Of DC and DLC

A few days ago before I shut down for the night, I saw an article showing an image of Batgirl for Injustice on Xbox Live.  I didn’t think much about it, and went to bed.  The next morning, I hear from Maximilian that all four characters were revealed. Some research determined that these were pulled from data-mined files on the disk, so the likelihood of these characters is pretty strong at this point.

This has caused a pretty heavy storm of rage on the internet.  Every comic book fan had some opinion on the cast of Injustice before, and now that the presumed “full” cast has been revealed, even more are surfacing.

Given my penchant for analyzing characters in a fighting game, I figured who better to talk about the four newcomers to Injustice than myself.  So then, a brief explanation of the incorporation of the last 4 characters on the roster.

Lobo

I’ll admit, the first words out of my mouth when I was told Lobo was announced was “Who?”  Apparently, I’m not alone either.  I was going to chalk him up to an oddball inclusion decision like Killer Frost, until I did a little Wikapedia diving.

Lobo does have a following, thought mostly in comic book and DC Comics circles though.  An alien bounty hunter, Lobo was conceived as a parody of the Punisher and Wolverine, but managed to come into his own afterward.  He’s rude, crude, and has a lust for vengence, lending him perfect for a fighting game.

Knowing this, it makes sense why Lobo would lead the wave of DLC additions.  He’s a character mostly popular in circle that pay attention to the more B-list heroes, meaning he doesn’t have a strong draw on his own.  Therefore, releasing him close to the initial launch of the game while it’s still fresh, gives him a better chance at selling in large amounts.  Comic fans who haven’t put the game down yet will scoop him up, and non-comic book fans that like the game are more likely to buy him anyway.

Moving forward, however, the strategy has to change, however, since the next three characters will have to me a significant draw on their own.

Batgirl

Ask anyone to list off female characters in DC Comics, you’ll probably get Wonder Woman, Harlequinn, Poison Ivy, Catwoman.  Chances are though Batgirl will be very high on that list for most of the general public.  That’s not on accident.  While there are plenty of other super heroines to choose from — such as Powergirl, Huntress, and Batwoman — Batgirl is more well known to the masses at large, and thus an easy choice for inclusion in Injustice.

This is one of the characters getting the most amount of heat right now for two reasons: a) there are too many Batman characters in Injustice already, and b) she is perceived to have abilities too similar to Batman.

For the first argument, I agree that the Batman franchise makes up a goodly portion of the cast.  In a cast of 24, 6 are Batman characters, which equals a fourth of the cast.  It’s pretty easy to argue that the Batman franchise doesn’t need anymore representation.  However, with all four DLC characters in tow, there will be a total of 28 characters in the cast, and adding Batgirl boosts the Batman characters to 7.  Some quick math, and it seems Batgirl’s inclusion isn’t growing their representation as much as it just maintains it.

For the second, I also agree that Batgirl and Batman have similarities.  However, my understanding is that Batgirl wasn’t trained by Batman or anyone directly affiliated with him.  She was raised by Commissioner Gordon (her father), and is also considered the most intelligent and tech-savy of Bat family — as evidenced as her tenure as the Oracle.  In contrast, Nightwing was raised and trained by Batman, but he has his own separate fighting style; therefore, how much different would Batgirl’s be having neither of these?  While their tools may be similar, the way they use them will most likely be very different.

In addition, since there have been a number of renditions of Batgirl over the years, she lends herself to more sell-able skins later on as well.

General Zod

Not a standard DC villian, Zod is a Kryptonian renegade who severs as a foil to Superman.  He’s a DC character that is most note-worthy for his appearance in the movie ‘Superman II,’ than any of the comics.

He is however, the villain (or one of the villians) of the upcoming ‘Man of Steel’ film.  This is pretty much the only explanation of his inclusion, but it’s a pretty strong one- two punch marketing-wise.  The game releases a character that is featured in the film, thus promoting the film; and the film featuring a character who is downloadable for the game.

Besides that, Superman’s supporting cast generally does feature other Kryptonians, such as Supergirl or Powergirl.  Having a Kryptonian villian serves as a good Superamn representaion anyway.  Regardless, however, Zod’s worth or lack of worth as a character is a moot point.  Even if he is the worst addition from the Superman comics, the marketing strategy makes the risk worth all the reward.

Scorpion

If I were to hate on any of these choices, this would be it.  The number one argument against Scorpion’s inclusion is the most obvious — he’s not a DC Comics character.

Scorpion, for those who are unaware, is one of the flagship characters from the Mortal Kombat series, which comprised Netherrealms Studios last couple of projects.  Scorpion is a ninja seeking out vengeance for the genocide of his clan, which is a backstory that is pretty far off left field for a tie into Injustice.

There are pretty much two things I can argue with Scorpion however: he will not be a lazy port as some may suspect, and he will be coming last among these DLC characters.

First, Scorpion cannot, and indeed will not be just a lazy port of the character from MK 9.  In order for Injustice to keep their ‘T’ rating, they can’t take the violent fatality moves or any of his more gory attacks with him.  This leaves his more basic attacks and traditional specials to work with.  Also, Injustice is a very different game than Mortal Kombat 9 was.  The button layout alone is very different, as is movement and blocking, so Scorpion will have to be adapted to this new format in some way.

Secondly, and most importantly, Scorpion will be coming last in the series of DLC.  By the point he is intended to release, most of the hype from the game will have waned considerably.  Any characters that launch long after a game’s release have to be considerable draws on their own.  Scorpion, while not quite a household name, is much more well known among gamers than any of the other DLC characters, and probably most of the regular cast.  It’s also worth considering the amount of hype guest and cross-over characters have gotten in previous fighting games — such as Link in Soul Calibur 2, Kratos in Mortal Kombat 9, or Akuma in X-Men: Children of the Atom.

Scorpion is a really odd choice for a game featuring DC Comics characters, but since it’s a fighting game, it’s not so terrible.

But of course, the tragedy here is that the huge gallery of DC Comics characters will be passed over in getting the video game treatment, and will still be restricted to the realm of comic books.  However, every comic book fan has to start somehwere; I suspect many will start here.

Did your favorite character get passed up?  Are you purchasing any of the DLC, or will you pass on these options?  Let us know in the comments.

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