Though Injustice 2 is Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s next big game, and will be one of the biggest fighting games this year, it hasn’t received as much marketing as expected thus far. In fact, anyone who typically follows the advertising cycles for the genre was scratching their heads in bewilderment at its prolonged absence.
The game was announced at E3 2016 though a trailer which showed familiar characters like Batman, Superman, and Aquaman, and characters new to the Injustice universe like Supergirl and Gorilla Grodd. The character reveals continued at San Diego Comic-Con and Gamescom, where Wonder Woman, Blue Beetle, Harley Quinn, and Deadshot were unveiled — the last two of which were fortuitously timed with the theatrical release of Suicide Squad.
Following that? Months of eerie silence. It was long enough to make anyone looking forward to it wonder if the game was having developmental issues behind the scenes, which would culminate in its release being delayed from the planned early 2017 timeframe. But in time, it was shown that developer NetherRealm Studios had been polishing the presentation to fix complains some had after its unveil. That particularly applied to the faces of the female characters, which looked off-model — Harley Quinn notwithstanding, interestingly. NetherRealm has always struggled with female character faces, and though they’ve slowly improved over time, their efforts are still behind other developers.
However, noticeable improvements were made to the faces of Supergirl and especially Wonder Woman when IGN posted a gameplay walkthrough focusing on the former character shortly before Christmas. Granted, they could still use some work, but the game was still months away even then. NetherRealm also added noticeable improvements to all the character models and overall lighting, hinting at how its visuals were in the final polishing stages.
Injustice 2 is actually due for release on May 16th, only slightly later than many expected. NetherRealm’s titles have previously released in April, a trend carried on with the first Injustice and the last two Mortal Kombat games. It’s a pity they’re breaking that trend here, but it’s not too big a deal.
Since this is a fighting game releasing in 2017, it will come alongside a slew of DLC, with more arriving down the line. Those who purchase the Digital Deluxe Edition or Ultimate Edition can get three or nine DLC characters, respectively, depending on how much they’re willing to play. Those will also include bonus skins, one of which will transform Supergirl into Power Girl. Preorders will also include Superman villain Darkseid, though he’s yet to be shown off in video form. Since NetherRealm is still mostly using DC Animated Universe voice actors for these titles, hopefully Michael Ironside reprised the role.
For the first time since August, NetherRealm has started revealing more of the roster again. Robin was confirmed for this installment, who’s Damian Wayne here, and uses a blunt sword and (surprise) various gadgets in battle. Also coming is Black Canary, who has her trademark screaming techniques, martial arts attacks, and fishnets. Keep in mind that if you’re not a fan of the outfits each character is wearing, alternate outfits will be available for more than just Supergirl/Power Girl; and that’s not getting into the bonus armors the main game will have, though some are admittedly gaudy.
The official website also added Bane, Poison Ivy, and Brainiac to the “Characters” section, so expect to see them in action next. The first two characters there might show how the development team collectively put their hands over their ears regarding complaints about the first Injustice having too many Batman universe characters. There are still plenty of empty panels on the page, so expect more surprise faces to be revealed until mid-May.
That is, unless you consulted the leaked list, which has been bang-on thus far. I won’t post it here, in case you don’t want to be spoiled.
While those roster reveals are mostly good news, I’m still waiting for them to clarify precisely how its unique armor system will work. When the feature was initially detailed alongside the game’s reveal, it drew unflattering comparisons to Street Fighter x Tekken’s much-maligned Gems system. While the developers promised it will be a fair system that won’t imbalance the game or pick players’ wallets, they should release a video further detailing how it works sometime between now and its release to further quell fears. If they don’t, just cross your fingers and hope they won’t make much of a difference in battles.
Look forward to the media blitz in the next few months, as given the developer this is coming from and characters involved, you won’t be able to dodge it even if you’re not looking forward to playing it. The leaked list apparently doesn’t include the DLC characters, whose trailers should mostly arrive after the game releases. Since the first game featured Scorpion as a guest star, doesn’t be surprised if one or more MK characters make it into this game. However, they’ll rightfully prioritize DC Universe characters.