Video game adaptations of famous comic book characters have increased in both popularity and quality this past decade, mostly due to the Batman: Arkham series and Insomniac's Spider-Man. Superman, sadly, never quite properly broke into the medium.

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Most of his games turn out to be mediocre at best, and earth-shatteringly bad at worst. He almost had a chance back in 2007, however, when ill-fated studio Factor 5 was hard at work adapting the character. Given their pedigree with the Star Wars license, there was hope for Superman: Man of Steel. Unfortunately, the game never saw the light of day and proved to be the studio's final project.

10 Development Time

Factor 5 superman

The game was in development from 2007 to the end of 2008. Before pitching and landing this game, Factor 5 had recently wrapped up development on the PS3 exclusive Lair, which released to a mixed reception. With the company's successful Star Wars days behind them, they saw the Superman: Man of Steel game as a way to get back on top. Publisher Brash Entertainment made them the team for the job likely due to their technical prowess and experience with flight controls.


9 Tie-In Game To A Film That Never Happened

Superman flying factor 5

At the end of 2007 when development began, director Bryan Singer was still planning on developing a sequel to 2006's Superman Returns. As such, Factor 5's project was set to tie in to the movie. It would not only cover the film's plot, however, since it was set to include other villains and heroes who were not meant to be in the movie.

8 Code Name

Superman heat vision factor 5 copy

The game was in development under the code name "Blue Steel," which is a reference to two things, none of which are Zoolander. Blue is a nod to Superman's color scheme, while steel refers to his common nickname, the Man of Steel. It is also a shout out to "Blue Harvest," the code name George Lucas used while filming Return of the Jedi. Considering the studio's storied history with Star Wars, the code name feels appropriate.

7 Genre And Platform

The game was intended to be an open-world adventure game set in Metropolis. This would not be the first time the character went open-world, since the 2005 Superman Returns game was also set in a boundless Metropolis. The game was first in development for the PS3 due to the team's experience with Lair, though an Xbox 360 release was also intended.

6 Wii Version

In addition to the two competing platforms, a Wii version was also planned, though development barely started on it before the project was axed. The developer was a huge fan of the console, and wanted the game to take full advantage of the Wii's unique capabilities. They also already had a working relationship with Nintendo in the past. The publisher did not commission them for a Wii port, so this was a more personal passion project for the studio.

5 Grappling And Charging Through Buildings

Superman PS3

One feature the team promised in combat was the ability to grab an opponent and charge through buildings with them. Not only would the player be able to do this with almost every structure in the game, but the damage was to be dynamic.

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Considering other games at the time, such a feature would have been taxing on the hardware and wholly unique. Early in the PS3's life, the only game that comes to mind with in-depth environmental destruction is Stranglehold.

4 Movie's Cancellation

Superman Factor 5 test demo copy

As readers know, Bryan Singer never made a sequel to Superman Returns. However, Warner Bros.' change of plans was not the nail in the coffin for the game. Upon hearing about the movie's cancellation, the team decided to switch the game's focus into an homage to the character, highlighting the Man of Steel's most iconic moments. This was to include parts from movies as well, such as the memorable fight with General Zod in Superman II.

3 Multiplayer

superman video game supergirl model copy

In addition to a robust single-player, Factor 5 fully intended on incorporating multiplayer into the title. Unfortunately, few details are known about this part of the project since development never really started.

Related: 10 Things You Never Knew About THQ's Cancelled Avenger's Game

All one knows for sure is that other characters would have been playable besides Superman, including Supergirl. Hopefully it would have been better than Superman 64's multiplayer component.

2 Brash Entertainment

brash entertainment copy

Brash Entertainment was still in its infancy in 2007, and a series of rushed releases amounting critical and commercial failures doomed them just a year and a half after starting.  Jumper, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Space Chimps were made with unrealistically short development times to coincide with their theatrical counterparts. Several game went to different publishers, but other titles were cancelled altogether, a fate which eventually befell Man of Steel.

1 Factor 5's Demise

Factor 5 development

After Brash Entertainment closed its doors, Factor 5 continued working on the project in the hopes of finding another publisher. Unfortunately, one unpaid work cycle caused decreased morale, something which plummeted further when all employees lost their health benefits. Shortly before Christmas 2008, the studio closed its doors and let go of all its employees. The unpaid wages led to years of legal battles.

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