. Other variations are present here, featuring an outfit similar to how she looks in the Wonder Woman film (a film costume would be fully available for a limited time). However, the final design instead was crafted to be nearly identical to how she looked in the first game, although she skips the pants for a more comic accurate look this time around.
Supergirl is the Kryptonian who doesn't go insane in the Injustice universe. Her design needs to reflect that, as Superman is now sporting a tainted version of the classic costume. The concept here communicates that she is more heroic and even has a regal accent to it. Her cape comes over her shoulders and features shoulder guards that make her seem more refined. Then the "S" logo is different from the one on Superman's costume.
The final design for Supergirl was a bit safer, as she was portrayed with more naivety in the game's story. She's young, but she's still bright, heroic, and pure. The "S" is also a little bit different in the final design to feel more classic. Overall, we like the direction they took with her costume in the end.
The son of Batman, Damian Wayne, had a rough life in the Injustice universe. After accidentally killing Dick Grayson in a scuffle, Bruce alienates him and he sides with the Regime as a result. During the comic series, the spirit of the deceased Dick Grayson gives the old Nightwing costume to Damian and he takes up the mantle, thus having the costume in the game.
In Injustice 2, he takes up the Robin name again and has a vastly different costume to go along with it. However, the original design was similar to his Nightwing get-up but added a long cape that bore a striking resemblance to Tim Drake's Red Robin persona. It harkens back to a much more bird-like appearance that we would've appreciated. Nonetheless, we love his design and katana in the final game.
Because Superman was in bars and the threat to Earth seemingly defeated, it was time for a new antagonist to grace the streets of the Injustice universe and momentarily unite the heroes. All of this was done by bringing Brainiac to the scene. He was so dangerous that it necessitated the cooperation of both Batman and Superman once more.
To compliment his role as main antagonist, the artists were shooting for a sinister design. Covered in machinery from head to toe, this look makes Brainiac terrifying. However, the final design featured a slimmer costume overall, to emphasize his proficiency in technology rather than being a terrifying entity. We love both designs about the same, but there's something about the concept art that keeps us frightened.
3 CAPTAIN COLD
We're fairly certain that no one asked for Captain Cold to be in the game, but due to his prominence in the Arrowverse as well as Netherrealm's tendency to shove convoluted ice characters in its fighting games, we got him anyway. From this look at his concept art, it seems that the artists weren't sure which direction to take the character. Many of these additions seem to be clashing, and the yellow eyes over the goggles don't sit well with the overall look.
The final version of Captain Cold isn't the greatest design either, but to Netherrealm's credit, it worked with the material it was given. One thing we do wish carried over to the final look was the hood. That would've added just a little more seriousness to Leonard Snart.
Catwoman, being the sometimes love interest of Batman and a prominent female comic character, was never going anywhere in the Injustice franchise. However, the artists seem to forego her cat burglar costume from the source material in favor of a busier design. In the first game, she sported some thick leather with some noticeable claws over her hands and a set of clunky goggles.
The same can be said for her final design in Injustice 2, though it's handled with a bit more finesse. That's why we would've loved to see this different take on the character. A hood and mask are two things that we've rarely, if ever, seen on Catwoman, and it would've gone a long way to differentiate her from previous incarnations. Alas, all we can hope is to create something similar with some rare or epic gear.
1 GREEN ARROW
"Take Green Arrow and slap as much gear onto him as you can." That's probably what Netherrealm said to the artists of the game. Above we have two concept designs for the Green Arrow. The one on the left is reminiscent of his Rebirth look with enough Netherrealm flair, while the one on the right is an insane combination of metallic parts and add-ons that make it difficult to know what they were going for.
Clearly, this was just experimental to see how the gear system would alter the appearance of a fighter. The final design for the character sees a more comic accurate approach, where he looks like a quippy Robin Hood rather than a rejected Horizon Zero Dawn boss. That said, we really like the design on the left and wish that there was more influence from it in the character's initial costume.
Which of these are your favorite looks for these Injustice 2 characters? Let us know in the comments!