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Articles on this Page
- 07/03/18--08:14: _Star Fox Was Develo...
- 07/03/18--09:00: _Splatterhouse: The ...
- 07/03/18--11:42: _Shenmue HD Remaster...
- 07/03/18--12:16: _Twitch Giving Away ...
- 07/03/18--12:52: _GTA 6 Release Date ...
- 07/04/18--08:54: _Shenmue 1 & 2 Colle...
- 07/04/18--08:56: _Taiko no Tatsujin C...
- 07/06/18--08:30: _Netflix's Castlevan...
- 07/06/18--08:35: _When Nintendo Got I...
- 07/06/18--08:39: _Pokemon Go: Celebi ...
- 07/09/18--08:05: _Pokemon Quest Has P...
- 07/09/18--09:01: _Uncharted: Nathan D...
- 07/09/18--11:01: _WWE 2K19 Switch Ver...
- 07/09/18--11:03: _Battlefield 5 Previ...
- 07/09/18--11:11: _Guild Wars 2 Develo...
- 07/09/18--12:15: _Battletoads: Long L...
- 07/09/18--12:32: _Diablo Creator on H...
- 07/09/18--12:52: _Fallout: New Vegas ...
- 07/09/18--14:10: _Warframe Coming to ...
- 07/10/18--08:31: _The Many Deaths of ...
- 07/03/18--08:14: Star Fox Was Developed in Nintendo's Smoke Break Room
- 07/03/18--09:00: Splatterhouse: The Pioneering Horror Arcade Game at 30
- 07/03/18--11:42: Shenmue HD Remasters Releasing in August
- 07/03/18--12:16: Twitch Giving Away 21 Free Games to Amazon Prime Members
- 07/03/18--12:52: GTA 6 Release Date Messages Confirmed to be Fake
- 07/04/18--08:54: Shenmue 1 & 2 Collection Coming in August
- 07/04/18--08:56: Taiko no Tatsujin Coming to Nintendo Switch
- 07/06/18--08:30: Netflix's Castlevania Season 2 Release Date, Cast, and News
- 07/06/18--08:35: When Nintendo Got Into a Copyright Dispute Over a Microwave
- 07/06/18--08:39: Pokemon Go: Celebi Coming to Game "In the Near Future"
- 07/09/18--08:05: Pokemon Quest Has Passed 7.5 Million Downloads
- 07/09/18--09:01: Uncharted: Nathan Drake Never Takes Bullet Damage
- 07/09/18--11:01: WWE 2K19 Switch Version Cancelled Following WWE 2K18 Backlash
- 07/09/18--11:11: Guild Wars 2 Developers Fired Following Twitter Argument With Fan
- 07/09/18--12:15: Battletoads: Long Lost Game Boy Game Revealed by Rare
- 07/09/18--12:32: Diablo Creator on His Legacy, Trolls, and the Making of Diablo
- 07/09/18--14:10: Warframe Coming to Nintendo Switch
- 07/10/18--08:31: The Many Deaths of Injustice: Gods Among Us
The revolutionary Star Fox can trace its roots to a hacked Game Boy and some long cigarette breaks.
There's a new video that sheds a little light on the mysterious - and bizarre - development of the original Star Fox games.
The development of Star Fox can be traced back to when an Argonaut Software boss told a 17-year-old employee named Dylan Cuthbert to hack the Game Boy and see if it was possible to develop a 3D game for the platform. The game they developed, which was eventually called X, was showcased to Nintendo at an industry event. Nintendo was so impressed with the technology that they invited Argonaut developers to Nintendo HQ in order to show them how they hacked their system and how Nintendo could develop such projects.
Nintendo went on to acquire the rights for X, but that wasn't the most productive thing to come out of this meeting. Argonaut also scored an invite back to Nintendo HQ where Nintendo showed them their work on the Super Nintendo. Not long after, Nintendo tasked the company with developing the 3D Super FX chip.
Initially, Nintendo planned on using the technology to create a project codenamed SnesGlider(some have also called it NesGlider). The project was seemingly being treated as little more than a "proof of concept" attempt to show Nintendo that the technology was possible. However, when Shigeru Miyamoto took a look at SnesGlider, he reportedly sharply inhaled his breath and indicated that it was in no way ready to be referred to as an actual game.
Nintendo then did something that was relatively unheard of at the time. They hired three non-Japanese and very young developers from Argonaut to come work at Nintendo HQ in Kyoto as full-time employees. The team was supposedly given workstations in the Nintendo smoking lounge where Nintendo employees who smoked (which, at the time, included Shigeru Miyamoto) would comment on the game during breaks.
Yes, Miyamoto casually helped shaped the development of Star Fox during his cigarette breaks. In fact, while Miyamoto was walking through the fabled Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, he dreamed of flying through the gates of the shrine at quick speeds. That idea became the basis for the original Star Fox's gameplay. From there, it supposedly only took the young team 11 months to develop the original Star Foxas we know it today.
Oh, and Miyamoto eventually quit smoking.
A hockey mask, blunt instruments, and a heck of a lot of gore: we look back at Namco’s arcade video game hit, Splatterhouse...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
In the realm of video games at least, the 1980s was a comparatively sunny period: it was the era that gave us bright and cheerful classics like Super Mario Bros., Bubble Bobble, and Monty Mole. Yet beneath that pleasant exterior stirred something darker and much nastier. Just ask Namco.
Thirty years ago, Namco was best known for the zip and vim of its arcade games. It conquered the world with Pac-Man, the first video game to introduce a cartoon-character hero and a subsequent storm of merchandising. Before and after, Namco turned alien extermination into a colorful pastime with games like Galaxian and Galaga, it turned the apprehension of burglars into a slapstick platformer with Mappy, and made driving like a maniac look oddly adorable in Rally X.
Again, though, something evil was stirring within Namco, just waiting to be unleashed. In late 1988, that day finally came with the release of Splatterhouse, an arcade machine completely unlike anything the Japanese firm had made before. Inspired by western horror games, it was a scrolling beat-em-up, not unlike hits from rival companies: Kung Fu Master, Vigilante, and Double Dragon. But unlike most other games, Splatterhouse was outlandishly gory.
If you’d stumbled on Splatterhouse in an arcade in the late '80s, you would’ve immediately noted how different it looked from other video games of the era. While games had been growing in graphical richness and violence for a while - Operation Wolf was a gun-crazed money-spinner for Taito in 1986 - none were quite as gratuitous as Splatterhouse. Cast in the role of the hockey mask-wearing anti-hero, Rick, the player stalked the halls of the titular mansion, a haunted pile stuffed to the rafters with grotesque monsters and ghouls.
Armed at first with nothing more than his fists and feet, Rick embarked on a revenge mission against the undead who’d both murdered him at the start of the game and then kidnapped his girlfriend, Jennifer. In terms of its scenario, it wasn’t unlike Capcom’s Ghosts ‘N Goblins from 1986, but in execution, Splatterhouse was completely different: punching zombies in the face reduced them to a groaning heap of bones and green goo; picking up a weapon like a meat cleaver or a slab of wood allowed you to smash enemies into a bloody mess or chop them into hunks of meat.
Admittedly, the style was still cartoony, much like Ghosts ‘N Goblinswas, but the larger-than-life violence and sprays of claret made it feel more like something out of EC Comics, the infamous publisher whose output was considered so corrupting that it hastened the birth of the Comics Code.
Like EC’s comics, Splatterhouse showed a voluminous - and perhaps opportunistic - knowledge of contemporary horror. Anyone with a passing interest in pop culture would have recognized that Rick’s mask was "inspired" by the hockey mask worn by Jason Voorhees in the latter Friday the 13th movies. Other details in Splatterhouse were evidently borrowed from such classics as Poltergeist, The Evil Dead, Night of the Living Dead, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, and lots more besides.
Splatterhousewas, in short, one of the first true B-movie arcade games, and its creative swiping of other storytellers’ ideas was, like any B-picture worth its salt, done with little care for self-censorship or good taste. One level saw Rick fight a gigantic, monstrous womb; once defeated, a nauseating gush of fluid issued forth. Another end-of-level boss took the form of a huge inverted crucifix. With Splatterhouse, it seemed as though Namco had intentionally set out to make a game that would horrify parents, but at the same time, leave their kids grinning maniacally.
The craft and sheer detail that went into Splatterhouse’s horror setpieces made it something of a pioneer - even if it wasn’t exactly the first game of its type. In the home computer and console markets, smaller developers had been turning out horror games for years. The Atari 2600 received fairly low-rent licensed games based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween franchises, while the ZX Spectrum’s obscure action adventure Go to Hell was full of tiny demons and disembodied heads.
In arcades, there were far fewer precedents for Splatterhouse’s boundary-pushing brand of gore. Death Race caused a ripple of controversy in 1976, but that was because of its theme more than its visuals - running over tiny stick men in a car was considered beyond the pale back then, making it a Carmageddon for the Gerald Ford era. No, Splatterhouse’s closest forebear was arguably Chiller, a horror-themed light gun game created by the same team that made Death Race. Taking place against a backdrop of torture chambers and haunted houses, Chiller was gory, crude, and faintly unseemly.
But where Chiller was a relatively obscure title made with an evidently small budget, Splatterhouse was in a different league in terms of design. Sure, the action’s sluggish and simplistic by modern standards, with its 2D action making it the crazed cousin of Sega’s Altered Beast, but it looks and sounds superb. When Rick fires a shotgun, there’s a blast of smoke and crimson sparks, an impressive detail to spot in an arcade game circa 1988.
What’s not clear is whether Namco had hoped that Splatterhouse would gain wider infamy through sheer shock factor alone; if it did, then the plan backfired somewhat. Far from making headlines with its violence, Splatterhouse simply drifted under the radars of culture’s self-appointed watch dogs. Splatterhouse wasn’t widely purchased by arcade owners in the west (probably because they were nervous about all that bloodshed), but cabinets certainly turned up from time to time in the UK - this writer has clear memories of spotting one in a British seaside arcade at the end of the decade.
All the same, Splatterhouse was something of a cult hit, particularly when it appeared on home consoles. The PC Engine (or TurboGrafx-16) received a port in 1990, and while it had some of its more extreme instances of splatter snipped out, it still provided a faithful approximation of the arcade’s frenzied massacre. There were sequels and spin-offs on consoles, too: Japan got Splatterhouse Wanpaku Graffiti in 1989, which was a kind of super-deformed parody of the arcade game shrunk down for the Nintendo Entertainment System (or Famicom). The Sega Genesis received two sequels, which continued the bloody saga well into the 1990s.
Even these home versions didn’t generate much controversy, though, despite Namco drawing attention to the game’s content itself. On the cover of the TurboGrafx-16 edition, a splash of blood highlights the warning, “The horrifying theme of this game may be inappropriate for young children... and cowards.”
Try as it might, Splatterhouse simply didn’t horrify adults in quite the same way as another title first released in 1988: the side-scrolling arcade shooter, Narc. That game contained digitized 32-bit graphics, a drug war theme, and action that saw criminals blown apart with rocket launchers. Instead of Splatterhouse, it would be Narc’s war on crack cocaine that captured headlines.
Four years later, the soft-focus sleaze of Sega’s Night Trap and the gory fatalities of Mortal Kombat finally caught the attention of politicians in the US, leading to the introduction of Entertainment Software Ratings Board in 1994. By the time Namco’s disappointing Splatterhouse reboot emerged for consoles in 2010, its cover carried a genuine “Mature” rating - not the joking public health warning the original bandied about two decades earlier.
Still, while Splatterhouse didn’t gain the instant infamy of Mortal Kombat or Narc, it nevertheless garnered a much-deserved cult status. The game was a real trailblazer, too: with Splatterhouse, Namco was testing the boundaries of what was acceptable in arcades of the late '80s, paving the way for the similarly schlocky games that followed.
As we’ve seen, the series continued on consoles, but in the arcade, Splatterhouse remained unique among Namco’s otherwise bubbly canon. Before he worked on Splatterhouse, designer Akira Usukura crafted the graphics for the hit spin-off, Pac-Mania. The year after Splatterhouse, Usukura designed Rompers, an obscure maze game featuring a gardener in a straw hat.
It was as though Splatterhouse rose up from Namco’s collective imagination like a demon, briefly found its physical form in a singular arcade brawler, then vanished again into the depths of hell.
After years of waiting, the Shenmue and Shenmue II remasters are finally releasing this year.
The long-awaited Shenmue remasters finally have a release date.
Starting on August 21st, you'll be able to buy the Shenmue remaster bundle for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The console versions of the title will be available as physical purchases, but the PC version will be a digital-only release. If you pre-order now, you'll get a 10% discount on the final purchase.
The remastered versions of Shenmue and Shenmue II will preserve all of the content from the original releases but will feature some modern-day upgrades. Each title will support scalable screen resolutions as well as PC custom graphics options. The games will also offer what is being referred to as modern and classic control schemes, but it's not entirely clear what the difference between the two will be. However, we suspect the modern option will fix some of the...wonkiness of the original game's controls. Sega has also said that each title will feature improved user interface options.
Furthermore, players will be able to choose between English and Japanese voice options. That will surely come as welcome news to those who found the game's English voiceovers to be the source of some awkwardly unintentional funny moments.
Best of all, both games will be featured in a single package collection that will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime later this year.
There's quite a lot to take in following the reveal of this collection. Aside from the details of the collection itself - which all sound quite promising - there's the historical significance of the original Shenmue being released on a platform other than the Dreamcast. The original Shenmue was considered to be perhaps the most ambitious game of all-time upon its initial release. While the title suffers from plenty of wonkiness and featured many ideas that the technology of the time simply couldn't handle, it's still one of those games that everyone must at least try to play at some point.
While Shenmue II isn't quite as historically significant as its predecessor, it's arguably the better game. That sequel saw series protagonist Ryo Hazuki travel to Hong Kong in order to pursue his father's killers. The game's lows were quite low, but its highs include some incredible sequences and amazing plot twists that help make it one of the greatest revenge stories of all-time.
At present, there's no word on whether or not those who play through these collections will be able to carry any information over to Shenmue III. However, we should know more about what relationship - if any - the titles will have when Shenmue III releases (hopefully) sometime next year.
Twitch is offering a staggering amount of free games in celebration of Amazon Prime Day.
To help celebrate Amazon Prime Day 2018 (the corporate holiday that Hallmark wished they came up with), Twitch is giving away almost a month's worth of games through their Twitch Prime service.
While Twitch Prime gives away free games every month, the service is offering a staggering 21 games during the month of July. It starts with a free version of the excellent Pillars of Eternity: Definitive Edition (one of Obsidian's greatest games), which you can download now through July 7. As with all Twitch Prime free games, Pillars of Eternity is yours to keep once you download it via the Twitch desktop app.
However, that's just the start of this month's free Twitch Prime games. Here's a list of all available titles grouped by the date they become available and when they will expire from the service:
July 2 - July 7: Pillars of Eternity: Definitive Edition, Q.U.B.E. 2, Battle Chef Brigade, Manual Samuel, Gonner, Next Up Hero.
July 3 - August 2: Metal Slug 3, The Last Blade, Twinkle Star Sprites
July 8 - July 14: Uurnog Uurnlimited, Hue, Deponia Doomsday, Observer, Tacoma, The Bridge, Brutal Legend
July 15 - July 17: The Red Strings Club, Tyranny, Broken Age
July 18 - July 31: The Framed Collection, Serial Cleaner
If you're looking for the highlights, they include Battle Chef Brigade (a blend of Iron Chef and an RPG), classic action game Metal Slug 3, psychological horror game Observer, sci-fi adventure game Fullbright, and fellow Obsidian RPG Tyranny.
As you probably guessed, you will need an Amazon Prime account in order to download these games from the Twitch Prime service. You can find instructions on how to link your Amazon Prime account to Twitch via this website. Once you've linked the two accounts, you'll be able to claim any available offers by checking out this website, clicking the "Claim Offer" button under the game you want, and opening the Twitch desktop app to launch the game.
Developer Rockstar assures fans everywhere that GTA 6 won't be released in 2019.
Rockstar has confirmed that recent in-game GTA V messages claiming that GTA VI will be released in 2019 are as fake as you think they are.
This fine piece of hoax drama started when GTA V players started receiving in-game messages that claimed GTA VI will be released as early as 2019. Normally, such messages wouldn't attract more than a roll of the eyes from anyone who sees them. However, these particular messages were supposedly sent by official Rockstar accounts and featured strange font and text formatting that players can't just easily access through available in-game tools.
So while most fans were pretty sure that there's no way Rockstar would ever announce the impending release of GTA VI in such an unofficial and low-budget way, the messages were just convincing enough to attract an official response from Rockstar Support's Twitter account.
"This is a hoax made with the use of mods, and not an official message or statement from Rockstar Games," said the studio in response to a question from a fan on Twitter. We're sure that they never thought they'd have to dignify such a hoax with an official statement, but there you have it.
So how did the people sending out these messages manage to construct semi-convincing in-game announcements? Well, "mods" are the quick answer to that question - the messages didn't appear on any platform that didn't support mods - but this goes beyond someone downloading a few files and sending out some text messages via the game's online chat system.
Instead, it appears that the modders did manage to gain control of Rockstar's official announcement system via in-game tools and were able to use it to send those oddly official-looking messages regarding GTA VI's release date. Some people were even receiving the messages via the game's single-player mode.
To summarize, GTA VI is not being released in 2019 and likely won't be released for quite some time.
Sega's cult sandbox games Shenmue I and II are heading to current-gen consoles and PC in August...
Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, designer Yu Suzuki's finally getting to complete his sandbox adventure epic, with Shenmue III currently due for release in 2019.
Meanwhile, if you're keen to return to the original pair of Shenmue games, first released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999 and 2001 respectively, then there's good news: Shenmue I and II are being bundled together for release on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this August.
It's worth bearing in mind that the Shenmue I and II collection is a fairly straight port of the originals, and not a HD remaster in the style of, say, Shadow Of The Colossus. But Sega has added some modern creature comforts to the mix: there'll be a choice of English or American voice tracks, resolution scaling options, as well as a choice between classic or modern controls.
While Shenmue I & II will be available as a digital release, the physical version will also include a double-sided poster and a box with a reversible cover.
On its first release almost 20 years ago, Shenmue was among the most expensive games ever developed, with its production reckoned to cost as much as $70 million. Thanks in part to the travails of the Dreamcast, Shenmue's success never matched the scale of its production, but its cult folowing only grew in subsequent years - and its status as one of the first true 3D open-world games makes it one of the key titles of the late 90s.
We'll have to wait and see how Yu Suzuki's Shenmue III - backed to the tune of $6 million - will end his epic revenge saga. Until then, a new generation of gamers will at least have a chance to play the original chapters for themselves.
Shenmue I & II is out on August 21.
Rhythm game Taiko no Tatsujin is getting a western release on Nintendo Switch - at least according to the Australian Classification Board...
Although it's a huge deal in Japan, the action drumming game Taiko no Tatsujin is relatively obscure elsewhere, largely because it was only released in America - as Taiko: Drum Master - once, and that was back in 2004.
That may be about to change, though, as word emerges that the Nintendo Switch edition of Taiko no Tatsujin is getting a western release.
The news comes from the Australian Classification Board's website, where a trademark for Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'N Fun! was placed by Bandai Namco in early June. While this isn't a full confirmation, there's certainly precedent for this sort of leak, and also a bit of evidence to support it elsewhere. The Japanese version of Taiko no Tatsujin is out on the 19th July, and there's even an English-language patch being made available a month later, on August 9.
That Bandai Namco would even go to the trouble of making such a patch seems unlikely if its drumming game were to remain exclusive to Japan; put it all together, and the evidence suggests that Taiko no Tatsujin will indeed show up on western Switches fairly soon, either physically or digitally (or both).
Here's hoping that Bandai Namco also bring the Taiko drum controller to the west, too. Playing the game with its proper peripheral is a truly joyous experience, particularly with friends - and being able to buy one locally means we'll all be able to sidestep those added costs of trying to import one from Japan.
More on this as we get it.
Netflix's Castlevania returns for a second season just in time for Halloween!
Those who have already learned to love Netflix's Castlevania will be thrilled to learn that the streaming service has greenlit the show's second season.
Showrunner Adi Shankar had previously hinted that the show's second season was a done deal in a now-deleted Facebook post, but Netflix officially confirmed the show's renewal in a brief statement that included the very welcome news that Castlevania's second season will be eight episodes long. While that's hardly the length of a network program - or even an HBO show - it's a nice upgrade from the first season's meager four episode offering.
In case you haven't yet read our review of the show, we thought quite highly of Castlevania's first season and look forward to seeing what the show's incredibly talented team can do when they have a full-length season to work with.
Here's everything else we know about the show:
Castlevania Season 2 Release Date
Castlevania season 2 arrives on Oct. 26, 2018. It will air exclusively on Netflix. The network also dropped some screenshots from the new season:
Castlevania Season 2 Cast and Crew
All the principle participants of the show's first season appear to be onboard for Castlevania season two, which means that showrunner Adi Shankar, writer Warren Ellis, and voice actors Graham McTavish, Richard Armitage, James Callis, and Alejandra Reynoso will all reprise their respective voice roles.
A microwave oven prevented Nintendo from officially using the name Famicom on its consoles in the 80s, a new video reveals...
In the west, we know it as the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES - the 8-bit console that turned its makers into an industry giant.
But before the NES was released in America in 1985, it was released in Japan as the Family Computer in 1983, and much like everywhere else, it quickly became a phenomenon. Such games as Super Mario,Metroid, and Zelda defined a generation, and are still widely discussed and played today - just look at the success of the NES Classic Mini.
Because "Family Computer" is a bit of a mouthful, Japanese gamers soon began calling it the Famicom for short - a much friendlier, concise name. You may have wondered why Nintendo didn't simply call the system by this name in first place, or at least start rebranding later editions of the console with the Famicom contraction when the name started appearing in magazines and fanzines. After all, Nintendo started using the contraction in the 16-bit era, with the SNES carrying the name Super Famicom in Japan.
As it turns out, there was a very good reason for this: electronics company Sharp got there first, with the name "Famicon" appearing on a line of microwave ovens in the late 1970s.
It's actually a bit more complicated than that, and a really fascinating story if you're interested in your gaming history. So make a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and take a look at Gaijillionaire's latest video, which explains all...
As Pokemon Go celebrates its second birthday, Niantic adds extra Pikachus and teases an appearance from Celebi...
It's the mobile game that put Pikachu out on the streets where he belongs. And it put Bulbasaur in a woodland clearing. And generally scattered Pokemon all over the globe, really.
Yes, Pokemon Go has been a roaring success for Niantic, and while it's had its ups and downs over its two year history - including some rather chaotic fan events - the mobile app's still drawing a healthy following. Indeed, recent reports have suggested that, after a bit of a lull, Pokemon Go's user base has climbed back to roughly where it was at launch in 2016.
To celebrate Pokemon Go's second birthday, Niantic's adding extra Pikachu and Pichu critters for players to catch in the wild. And to ring the changes, they'll be wearing shades and sun hats - just to differentiate them from all the other hatted electric rodents we've caught on previous occasions. (Our bags are already bulging with an assortment of Pikachus in santa hats, Pikachus in party hats, and so on.)
Niantic's adding a few other trinkets to the game, too, including special clothing items available exclusively to players with gold Pikachu badges (earned by catching 300 or more rodents).
The real news, though, was slipped in at the end of Niantic's recent release; the mythical Pokemon, Celebi, is finally going to be added to the game in "the near future."
Like the elusive Mew before him, Celebi will only be available by completing Special Research tasks - so that'll likely involve catching a set number of one Pokemon type, throwing curve balls, and so on. To capture Mew, the tallest task in the previous research mission tasked players with evolving a Magikarp - a process that required a whopping 400 candies to complete.
This was all fine if you happened to have all those candies already, but more daunting if, say, you'd only just evolved a Magikarp a few days before the Special Research mission was announced - which is precisely what happened to us.
Our advice? If you haven't already, don't evolve your Swablu, Wailmer or Feebas just yet. Those rascals at Niantic will probably pick one of those high-candy creatures as one of the evolve tasks in the Celebi research.
More on Pokemon Go as it comes in.
Free-to-play adventure game Pokemon Quest has reached a huge download milestone, and made quite a pile of money at the same time...
It's just over a month since the launch of Pokemon Quest, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company's free-to-play adventure title - a kind of fighting-and-evolving affair with a touch of Minecraft's cooking and boxy visual style.
Despite competition from other free-to-play games like Fortnite, Pokemon Quest has enjoyed a successful few weeks so far. Not long after it appeared on the Nintendo Switch on May 30, its number of downloads quickly reached one million.
On June 27, the Android and iOS editions launched, and The Pokemon Company has announced that it's racked up 7.5 million downloads across all platforms. That's quite a result, particularly when you add it to a recent report that the iOS and Android ports have made about $3 million from microtransactions.
If you're wondering why all this should matter to the average punter reading about games on the internet, then it's worth bearing in mind that Nintendo approached the whole free-to-play arena quite tentatively at first. Miitomo, the company's first collaboration with Japanese mobile firm DeNA, was more of an interesting app than a proper game, and while it was eagerly downloaded at first, interest also appeared to drop off just as quickly - its servers were shut down in May 2018, a little over two years after its launch.
It was a cautious first step, but an important one: it paved the way for the likes of Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and the forthcoming Mario Kart Tour.Pokemon Go, licensed by Nintendo subsidiary The Pokemon Company and developed by Niantic, Nintendo have a full-on hit: it's estimated that $2 million per day is spent on the game, and that its total revenue has passed $1.8 billion.
All of this is proof that, far from tarnishing a major brand like Pokemon, a solidly-produced free-to-play game like Pokemon Go can be as popular and profitable as a more traditional, single-purchase game like Pokemon Sun And Moon on the 3DS. While Nintendo won't be abandoning its old way of making games any time soon - there's a Pokemon "core RPG" due out next year - the continued success of Pokemon Questand Pokemon Go will almost certainly convince it to branch out further into the free-to-play (or free-to-start, as it insists on calling it) arena in the near future.
Nathan Drake doesn't take bullet hits in the Uncharted games. He's just lucky enough to avoid them, a designer confirms...
Entire books could probably be written about the suffering of Nathan Drake. During his globe-wandering adventures in the Unchartedseries, Drake has fallen from high places and landed on punishingly hard surfaces; he's been in plane, train, and car crashes; he's been in an incalculable number of fist-fights. All this, and we haven't talked about all those screaming gun-battles he's been through.
Over the course of the decade since Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was released on the PlayStation 3, Nathan's been shot at an incalculable number of times - and yet, according to one of the developers at Naughty Dog, Drake isn't quite the hole-riddled bullet magnet you might have thought he was.
On Twitter, animator Jonathan Cooper provided a brief insight into what the "red UI" in the Uncharted series actually means:
"Drake doesn't ever take bullet damage," Cooper reveals. "The red UI that shows 'hits' is to represent his 'luck' running out. Eventually, enemies will get a clear shot and kill him if he takes enough near-misses."
Director and Uncharted creator Amy Hennig chimed in to confirm all this:
"True!" Hennig wrote. "That was the original intention - to stay more aligned with the spirit and tone of the films we were homaging."
Assuming you're a skillful enough player, it's theoretically possible to guide Drake through an entire Uncharted adventure without him taking a single bullet - they'll all whiz past his head, like an episode of The A-Team.
Drake may suffer a lot in the Uncharted franchise, but if and when he eventually gets gunned down, that's basically all the player's fault. Sorry, Nathan - we'll try harder next time, we promise.
2K has stated that WWE 2K19 on Switch doesn't meet their desire to make the "best possible experience."
2K has confirmed that WWE 2K19 is not coming to Nintendo Switch.
“WWE 2K19 will not be available on Nintendo Switch," said 2K in a recent statement. "2K is focused on making the best possible experience for WWE 2K fans and will continue evaluating all opportunities to deliver the franchise across additional platforms.”
While that statement doesn't address the elephant in the room, many WWE 2K fans have already surmised that WWE 2K19 isn't coming to Switch due to just how bad the Switch version of WWE 2K18 was. In case you missed that piece of drama from last year (which is quite understandable given the drama that is heaped on our already too small plates), the Switch version of 2K18 was an utter disaster in every possible way. Just take a look at the game's Metacritic page.
Still, this decision does raise some much larger questions regarding the Nintendo Switch and the WWE 2K team.
We get that the Nintendo Switch is not nearly as powerful as the PS4 and Xbox One. However, Bethesda and their partner studios have done a tremendous job of porting Wolfenstein 2 and Doomto the Nintendo Switch with only minor concessions in terms of technological output. If they can do it, why can't the 2K team?
The answer seems to be based more on how willing the 2K team is to invest extra time in creating a version of WWE 2K specifically for the Nintendo Switch. Due respect to the WWE 2K team, but it's been quite a long time since they've reinvented the wheel when designing an in-game engine. It's possible - even likely - that the potential sales of a Switch version of the game just don't justify the work it would take to modify the game for that platform (if it is possible to properly do so in the first place).
In the words of Macho Man Randy Savage, WWE 2K's Switch run might have just been a "Cup of coffee in the big time."
Does Battlefield 5 do enough to build off of Battlefield 1's fresh start? Our hands-on impressions of the alpha...
Sometimes, our perception of what feels true can be more impactful than what’s actually true. For instance, The Big Bang Theory was the most popular show on television for years, but I’ve never met a person who's watched it. Vanilla is supposedly the most popular - or at least best selling - ice cream flavor in America, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen someone buy plain vanilla ice cream at a shop. In case you’re wondering, it’s not a coincidence that The Big Bang Theory was compared to vanilla ice cream.
There’s something similar at play when it comes to the recent Battlefield Valpha. When DICE says that this Battlefield game adds enough new features to the series to make it a worthy sequel to Battlefield 1, I know the team is telling the truth because I've seen the number of things in Battlefield V that are new or different. However, the real question is: “Does Battlefield V feel like a worthy sequel to Battlefield 1?”
The biggest difference between Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V is the speed of the game. Battlefield 1 was intentionally a much slower game designed to capture the more trench-based engagements of WWI. Things got crazy in that game, but the heart of the action was a more methodical experience.
Battlefield V says nuts to all that. Actually, the biggest change in Battlefield V that you won’t see on the back of the box is the visibility of enemies. It’s extremely difficult to spot enemy soldiers from even a moderate distance on the map. You can no longer just tag them from an extreme distance, and the incredible number of particle effects on each map (more on that later) can make it difficult to identify squads through the chaos.
The idea behind this seemingly bizarre change is rather simple. DICE wants to cut down on the number of lone wolf players who scope foes from a vantage point halfway across the map. Instead, the studio wants you to stick with your squad, communicate with your teammates, and get into the thick of it when capturing and defending points. In theory, this approach capitalizes on the elements of Battlefield that make it special. Squad-based play, a variety of playstyles, tense battles over key objectives, and the feeling of being part of a larger conflict have always been the things that Battlefieldexcels at when the series is at its best.
In practice, this approach is a bit of a mixed bag. While the reduced visibility cuts down on the effectiveness of snipers from a certain distance - i.e. halfway across the map - and encourages squad play, it also leads to an awkward adjustment period. There are many times when the killers and the killed are determined by who happened to be focused on the right part of the map at the right time. That, combined with tweaks like reduced weapon recoil, means that getting the drop on an enemy is more important than it has ever been. It’s a blind leading the blind situation (or, in this case, fighting the blind) that is only really “fixed” when you and your team (better yet, your squad) learn the ideal paths to each point on the map, learn where the enemy will likely be, and learn to counter the most likely approaches.
At least that’s how the game will ideally work. Again, there’s a bit of an awkward adjustment period to this modified approach that sees some players abandon the optimal Battlefield V gameplay in favor of going at it alone. Whether it’s a member of your team that isn’t quite capable of going solo or a member of the enemy team that is a little too capable as a lone wolf, there’s just enough wiggle room left over to ensure that the optimal approach is abandoned and that you’re soon left playing a much faster, more chaotic shooter that doesn’t always feel like the Battlefield you might think you signed up for.
This is especially true of the new ammo system. Simply put, bullets are far more precious than they’ve ever been in a Battlefield game. Most of the time, you’ll only be scrounging for ammo or relying on your secondary weapon after firing off just a few clips. This change will be controversial, but it adds a degree of desperation that ensures that those who are able to survive multiple conflicts have a tougher time “going off” over the course of an entire game.
This new approach is supposed to be complemented by the new fortification mechanic that lets you set down sandbags, metal blockades, and other defensive structures. While you’re supposed to use these structures to fortify your position or assist your team during an assault, the chaos of combat hot spots makes it hard to rely on fortification before getting shot with far more reliable bullets and bombs.
However, fortifications do enhance Battlefield V’s amplified destruction system quite well. Bombs and bullets can absolutely wreck a house and other, less sturdy structures. You’ll need to rely on fortifications if you’re going to have any hope of staying behind any kind of cover once the battles get really heated.
Even without fortifications, the new destruction physics really add an extra element of flair to Battlefield V’s conflicts that make you feel like you’re part of a bigger battle. They’re aided in that respect by new animations for things like reviving your teammates that make you really consider the value and timing of performing certain actions when things get hairy. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Battlefield V’s visuals and sound design are some of the best you’ll see and hear in any game.
More than the new destructions and animations, though, it’s the Grand Operation mode that truly makes you feel like you’re part of an actual war. Much like the Operations mode in the previous Battlefield game, Grand Operations strings together multiple scenarios as part of a larger battle. Unlike Operations, the larger battles in this mode can take place over the course of several real-life days.
For instance, you might parachute into a fortified town on one day and be expected to chase the enemies into the mountains the next day (if you won the initial conflict). In-between, you might get the chance to play a kind of “buffer round” that sees the losing team spawn into an area with few resources and little chance to win. The variety of modes that Grand Operations will hopefully include (this alpha preview only featured one large battle and the associated conflicts that make up that battle) should help Battlefield stay fresh once the allure of the traditional Conquest mode wears thin and the novelty of the new disappears entirely.
The longevity of the game will also depend on what shape the game ships in. As it stands, Battlefield V is technically somewhat rough. The PC version of the game drops frames like they’re as hot as your GPU while running this title. I’ve read reports from gamers who are running the alpha on top of the line gaming supercomputers who have also encountered this issue. It’s possible that this problem - and smaller bugs like incredibly slow respawns and bullets going through obstacles - will be fixed by the time the game is ready for retail prime time, but these bugs should serve as another reason to maybe not pre-order the title until you’re certain that the performance is up to par.
Technical issues aside, we come back to whether or not Battlefield V really feels like the worthy successor to the surprisingly great Battlefield 1. The answer to that question won’t be found in a list of features or, as tough as it is to say at the end of this article, impressions of the game in its early state. It’s going to come down to whether or not DICE and the game’s community can bring it all together and ensure that Battlefield V operates at its ideal best for extended periods of play. For now, though, there are times when things aren’t working in Battlefield V that it begins to feel like sitting down with a bowl of vanilla ice cream to watch The Big Bang Theory.
An ugly incident between members of the Guild Wars 2 team and its fans has triggered a greater debate about online interaction.
A recent Twitter debate resulted in two Guild Wars 2 developers being fired and people everywhere starting a fresh debate on the ethics of social media communication.
It started when Jessica Price, a former Guild Wars2developer, followed-up on a recent Reddit AMA by tweeting out some thoughts about how difficult it is to create a full range of compelling characters in an MMO due to the way that such games are typically interacted with and the technical constraints of the concept. The full thread is worth reading if you're interested in the process of game development or game writing.
Among the many people who replied to Price was a Guild Wars 2 fan, streamer, and YouTube content creator named Deroir. Deroir suggested that a possible fix to the problem of deep characters in MMOs would be a branching dialog system that allows players to have more control over how they express themselves in this world. Price responded to the fan's posts by stating"thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9."
This is when things got ugly. Fans on Reddit and other social sites began crying out for Price to be fired over her response. Around this time, one of Price's colleagues, Peter Fries, spoke out in her defense by stating that Price never asked for the fan's feedback. ArenaNet, the developers of Guild Wars 2, eventually decided to fire both Price and Fries over their comments as they "failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players." They also noted that the pair's "attacks on the community were unacceptable."
Price followed up with Kotaku after the incident and noted that she had been dealing with fan backlash for quite some time and that she was "so tired of having random people explain my job to me in company spaces where I had to just smile and nod that it was like, ‘No. Not here. Not in my space.'"
Needless to say, there's quite a lot to unpack about this story. Some defenders of Price and Fries state that the fan was out of line by going to Price's profile to offer a contradictory statement. There's also the matter of the previous abuse that Price has suffered that has to be considered. However, others believe that Deroir responded in a respectful and interesting way that may have warranted more than a curt reply. They also state that Twitter is traditionally a pretty open platform for contributing to other people's conversations, especially when that conversation is a follow-up to an "Ask Me Anything" thread.
The one thing that the reasonably minded people on both sides of the debate (i.e. not the hateful trolls) tend to pause on is whether or not this matter should have resulted in two developers losing their jobs. It's an ongoing debate that is unfortunately not getting any more civil.
This missing piece of Battletoads history was completed before it was cancelled.
It turns out that the long gap in-between Battletoadsgames was almost filled by a Game Boy port of the Battletoads Arcade game.
For those who don't know, Battletoads Arcade was a 1994 arcade entry into the Battletoadsfranchise. Most people felt that the game was quite good, but it ultimately performed poorly in terms of revenue. While the developers realized they did a great job with the actual content, its financial failure put an end to the idea of any future Battletoads arcade games and the planned SNES port of the arcade game.
All of that is part of the established history of the Battletoads franchise. However, Rare developer Paul Machacek recently revealed to the fan website RareFanDaBase that the studio had also planned on releasing a Game Boy adaptation of the Battletoads Arcade game that has never really been talked about until now.
“It was the fourth one I’d written[,] was a spinoff from the arcade game of the same name, and was 100% finished and signed off [on] by Test,” said Machacek. "Then it got canceled shortly after I moved onto Donkey Kong Land because the arcade game had underperformed in [the] market and Tradewest pulled the plug on the whole franchise.”
Incredibly, Machacek says that even some long-time Rare developers didn't know that the game existed. It wasn't until the team was working on the Rare Replay collection that Machacek mentioned the work that went into the Game Boy adaptation. He found an old disc that contained the game's code and used an emulator to show it off to the team. Machacek even rigged an infinite lives cheat for the game that let the team play through the title.
Given that the game was completed and that the version of the title that Machacek has on a disc is reportedly free of any bugs, we'd love it if this adaptation somehow found its way into the wild. Unfortunately, it's highly doubtful that will happen given that there's probably not a great way to release the game in a format that is license friendly.
Famed video game designer David Brevik looks back on his days making Diablo.
Few games have had as big an impact on the video game industry as Diablo, and to a larger extent, its eminently popular and influential sequel, Diablo II. When speaking to Den of Geek about the legacy of the series, its creator, David Brevik, cited a small gameplay tweak partway through Diablo’s development as a pivotal moment that many would argue altered the course of gaming from that point on.
“That’s the story of Diablo,” Brevik explains. “It started out as a turn-based game, and it was a complicated kind of turn-based [system]. Every single thing that you did took units of time, like a tenth of a second, let’s say. So you could have a move that would take 1.4 seconds, one that took .8 seconds, one that took one second...it had kind of a queue. It was micro turn-based. It wasn’t just, my turn, their turn, my turn, their turn.”
“Sometimes, that one little change, that one little idea, can sprout something big,” Brevik says. “Changing that to make it real-time, the flip of that switch, changed the entire experience. It changed my career...changed everything about that product and made it this new kind of gaming experience. That one little change. And it really wasn’t that hard--I coded it in one day.”
This switch from a turn-based combat system to the real-time, hack and slash action the franchise is now known for sparked a particular style of top-down, loot-based, action RPG that continues to thrive, with dozens of titles riffing on the Diablo formula. From Deathspank, to Borderlands, to Bastion, to Divinity: Original Sin, Brevik and his team’s work over twenty years ago has left a lasting mark on the industry, and many still consider Diablo I and II to be benchmarks for the genre. The series is cherished by millions of fans across the world, and it’s impossible to count just how many hours of entertainment Brevik has gifted the world via his work.
“I hear stories about it all the time,” Brevik says of his fans sharing their love of Diablo with him. “It’s super gratifying to hear all of these things. But it’s also really weird because video game developers aren’t famous like movie stars or something like that, right? So it’s really rare that I’ll get recognized for it. I do, but it’s extremely rare. Famous musicians give all of these people entertainment, and everybody knows who they are and what they look like. It’s kind of a strange thing that people find out what I did and they’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ It’s nice to have all of that [recognition] and still be able to walk around and not be famous. To have that pleasure of giving so many people entertainment and be anonymous for the most part is great.”
It’s not a stretch to say that most gamers would say that the creator of Diablo deserves to stand alongside industry greats like Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, John Carmack, and Gabe Newell, though Brevik insists on sharing his pedestal with the team that helped him bring the iconic games into the world.
“It wasn’t just me--there were a lot of people who worked on Diablo and Diablo II,” Brevik presses. “There were a lot of people who made suggestions that made the game better. I didn’t have all of the ideas, and I didn’t do everything by myself. There were a lot of people who were involved that helped. I was captain of the ship, but I can’t take full credit. [Praise for those games] is always humbling for me because I believe that I worked with some of the best talent in the world, and together, we made something amazing.”
Brevik and his team famously split from Blizzard Entertainment prior to the development of Diablo III, and while the threequel found major success (it is the fastest-selling PC game of all time and has sold over 30 million units to date), it hasn’t earned the same iconic status as its predecessors. When asked about how it felt to play Diablo III for the first time, Brevik recalls a bittersweet affair.
“Yes, there were mixed emotions,” Brevik remembers. “It was strange seeing a Diablo game come to life and I didn’t work on it. Diablo was not only something that was such a huge part of my life, but something that holds a very personal and special place in my heart. It took so long for it to happen, that the years did help a bit. Having been away from Blizzard and Diablo for as long as I had been eased the pain, but it was there even after twelve years. That said, I was super happy that the franchise could continue and still entertain the long-time and faithful fans of the series.”
Since launching the Diablo-esque Marvel Heroesin 2013, a game which saw a jump in its Metacritic score from 56 to 82 following extensive back-and-forth interactions with the game’s community, Brevik has cultivated an intimate, thriving, productive relationship with his fans and followers. He’s now founded Graybeard Games, a one-man studio whose core principle is to create “unique, fun, high-quality products” and use his community’s feedback to make his games better. His first game with his new studio is It Lurks Below, a 2D action-survival RPG.
But just as Brevik has garnered a strong fanbase over the years, he’s also received his fair share of harsh criticism, especially for titles not called Diablo. Marvel Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, and Hellgate: London were all games that had their virtues and amassed respectable followings but never approached Diablo and Diablo II’s level of success and critical acclaim.
“I think that we’re all susceptible to negative criticism,” Brevik admits. “You work really hard on something and you want to please as many people as possible. You learn that not everybody is going to like what you do. That’s just life. And it’s okay for them not to like it.”
Internet trolls have been wreaking havoc on message boards and comment sections about Brevik and his work for decades, and while he has become accustomed to the verbal abuse, he still finds it perplexing that trolls exist in such great numbers and find it a worthwhile pastime to spread hatred for no apparent reason.
“It doesn’t make much sense to me,” Brevik ruminates. “People go online and make these personal attacks. It’s like, what is wrong with your life that you have to go on the internet and be mean to people? What’s wrong with you as a person that [trolling] is desirable? Where are you broken? Because, you’re definitely broken. How do I help them become a better person and realize that this is not a great path for them in their life? It doesn’t make sense for anybody.”
“It’s so funny to me,” Brevik continues. “I’ll go on forums of projects I’ve worked on, and people will be on the forums, complaining about the games for hours on end. I’m like, what are you doing? You obviously like [the game], because you’re [on the forum]. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s okay to give constructive feedback--I love constructive feedback. But when it becomes a personal attack, that’s when it becomes silly.”
Despite some of his projects not being as well-received as he would have liked, Brevik maintains that he has no regrets. Quite the contrary: he has a clear sense of pride when recalling his extensive oeuvre.
“I’m quite proud of every game I’ve worked on, even if it didn’t have the success that Diablo or Diablo II had,” says Brevik. “I don’t know if there is one I’m prouder of than the others. Each had things I liked and things I didn’t care for afterwards. I guess it’s like saying which one of your kids is your favorite. I love all my games for different reasons and they have given me unique, valuable, and fulfilling experiences each time.”
When asked if he’s an artist who puts great value in his legacy, Brevik’s answer is firm. “No,” he says, though he will admit that his status as an industry heavyweight has its advantages. “I care about [my legacy] in that it’s afforded me a lot of notoriety and success and things like that, and things can be built off of that. And in some ways, I care that I’m trying to make great experiences and unique experiences. But when I’m designing a game, I’m not like, ‘How is this going to have an impact on my legacy.’ It’s more about, am I making something that I’m passionate about and am going to have fun making. Those are more important questions for me than whether or not I’m making the right game for people who have enjoyed my games in the past.”
You can try It Lurks Below for yourself right now on Steam Early Access.
Developer Obsidian cut enough content from Fallout: New Vegas to fill a separate game.
New YouTube series The Cutting Room Floor dives deep into the piles of content that is cut from many games. In the first few videos of the series, host Griffin Lambert looks at the incredible amount of material that didn't make it into developer Obsidian's beloved RPG, Fallout: New Vegas.
While New Vegas marks a great jumping off point for this series partially because of the host's love for the game, Lambert also rightfully notes that New Vegas' cut content is particularly fascinating because of just how many incredible ideas didn't make it into the final version of the title. While some of that cut content can be blamed on Obsidian's relative inexperience with the Fallout engine, Obsidian says that they would have been able to put much more into the game had it been a PC exclusive. The limited capabilities of consoles at that time forced them to make quite a few content concessions.
That's especially true of the "Legion" faction. Caesar's Legion, a society of slavers who model themselves after ancient Romans, were visually fascinating, but the actual content associated with them left much to be desired. That may be because the Legion-related parts of the game took the biggest hit when it was time to start cutting content. For instance, there is a Legion NPC called Alexus who has the highest charisma rating of any Legion member in the game, but he only speaks in stock dialog replies. It seems that he was originally going to play a much bigger role in the game. In fact, there are even hints that he would have been the crux of a major side-mission involving hostages.
It gets better. It seems that there were originally supposed to be much larger random battles between factions in the game. In fact, the very first retail build of New Vegascontains scattered dead bodies and some smaller instances of these conflicts. However, the limited memory of consoles at that time forced such things to be cut or patched out of the game.
Players might also have been able to participate in slave trading at one point, but it's not clear whether that was cut due to memory shortages or a creative decision. The same goes for Legion "priestesses" who would have been a key part of convincing slave soldiers to serve.
Of course, New Vegas wasn't the first time that Obsidian was forced to cut a great deal of content from a spin-off/sequel to a popular game. For more on that, check out our retrospective on how Knights of the Old Republic II became the studio's unfinished symphony.
Warframe, one of the best free-to-play games on the market, is about to get a new home.
Popular sci-fi shooter Warframe is coming to the Nintendo Switch.
This news was announced at TennoCon 2018; the third annual Warframe convention. There, developer Digital Extremes revealed that Panic Button, the team responsible for the exceptional Switch ports of Doom, Rocket League, and Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, will be handling this Switch port of the game. They did not reveal a release date for the port, but there are reasons to believe that information will be released soon.
If you haven't been following Warframe over the last few years, then you've missed out on the development of one of the most fascinating free-to-play titles on the market. In some ways, Warframe is comparable to a third-person Destiny. Players are thrown into a universe where they have the option of taking on challenges alone or as part of a group. All the while, they are acquiring new skills and increase the effectiveness of their Warframe suits via a variety of customization options.
Warframe's wealth of content is made all the more impressive by the fact that the game is truly free-to-play. You'll have to grind for levels at the beginning like you will in games like Destiny and Diablo, but Warframe isn't trying to squeeze extra dollars out of you with the promise that you'll get ahead faster if you pay more.
In fact, the game's content is about to be bolstered further by the addition of a co-op spaceship combat system. More than just an afterthought, this mode looks deep enough to justify being a standalone game. Every member of the ship's crew is assigned a combat station. Much like the revolutionary indie title FTL, crew members will need to cooperate and manage ship resources in order to survive battles. Players are even capable of leaving the larger ship and battling against smaller troops in a personal fighter craft.
While Digital Extremes didn't reveal much information about how this new mode will be incorporated into the current game, they do plan on ensuring that these ships offer just as many customization options as players are able to access in the rest of the game.
With two games and hundreds of comic issues, the alternate universe of Injustice has given us many casualties. Here are the victims.
Injustice: Gods Among Us andInjustice 2 are old news by this point. Even for the latter game, the DLC well has dried up and we're simply waiting for NetherRealm Studios' next Mortal Kombat game to pop up. Even though interest in the game has moved on, the comic prequel is still being released on a weekly basis and is still making the top ten in digital sales.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. When the first game came out, writer Tom Taylor and a group of artists (mainly Bruno Redondo, Tom Derenick, and Mike S. Miller) launched a digital prequel comic based on the Injusticeuniverse. The comic became a surprise hit and the first volume was followed with an annual issue as well as a Year Two continuation of the series. The digital issues would eventually be released as print issues and later turned into trades. After hitting the end of Year Five, it moved on to a retelling of the game's story from Harley Quinn's perspective, and that was followed with a comic prequel for Injustice 2. There's even a He-Man crossover comic on the way.
That’s kind of nuts.
Sometimes comics based on trademarked properties get screwed over by sequels. For instance, there were comic follow-ups to Aliensthat were completely negated by the events of Alien 3. Considering the vast amount of deaths in the Injusticecomic, surely the sequel would screw with the timeline.
Shockingly, that’s not the case. With one early exception, all the new characters in Injustice 2 are either ignored completely or simply not killed in the comic. It goes to show some high-quality communication between the writers and developer NetherRealm Studios. Together, the creators traversed the vast and violent landscape of the Injusticeuniverse to carve out stories for most of the popular DC roster. The characters you meet in Injustice 2 have survived the vicious comic book series and are ready to enter the ring.
But what of those who didn’t make it out of that alternate universe alive? There are many heroes and villains who have fallen in order to make way for Superman’s Regime. Here are the victims of Superman and Batman’s great war.
Injustice 2 Annual #1
Going in chronological order instead of issue order, this one supersedes the rest due to taking part in World War II. In the Injustice universe, there were more differences than the big Superman/Joker catalyst. After all, Lex Luthor was Superman’s best friend. While Superman’s downfall and behavior were well-explained, they rarely got into why Wonder Woman was constantly vindicating his actions and acted so loyal in his quest for tyranny.
In this universe, Diana discovers Steve Trevor on her island, as expected. The situation plays out an awful lot like the Wonder Womanmovie, except for two major differences. One, it's World War II instead of World War I. Two, Steve eventually betrays her and tries to steal the Lasso of Truth to help the Nazis because, oh yeah, he was also a German spy all along. Although he admits that he has feelings for her, Steve loves his homeland more and Wonder Woman responds by decapitating him with the lasso.
Kind of sheds some light on her behavior through the series, even down to holding a candle for an evil fascist boyfriend.
Year One #1
The comic series opens with pure optimism. Superman finds out that Lois is pregnant. He calls Batman over and asks him to be the godfather. Batman even musters up a smile. Then things immediately go to Hell.
Lois and Jimmy are given an anonymous tip about a corrupt senator doing corrupt things at the docks. Jimmy’s there to take photos, but it’s all a setup. The Joker steps out and shoots him through the camera. He then takes Lois hostage.
Year One #2
The search for Lois becomes immediate and frantic. Batman demands all the Justice League members stop what they’re doing and find her, even though many aren’t aware of her relationship with Superman. Flash discovers the dead body of the Scarecrow at STAR Labs. With the sack removed from his head, it’s apparent that he’s been killed by Joker gas.
Even though Batman identifies him as Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow shows up again in Year Five. Now he's in Injustice 2. Whoops! We never do get any real explanation for that.
Year One #3
And here’s the lynchpin of this universe.
Superman’s search leads to a submarine. He finds Joker and Harley there, but he also finds Doomsday out of nowhere. Quick to act, Superman grabs Doomsday and sends him into space. What Superman is slow to realize is that he’s been poisoned. The Joker mixed kryptonite with Scarecrow’s fear gas and made Superman hallucinate Doomsday. Superman has, in fact, killed Lois Lane and their unborn child.
Tom Taylor had no choice but to write this sequence because the game made it specific. The fact that he had to do it didn’t sit well with him and he tried to redeem himself when writing the comic Earth 2. In it, that world’s version of Lois Lane is resurrected by having her mind put into a robot body. He jokingly refers to introducing her via her robot body being thawed out as "unfridging."
Year One #20
For the sake of chronology, I’m going to skip around for the next couple entries for the sake of issues with flashbacks.
Joker rigged Lois’ heart to a nuclear device, so when Superman inadvertently kills her, he does the same to his home. It’s later shown that Lex Luthor (a good man in this world) survives the ordeal because he thinks ahead. He has a speedster on his payroll who is hired to throw him into his bunker in case of such a disaster. Unfortunately, the speedster tries to save others and is wiped out by the blast.
Although she’s never identified, she mostly resembles Jesse Quick.
KID FLASH AND BEAST BOY
Year Three Annual
The Year Three Annual explains why all the other major Teen Titans characters are missing outside of simply saying that the explosion killed them all. When the explosion goes off, only Superboy, Beast Boy, and Kid Flash (identified as Bart Allen) are in Metropolis. Kid Flash is taken out immediately due to running into the blast’s direction. Superboy attempts to shield Beast Boy at the last second, but fails to save his life.
STEEL (JOHN HENRY IRONS)
Injustice 2 #21
During the Metropolis explosion, Natasha Irons is enjoying a romantic vacation in France. She receives a panicked and scrambled call from her uncle, explaining that something terrible has happened. In response to the explosion, he is putting all of their research in a safe place, protected from the radiation. Although he succeeds on that front, the building begins to collapse and the falling wreckage crushes him.
Years later, Natasha would be able to uncover the hidden files and take up the Steel mantle.
Year One #4/Story Mode
The Joker is immediately apprehended. Batman visits him in prison to demand to know why he did all this. Joker admits that he’s grown tired of messing with Batman, so he moved on to Superman, deciding he wanted to see if he could break him. Batman’s all, “You’ll never break Superman because he’s freaking Superman!” but then Superman breaks through the wall and angrily impales Joker with his arm.
Joker’s last breath is his last laugh.
Although the playable Joker in the Injusticegame is the Joker from the mainstream DC Universe, his appearance in Injustice 2 is explained as a fear gas hallucination.
Year One #16
Although a Nightwing is on Superman’s side in the game, it’s actually an older Damian Wayne. Batman is sure to point out that Damian murdered the original Nightwing, Dick Grayson.
That puts Taylor in a tough spot because you have to sort of balance the act. He has to kill Dick but not in a way that’s too evil because even the super serious Justice League has to have boundaries at this point.
As the story goes, Superman chooses to remove all the inmates at Arkham and place them in his own secret prison. Batman and Nightwing go to prevent this, but Robin sells them out to Superman. A gigantic brawl breaks out between Superman’s team, the Gotham heroes, and a bunch of Arkham inmates. In the midst of it, Nightwing and Robin have a bit of an argument and Robin responds by lashing out and angrily throwing his escrima stick at Nightwing’s head (something he’s apparently wont to do as he tried it earlier).
Nightwing doesn’t see it coming because he’s busy fighting deranged murderers and gets nailed upside the head. It knocks him out, he lands neck-first onto a piece of rubble and he’s dead in a snap. Robin’s freaking out, Batman’s horrified, and everyone figures maybe it’s for the best to just back off on the fighting and not poke the bear for the time being.
Year One #24
Without the context of what’s been going on, Kalibak hears that Superman’s declaring a war-free Earth and figures it’s some hippy bullshit ripe for the picking. Under Darkseid’s permission, he and a bunch of Parademons invade Earth during a big Superman press conference. When Kalibak sees the anger in Superman’s eyes, he realizes that maybe he made a big mistake.
Superman fries a bunch of Parademons and beats Kalibak enough to make him surrender. Superman won’t have it and smacks him around, demanding he fight back just as an excuse to kill him and make him pay for his crimes. Kalibak strikes against him, but gets put down.
Year One #32
Batman’s team of rebels is mostly made up of low-level folks. The powerless vigilantes like Huntress, Batwoman, Green Arrow, and so on. Since Batman is on the same side as the President, it makes sense that he’d also have super-duper-soldier Captain Atom on his side.
Near the Fortress of Solitude, Captain Atom proceeds to outfight Superman and lets him know that he’s under orders of the United States government to take him down. He wants to bring him in alive, but then Wonder Woman arrives and chops open his neck. Annoyed, Captain Atom points out that he’s about to explode, taking the North Pole with him.
While mocking Superman for no longer being selfless, Captain Atom makes sure to fly to space and drags Superman with him. Wonder Woman follows but the explosion blasts her back to Earth and puts her in a coma for over a year.
Year One #33
This is another bit that’s mentioned in-game and we get to see it play out in comic form.
The whole first volume leads up to this moment. Driven by grief and frustration, Superman’s tried to do what he feels is right. The government betrays him. Batman betrays him. Wonder Woman is gravely injured. Then he discovers Green Arrow in the Fortress of Solitude, trying to pocket some of the “super pills” that Lex Luthor and Superman created (they give people Kryptonian-level strength). More importantly, Green Arrow is in the same room where Superman’s been keeping Jonathan and Martha Kent for their protection and that just comes off as a threat at first glance.
Green Arrow shoots an arrow at Superman and it deflects. It ends up finding its way into Jonathan’s shoulder. It’s that screw-up that finally sets Superman off and he angrily beats Green Arrow to death in front of the Kents.
Although Ollie dies, he does at least fire an arrow with a super pill tacked onto it. It reaches Batman and the others, but Black Canary knows he isn’t coming back.
When Superman comes down from his rage, he refuses to take responsibility and blames Batman for this death as well. The AI ghost of Jor-El apologizes to the Kents for unleashing this upon their world.
As for Green Arrow, the end of Year Two has Black Canary brought to an alternate reality where she died and Ollie survived. The two end up together and return for Injustice 2.
Year Two #2
Green Lantern Kyle Rayner missed out on the whole Superman situation because he was off Earth for an entire year. As he goes back to check up on everything, including his girlfriend (who may or may not be pieces of broken meat in his fridge. We’ll never know), he’s ambushed by the Sinestro Corps.
As he’s captured, Sinestro pops in to say that he’s been paying attention to Earth and is really interested in playing a role. He can’t have Kyle around to interfere, so Sinestro pulls off his ring finger and allows him to suffocate in space. He also has Kyle’s limbs torn off because that’s scarier, I guess.
Sinestro then goes to Earth and allows himself to be Superman’s prisoner, swearing that he’s there to warn him about the coming of the Green Lantern Corps.
Year Two #10
As expected, the Green Lantern Corps are sent to deal with this whole “Earth taken over by an overpowered tyrant” situation. Normally, Superman, Shazam, and Hawkgirl would be able to take on an army of those guys themselves, but the Corps has an ace in their sleeve that nobody expected.
Ch’p the space squirrel may be tiny, but he’s also able to control light on a much tinier scale than anyone else. This includes preventing the synapses in Superman’s brain from working, meaning Superman is completely paralyzed.
Sinestro convinces Luthor to let him free and he saves Superman by blasting a hole through Ch’p’s head. With Superman back in action, the Green Lanterns have no choice but to surrender.
Year Two #15
This one’s morbidly hilarious. To get in the good graces of Earth’s heroes, Sinestro has the Sinestro Corps put the boots to Despero and blast him to Earth. Disheveled and annoyed, Despero finds Sinestro loudly ranting and raving about how Despero won’t hurt the innocents of this planet. Sinestro then uses his ring to force Despero’s hands around Sinestro’s throat.
As Hal Jordan and John Stewart come to help, Sinestro snaps Despero’s neck and sadly tells his allies that it was the only way. Naturally, they don’t question it and think about how much Sinestro’s changed.
Year Two #20
According to Batgirl’s in-game ending, Superman killed Commissioner Gordon at some point, inspiring Barbara to don the Batgirl cowl once again. In the comic, Superman tries to intimidate Barbara into telling him where Batman is, then regretfully gives Gordon the news that according to his x-ray vision, Gordon’s suffering from lung cancer.
Gordon decides there’s no longer a need to lie and lets Barbara know that he’s always been keen to her double lives as Batgirl and Oracle. Using the super pills, Gordon leads Gotham’s Finest to siege the Hall of Justice, all while knowing that the super pill is actually making the cancer stronger and killing him quicker.
Although on his last legs, Gordon is able to stop Cyborg from tracking down Oracle’s whereabouts. He tears out the metal from Cyborg’s face, knocking him out of commission. Then, from the Justice League satellite, he looks at the beauty of Earth and says his goodbyes to Barbara and Batman.
Year Two #23
Batman’s resistance wages war on Superman’s Regime and the Green Lantern Corps is on Batman’s side, albeit against the wishes of all the Guardians except Ganthet. Superman, on the other hand, has the Sinestro Corps at his disposal. There are many casualties on both sides.
John Stewart is in the middle of it all. He’s on Superman’s side, but he’s also a Green Lantern. He doesn’t want anyone to fight. Sinestro tries to coax him into helping out and as John admits how torn he is, Sinestro literally tears a hole through John’s chest.
Sinestro then flies John’s dying body to Hal (who has become a Yellow Lantern by this point), telling him to get John to safety. John dies in Hal’s arms, making Hal a little too emotional to think clearly.
Year Two #23
When a distraught and angry Hal demands to know who is responsible for John’s death, Sinestro says that Guy Gardner did it by accident. Since Guy is the big mouthpiece in the whole “Let’s go get some Green Lanterns to beat up Superman!” concept, Hal freaks the hell out and it doesn’t help that Sinestro’s egging him on.
Guy is overwhelmed and begs Hal to get a hold of himself. Instead, Hal gets a hold on Guy’s arm and tears it off, causing a powerless Guy to fall to his death.
During the Injustice 2 comic, Hal constantly sees Guy standing nearby, cracking wise, as a manifestation of Hal's guilt.
MOGO AND GANTHET
Year Two #24
As mentioned, Ganthet is in charge of the siege to stop Superman, and considering he’s an Oan, he’s tough enough to smack Superman around. Not only that, but he brought Mogo the Living Planet with him and he’s, you know, a living planet.
The death of a random Sinestro Corps member causes the loose ring to find a replacement in Superman. A pissed off InjusticeSuperman and a yellow wishing ring are the makings for a pretty bad day and he proves his power by slamming Ganthet into Mogo and pushing them both into the sun.
Yeah, that’ll do it.
DR. OCCULT AND ROSE PSYCHIC
Year Three Annual
The annual issue came out after the entirety of Year Three, but it takes place before it, filling in some of the blanks. Batman hires the two-in-one duo of Dr. Occult and Rose as his agents with the mission of neutralizing Raven and Wonder Woman. Dr. Occult finds and assaults Raven, but she is quick to burn him to death with Hellfire. Rose is separated from the charred body. John Constantine – who had been stalking the mystics – appears and helps take Raven down.
With Occult dead, Rose can’t survive. She fulfills her final mission by using magic powder to keep Wonder Woman’s coma going, but collapses. Her final words are a failed attempt to tell Batman not to trust Constantine. Immediately after, Constantine appears and robs her body of magic trinkets.
JASON BLOOD AND HARVEY BULLOCK
Year Three #3
Batman recruits a handful of magic users to help his cause. The rebels hang out in Jason Blood’s house and start planning, but dumpy detective Harvey Bullock realizes that he’s completely out of his element and tries to leave. Detective Chimp, who mentions having worked with Gordon in the past, gets through to him and convinces him to stay.
All of a sudden, there’s some kind of horrible force trying to get in through the door. Bullock attempts to close it, but can’t. Jason Blood steps in to do the same and begins to summon Etrigan to take his place. Before he can, the Spectre’s energies blast the door back, killing both men in one go.
Year Three #8
Constantine briefly captures Superman with the help of Ragman. The idea is to absorb Superman into Ragman’s magical attire, meaning Superman’s soul will have to spend years helping Ragman fight evil in order to atone. As Constantine points out, Superman’s literally killed a planet, so that might take some time.
Speaking of taking time, the absorbing process takes too long due to Superman’s strength. He’s able to get help from Shazam, who defeats Ragman. Then the Spectre – on the side of Superman in all of this – appears and tears Ragman to pieces while Constantine knows there’s nothing he can do to save him.
Year Three #10
Deadman possesses the body of Shazam in order to save Constantine and talk some sense into the Spectre. He’s confused and horrified when he discovers that Spectre isn’t Jim Corrigan anymore, and instead sees a creepy smile (one of several red herring hints that Spectre is actually the Joker). Spectre pulls out his giant sword and cuts through Deadman, wounding his soul.
Deadman goes to his boss Rama Kushna, who cannot save him. Deadman chooses someone to take his place. In his final moments, Boston Brand transfers his power into the soul of Dick Grayson, who gladly takes on the Deadman mantle.
Year Three #11
Phantom Stranger feels that Spectre’s being a little weird and is interfering with man a bit too much, so he teleports him to space for a heart-to-heart. It doesn’t take long for Phantom Stranger to realize that something’s up with Spectre on a physical level. Spectre strikes against him, strangling Stranger while shoving him through the entirety of Saturn. Stranger sees the force within that’s making Spectre act like this and widens his eyes in horror.
By the way, if you’re wondering, the Spectre is Mr. Mxyzptlk. Hence all the smiling and Joker-like gestures.
Year Three #17
A big battle breaks out between Superman and Batman’s groups, and Constantine points out that this isn’t going to end well. He calls to teammate Klarion the Witch Boy to teleport them out of there, but before anything can be done, Sinestro blasts Klarion to death with his yellow ring. Superman and Wonder Woman yell at Sinestro, which gives Batman and Constantine a moment to discuss their next contingency.
Showing that you either go big or go home, Constantine summons Trigon to distract Superman and friends.
Year Three #18
As the heroes escape, Detective Chimp refuses to follow. As he tells Harley, he was conjured by Klarion in the first place. With Klarion gone, Chimp will soon cease to exist. Harley, who has become attached to the little guy, hugs him until he vanishes.
Man, this story’s been kind of rough on Harley. Everyone she cares for dies on her.
Year Three #21
The rest of Year Three sort of spins its wheels until it gets to the final issue. Once again, Superman’s side fights Batman’s side, only with Trigon fighting Mr. Mxyzptlk in the background. Huntress and Batwoman – both powered up with super pills – team up on Superman until Wonder Woman steps in. During the fight, she wraps her lasso around Huntress’ neck and accidentally tugs on it hard enough to snap it.
Normally, this would just be an instance of killing off a random character because they aren’t in the game and, well, it’s the Injustice comic. What do you expect? Instead, this kill ends up being a bizarre editorial mystery, best explained with the next entry.
Year Four #4
A few years ago, there was a pretty big news story regarding DC editorial. The creative team on Batwoman left in a huff because they planned to have Kate Kane, a lesbian character, get married, or at least engaged, and DC wouldn’t allow it. When it became a big thing, DC doubled down by claiming that they don’t hate GAY marriage. They just hate ALL marriage! Which is stupid for other reasons, but whatever.
Tom Taylor, writer of Injusticeat the time, had a one-panel scene showing that in this universe, Batwoman and Renee Montoya (who at the very least were an item in main continuity) are married back as of Year Two. It was rather nice and shouldn’t have been a big enough deal to affect anything in the story.
Brian Buccellato took over during Year Three and, as mentioned, killed off Huntress. Huntress’ death has huge ramifications in regards to Montoya, who goes completely off the deep end. She starts drinking heavily. She calls up an ex to give a tearful goodbye, and goes on a suicide run to kill the ones responsible.
In other words, she’s acting distraught in a way you’d expect from someone who lost their spouse. Over Huntress. Not that they aren’t friends and teammates, but Montoya is far more hurt and broken than when Gordon and Bullock are taken out. She has zero interaction with Batwoman (her wife), and even when Montoya dies, Batwoman barely has any reaction.
In other words, one of three things happened:
1) Buccellato seriously cannot tell Batwoman and Huntress apart, and the editor didn’t catch it.
2) DC were really mad about the insinuation of two supporting characters being (gay) married and told him to switch Batwoman and Huntress’ roles as a way to sweep it under the rug.
3) DC let him know that Batwoman’s planned to be in an Injusticesequel in some form, so no-go on killing her.
Regardless, it’s suspect as hell.
Oh, right. The actual death. Renee Montoya overdoses on super pills and calls out Superman for a public fight, beating on him until her heart gives out.
Year Four #13
Year Four is about the Greek Gods stepping in to clown Superman and take over. This leads to a battle between the gods and Superman's regime. The heavy hitter is Hercules, who easily defeats Hal Jordan and then fights off both Wonder Woman and Superman, batting the latter into space. Shazam shows up and finally brings the demigod down. Hercules awaits his death, but Shazam refuses to commit murder.
Instead, Superman zooms down from space and does Hercules in win one swift blow.
Year Four #23
Wow, an entire ten issues before the next death?! Damn.
In the end of this volume, both sides of the Injusticeconflict join forces to fight the gods. During the battle, Hera decides she’s finally going to take out Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta. Artemis shoves her queen out of the way and takes the blast herself.
Hera shows no regret for the kill and promptly gets taken down by Harley, Batwoman, and others.
Year Four Annual
The annual is a delightful prison break story starring Plastic Man as he tries to rescue his activist son, Offspring. Turns out the Justice League has placed all of the super criminals in an underwater prison with Metamorpho as the warden. Plas sneaks around and gets help from inmate Kilowog, who starts a riot by headbutting Bane.
Superman and his heavy hitters appear outside the glass bubble protecting the prison, and it looks like all is lost. Plas reveals that he’s smuggled all the Green Lantern rings and throws them all out to their users. Outside the bubble, Sinestro freaks out and, despite the warnings of Jordan, blasts through the bubble and shoots through Kilowog before he can be a threat.
That act works against Superman’s side and helps Plastic Man and Offspring free everyone, setting up the big Year Five story that a whole bunch of supervillains are on the loose.
Year Five #3
The Regime’s quest to round up all the escaped villains gets a bit more complicated when Doomsday shows up on Earth yet again. Superman’s too busy trading blows with him, while Yellow Lantern and Cyborg aren’t having any luck fighting Parasite.
Superman gets some unlikely help from Bane, who...puts...Doomsday...in a full-nelson...? Man, I don’t get how that works either, but let’s go with it. This frees Superman up to go bail out his buddies by grabbing Parasite and flinging him into the sun. When the others ask about why Parasite isn’t locked up with the rest, Superman just says he’s a special case and he’s been taken care of.
HEATWAVE AND WEATHER WIZARD
Year Five #10
Two subplots in the first half of Year Five are about the Flash Rogues and Bizarro Superman. Batman recruits the Rogues (specifically Golden Glider, Heatwave, Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard) to help him because they’re honorable enough despite being bad guys. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor’s secretly trying to create a perfect Superman clone to combat the real deal, but the unfinished clone escapes and now believes himself to be the actual Superman.
The two plotlines clash when Bizarro goes after the Rogues, because that’s what Superman would do. During the battle, he begins to realize his own lack of limits, such as initially being afraid of Heatwave’s fire, but then realizing it doesn’t hurt him.
Things get messy when Weather Wizard offhandedly calls Bizarro “Fake Superman.” Bizarro fries Wizard and Heatwave with his vision, and the other two are only saved because Trickster (Alex Walker), who has secretly tagged along, convinces Bizarro that he’s his friend. Bizarro, not really understanding who or what he is, grabs Trickster and flies away to get answers.
Year Five #16
The Gotham detective starts his own anti-Regime group called the Joker Underground to rally against Superman and maybe do some terrorist stuff. Harley and Batwoman show up to tell them not to go about it this way, especially the part where he invokes the Joker’s name as a good thing. They try to talk Bard into altering the group and maybe connecting them to Batman’s Insurgency.
As Harley and Batwoman ride off, Superman arrives, having heard about the Joker Underground. Hearing all these citizens chant the Joker’s name in defiance of Superman and his order, Superman gets downright pissed and mashes on the heat vision, taking out everyone in the building.
Year Five #18
The Trickster tries to help Bizarro figure things out and makes an attempt to teach him how to keep his powers in check. For instance, when Bizarro sneezes, he definitely needs to cover his face, as the alternative almost kills Trickster.
Bizarro takes to the Trickster as his little buddy, but his Frankenstein’s Monster mentality (the movie version and not the awesome DC Comics version) causes him to kill various civilians due to a misunderstanding. Trickster is mad at first, blaming himself for not being able to convey his thoughts better to the big lug, but is able to get over it. He and Bizarro are family. They only have each other, and they’re going to have a great future working together. As Bizarro flies with Trickster in his arms, Trickster tells him that they’ll be best friends forever.
That's the most blatant death flag you’ll ever see, which is what makes this scene so goddamn funny. A beat later, Bizarro sneezes. This time he remembers to put his hands over his face. It just takes him a moment to realize that he dropped Trickster onto the side of a mountain. Whoops.
Year Five #20
Bizarro brings the Trickster’s carcass to Lex Luthor, begging him to fix his friend. Luthor’s in a tight spot because on one hand, Bizarro will likely kill him once he realizes he can’t resurrect the dead and on the other hand, Superman will figure out that he created Bizarro. Luthor gets Bizarro to enter the Fortress of Solitude, where he has Doomsday waiting. By this point, Doomsday has been mind-controlled to do the Regime’s bidding as the ultimate weapon.
Then Superman shows up, making it a three-way battle between Superman, Bizarro, and Doomsday with Luthor in control. Luthor realizes that he can put an end to Superman right there and now, but decides that he simply can’t murder him like this.
Which...kind of lacks any gravitas when Luthor then has Doomsday snap Bizarro’s neck as a way to cover his tracks. Superman delivers Bizarro’s corpse to Luthor and tells him to do as many tests as he needs to do to figure out just where this thing came from.
Year Five #23
Here’s the thing about Injustice: Gods Among Us: Alfred Pennyworth is the best. He exists to either be Bruce’s awesome paternal figure or to sass Superman. He even does both at the end of Year One, when he takes a super pill and kicks the shit out of Superman for destroying his family. By Year Five, he remains at Stately Wayne Manor, occasionally Skyping with Batman.
Superman visits Alfred to strong-arm him into admitting where Bruce is, but Alfred claims that he doesn’t know, wouldn’t tell him regardless, and proceeds to show off his supreme inability to give a single fuck in the presence of the Man of Steel by casually insulting him and telling him to see himself out.
Rather than just laser him on the spot, Superman gets prisoner Mr. Zsasz to escape and take care of Alfred. Zsasz kills Alfred in a knife fight, leaving Damian to discover the body. Superman figures that Alfred’s death will draw Batman out of hiding in the name of revenge.
Luckily, Alfred's death is only temporary. In the Injustice 2 comic, Damian gets access to a Lazarus Pit and chooses to cross the other line Batman refuses.
Year Five #28
Flash is having a hard time figuring out his place in the world, what with Superman being a total dick, but also making the world safer. He goes to find Iris, who cut ties with Barry years earlier after his refusal to stand up to Superman. Flash then discovers that she's part of the rebellion as she and her allies are confronted by Regime soldiers Girder and King Shark. Flash has a crisis of conscience and tries to save Iris and the others, though he accidentally kills King Shark by impaling him through the mouth with a broom. Iris is disgusted by Flash's actions and the others refuse to trust him. Iris makes her own stand by surrendering to the Regime.
Year Five #32
Hawkman visits Earth at one point because he feels Hawkgirl isn't fulfilling her hawk alien cop duties by hanging around Superman. Hawkman is sent packing and then gets sent on a mission by Batman to pick up some kryptonite in space. Hawkman earns it by offering Mongul thirty seconds of battle. Rather than bring it to Batman so that Superman could be imprisoned, Hawkman decides to fashion a kryptonite mace, which he uses to punk out Superman until the Man of Steel is a bloody and sickly mess.
The Justice League pops in to disarm Hawkman, but the weakened Superman tells them to back off. Despite being ill from kryptonite poisoning, Superman offers to fight Hawkman one-on-one. Hawkman never stood a chance.
Year Five #36
Mr. Zsasz killed Alfred and much to Damian's dismay, Batman refused to take his life out of revenge. With Zsasz incarcerated, it doesn't take long for the prince of assassins to sneak into his cell unnoticed and torture the criminal. He demands to know which of Zsasz's many scars represents Alfred. Damian finally finishes his work and we discover that Sinestro allowed this to transpire.
For the first time, Hal Jordan starts to have second thoughts.
Year Five #36
I'm not 100% on this one, but I'm going to call this one out as a death. The Wikipedia page for Metamorpho at least agrees with me (I know, I know...), he never shows up ever again, and he's got two gross, red wounds sticking out the back of his head there. He's PROBABLY dead.
Batman and Lex Luthor need some schematics on a Mother Box. Deathstroke takes the contract because he's bored out of his mind in a Superman-ruled society. After taking out dozens of drones, he gets a real main event fight out of Metamorpho. Deathstroke fires a couple metal balls at Metamorpho's head, but he turns gaseous and they fly through. When it looks like Metamorpho has things well in hand and he's about to burn Deathstroke to death, the metal balls are remote controlled to bury themselves into the back of Rex's skull.
Deathstroke is promptly taken down by Raven and Cyborg, setting up his first appearance in the game's story mode.
Year Five #40
In the final issue of the original prequel story, Batman, Batgirl, and Batwoman are trying to open a portal into another world so that they can bring in some non-Regime versions of the Justice League to help out. While Batman is off dealing with Superman, the two bat ladies are dealing with faulty technology. It's the usual trope where some world-saving device isn't working the way it's supposed to and the only way it can is for someone to sacrifice themselves. Batwoman volunteers.
By the time Superman realizes that Batman is merely distracting him, he flies over and sees the alternate reality portal working. He fires his heat vision at a screaming Batwoman and...that's all we see. After the fact, everyone involved is teleported to a different setting. Batwoman isn't stated to be outright dead, but there is some red coloring on the wall behind where she was. It's not explicitly blood, but...yeah. So much like Metamorpho, she's probably dead, but it isn't 100% certain.
Mentioned in Injustice 2
Although Golden Glider survives the comic prequel, she's still taken down at some point before the crumbling of the Regime. The only confirmed name, Golden Glider is one of various Flash Rogues who are publicly executed by Wonder Woman. This is never outright shown, but it's explained to be the reason why her brother, Captain Cold, goes from retirement/bartending to joining up with Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society.
Story Mode/Ground Zero #19
We move on to the actual game’s story and its comic adaptation, where InjusticeBatman pulls superheroes from the mainstream DC Universe to help liberate their world. They meet up with Lex Luthor, their man on the inside. As I've brought up earlier, InjusticeLex is a good man who has grown horrified at Superman’s actions. At the end of Act II, Lex enacts a plan that should stop Superman once and for all.
Lex defeats Shazam in battle and blows up the Watchtower, which has Superman inside. Lex calls out Superman and aims his arm-mounted kryptonite gun. Right as Lex is about to make the shot, a hurt Shazam electrocutes him from behind, nixing the plan.
Superman tears Lex from the battle armor and is furious that his own best friend betrayed him. Lex spends his final moments telling him that his “peace” is a joke. Superman crushes Lex’s neck and hears the words of onlookers all over as they whisper about seeing Superman kill his buddy Lex Luthor in front of the Hall of Justice. Superman flies off.
Story Mode/Ground Zero #20
The endless betrayals and ungratefulness of the public has finally taken its toll. Superman has snapped, falling farther than ever. He wants to raze Metropolis and Gotham to the ground to prove a point. Shazam – who just saved his life, mind you – calls him out on this and labels it insane, claiming the gesture spits on the memory of Lois.
Superman blows ice over Shazam’s mouth to keep him from using his magic lightning. He then stares at him with his heat vision until two holes burn through Shazam’s hood and he collapses. As Solomon Grundy walks off to dispose of the body, the Flash finally comes to realize that the ends don't justify the means and defects.
HARLEY’S HORDE (GARY, TERRY, PERRY, JERRY, BARRY, AND LARRY)
Injustice: Ground Zero #18, Injustice 2 Annual #1
These guys aren’t preexisting characters, but they’re important enough that they should probably get a mention. With Ground Zero being a retelling of the first game’s events from Harley’s perspective, it shows that her Joker-based gang of freedom fighters had more going on than what the game’s story mode showed us. Harley has an inner-circle of henchmen with generic names and although she can't tell them apart very well, she's basically an inverse Joker by treating them with respect and friendship. After all, she knows what it’s like to be a flunky.
Gary gets killed by the mainstream universe’s Joker during Ground Zero via stabbing. The others go on to shed their Joker threads and instead base their appearances on Harley. They become Harley’s Horde in honor of their boss and help fight the Regime.
Unfortunately, Harley doesn’t keep in touch too much after the adventure. The group still trains just in case, but then get attacked by Suicide Squad members Clock King, Magpie, Killer Moth, and Polka Dot Man, who are looking for Harley. The Horde fights them off, then goes to search for Harley themselves to warn her that people are after her. Before they make it to her secret headquarters, Deadshot snipes them all dead from a nearby rooftop.
Basically, an after-the-fact explanation for why these guys aren’t involved in the Injustice 2 prequel storyline. Boo.
AMANDA WALLER AND RICK FLAG
Injustice 2 #2
With things calming down in a post-Superman landscape, Amanda Waller tries to take advantage by creating the Suicide Squad. Her crew hunts down and captures Harley Quinn before putting a bomb in her skull. Harley laughs the whole thing off because she's friends with Batman now and solving missing person mysteries is Batman's deal. When Waller points out that they're very thorough about cleaning up their clues, Harley just laughs harder because, again, Batman.
As predicted, Batman shows up. Well, not THE Batman. A Batman. A red-eyed Batman imposter shows up to announce that he's taking over the Suicide Squad operation and opens fire on both Waller and her right-hand man Rick Flag. The silhouettes show two headshots.
Fake Batman turns out to be Jason Todd because Jason Todd is the freaking king of obvious Batman identity mysteries. It's Arkham Knight all over again.
CLOCK KING, MAGPIE, KILLER MOTH, AND POLKA DOT MAN
Injustice 2 #3
Fake Batman is interested in taking over the Suicide Squad and all, but unlike Waller, there are some members that he doesn't feel jibe with his unseen master's vision. Despite Calendar Man (who is treated as a pathetic running gag through the Injusticecomics) pleading for his life, Fake Batman taps the detonators on his bomb as well as the bombs for Clock King, Magpie, Killer Moth, and Polka Dot Man. Those four all suffer from immediate head explosions. To Fake Batman's disgust, Calendar Man's bomb is faulty and he survives.
Injustice 2 #6
With Superman imprisoned, Bruce Wayne handpicked Dan Turpin as the warden in the world’s most critical supervillain prison. Said prison also has Damian pinned down, until his mother Talia comes to save him. Talia also brings along Damian’s never-before-mentioned sister Athanasia al Ghul, an original character that Talia chose to raise herself.
Turpin shows up during the family reunion and Damian tells him to just walk away. Instead, Turpin tries to call for Batman. Without remorse, Athanasia shoots him dead and they move on.
BLUE BEETLE (TED KORD)
Injustice 2 #10
After a day of training with the new Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes), Ted Kord is slightly confused when Skeets, the robot from the future, tells him how much he enjoyed their time together. That night, Batman stops by Ted’s office to offer him a spot on his team of world-helping billionaires to clean up Superman’s mess.
Once Batman is gone, Booster Gold appears, albeit slightly drunk and nervous. He makes it clear that Ted’s time is up and there is nothing either can do about it. Booster tried to stop it himself and spent several years imprisoned in some kind of time jail. Ted puts on his old tights and attempts to fight off the invading Suicide Squad, but it's no use. Katana chops his hand off and he's captured.
Ra’s Al Ghul makes an example out of Ted, as well as some other wealthy victims, by having Orca and Killer Croc tear them apart. As promised, Booster appears before Ted in his final moments to comfort him, accept his new role as Jaime’s mentor, and share one last laugh.
Injustice 2 #23
Ra’s Al Ghul has quite the army of soldiers to help him save the world by destroying chunks of it. Not only the League of Assassins and the blackmailed Suicide Squad, but also nature-based characters like Poison Ivy, Vixen, and Animal Man...and a couple surprises yet to be revealed. Their secret lair is also a sanctuary for certain endangered species.
Batman puts together a team to infiltrate the sanctuary to rescue some kidnapped children of heroes. Blue Beetle is supposed to hang back, but he just has to play cowboy and burst into the stronghold during a critical moment where Batman and Ra’s could have presumably talked out their issues. The act kills one endangered animal with a falling shard of glass, which sets off Vixen. Then a big brawl kicks into gear with Ra’s helpless to stop it.
Blue Beetle takes on Diablo and blasts him a little too hard. Diablo can’t control his flames and explodes to the point of wiping out all the animals. Everyone else survives, but it leads to escalation as Ra’s commands the assassination of nearly every politician in Washington DC, including all living Presidents.
Batman is NOT happy with Beetle, to say the least.
Injustice 2 #37
During the prequel run for the first game, it was explained that while some Teen Titans were killed, the others were written off in a different way. Superboy, Wonder Girl, Red Robin, and Starfire attacked Superman early on in his madness. Superman won by puncturing Superboy’s heart in such a way that it was fatal, but not immediately. His ultimatum was to send Superboy and the others to the Phantom Zone, where Superboy wouldn’t succumb to his injuries.
Six years later, Catwoman tells Batman about the incident, so Batman and his crew go to the Fortress of Solitude to release them. Plastic Man ventures in and brings out Red Robin, Wonder Girl, and Starfire, but has to leave Superboy. As Batman and Red Robin are reunited and discuss the need for a new Batman and Robin team, something keeps Plastic Man from leaving the Phantom Zone.
It turns out to be General Zod, who makes himself known by eye-lasering a hole through Red Robin’s chest. Tim dies in Batman’s arms.
Injustice 2 #39
So. Batman is PISSED. Dressed in special mech armor, Batman hunts down Zod and sprays him with the same kryptonite fear gas that started this whole mess.
“I could never use it on Clark. Not after...what it made him do. But you… You killed one of my boys. You should be afraid of me. BECAUSE I’M GOING TO **** YOU UP.”
Batman lays into him for a bit while Zod imagines being beaten up by a judgmental Superman. When he starts to clear his head, the android Amazo appears, under the control of Ra’s Al Ghul. Ra’s knows the threat of a loose Zod and takes care of it by having Amazo catch his fist and then snap his neck so hard that Zod’s head tears off. Amazo flies off with Zod’s head in hand while Batman is left in wonder.
It isn’t all death and dread, at least. Using Zod’s headless body, Batman gets Dr. Midnight to perform heart surgery and give Superboy a replacement.
Injustice 2 #48
Ra’s uses Amazo as a way to wipe out towns and cities worth of people while leaving the animals and plants mostly untouched. Amazo is unleashed on Delhi, which leads to a big team-up where Batman and his allies are joined by Wonder Woman and Black Adam (with Flash secretly running around saving people, going against his probation). Of Ra’s Al Ghul’s faction, the group of Damian, Jason Todd, Vixen, and Animal Man decide that Amazo’s rampage was going too far. They find Professor Ivo and demand he stop his unbeatable robot.
Ivo desperately tells them to leave him be, as Ra’s has his family captive and will kill them if he steps out of line. Jason explains the rough truth that his family had already been killed in a failed escape attempt. Horrified, Ivo agrees to help exploit a bug in Amazo’s system that will slow him down.
Athanasia gets wind of what is going on and threatens to shoot Ivo if he complies with the rebels. Ivo remarks that he has nothing left to live for and presses enter to finish his hacking. Athanasia shoots him dead in response.
Injustice 2 #48
During the great battle, Damian calls in Supergirl for help, even though her existence is only known to few. Supergirl grabs Amazo and brings him to the moon. Amazo overpowers her at first, but between Ivo’s tampering, a surprise assist from Blue Beetle, and Damian broadcasting directions, Supergirl is able to turn the tide. She pours on intense heat-vision followed by intense ice-breath to weaken him before punching his head into scrap.
She asks Blue Beetle to keep her actions a secret and allows him to take credit.
Injustice 2 #49
Anthanasia is not very happy about the betrayal, so she calls upon the Suicide Squad to catch the traitors before they can escape. Jason and Vixen get out of there and Damian gets captured. As for Animal Man, his eagle form struggles against Man-Bat, gets tangled in a Poison Ivy vine, and then a Deadshot bullet to the head finishes him off.
Tom Taylor really should have personally told him that that was going to happen.
Injustice 2 #53
Ah, Tomar-Re. The most plug-and-play throwaway Lantern there ever was. I’m sure he’s done something important at some point in his existence, but all I’ve ever seen is him being used as a stock Green Lantern when you want to use an alien but you don’t want it to be someone too major.
Anyway, he's investigating some kind of disturbance on the Green Lanterns’ prison planet and comes across Red Lantern kitty cat Dex-Star, who quickly slices his throat open.
VANDOR AND B’DG
Injustice 2 #61
Not only do the Red Lanterns wreck shit, but Atrocitus adds Starro the Conqueror to their ranks. The cosmic starfish then goes on to infect various Green Lanterns with rage starfish that puts them under its spell. This includes the Guardian Sayd, making a bad situation much worse.
Despite the pleas of Green Lantern B’dg, Sayd does not give in to the “remember who you are” trope and straight up vaporizes B’dg and Vandor.
Injustice 2 #64
After the events of the first Injusticegame, Sinestro isn’t doing so great. Hal Jordan hates his guts and not only are they in space prison, but his warden is his own daughter Soranik. At one point, Soranik wants to discuss her mother’s death, but Sinestro chooses not to delve into it other than expressing that he didn’t kill her. Soranik figures that her mother chose suicide over a life with Sinestro and Sinestro responds with silence.
When the Red Lanterns attack, Soranik is taken over by Starro. Sinestro insists on getting a green ring and is granted one due to how desperate the situation is. He shows his worth by saving Hal’s life and inspiring him to unite the Corps against their foes. He also tears the starfish off Soranik’s face...at the cost of taking an impaling through the torso.
Dying in front of his daughter, Sinestro admits that he was the reason her mother killed herself and wished he could have been a better man. As he dies, his ring goes to go find a replacement, finds its way into Soranik’s hand, and repeatedly announces that the replacement is already active.
Injustice 2 #64
Don’t know who Veon is? Don’t worry about it. Throwaway Red Lantern, basically. Here, he blasts Starfire, which leads to Superboy and Wonder Girl giving chase. Before the fight can happen, Brainiac and his gross muscular system skull borg goons show up out of nowhere. Veon ignores his Teen Titan foes and instead picks a fight with Brainiac’s crew. He immediately pays for it with a fist through the side of the head.
Injustice 2 Story Mode
Getting into the actual game’s storyline, Grodd leads the Secret Society of Supervillains, though he is secretly working under Brainiac. Late into the story, he takes on fellow kings Aquaman and Black Adam. While the player gets to choose which one beats him down, the aftermath is always the same. Aquaman jams his trident right into Grodd’s gut. Grodd weakly warns them about Brainiac’s power and merely receives another trident stab for his troubles.
Injustice 2 Story Mode
Dr. Fate doesn’t have much to do with story mode for Injustice 2. He warns Black Canary and Green Arrow that shit is going to go down, but then he vanishes until Act III. There, with Superman and Batman teaming up and searching through Brainiac’s ship, Dr. Fate appeares before them and warns them that their war has brought chaos across the universe. The Lords of Order are in support of Brainiac, as he’ll bring order across reality.
After losing a fight to Superman or Batman, Fate’s helmet falls off. Superman crushes it, cutting off Kent Nelson’s connection to the Lords of Order. He starts rambling about how the reunited World’s Finest could bring order to the world, but then Brainiac has him impaled with a giant metal wire. The wire retracts into the wall and Fate’s body melts into it.
So with all that carnage going on, what can we take away from this? Simply, put: there’s nothing stopping NetherRealm Studios from bringing in Larfleeze.
Gavin Jasper still thinks the lack of Booster Gold as a playable character is a travesty. Follow Gavin on Twitter!