Back in 2013, NetherRealm Studios blessed the gaming world with Injustice: Gods Among Us. The DC Universe-based fighting game was a well-received riot for comic and gaming fans alike. Heroes like Batman, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and more, faced off against an array of villains and counterparts in a quest to stop a tyrannical Superman from enslaving an alternate universe. It sounds incredibly convoluted in design, but Injustice featured one of the most entertaining storylines to ever grace a fighting game.
NetherRealm Studios is led by Ed Boon, co-creator of the legendary Mortal Kombat series. For this reason, Injustice looked and felt like a modern Mortal Kombat spin-off. This was a very good thing, considering how entertaining NetherRealm's 2011 reboot of Mortal Kombat was. Injustice made use of the same formula, providing players with beautifully crafted environments, crisp character designs, engrossing cutscenes, and fluid combat mechanics.
It's been a little over four years since Injustice hit store shelves and the development team at NetherRealm is finally back to the table with a proper and well-deserved sequel. Injustice 2 is already gaining a lot of hype heading into its proposed release on May 16th, 2017.
We don't yet have a crystal clear picture of what Injustice 2 will feature when it finally hits store shelves, but we do know what we can expect from the highly anticipated sequel. If you weren't already anxious enough, here are 15 things we already know about the upcoming DC Universe-based fighting game.
15 There Will Be Many Playable Characters
Injustice: Gods Among Us had a rather large stable, with 30 characters overall. Injustice 2 will follow suit, offering a slew of playable units. It's important to note that the base game may not feature all possible fighters, as the original Injustice only had 24 playable units when it first released. Six additional characters were added to the mix via DLC.
Injustice 2 may take a similar approach, as only 27 characters currently appear on the official website. 11 character boxes have lock icons on them, perhaps suggesting that these characters will be released in subsequent updates after launch. "Characters" is also a loose term, as Injustice did include costume variants for some of its fighters.
Certain mainstays have returned, like Batman, The Flash, Bane, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, and more. We'll also see new fighters, like Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, Supergirl, Scarecrow, Black Canary, and a slew of others. Injustice 2 features a great mixture of series staples while offering up new and interesting characters from the DC Universe.
14 Superman Is Still A Jerk
Warning for those that haven't played Injustice: Gods Among Us for themselves, some story spoilers lie ahead. In the original release, Superman was a bit off his rocker. The tale took place in a universe in which the sinister Joker tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane and detonating a widespread nuclear device across Metropolis. The loss of his loved ones and the utter destruction of the city proved too much for Superman's psyche to handle. He brutally executed The Joker and found himself mentally spiraling out of control.
The next five years saw Superman leading a tyrannical existence, in which crime and lawlessness are thwarted via an authoritarian regime. Much of the in-game interaction and dialogue features "High Councilor Superman" as a cold-hearted leader with no respect for freedoms and disorder. Fearing the worst for humanity, Batman is forced to pull heroes from an alternate universe in which The Joker's plan of benevolence failed. Strength in numbers and a few Kryptonite-based weapons eventually cast Superman into a jail cell specifically designed to house the alien humanoid.
Injustice 2 will feature a continued storyline, which means Superman is still as brooding and dark-hearted as ever. We can expect to see The Man of Steel raging out and losing his temper as new evils threaten the world. Hopefully, Superman will find himself realigned for the greater good in this upcoming installment.
13 It Features An RPG-Like Gear System
This is perhaps one of the most interesting and engrossing elements featured in Injustice 2. The title will make use of an RPG-like gear system that allows players to equip their fighters with new items that will change how the character looks and operates. This gear, along with experience points, will be awarded to players at the end of each match.
Each character in Injustice 2 features four base stats; strength, defense, health, and ability. These stat lines will increase when a character gains enough experience points. Certain gear will add cosmetic, stat, and ability effects to a fighter, enabling them to upgrade their base stats and appearance. There are even certain modifiers that will allow for faster experience or currency gain.
Currently, gear is split into three subsections, including equipment, abilities, and shaders. Equipment pieces are physical items that can be applied to the head, torso, arms, legs, and an accessory point. Each character has two "ability slots" which can house in-game items to upgrade the visual effects of certain abilities, or offer modifiers. Lastly, shaders can be added to characters to change their overall color schemes.
12 Three Original Stages Make A Return
One of the best aspects of Injustice: Gods Among Us, was the stellar level design and environmental attention to detail. NetherRealm Studios partnered with DC Comics to breathe life into fighting arenas that looked and felt like their comic counterparts. We will experience a lot of new and exciting locations in Injustice 2, but developers hinted that three stages from the original title will be making a comeback in the upcoming release.
Gotham City will return with upgraded visuals. Atlantis is back, with a new and improved secondary level transition. We'll even return to Metropolis, which also features a glimpse at the Ace o' Clubs Bar.
It will be interesting to see how over-the-top developers go with these new and improved level designs. The original Injustice featured some brutally punishing level transitions that had characters bursting through buildings, banging against pipes, and freefalling from terrifying heights. From what we've seen in recent Injustice 2 gameplay trailers, developers are holding no punches when it comes to environmental destruction.
11 Super Moves Are Back
It's supremely entertaining to watch heroes clash against one another on the battlefield. These super-humans are capable of taking, and dishing out, an outlandish amount of punishment. Injustice: Gods Among Us did a fantastic job of underlining the inconceivable power levels that flow through each playable character. The super move system allowed players to deal massive damage to opponents, in a truly comic book-esque style.
These monumental maneuvers are making a comeback in Injustice 2, with each playable character featuring a powerhouse ability that stops the fight for a short cutscene-worth of inhumane devastation. Supergirl will send her opponent reeling around the sun and crashing back to earth through a meteor shower, while Aquaman slashes his opponent with a lightning infused trident before calling a monstrous ocean-dweller to send them careening back to the stage floor. Some moves favor brutal feats of strength. Gorilla Grodd uses his telekinesis and overwhelming strength to continually smash his opponents against the ground, while Atrocitus summons a massive bull entity to run through his enemies.
10 Possible Evasive Moves To Escape Combos
A gameplay trailer released back in 2016 showed some interesting evasion mechanics between Superman and Gorilla Grodd. During the fight sequence, Superman is seen rolling past Grodd and avoiding a few attacks as he repositions himself behind the hulking beast. For a split second, a flash is seen, suggesting that perhaps this evasive movement is activated by sacrificing some of the character's super meter.
In another clip, we see an interaction between Batman and Gorilla Grodd, where The Dark Knight is able to escape a juggle combo by effortlessly flipping out of it. This move uses the same curious flash animation, suggesting that it too has something to do with the franchise's coveted super meter system. It's important to note that this is speculative, so we're unsure if this is a mechanic available to all characters or simply Batman himself.
Mortal Kombat X featured a similar combo-ending mechanic with its Breaker System, which allowed players to expend part of their special meter to avoid taking heavy damage from a skilled fighter.
9 It'll Probably Hit PC Later
This is a bit speculative, but ultimately a pretty safe assumption. Injustice 2 is currently only slated to launch for Playstation 4 and Xbox One, but we could see a PC port released later on. The original Injustice followed a similar model, releasing first on console and then moving to PC once developers were satisfied with the port.
NetherRealm has also done this with Mortal Kombat X and both games were well received by the PC community. Many console-exclusive games have been making the jump to PC lately and releases that never intended to show up on Steam have found themselves stocked on its virtual shelves.
That being said, it may take a bit of time before we see Injustice 2 on the PC platform. It took developers approximately seven months to craft a polished version that worked well on Microsoft Windows. It is also important to note that NetherRealm's biggest competing franchise ported Street Fighter V to PC. This may offer extra incentive for the studio to bring their upcoming superhero brawler to the PC crowd.
8 We'll See Digital Deluxe and Ultimate Editions
The original Injustice featured an Ultimate Edition that showed up months after the base game released. This all-in-one package included all possible DLC characters, all unlockable skins (except iOS obtainable ones) and a slew of other goodies and mission-based add-ons. Injustice 2 will follow suit but plans to offer both a Digital Deluxe and Ultimate Edition, when the game launches in May.
Buying the Digital Deluxe package will reward you with three playable DLC characters, a power girl skin for Supergirl, and one exclusive gear shader. If you fancy yourself a true Injustice 2 fanatic, the Ultimate Edition will give you access to all 9 DLC characters, the Power Girl, Reverse Flash, and John Stewart skins, as well as two exclusive gear shaders.
Injustice 2 will also offer a pre-order bonus, giving anyone who secures the game early a chance to play as DLC character Darkseid.
7 A New Mobile App Is Coming
Injustice: Gods Among Us featured a companion mobile app that allowed players to unlock special costumes and in-game items by completing missions and defeating opponents. The mobile game was well-received by the community and gave players a bit of Injustice fun, a few days before the main game actually released. Injustice 2 plans to use the same model and we can expect to see a free mobile app arrive on iOS and Android devices sometime before launch.
The mobile game should still feature the same "swipe to fight" mechanics as the first and will offer up daily login rewards, achievements, and unlockables. Playing the mobile app was entirely necessary if you wanted to gain all possible unlocks in Injustice: Gods Among Us, as even the ultimate edition didn't offer access to exclusive app-unlockables. It will be interesting to see if Injustice 2 operates the same way and if the new mobile app will become a must-play.
6 There Might Be A Lot Of DLC
DLC has become a mainstay in the gaming world and Injustice 2 has the perfect hook to push a lot of DLC purchases. The DC Universe is ripe with superheroes and villains alike, which gives developers a buffet of fighters to choose from when it comes to future add-ons. Ed Boon was adamant in giving "obscure" heroes a little more face time in the sequel but the DLC option leaves the door open if the group decides it needs to infuse some well-known names.
We already know the Ultimate Edition will include access to 9 DLC fighters, which means you'll be shelling out for each subsequent DLC pack if you decide to pass on the bundle. This model is similar to the season pass craze that has been sweeping AAA titles recently. Whatever you decide, it's safe to assume that you'll be paying for extra content in some capacity. Sometimes add-on content just isn't worth it, but with proposed characters like Reverse Flash and Darkseid, it might be hard too hard to resist the DLC siren call.
5 It Uses A Rollback Netcode
Anyone addicted to fighting games can tell you, input delay coding is horrible for online play. It's pointless to practice all of your 50 percent move combos offline when an online fight doesn't account for lag, packet loss, and ping issues. Some fighting games are transitioning to rollback netcoding in order to combat the horrible online matchmaking experiences. Unfortunately, rollback coding can be atrocious when done incorrectly and some games have seen their online modes suffer as a result.
Thankfully, the crew at NetherRealm has developed a fantastic rollback netcode that offers up free-flowing online combat with minimal error. This latest upgrade was used in Mortal Kombat X and created matches in which moves were activated as soon as a corresponding button was pressed. During an interview in 2016, Ed Boon revealed that the team would be taking everything they learned about the rollback netcode process and applying it to any online modes for Injustice 2.
4 Tournament Mode Will Make Online Fair
One of the biggest questions concerning Injustice 2's new gear system is how one-sided a fight may be between two players with highly varied character levels. Leveling up and applying new gear will upgrade a fighter's base stats, making them stronger and harder to defeat. It's also possible that this new gear will add special abilities and counter attacks. This presents a unique problem for online play. Imagine what it would look like if a level 50 character was tossed into an arena with a level 1 novice.
It's hard to say exactly how much of an advantage the higher-leveled player would have, since skill is also a determining factor, but it's easy to see why some players may cry foul. NetherRealm's proposed solution to this issue is a specialized online tournament mode, which eliminates all added attributes and strips fighters down to their core abilities. This will allow players to experience both match types. Developers are also fiddling with the possibility of adding this type of restriction to some ranked match modes.
3 The Story Continues Right Where It Left Off
If you were a fan of the storyline for Injustice: Gods Among Us, you're in for a treat. Injustice 2 features a continuation of the original story arc, taking place right after Batman was successful in jailing a dictator-like Superman. The new story will centralize around a mysterious benevolent group known as The Society. This stable of villains and misfits is bent on, you guessed it, world domination. Since most of the heroes from the original title have been sent back to their own universe, it's up to Batman to once again rally a league of superhuman fighters to battle against a powerful new threat.
To make matters worse, a devious interstellar feind named Brainiac is threatening to conquer the planet. Injustice 2 is exploding from smaller scale chaos to potentially world-ending cataclysms. It's so refreshing to see a fighting game with so much emphasis on story and character development. Perhaps Batman will have no choice but to release The Man of Steel to help combat the evils that plague the world. Then again, Superman isn't known for handling his emotions well in the Injustice universe.
2 It Will Feature Microtransactions
Microtransactions is a dreaded word that makes the blood of gamers run cold. We usually only see these dastardly tactics employed in mobile games and free-to-play MMORPG. Injustice 2 will feature a microtransaction system, but developers are adamant that it will offer nothing in terms of pay-to-win or money-based advantage. If you decide that you want to chip a few extra bucks towards the NetherRealm pot, you'll be rewarded with gear, tools, and the option to speed up progress.
By using Source Crystals (the title's in-game premium currency), you can acquire exclusive premiere character skins, as well as other cosmetic items. You can also use Source Crystals to speed up your progress, by instantly granting character levels. For example, if you get one character to level 20, you can then magically lift another character to level 20 via Source Crystals. There is also a transmutation system that will allow you to save the appearance of certain items while imbuing them with the stats of others.
1 It May Feature A Co-op Game Mode
In an inteview with Gamereactor, NetherRealm team member Brian Goodman discussed the possibility of adding branching storylines and varying story paths. A lot of gamers were absolutely enamored with the original Injustice storyline and that has given developers extra incentive to make Injustice 2's storyline extra special. This has led the team to experiment with different single-player avenues. Perhaps Injustice 2 will offer up story choices, allowing for multiple playthroughs.
Another possibility is the addition of one or more cooperative game modes. NetherRealm understands that story mode is a pivotal part of the Injustice franchise, but the group is also well aware that multiplayer makes up a massive chunk of fighting game replayability. It would be amazing to see a "tag in" system, similar to the Marvel Vs. Capcom franchise.