James Gunn's DC slate has been revealed, and like virtually every movie and show announced by DC Studios, Gunn and his co-head Peter Safran have outlined plans for a continuous universe that brings movies, TV, and games together. Unfortunately, those plans seem a little confused, especially when it comes to the Man of Steel.
According to Slashfilm (opens in new tab), Safran said that "gaming is a big part of what we're doing, and everything we do at DC comes through us. Gaming is just part of it, but it's an area that we love, and we think could be really expanded upon." The aim, apparently, is for "an emphasis on storytelling and the universe, as opposed to individual movies or television."
So far, so good. Marvel's Avengers arguably suffered as a direct result of its distance from the MCU, as players struggled to determine where (and indeed why) a line had been drawn between the projects. Current videogame projects in the DC universe, like Gotham Knights and the upcoming Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, exist separately from the current DCEU, but with Gunn's overhaul there's room for future games to sit much closer to new stories being told across the entire franchise.
That should be a good thing - imagine if the Batman: Arkham games had been able to lean directly on the hype around Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy - but Gunn's plans don't seem that simple. His description seems to suggest games wouldn't tie directly into, say, a Superman film, but would aim to tell a supplementary story to fill in the gaps between movies.
According to Gunn, "it's not like we're going to have 'Superman' come out, and then have the 'Superman' game come out. It's more like, we have 'Superman' come out, then two years later, we have 'Supergirl' coming out. So what's the story in between there? Is there a Kyrpto game that we can play, that comes in between, that's still set in the world with these characters? But that's it's own thing. To sort of give games the prominence that they deserve."
Giving DC games "prominence" alongside DC films sounds great, but I'm not convinced by Gunn's description. It sounds similar to Marvel's decision to move some aspects of the MCU onto Disney+; to fully understand Wanda Maximoff's post-Thanos arc in Doctor Strange 2, you need to have seen Wandavision. Gunn's hypothetical Superman game would do a similar thing in tying a movie to its follow-up, but it would have to tell what sounds like a distinctly 'second fiddle' story in an attempt to spread an audience across multiple forms of media. If someone wants to watch the entire MCU, they can do it all through one subscription service. To experience Gunn's full DC arc, they'll need to have a PS5 set up alongside their TV. For many, that's fine, but plenty of people don't play games at all, and are unlikely to ever fill in the gaps left by those interactive outings.
That's to say nothing of the relative timeframes attached to making games versus films or TV shows. If Gunn's new Superman movie is less than three years away, the game that would bridge the gap with a Supergirl film in 2027 would need to be starting development pretty much right now. And that also doesn't touch on the rebellion stirring over Gunn's desire to use the same actors to portray his heroes across film, TV, and games. There's clearly plenty of appetite for Superman games, with fans even making their own versions, but right now, these new plans don't seem to live up to those expectations.
See what might have been with our list of the best superhero games.