Superheroes, while recently exploding in popularity, have been the subject of pop culture for a few decades. Whether it be in the form of movies or cartoons, superheroes have been popular in their own mediums. However, the one area that has seemed more difficult for them is video games. When it comes to creating a great game, many developers can get lost in the name of the property they're using and forget how to make a great game and because of this, there are a handful of superhero games that are impressive, with the rest of the bunch ranging from average to awful. However, the legacy of bad superhero games has done little to discourage developers from trying to use these characters. Countless companies have tried to create their own games featuring characters like Lobo, Daredevil, and the Flash. Unfortunately, reality gets on the way, and many developers have had to cancel their superhero games either on the basis of quality or finances.
While it's easy to judge all of these canceled superhero games as releases that would've been bad, that would be selling them short. Many of the canceled games looked impressive, wowing fans and gamers alike. Looking back, we're still broken up about many of them never being finished. As a matter of fact, some of them were probably even better than the superhero games that managed to get full releases. On that note, we'll be diving through 20 unused superhero video game concepts that are better than the ones we got.
20 OPEN-WORLD FLASH GAME
The Flash seems like a character that would be difficult to star in his own game. However, one development team was up to the task. Taking the powers and lore of the Flash and turning it into an open-world game, the team seemed to have something truly special on their hands. Gameplay footage was also released of the Scarlet Speedster rushing through Central City, which caught the attention of many Flash fans.
Unfortunately, the project had to be scrapped as the studio suffered some financial troubles. It's a shame considering the game was already on its way to becoming excellent, and would even feature other playable speedsters.
19 TEAM-FOCUSED AVENGERS GAME
When The Avengers was getting ready to hit theaters, Marvel had an idea to create a game that would be released alongside it. Teaming up with THQ, they quickly began work on a game where players could control one of the Avengers from the film. The action would take place in a first-person perspective and force players to rely on teamwork, similar to the Left 4 Dead franchise.
Gameplay was released that showed characters using their attacks to take on waves of enemies, and it was much more adult-oriented than the film. The game would support up to four players simultaneously, leading to one of the most unique superhero games ever created. It's sad we'll never see it finished.
18 WEB OF SHADOWS SEQUEL
While Spider-Man: Web of Shadows didn't break any barriers with its release, it was a well-respected Spider-Man game that made great use of the character and his world. This led the development team to begin work on a sequel that would have players switch between Spidey and Wolverine on the fly in an open world.
On top of that, Carnage and Mysterio were slated to be the antagonists, with the latter being re-designed to be a much scarier foe. All in all, there were great hopes for the sequel to Web of Shadows, but the project was scrapped before any major work could be done.
17 OPEN-WORLD DAREDEVIL GAME
Daredevil is a character suited for an action-focused open-world game just as much as Batman or Spider-Man. There was a team ready to tackle the project, even creating an engine where the Man Without Fear could use his acrobatic skills to scale buildings and take on foes. It was also set to make use of Daredevil's sense abilities to help him see objectives and points of interest.
Despite how far along the game was, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear never saw the light of day, leading fans to wonder what the end result would've been. Footage was later released of him scaling the environment and fighting iconic foes like Kingpin.
16 3D MARVEL FIGHTING GAME
After the lukewarm release of Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, EA had an idea to make a better Marvel fighting game. They were going to keep the engine in a 3D space, allowing characters to make use of the environment and their abilities to tackle their opponents.
With iconic characters filling out the roster and some promising gameplay, it seemed that the new Marvel Chaos was going to be the proper fighting game that Marvel fans deserved. Unfortunately, EA never finished the project, and those who wanted a Marvel fighting game would just have to wait for the next Marvel Vs. Capcom game.
15 THE DARK KNIGHT TIE-IN
Batman Begins was given a game to tie-in with its release, so it made sense that Warner Bros would want to try the same thing with The Dark Knight. Calling in Pandemic to handle the development, the main goal with the game was properly capturing the aesthetic of the film. Footage was released that showed a darker world faithful to the movie, and it looked better than the Batman Begins game.
However, Pandemic wasn't able to complete the game due to troubles of their own. However, Warner Bros would still insist on a Batman game being created, which is what led them to create Batman: Arkham Asylum.
14 GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT GAME
Of all the Batman games, the one based on Gotham By Gaslight is most interesting. It represents a development team looking to make a game based on a standalone universe that isn't connected to the standard Gotham City. The game featured some impressive world design, featuring a stockier Batman with a hefty cape, fog covering the darkened streets, and even some decent movement.
Unlike the action-focused Batman games, the Gotham By Gaslight adaptation was set to focus a lot on the detective aspects of the character, giving him a flashlight on top of other tools to solve investigations regarding new versions of old villains.
13 3D JUSTICE LEAGUE FIGHTING GAME
While the eventual release of Injustice: Gods Among Us was great, spawning a franchise that remains faithful to DC's characters, we still wonder what would've happened had that 3D Justice League fighting game been completed. Originally developed to be a Green Lantern fighting game, it wasn't long before DC's famous characters joined the roster as well.
The engine was well-constructed and colorful, featuring big environments where players would fight each other. They could objects around them to help get the job done, and some of the moves looked fun to execute. The game never got a fair shot, though, and was canceled.
12 INTENSE SUPERMAN GAME
When Insomniac released the first trailer for Spider-Man, featuring the wall crawler swinging through the streets of New York and running across rooftops, it was astounding. A similar thing occurred when the trailer for Superman: Blue Steel was first released. It featured the Man of Steel fighting Doomsday by sending him crashing through rooftops.
Featuring classic character designs and realistic details, it felt like the quintessential Superman game was finally on its way. It was also set to include more familiar faces like Lex Luthor and Darkseid. Unfortunately, this game never saw the light of day, leading many to wonder if Superman would get a good game.
11 REWORKED SUPERMAN 64
We all know that Superman 64 is one of the worst games ever made, with clunky flight controls and bland level design. However, that didn't stop the interest in porting the game to PlayStation One. However, a new development team was in charge of the port, and they decided that the only to make such a thing work was to rework it from the ground up.
The game did away with flying through rings and focused on exploration and combat. Some compared it even to a Tomb Raider game. Unfortunately, the project was canceled, and fans were only left with gameplay footage of what could've been.
10 SUICIDE SQUAD GAME
At the end of Batman: Arkham Origins, Amanda Waller walks up to Deathstroke's cell and talks to him about some tasks she wanted done. This led many to assume that Warner Bros had a Suicide Squad game in the pipeline. This proved to be a project that was in the works by WB Montreal, the developers of Arkham Origins.
However, the project couldn't gain enough traction and was inevitably canceled. As such, the scene with Waller talking to Deathstroke remains unresolved, and the Arkham series was continued only by following the Dark Knight. The idea of a Suicide Squad game with a playable Deathstroke seemed like it would've been astounding.
9 2D GHOST RIDER BRAWLER
For the PlayStation One, Ghost Rider was planned to get his own game. Much like the Castlevania series when it adapted 3D technology, Ghost Rider was set to be a 2D brawler that used 3D assets, giving the illusion of larger environments. The game would've made use of Ghost Rider's numerous abilities along with some unique environments.
Footage was released and was promising, seeming like a visually-pleasing, solid action game. Unfortunately, the project would be canceled, leaving the Ghost Rider without a proper video game and a proper movie adaptation. Of Marvel's many characters, he would make for an excellent video game.
8 LOBO BRAWLER
Much like Ghost Rider, there was a development team interested in giving Lobo his own 2D brawler. The twist is that this game was scheduled for release on the PS2 and Xbox. With the enhanced power of these consoles, there could've been a lot more time and effort put into making the game look and run phenomenally.
A character like Lobo also lends himself well to all sorts of crazy levels and boss fights. The game could've even used DC superheroes as enemies. Unfortunately, the company wasn't interested in the game very much, leading to its quick cancelation. Fans of Lobo would be forever disappointed.
7 MARVEL 2099 GAME
With superhero games, it's very rare that they embrace alternate realities. Mostly, they rely on iconography and classic imagery that characters are known for. However, there was a game for the PlayStation One in development titled Marvel 2099: One Nation Under Doom. The game would've been a 2D action game with 3D assets, but it would've largely drawn from Marvel's 2099 universe, including Doctor Doom 2099 as the antagonist.
Including plenty of future versions of popular Marvel characters, it generated a lot of hype when it was first revealed. Unfortunately, it got scrapped as well, leaving Marvel fans wishing they lived in a different reality.
6 SWAMP THING BRAWLER
There are plenty of DC characters that would make great games, but their lack of popularity makes them less likely to be used in that way. However, there was a team that was interested in making a Genesis/SNES era brawler starring Swamp Thing. The game would've been fairly run-of-the-mill, but have varied level design thanks to Swamp Thing's powers.
On top of that, Swamp Thing's bizarre imagery from the comics would've likely made the jump to the game as well, making for one of the most visually interesting brawlers ever created. The game was canceled after being far along in development, though.
5 GREEN LANTERN ACTION GAME
Green Lantern has had a hard time starring in his own games. Back in the SNES days, there were plans to have him star in his own 2D platformer, where he would use his powers to tackle all sorts of dangerous foes. While that was fairly standard at the time, the game was supposed to culminate in a final battle where it would become a shooter, with Green Lantern flying across the screen.
This was not only unique for the time, but made excellent use of the character's source material. If released, it could've been one of the great games on the platform. As every other title on this list, though, it was canceled, unable to be saved by the power of Green Lantern's light.
4 FEMALE-LED X-MEN BRAWLER
SEGA put together some phenomenal X-Men games on the Genesis. It led to them remaining some of the most popular characters of the time, as they were often seen tackling bad guys and using their unique powers. SEGA looked to complete its arc of X-Men games with X-Women: The Sinister Virus.
This release was going to focus on the female members of Xavier's team like Rogue, Jean Grey, and Storm. Apart from their unique powers, it would've been the same sort of solid action game that SEGA was known for making at the time. However, they canceled it due to it being developed late in the Genesis' life cycle.
3 MARVEL MMO
DC Universe Online has proven to be an interesting game, filled with all sorts of iconic missions and characters while adding enough customization to keep things interesting. However, Microsoft wanted a piece of the action and worked with another team to create Marvel Universe Online. After releasing a trailer that made the game look epic, there was a lot of interest surrounding the game.
At the very least, if it replicated the formula set by its DC counterpart, it would've been an excellent game. Microsoft proved to be unsure of the concept, though, as they canceled the project due to many other MMOs failing to succeed.
2 100 BULLETS VIDEO GAME
For those that don't know "100 Bullets" was a comic book series that was worked on by Vertigo and published by DC. It was a comic version of noir stories that proved so popular on film. It wasn't long before Acclaim saw it and decided it would make for an excellent game. Much like the source material, the 100 Bullets game was going to be intense and dark.
However, it was more than just a regular shooter. The game was supposed to have players think about the ethics of their actions, and have them think before they pulled the trigger. Everyone who played it had great things to say about it, but that didn't stop its cancelation.
1 JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURE GAME
Several years ago, there was a movie on the books titled Justice League: Mortal. To coincide with the movie, there was a game in development that would use the characters from DC's team and put them in an action adventure game. In it, players would be able to use a few of the heroes in rotation as they took on waves of enemies and popular villains from DC's pantheon.
Using a pre-existing engine, it wasn't long before footage was compiled. However, the game was canceled because the movie was also canceled. The assets were later used down the road in the Green Lantern tie-in game, and fans couldn't have been more disappointed.