Superman Returns Interview (con't)
FiringSquad: The game takes place in the open world enviroment of Metropolis. How hard was it to make the game have such a setting and develop a fictional city from the ground up?
Jeff Peters: Building Metropolis was one of the biggest challenges faced by our team. The scope of the city is absolutely enormous - 80 square miles, with thousands and thousands of buildings arranged very precisely to allow for various flight paths through the city. No game has previously attempted to deliver a city of this size and scale, and to this level of detail. You can land on the ground to interact with citizens and pick up individual light poles; and 20 seconds later, you can be 2 miles in the air, looking down on the entire city below you. The ability to support these highly divergent levels of detail took many, many months to get right, but in the end we're bringing something new to the table that gamers haven't seen before.
FiringSquad: What kind of powers will the player have access to as Superman?
Jeff Peters: Every major superpower you'd expect is represented in the game. There's flight and superspeed, which is necessary for traveling the city and quickly responding to threats. There's super strength, which allows you to uproot almost any object in the city, as an aid for completing objectives and defeating minions. There's heat vision, which is a highly-effective long range attack. And there's your breath powers, which allow you to freeze any object in the game world (including enemies), or blow any object into the distance. Each power is upgradeable as well, making them even more useful as you progress through the game.
FiringSquad: How interactive will the world be to the player in the game?
Jeff Peters: On the Xbox 360 version, almost everything in the world is interactable. You can pick up and carry people, cars, rooftop ornaments, statues, etc. With many objects (such as traffic lights), you can also wield them like a baseball bat, or throw them at a targeted enemy. Many objects have dual abilities and are awaiting the player to experiement and explore. For example, there are water towers that can be plucked off the rooftops to help extinguish fires, or tanker trucks that create an enormous explosion when needed. The interactivity adds a lot of variety to the gameplay experience, as you're always stumbling on new ways to defeat the minions attacking the city. The PS2 and XBOX versions have slightly fewer interactive objects, but still more than enough to make combat engaging and varied.
FiringSquad: Besides Lex Luthor and his minions, what other classic Superman villians and other enemies will the player encounter in the game?
Jeff Peters: The game is fully stocked with enemies, ranging from recognizable Superman villains such as Bizarro and Metallo, to EA-and-DC co-created baddies like the hulking Terminites and the winged, dragon-like Scoldfires. As you progress through the game, additional villains make an appearance, each bringing with them a swath of minions to terrorize the city. Even the perplexing Mr. Mxyzptlk makes a calculated appearance.
FiringSquad: What other interesting gameplay elements will the Superman Returns game have?
Jeff Peters: The metro event system is one of the gameplay features we are most proud of. Rather than having particular events happen at particular places at particular times, most events can happen anywhere in the city, in a range of possible times. So, for example, if you get to a particular part of the game, you may trigger an event involving a group of Scoldfires attacking the Suicide Slums. Another player, at exactly the same point in the game, may instead be faced with a huge Downtown skyscraper fire that needs to be put out. This unpredictability keeps you on your toes as you're playing through, and gives you a great incentive to replay the game. It also continues to build off of the sense that 'you' are Superman, and must save Metropolis whenever and where ever a problem occurs, as you never know what's going to attack Metropolis, until it does. You must always be watching the city and get to the disturbance where ever it may be occurring as quickly as possible.