t’s always funny to hear about what might’ve been with cancelled comic book game projects, like the moody Batman: Gotham By Gaslight game or the first-person Avengers video game that never came to be. But now, the team at Unseen64 have stumbled across one of the biggest projects to date that never got to see a release – a Justice League game that would’ve coincided with a film of the same name.
The 3D beat-em-up, under the project name Justice League Arcade, was in development for some time over at Double Helix Games – which also produced games like Killer Instinct (the first season) for the Xbox One and Capcom’s reboot of Strider for various consoles. It had a great concept in mind, enabling players to take control of different characters within the League, including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as they took on adversaries using a number of special techniques. For instance, Batman utilizing his items alongside his fisticuffs, and Wonder Woman using her Lasso of Truth to fling an enemy around, while also using throw moves and attacks.
The game, which was set for release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii, was meant to be released alongside a film titled Justice League Mortal, which was in the works back in 2008 under the direction of George Miller – yes, the same man that brought us the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road.
Several complications came up between the film and the game, however. While Double Helix had invested a great deal of time into its fighting engine – similar in nature to Shiny’s The Matrix: Path of Neo – Warner Bros. kept delaying the project while it was trying to find an ideal location to shoot Mortal. The film was already reportedly set to have a $300 million budget, the largest in film history at the time, and it was looking for some place to give it some tax breaks.
Alas, they couldn’t find a deal to get the job done, and as a result, the film was scuttled in 2009 – and the game followed soon thereafter, though Double Helix was pushing to give it a separate release, feeling that it could attract a strong DC Comics audience.
But don’t be too sad for its loss. Double Helix was able to recover a great deal of its assets for release in a new game, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, which came out two years later for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii – tied in with the Lantern movie of the same name. The game fared pretty well, whereas the film, well, you know.
And now we’re seeing Justice League rise again, with a new film directed by Zack Snyder, set for release this Friday. And we’re getting good in-game content with it as well, as Injustice 2 will see some premium skins based on characters from the film.
Still, sigh. We can’t help but think how awesome a George Miller Justice League film would’ve been, as well as how Double Helix’s game would’ve ended up in its original form. You can see the gameplay in action in the video above, and dare to dream.
Justice League releases this Friday.