Superman 64 is an infamously bad video game. Some argue it is the worst video game ever made. Coming out on the Nintendo 64 in 1999, it quickly became infamous for its rough controls, horrible graphics, and multiple stages that forced you to fly through rings like it was some kind of tutorial level.
Turns out, that wasn’t really how the game was supposed to go. Like many stories in video games that involve giant licenses, the Superman name got in the way of the development of the game, and the developer at the time, “Titus Interactive” was forced to deal with a lot of red tape from Warner Brothers and DC Comics, owners of the Superman IP. What this resulted in was the infamously terrible game we know today, but what about what the game could have been?
A version of that game does exist and it was meant to come out for the PlayStation, but before it could be finished Titus lost the license to Superman and the game never saw the light of day. Over the years prototypes of Superman have leaked out on the internet and as of Monday, we’ve gotten another. This one to Deviant Art of all places.
Yeah dude, alternate universe Superman 64 (the unreleased PlayStation game planned to come out around the same time) just dropped. First time I've ever seen a video game prototype get released on Deviant Art. https://t.co/a4xesFsGXE pic.twitter.com/tyU7gsPvPt
— Frank Cifaldi in the Alien Asylum (@frankcifaldi) November 30, 2020
So what’s so special about this one? Well, it’s 8 months in development later than any other prototype to leak online so far and that means it is far more developed. This means it gives fans a better look into what the intended game was going to look like. It includes missing boss fights and unlike previous versions this prototype doesn’t require a debug mode.
The story of how Superman 64 came into existence is actually pretty fascinating. There are interviews out there with developers such as producer Eric Caen that go a little bit more in depth in to what made Superman 64 such a busted game.
Knowing about all the meddling Warner Brothers and DC Comics had with Superman 64 and the eventual cancellation of Superman for the PlayStation 1, we just can’t help but wonder what could have been if the game had been able to release as the developers intended. It likely wouldn’t have been perfect, as no games from that era of consoles were, but maybe we would have had a passable Superman game. We also could have had a forgettable one. Superman 64 is infamous for being terrible. Would anyone really care if it had released and was just mediocre?
It would be great to see video games, with how far they’ve come, get another shot at a Superman game but the last time rumors surfaced of one it was reportedly passed on by Warner Bros. Perhaps the success Marvel has had in the video game space with Spider-Man and Avengers will make WB and DC Comics change their tune, but for now there just doesn’t seem to be much interest in giving Superman his own game again.