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|Injustice: Gods Among Us|
High Voltage Software (PS4, PC)
Armature Studio (PSVita)
|Publisher(s)||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
|Injustice: Gods Among Us|
High Voltage Software (PS4, PC)
Armature Studio (PSVita)
|Publisher(s)||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Injustice: Gods Among Us is a fighting game based upon the fictional universe of DC Comics. The game was developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360. It was released in April 2013 in North America, Europe, and Australia, and June 2013 in Japan. An iOS variation of the game was released on April 3, 2013. The game was also ported to Android in Fall 2013.
On October 7, 2013 it was announced that the game will be re-released in an Ultimate Edition on November 12, 2013 in North America and November 29 in Europe and other territories for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as well as Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. The re-release includes all the previously released DLC.
The gameplay for Injustice: Gods Among Us involves one-on-one matches within a two-dimensional plane, although characters and backgrounds are rendered in a three-dimensional fashion. Each match consists of one round; however, each player has two health bars. The game uses a four-button control layout of light, medium, and heavy attacks, alongside a "character trait" button that activates a unique ability or attack designed to showcase each character. For instance, Superman's trait provides a temporary stat boost, while Batman's trait summons a swarm of robotic bats.
The stages, based on locations such as the Batcave, Watchtower, and Fortress of Solitude, feature interactive environments and multiple areas. If a heavy attack is connected near a corner that leads to another area, it launch the opponent, triggering a special animation, and taking the fight to this new part of the stage. Each arena also contains objects that the characters utilize differently depending on their class. Characters can be either gadget characters or power characters. Then, a gadget character like Batman can attach a bomb to a car to cause an explosion, while a power character like Superman can pick up the same car and smash his opponents with it. Before each fight, players have the option to turn off interactive elements and area transitions.
During combat, players charge their character's super meter by performing combos or getting hit by the opponent. Portions of the super meter can be used for performing enhanced special moves or countering enemy moves. With a full meter, players can unleash their strongest special attack. Players may also expend meter to interrupt a combo, entering a wager battle, dubbed the Clash system, which combines individualized cutscene cinematics with the process of betting meter. A clash may be triggered by a player only after they have lost their first health bar. During the sequence, both players commit portions of their meter in secret, with the highest bidder winning the clash.
The story mode is split into several chapters. As the narrative plays out, the player swaps between different characters. Minigames are also incorporated into the story. The outcome of minigames can impact an upcoming battle, such as giving the player a health advantage over the CPU opponent. Additional features include Battle Mode, Versus Mode, Training Mode, and S.T.A.R. Labs, which includes 240 character-specific challenges of varying difficulty. Online multiplayer modes include King of the Hill, a setup that allows up to eight players to spectate a match while waiting for their turn to fight, and Survivor, which carries over the current winner's health bar and character selection over each match. Playing through any of the game's modes, including online matches with optional goal objectives, will net the player experience points that may be used to unlock alternate costumes, music, concept art, and other rewards.
The campaign of Injustice: Gods Among Us was written by NetherRealm Studios in collaboration with DC Comics' writers as a stand-alone story, one that takes place in two alternate universes. Described by NetherRealm as "Story Mode 3.0", the campaign was approached similarly to Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot through the use of a cinematic narrative versus the traditional ladder-based single-player experience. According to lead designer John Edwards, the plot is meant to rationalize the game's fighting mechanics between characters that would not normally fight one another and explain how Batman can "stand toe-to-toe" with Superman. Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti served as story consultants to ensure that the comic characters kept their proper voices in Injustice.
In an alternate reality, the Joker has tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane and their unborn son and destroying Metropolis with a nuclear explosion. In retaliation, Superman murders the Joker during Batman's interrogation on him and quickly loses his moral compass. He establishes a new world order as the High Councillor. A war ensues between the forces of Superman's Regime and those allied with Batman's Insurgency. Five years into the war, the Insurgency discovers the Justice League's universe where the Joker's plan did not succeed and transports several of its super heroes (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern) to their world in order to help them defeat the Regime. Batman and the Joker are confronted by the Regime in a dystopian Metropolis, but Batman uses his gear to help them both escape and go their separate ways.
Having arrived in this world and attempting to learn what has happened, Aquaman heads to Atlantis to see what he can dig up in the Atlantean Archives, while Green Lantern travels to Ferris Aircraft to find a recharging station for his ring. After discovering and defeating Raven and Cyborg and subsequently freeing Deathstroke there, Green Lantern returns to Gotham City where he faces Sinestro and his own counterpart, who has joined the Sinestro Corps. He escapes with Wonder Woman and Green Arrow where they subsequently meet the Batman of this world. Aquaman travels to Atlantis to research the archives, learning of Superman's descent into tyranny. Learning that Atlantis has agreed to a treaty that puts Superman in total control of Atlantis, Aquaman rejects it, defeating the Flash, Shazam and his own counterpart before Ares appears. Acknowledging that he is weakened by the lack of conflict, Ares sends Aquaman to join the Insurgents, which includes this alternate timeline's Lex Luthor, who never became a criminal and is in fact one of Superman's best friends. Batman explains that he has a kryptonite weapon that can defeat Superman in the Batcave, but it requires DNA samples from the other four heroes to unlock, as Batman wanted to ensure he could not make the decision to stop Superman by himself. The heroes from the other universe became necessary after Green Arrow died trying to reason with a grieving Superman and the other three aligned with his new regime.
The displaced Batman is captured by the Regime and the Joker allies himself with the Harley Quinn of this world. After Harley's gang, the Joker Clan, is attacked by Regime forces led by Nightwing and Hawkgirl, they are rescued by the heroes, who travel to the Batcave to recover the weapon. Meanwhile, back in the Justice League's universe, Superman, the Flash and Cyborg attempt to recover their comrades, but their attempt accidentally sends Cyborg to the alternate reality. Cyborg overhears Lex Luthor and Deathstroke discussing plans to defeat Superman, prompting a brief clash before the other displaced heroes explain the situation to him.
With Cyborg and Deathstroke having taken control of the teleportation system on the Watchtower, the heroes stage a break-in on Stryker's Island and rescue the displaced Batman from his planned execution, but Luthor's attempt to use the kryptonite weapon against Superman fails, resulting in his death. Overhearing humanity's newfound fear of him, Superman decides to destroy Gotham City and Metropolis to demonstrate the chaos that would arise in his absence. However, when Superman kills Shazam for questioning him, the Flash finally accepts that the Regime has gone too far and defects to the Insurgents. With the Kryptonite weapon rendered useless, the dimensionally-displaced heroes suggest recruiting the Superman of their world to stop this one, only to be interrupted by a Regime attack on their hideout.
During the fight, Wonder Woman is teleported to Themyscira by Ares, who reveals that Superman's plan will be carried out by an army of Amazons. He desires to stop this plan, as Superman's victory will mean an end to the conflict that empowers him. Accepting his advice, Wonder Woman defeats her counterpart before convincing the Amazons to return to their former role as protectors rather than conquerors. As the battle begins, Batman convinces his counterpart to have faith in their Superman just as he had faith in the other displaced heroes. Superman arrives in this world in time to defeat several members of the Regime while Wonder Woman's Amazons hold back the armies of Atlantis. After defeating Doomsday in the Fortress of Solitude and trapping him in the Phantom Zone, Superman faces his counterpart, rejecting his other self's attempt to defend his actions as enforcing authority over an unworthy humanity and informing him that Lois would be afraid and disgusted at what he has become.
With the other Superman's defeat, the rest of the Regime are either rounded up or turn themselves in and the other Superman is placed in a prison where he is exposed to red sun radiation, negating his powers. The displaced Superman acknowledges that he could have become his counterpart under the same circumstances, but Batman merely notes that he hopes Superman never has to learn what he could be capable of while vowing to be there if Superman ever falls that far. As Superman and Batman leave, the final scene shows a close-up of the other Superman in his prison cell, his eyes glowing, indicating he still has some degree of his power.
The roster was selected internally by NetherRealm Studios with input from DC Comics. The main goal during the selection process, which took around three to four months, was to create a cast featuring a wide range of characters with regards to size, ability, and level of superpower. Characters were also chosen based on criteria such as gender, popularity, and how well they fit within the Injustice storyline. The addition of each playable hero and villain required about six weeks of development. The characters were designed with the intent to make each fighter unique. Fighting styles and movesets were tailored to the lore and personality of each character. Ed Boon stated that DC Comics had given NetherRealm a large amount of freedom with their properties, allowing them to put their own spin on characters. Several other characters from the DC Universe also appear as non-player characters, making cameo appearances in story cutscenes, stages, and other game modes. Outside of the DC universe, Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat series appears as a downloadable guest character.
|Playable Characters||Skins of other characters|
Injustice: Gods Among Us was announced on May 31, 2012. According to Ed Boon, the main goal heading into Injustice was to create a game outside of the Mortal Kombat series that was dramatically different within the fighting game genre. Producer Hector Sanchez stated that NetherRealm Studios did not feel constrained by the parameters of Mortal Kombat, allowing the developers to take more design risks with Injustice, such as removing Mortal Kombat's traditional dedicated block button. Similar to Boon's previous DC-related title, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the use of the DC Comics license implied restrictions to the amount of violence in the game; however, Boon intended to push the "Teen" rating by replacing violence with "crazy, over-the-top action." When questioned if the studio's past experience with Mortal Kombat and its characteristic violence would influence Injustice, Boon replied that he wanted to keep the two titles as separate entities.
The online mode in Injustice was built upon the foundation laid from Mortal Kombat. Due to complaints about severe lag in the online multiplayer portion of Mortal Kombat, Boon reported that the development team had looked back upon their past mistakes and created a "new, more elaborate system" for an improved online experience. Senior Producer Adam Urbano stated NetherRealm Studios spent two years of development focusing on netplay. During development, NetherRealm shared their idea for an automated system to push Injustice downloadable content to all users' consoles. The game would connect to the Internet during use and automatically download the information required for players who have bought DLC characters to play against others who have not. The system also allows NetherRealm to quickly send hotfixes to patch noticeable glitches.
Like Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and Mortal Kombat, Injustice runs on the Unreal Engine 3, which had to be modified to suit fighting games. In the first Injustice development diary, NetherRealm Studios proclaimed that several technical advancements had been made since the release of Mortal Kombat in 2011. Sanchez stated that the KoreTech team "pushed the boundaries on our graphics engine forward with industry leading innovations." Urbano added that the game features a revamped lighting solution, enabling more dynamic lighting in terms of characters and environments. A new "character material" system was created to portray characters with increased graphical detail. An entire inverse kinematics system was built to let the game handle the different sized skeletons in character models. Injustice also utilizes a multi-threaded rendering engine, allowing the game to display approximately three times the amount of objects on screen at a single time than Mortal Kombat.
Prior to the game's release, Warner Bros. Interactive and DC Entertainment launched a 10-week-long online marketing campaign called the Injustice Battle Arena. The web series, hosted by Taryn Southern, featured weekly match-ups between the playable cast in a tournament-style format. Each week, the arena is updated with different versus scenarios. Fans could vote for their favorite characters, and a video, depicting the winner of each round, would be released following each voting period. Videos detailing the skills and strengths of the combatants, including vox pop and celebrity interviews, were released alongside each new pair of challengers. Voters could redeem free rewards, ranging from Xbox Live avatar accessories to a downloadable character skin based on Green Arrow's appearance in the television series Arrow. Participating fans based in the United States were also eligible to win weekly prizes.
A demo version of the game was released as a download for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on April 2, 2013 in North America, and April 3, 2013 in Europe. The demo showcases Batman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor, in the Gotham City stage, with Doomsday as an unplayable boss.
Injustice: Gods Among Us was released on April 16, 2013 in North America, April 17 in Australia, and April 19 in Europe for the PlayStation 3, Wii U, and Xbox 360. Certain Australian retailers, including JB Hi-Fi and EB Games, broke the street date, selling copies on April 15, 2013. The release of the Wii U version of Injustice was delayed in the United Kingdom until April 26, 2013. The game was released later in Japan on June 9, 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Wii U.
Prior to the game's release, NetherRealm Studios developed a free-to-play mobile app of Injustice: Gods Among Us for iOS devices. The app utilizes a collectible card-based battle system, and can be used to unlock bonuses in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. The Wii U version does not support this feature. An album featuring music from several artists including Rise Against, Depeche Mode, MSTRKRFT, Awolnation, Minus the Bear, and Zeus, will be released by WaterTower Music. Titled Injustice: Gods Among Us - The Album, the album will be made available at digital retailers on April 16, 2013 to coincide with the release of the game. The collection will later be released in CD format on April 23, 2013.
Warner Bros. Interactive partnered with several retail outlets on a pre-order incentive. Pre-orders from EB Games, GameStop, and Game gave players access to the Red Son Pack, a DLC pack inspired by the Superman: Red Son comic book limited series, containing alternate Red Son skins for Superman, Wonder Woman, and Solomon Grundy, and 20 additional missions set within the Red Son storyline. Pre-orders from Wal-Mart carried the Arkham City Skin Pack, containing downloadable costumes for Batman, Catwoman, and the Joker, and a bonus copy of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Offers from Best Buy and Amazon Germany included the Blackest Night DLC Pack, which features an alternate Batman skin, based on his Black Lantern design from the Blackest Night storyline, and an exclusive "zombie mode" which transforms all characters into the undead. These pre-order bonuses were later made publicly available for download.
In addition to the standard edition, the Collector's Edition is available for purchase for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which includes a steelbook case (UK only), a collectible figurine, a digital download code for the animated film Justice League: Doom (US only), the first issue of the Injustice comic book series, and three exclusive costumes for Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman based on their appearances in The New 52. The North American and European versions of the bundle offer different figurines. The North American release offers a 13-inch (33 cm) statue featuring Wonder Woman fighting Batman, while the European release offers a smaller 9-inch (23 cm) statue of the two locked in battle. The Battle Edition, exclusive to GameStop and EB Games, includes a light weight fight stick controller and the three DLC skins. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the Special Edition is available, exclusively through Game and EB Games respectively, containing the steelbook and the Red Son Pack.
A Season Pass available to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 users grants access to the Flashpoint Skin Pack, featuring alternate skins for Aquaman, Deathstroke, and Wonder Woman, along with the first four downloadable characters at an overall discounted price. To prevent conflicts between online players who purchased DLC and those who did not, free compatibility packs containing additional character skins will be released alongside them. On April 17, 2013, Lobo was officially revealed as the first DLC character during the Injustice Battle Arena finale. Lobo was released on May 7, 2013. On May 3, 2013, Batgirl was revealed as the second DLC character. Batgirl became available for download on May 21, 2013. Scorpion, a recurring character from the Mortal Kombat series, was revealed as the third DLC character on June 3, 2013, and became available for download on June 11, 2013. Scorpion's appearance in Injustice features a new costume design by comic book artist Jim Lee. The final character in the Season Pass, General Zod, was revealed on June 12, 2013 on an episode of Conan. Zod was released on July 2, 2013. All DLC released prior to July 2 were not available on Wii U until that date. S.T.A.R. Labs Missions for the first four DLC characters were also released as part of the Season Pass.
On June 6, 2013, Ed Boon announced that at least one additional DLC character would be created for the game due to fan demand. Boon had previously held a poll on his Twitter to determine which of several DC characters players would like to see added to Injustice. Martian Manhunter, who had been left off the polls due to having the strongest fan demand, was revealed as the fifth DLC character during a special Injustice presentation at the 2013 Evolution Championship Series and was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on July 30, 2013, bundled together with another Green Lantern as an alternate skin for Green Lantern. Shortly before the release, Boon revealed on Twitter that there were still further plans to develop DLC, with the sixth DLC character being a "big fan favorite", who later on August 5, 2013, was revealed to be Zatanna, having came first in the character polls according to Ed Boon on Twitter. She was bundled with a new skin for Superman based on Cyborg Superman, released on August 13, 2013. So far, neither Martian Manhunter or Zatanna release dates have been announced for the Wii U version.
DLC Skin Pack releases include Teen Titans (Cyborg, Deathstroke, and Raven), Bad Girls (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Wonder Woman), Killing Joke (three separate skins for The Joker), Blackest Night (one pack containing zombie-themed skins for Superman, The Flash, and Doomsday, and another for Batman, Aquaman, and Hawkgirl), Red Son (one pack containing Soviet-themed skins for Superman, Solomon Grundy, and Wonder Woman, and another for Green Lantern, Batman, and Deathstroke) and Earth-Two (Solomon Grundy, The Flash, and Hawkgirl), as well as skins for Superman and Zod based on the Man of Steel film. The Ame-Comi Skin Pack (Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Wonder Woman) came included with the Wii U and Japanese releases of Injustice and was released for Xbox 360 and PS3 on July 16, 2013. Because of the Wii U's lack of interactivity with the iPhone version of Injustice, a Lockdown skin pack was released containing the alternate costumes obtainable from the iOS edition exclusive to Wii U.
The Ultimate Edition of the game, which includes all previously released downloadable content was released on November 12 and 29, 2013 in the United States and Europe, respectively. This version of the game is available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation Vita. Netherealm has since confirmed that after the release of the Ultimate Edition, there will be no more DLC characters.
The Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book series was announced by Ed Boon on October 5, 2012, during the EB Games Expo. The series serves as a prequel detailing the events leading up to the game. The series is written by Tom Taylor and illustrated by Jheremy Raapack. The comic was released digitally on a weekly schedule beginning on January 15, 2013. The series was later issued in regular comic book form, and eventually a collected edition. The comic series begins with the premise of Superman's actions after the Joker's murders of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, followed by the nuclear annihilation of Metropolis. The series follows the descent of Superman and the Justice League from the world's heroes to its oppressors with Batman leading a group of insurgents bent on resisting Superman's increasingly totalitarian acts.
DC Collectibles also launched a line of Injustice action figures beginning in April 2013.
Injustice: Gods Among Us received positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Wii U version 83.25% and 82/100, the Xbox 360 version 82.05% and 81/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 81.04% and 78/100.
IGN's Vince Ingenito labeled the game as "both a very good brawler and a big old sloppy love letter to fans." Ingenito praised the story mode, unique fighting game mechanics, and the overall use of the DC license, but criticized rough cutscene graphics, stating that the "in-engine cutscenes attempt to depict clashing armies or sweeping cityscapes, bland textures and shoddily modeled buildings erode the visual impact a bit." Ingenito concluded that despite buckling a little under the weight of everything the game tries to accomplish, Injustice "definitely earns its spot on the shelf of fighting aficionados, whether they dig comics or not." Game Informer's Andrew Reiner considered the game as "a finely tuned fighter" that "nails the spectacle of a superhero brawl." Reiner applauded NetherRealm Studios for "once again deliver[ing] a great fighting experience," noting that the "team’s appreciation of the DC universe blends nicely with their well-worn Mortal Kombat formula to create an experience that is a success on both fighting and comic book levels."
Eurogamer's Matt Edwards praised the rich amount of single-player content, highlighting the S.T.A.R. Labs challenge mode, but was concerned about the game's online stability, writing that improvements made over Mortal Kombat to reduce latency issues "appear to be marginal rather than game changing." Edwards proceeded to say that "on all other accounts Injustice is the complete package." Conversely, GameSpot's Maxwell McGee felt that while Injustice provides "a complex fighter with some unique twists", the game "unfortunately falls short when compared to its contemporaries" and "as a whole, the package is found wanting." McGee was critical of the story, describing the premise as "so ridiculous it borders on parody," and lamented the lack of instructional features for new players and replay support. However, despite its shortcomings, McGee found the game to be "an enjoyable fighter."
Mikel Reparaz of Official Xbox Magazine regarded Injustice as "DC and NetherRealm at their finest." Reparaz lauded the "fast, destructive, and extremely accessible" gameplay, calling the game "one of the most enjoyable 2D fighters in years." Electronic Gaming Monthly's Ray Carsillo awarded the game a near-perfect score, praising the story, gameplay mechanics, and collectibles, while faulting long and frequent load times. Brett Molina of USA Today gave the game 3.5 stars out of 4, stating that "NetherRealm has created an impressive video game package with Injustice, combining superheroes and villains comic book fans can appreciate with a fighting style that should appeal to players at any level."
NintendoFuse's Steve Cullum stated that the Wii U version was "a solid fighter." He went on to praise the storyline, game modes, music, graphics, and the variety of characters, but criticized missing friend-matches, missing connections to the iOS app, and the low volume level from the GamePad. Cullum summarized his review by saying that "the developers at NetherRealm [...] did a great job of bringing in gameplay, controls, and a good storyline. While it does lack in a few areas, the overall package is strong. If you are a DC Comics fan and enjoy a good 2D fighter, look no further than Injustice: Gods Among Us."
The game was banned in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Originally, the title of the game was rebranded as Injustice: The Mighty Among Us for promotional uses in those areas. It is speculated that Injustice was banned because of the inclusion of the word 'Gods' in the title, the cleavage exposed in the outfits of some female characters, and overall bloodiness. Eventually, the ban in the United Arab Emirates was lifted.
Injustice: Gods Among Us was the highest selling game in the U.S. during its release month of April, 2013, It sold 424,000 copies as reported by industry analysts Cowen & Company, the only game released during that month to sell more than 250,000 copies. According to the NPD group, the game would later continue to stay as the top selling game in the US charts into May and stayed within the top 10 in June. Injustice would also top the all-format game charts in the UK following its week of release.