11 canceled superhero video games we wish had been made

Sometimes the games that could've been are more interesting than the ones we got. Here are the top 11 canceled superhero video games.
Superman Game Gameplay LEAKED | Cancelled Superman Game 'Blue Steel'
Superman Game Gameplay LEAKED | Cancelled Superman Game 'Blue Steel' / Slcmof

Behind the release of one single video game, there are years upon years of tireless work by hundreds of people. Developers do everything in their power to ensure their project meets their original vision and becomes worthy of the player's time. But once a game hits shelves, its fate isn't up to its creators anymore. Instead, it's up to the world to see and judge if all the hard work was worth it. Perhaps everyone falls in love with it or maybe it falls short of expectations.

However, there are rare instances when all that hard work never sees the light of day. Promising projects can get axed even if they feature well-known characters as their protagonist. So it's time to get a small glimpse into what could've been and look at eleven canceled superhero video games that had every right to break records and win over fans' hearts.

1. Spider-Man: The Great Web

Let's start with the latest (known) example of a canceled superhero game. At this point, every gamer has heard about Insomniac's Spider-Man saga, which currently has three single-player titles under its belt. But did you know that there were plans to take advantage of the multiverse to craft a multiplayer adventure featuring everybody's favorite web-slinger?

Spider-Man: The Great Web would've allowed you to swing across New York's skyline accompanied by up to five of your friends. Multiple arachnid heroes - including Spider-Gwen and Miguel O'Hara -would've teamed up to face the Sinister Six across different Earths. Players would've been able to visit other universes, unlock cosmetic upgrades, and participate in seasonal events (which are standard mechanics of a live-service game).

It's unclear why such a promising title was canceled, but perhaps it's due to PlayStation's recent restructuring which saw them lay off over 900 people and scrap some of its live-service games to focus on single-player projects. That being said, a multiplayer mechanic could still be included in a potential third Spider-Man game. And who knows? Perhaps Sony looks at all the positive reactions to Spider-Man: The Great Web after the leak and decides to green-light its development once again.

2. Project Sabbath - Damian Wayne Batman game

After the Batman Arkham Saga ended, Warner Bros looked at different ways in which they keep Batman's legacy alive in the video game world. Eventually, we got a Suicide Squad game set in the Arkhamverse alongside a project featuring the Bat Family as playable characters. However, before WB Games Montréal started working on Gotham Knights, ideas about a Damian Wayne game code-named Project Sabbath were circulating around.

Josh Keaton was set to voice Project Sabbath's titular character and even did a few recording sessions for it. Bruce Wayne would've made an appearance as an older and much more seasoned Batman who would've passed on the mantle of Gotham's protector to his son. Additionally, the game would've seen the return of many beloved characters such as Poison Ivy, The Penguin, Riddler, and Mr. Freeze, among others. Concept art for many of these antagonists was leaked years ago, as well as art depicting Damian riding the Batcycle.

It seems a few ideas of Project Sabbath were reworked into Gotham Knights - a game in which Bruce Wayne also makes a brief appearance before passing the torch to his successors. Besides, the Batcycle was also incorporated into the latter as a means of traversal as well, and characters such as Mr. Freeze - who were set to make an appearance in Project Sabbath - were also featured in Gotham Knights. So even if the Damian Wayne project was never released, we did play its spiritual successor (which, you know, wasn't all that great).

3. Superman: Blue Steel

Long have we waited for a good Superman game but that has never happened to this date. However, there's a parallel universe where the game developer Factor 5 never closed due to The Great Recession of 2008 and, instead, they managed to achieve the impossible.

A developer involved in the production of Superman: Blue Steel has come forth and talked about the canceled project that was set to release alongside a sequel to Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. The game would've put players on large, isolated levels with tons of destructible assets. The Man of Steel would've been able to drag enemies across the interiors of buildings, which no other superhero game has done to date.

Elements such as Kryptonite that are used to "debuff" Superman wouldn't have been a major focus of the game. Instead, Factor 5 wanted him to fight enemies as powerful as him such as Darkseid or Parademons. Additionally, Players would've explored the likes of Metropolis, Apokolips, ruins of Krypton, and Smallville, among others.

It hurts to see all the right ingredients to make an amazing Superman game were present in Blue Steel, yet the game was canceled all the same. All we have left are gameplay videos that showcase what could've been.

4. The Avengers (2012)

History was made back in 2012 when the first Avengers movie was released for the world to see and it changed cinema history forever. However, little did we know that a tie-in game was supposed to be released with it as well.

Since the plot of the Avengers movie was being tightly kept under wraps before the movie's release, THQ had no choice but to tell its own separate story in its planned adaptation. Instead of having Earth's Mightiest Heroes fight against the Chitauri army, the Skrulls would've been the main antagonists.

Besides, a first-person camera would've differentiated the Avengers game from the many other superhero adaptations before it. Gamers would've been able to choose between playing with their friends in a multiplayer mode or completing the campaign all by themselves with an A.I. taking over the non-played heroes.

Unfortunately, the studio working on the Avengers tie-in was closed, and their project never saw the light of day. One thing is for certain, though, the game couldn't have been possibly worse than 2020 Marvel's Avengers.

5. Spider-Man Classic (Web of Shadows sequel)

While far from having a disastrous launch, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows didn't exactly gather the levels of acclaim developer Shaba Games hoped for. But instead of giving up on the IP, they planned to deliver a sequel for Web of Shadows that would've taken the world by storm. Going by the title of Spider-Man Classic, the game was supposed to bring back all successful elements from its predecessor while fleshing out the gameplay mechanics that failed to make fans happy.

Instead of having a huge but empty open world - which was one of the main criticisms of Web of Shadows - Spider-Man Classic would've featured linear levels with open spaces. Wolverine would've also made his return with a protagonistic role this time around. And both Mysterio and Carnage would've acted as the game's main antagonists.

While Spider-Man Classic was never released due to the closure of Shaba Games, many consider Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions to be its spiritual successor.

6. Flash: The Fastest Man Alive

To say that Flash: The Fastest Man Alive was an ambitious game would be an understatement. The game would've given players two cities to explore, eleven boss fights to overcome, and a "morality system" with thoughtful repercussions.

If players decided to ignore secondary missions, they would see how billboards would be vandalized with graffiti and stores would go out of business in both Keystone City and Central City. Besides, the sound of sirens and gunshots would start playing frequently in the background too. On the contrary, if Wally West aided the city by completing secondary missions then the Flash Museum would eventually open its doors as a sign of the city's love for the superhero.

Since Wally was still in his early days as the Flash, we would've seen how he uncovered the full extent of his powers. That would've allowed for more abilities to be unlocked by players as they came closer to completing the game's campaign, which ended in an epic boss fight against the Reverse Flash.

The more we learn about this game, the more heartbroken we are it eventually got canceled due to the bankruptcy of its original publisher.

7. Gotham By Gaslight

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Batman existed during the Victorian era? Well, then the comic book issue of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is perfect for you. The Dark Knight facing Jack the Ripper is as amazing as it sounds, and it even inspired a video game of the same name.

While Gotham By Gaslight was never under full-blown production, there was a prototype created to pitch the concept to Warner Bros. Unfortunately THQ couldn't secure the rights to create a Batman video game, which would lead to the demise of the whole project. But even if we wouldn't trade the Batman Arkham Saga for any other video game, it's always interesting to see what could've been.

8. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

Can you imagine what it would be like exploring the rooftops of Hell's Kitchen as Daredevil himself? Well, in 2004 that almost became a reality as developer 5000 Ft Inc. secured the rights to make a game featuring the Man Without Fear.

Matt Murdock could glide through telephone cables, swing across buildings using his Billy Club, and - of course - sense enemies through walls. Characters such as Elektra, Punisher, Black Widow, and Bullseye were set to make an appearance, and players could unlock many different costumes for Daredevil to use.

While all these mechanics and story points sound perfect for a video game featuring the Man Without Fear, Marvel ultimately didn't like what they saw. In the end, they removed the licensing rights for the game just before it was released, ultimately killing the project altogether.

9. Spider-Man 4 tie-in

All three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies had tie-in video games releasing with them, so it shouldn't come as a surprise a Spider-Man 4 game was already in development before Sony decided to reboot the franchise as a whole. Radical Entertainment - the developers behind Prototype - were working on a prototype of the game which had many common mechanics featured in other Spider-Man projects. Players could explore an open world map of New York City, swing through buildings, climb on walls, and save the day by fighting bad guys.

However, Radical Entertainment also wanted to incorporate new ideas into the mix. That can be better appreciated at the 3:46 mark in the video above where we see how Spider-Man manually attaches webs to a helicopter in order to pull it down. That mechanic usually plays as a quick-time event in other games featuring the wall-crawler, so it's a breath of fresh air to see it incorporated as part of the standard gameplay here.

Unfortunately, the game was ultimately axed when the Spider-Man 4 movie was canceled. On the bright side, some ideas of this long-forgotten demo were incorporated into Prototype 2, so not everything went bad for Radical Entertainment.

10. Batman: The Dark Knight

Nowadays, it's easy to forget that the premiere of every superhero movie was usually accompanied by the release of a video game tying into that story. Development cycles for games used to last around two years back in the 2000s, which was in line with how long it normally takes to produce a movie. But even then, developers were often rushed to meet deadlines, which resulted in underwhelming projects that weren't all that memorable or fun to play (with the exception of Spider-Man 2, that is).

Publishing companies then had two options: release a broken game that was surely going to be met with poor reception or just cancel it altogether. Unfortunately, the latter was the case for the Dark Night adaptation. Developer Pandemic had all the right intentions for the game and planned to make it an open-world adventure where Batman could ride both the Batmobile and Batcycle. However, time proved to be too much of an issue as they couldn't resolve technical issues associated with the game's engine before the stipulated release date. EA then had no other option but to bury the project, which had every right to be the best adaptation of one of the best superhero movies ever made.

11. Justice League: Arcade

There's an alternate universe where DC beat Marvel in bringing its best heroes together on the big screen almost 20 years ago. In that universe, George Miller did get to direct Justice League: Mortal back in 2008, and Warner Bros got to release it sometime in 2009. And you know what else would've been launched alongside the highly anticipated movie? You're right, a video game tie-in.

Justice League: Arcade would've featured Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern as playable characters. Besides, there was a multiplayer PvP mode with over 16 playable characters to choose from, with the likes of Bane and General Zode. As if that wasn't enough, the game would've taken players across many different iconic DC landmarks such as Themyscira, Metropolis, and Gotham City among others.

Since Justice League: Mortal was never released, neither did its video game adaptaion. Some of the game's mechanics were reworked into Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, but I think it's fair to say they would've been better in a Justice League project.

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