Game Concept

Spider-Man battles the Green Goblin above New York City ~ art by Alex Ross
Batman vs. Joker ~ art by Jim Lee
Lex Luthor vs. Superman ~ art by Peter Habjan

Thesis: {Supers} is a 3rd-person open world action game drawing together the thrilling player-versus-player combat of a competitive MMORPG with the in-depth face v. heel role-playing dramas of an RP-oriented custom server. Players take on the role of super hero or villain, carrying their unique power or mission into conflict with one another in the chaotic city of Ultrapolis. You and your allies and enemies will forge bonds and do battle to change this world to your will. Who will rule and who will fall?

DC Comics – Trinity War
Marvel – Infinity War

Setting: Ultrapolis, sea, land and sky of a sprawling urban cityscape | Within – and above – skyscrapers, over and under the city’s trio of bridges | Evil lairs and Fortresses of Solitude | Secret underground complexes | Convention centers, sports stadiums, the castle on top of the hill on the eastern end of the city… | {customizable city locales} | Multiversal pocket dimensions

The city of Ultrapolis is massive and varied – not unlike the main cities in MMORPGs or the vibrant cities in the GTA series. It is meant to be a sandbox for the players to play within. Only the main quest locales and custom villain lair / hero stronghold are enterable – as the majority of the action will take place outside – on the streets, in the air, atop buildings and below them, in tunnels or complexes. However, even though many buildings may not have doors, they are still destructible environments, able to be toppled or used by supers upon one another like weapons.

The city is complete with the infrastructure and NPC personnel responses necessary to bring it to life – police will come when a crime is committed, the fire department will come when buildings are being set aflame or destroyed, ambulances will come to rescue the injured, and after enough carnage is wrought, special operators and military units will arrive to try to put down any threats. Defeating these NPC third parties is an important consideration of any villain plot, as well as preserving their lives, for the heroes.

~ city concept art

Character & Story: Every {Super} is first defined by their superpower {or lack thereof}, and then – by their choice of what to use it for. This is what defines the heroes and villains of Ultrapolis – what do they fight for? What do they utilize their considerable power and resources to accomplish? What kind of world are they trying to fashion in their convicted mission, with allies and organization at their back? And why?

The story of any given {Supers} world is what the players within the server will make it.


World setup – {Supers} will consist of custom servers, the player count on each server ranging from 25 to 100 players – heroes vs. villains equalized, or not, depending on the preference of the player base. Each server will drop the players into Ultrapolis, each player originating in their chosen homebase of the city, within leagues or on their own. From there, players disperse, converse and begin to plot out their course within the game. The action is 3rd person, like many MMORPGs; open-world urban cityscape, with a variety of locales within; the gameplay motion of each character is dependent upon their custom abilities and archetypes – but in general, the combat will be dynamic with a variety of melee and ranged attacks, defensive ‘spells’ and techniques, flight, superspeed and high-physics load feats of strength are all in play within the engine. Think next gen City of Heroes or DC Universe Online.

DC Universe Online gameplay


Create your hero or villain ~ The first step of entering the wild world of {Supers} is to join a server and create your character. This first choice is paramount – will you be a hero or a villain? In the world of role-play, this will determine your role – will you be a face or a heel, someone that saves people or someone that tries to use them to your own ends?

Justice League ~ art by Alex Ross
Spider-Man ~ art by Alex Ross

All heroes and villains will be original creations, with a robust character generator at the disposal of every player. Aesthetics and abilities will be up to you, among many different sliders and choices along the lines of – strength vs. speed focus, mask or no mask, physical or psychic abilities, cape or no cape, what kind of energy resource will your super utilize {stamina, mana, radioactivity}? Each choice will have consequences, boons and drawbacks.

Borrowing a bit from one of the best {and likely forgotten or unknown} superhero games of all time – Freedom Force (2002) – the common attributes to be customized for each hero will be as follows, on a scale from 1-10: ~ (from IGN – Freedom Force: Making Custom Characters)

  • Strength ~ dictates the raw physical power of a hero – boosts attacks and some movement techniques
    {references: Superman 10/10, Captain America 7/10, Batman 4/10} – *4 being the max for an unenhanced human being*
  • Speed ~ how fast your super will be able to move through the world – boosts some attacks and many movement techniques
    {ref: The Flash 10/10, Black Panther 7/10, Batman 5/10}
  • Intelligence ~ how well your super can think, reason and execute plans – boosts many abilities, accelerates interpersonnel NPC navigation through the city, unlocks the power of many technologies, and allows for a character to craft ingenious plots or initiate effective counterattacks
    {refs: Lex Luthor 10/10, Superman 8/10, Joker 9/10, Batman 9/10, Doctor Doom 9/10, Reed Richards 9/10, most others <7/10}
  • Endurance ~ how much damage your super can take before going unconscious or dying
    {refs: Hulk 10/10, Thanos 9/10, Darkseid 10/10, Green Lantern 6/10, Antman 3/10, Batman 5/10}
  • Energy ~ how much *special* energy your super holds within their form, to be used in the form of magic or technology or psychic powers, etc.
    {refs: Doctor Strange 10/10, Zatanna 9/10, Constantine 8/10, Batman 4/10}
The Freedom Force!

So, for a full example of a hero’s attribute profile –
see Batman ~
[Strength 4/10] / [Speed 5/10] / [Intelligence 9/10] / [Endurance 5/10] / [Energy 4/10]
vs. Superman ~
[Strength 10/10] / [Speed 9/10] / [Intelligence 8/10] / [Endurance 9/10] / [Energy 7/10]

The disparity between these two – one a man trained to the peak of human physical perfection, and the other a superpowered alien from another planet – sets up the significance of archetypes. In {Supers}, Batman represents a Spy archetype — one that primarily uses stealth and smarts to complete objectives – whereas Superman represents the ultimate ‘Uber‘ archetype — one that exemplifies a complete suite of superpowers. A player may make a Spy or a Uber, or one of many others – and this archetype, along with your attributes and abilities, will determine what type of role you will play within the city and among your friends and foes.

Archetypes – In {Supers}, archetypes can be considered like the ‘classes’ of most other RPGs, such as warrior, wizard, rogue, cleric, etc. However, they are just as important to one’s role-play factors as they are to their combat prowess. An archetype is the core of your character’s play type – in gameplay and conversation.

  • Spy
  • Uber
  • Caster
  • Healer
  • Speedster
  • Specialist
  • Genius
  • Wielder
  • Shapeshifter
Hulk vs. Wolverine – Strength vs. Speed – or, alternatively, Shapeshifter vs. Specialist archetypes
Spidey vs. Goblin – speed vs. technology – alternatively, Specialist vs. Wielder

A spy gathers information; an uber smashes the city and monsters; a caster wields magic or technology to cast their power into the fray; Healers heal, geniuses plan, artifact wielders use their magic artifacts, shapeshifters change and speedster… speed.

In {Supers} gameplay, each archetype will play vastly different – Spies deal in stealth, Ubers in action-adventure, Casters and Healers like mages and healers in an MMORPG, etc. Each archetype slots in as either Heroes or Villains; saliently, in combat or conversation, archetypes can be suited to deal with their own type on the other end of the conflict.

Character concept art ~

Concept: Surge – archetype: Speedster ~ runs real fast
~ art source
Concept: Puncher – archetype: Uber ~ can fly and punch
~ art source
Concept: Silverstrike – archetype: Caster ~ shoots beams of energy from her hands
~ art source
Concept: Morningstar – archetype: Healer ~ boosts allies with healing and buffs
~ art source
Concept: Templar – archetype: Specialist ~ fights with unique techniques
~ art source
Concept: Redrum – archetype: Spy ~ uses stealth to infiltrate, steal, kill
~ art source
Concept: Quadra – archetype: Wielder ~ uses a powerful magical or technological artifact to wield their powers
Concept: Cosmoc – archetype: Genius ~ plots out grand plans
Concept: Bugman – archetype: Shapeshifter ~ can change forms, large or small, to fight
~ art source

Origins & Cornerstones – Every hero and every villain has their dramatic origin; your character origin can be summoned from similarly archetypal selections {dead parents, uncle or aunt, grandparents, sibling, significant other / betrayed by your companions past / amnesiac / turned from good to evil, or vice versa, etc.} or you can draw it up from completely custom features yourself. At any rate, every character has their origins – known or unknown to the wider field of allies and enemies – and this past for your character necessarily drives their current motivations. Your past and present actions forge your “cornerstone” – the purpose of your hero or villain’s exploits in Ultrapolis.

Needless to say, this dyad of origin and cornerstone will make up the underlying weight of your role-play persona for your character within the world. So choose carefully…

Spider-Man’s origins: dead parents, dead uncle
Batman’s origins: parents murdered in front of him
Superman’s origins: parents sent him to Earth, away from the annihilation of their doomed planet

Ultrapolis, the city of Supers – The city within {Supers} is a character all its own.

  • NPC institutions of law and order aid or oppose the supers, depending on which side they fall. When villains are captured, they are auto-imprisoned for sentences requisite with their crimes – months in-game, minutes out of game.
  • NPC civilians will get in the way of all action, as potential collateral damage. They are a valuable resource for villains, as hostages; they are constant consideration for heroes, whose role relies on them saving as much as possible.
  • NPC mayor and police/fire departments can be worked with by heroes, or killed by villains
  • Building environments are fully destructible. The dollar value of damages is added to the crimes of villains and the potential charges against more vigilante heroes
  • Every Ultrapolis city instance, no matter the server will have certain constant events and content throughlines, such as sporting events, conventions, environmental disasters, zombie plagues, etc. each of which will come along randomly, interrupting villain plots and hero counterattacks.
City of Heroes – City Hall

Evil plots and Heroic counterattacks, loops of action and reaction – In {Supers}, the role of villains is more initiatory than that of the heroes – for it is the villains cooking up plots of thievery, murder and destruction that activate the heroes to oppose them. Thusly, different teams of heroes and villains will engage in attack and defense of each other’s plots and counterattacks in a continuous flow of potential content for players to engage in.

Examples of villain plots: rob the bank, raid the museum for priceless and powerful art and artifacts, inject the animals at the zoo with a feral superserum and then release them into the city, create A.I. supersoldier bots and try to take over the whole city with your army, offer to negotiate with the heroes of the city then trap them with an ambush, etc.

The villain plots will consist of player ideas and ingenuity in tandem with pre-planned {Supers} content and events – each server choosing the degree of their own participation in such things.

Villains come together and plot to bring down the heroes or take over the city {and/or betray one another along the way}…

Each starting from their respective bases of operation, villains plan while heroes monitor, and then counterattack. The major bouts PVP {player-versus-player} between heroes and villains will spell the true content of the server’s action. However, to allow for players to practice their supers’ abilities and synergies within their teams, there will also be PVE {player-versus-environment} zones within the city where such practice can be completed. Heroes can defeat NPC bank robbers; Villains can infiltrate NPC banks and perform their own minor heists.

Important early-game choices for Supers players:

  • Character appearance, attributes, archetype
  • Origin story and character cornerstone
  • Working alone or with a league of heroes/villains to start with?
  • Choice of locales to operate within and whether you will be operating in or outside of the law {even heroes are often vigilantes..}
  • Will you kill? Civilians, or your foes in heroes/villains? {NPC humans are a constant presence around the city, their lives will inevitably be on the line once Supers start smashing into each other} – Such a choice will have consequences in the city, as murderous heroes may be tempted into their own brand of villainy, or grey morality. Whereas for villains, killing will raise their sentences in prison.
  • What kind of name do you want to make for yourself in the city? Importantly, this is the most vital question for those dedicated to true role-play…
Heroes counterattack, trying to fend off their foes while simultaneously trying to develop synergies between their own complex powers…
~ art source

Role-play sandbox of epic proportions ~ The true meat of {Supers} comes in the form of role-playing. Outside of the gameplay loops of heroes vs. villains, the goals of the experience is to establish a character, fully formed, with a past and intriguing motives, and a story arc that everyone can experience unfold. Like in role-play servers such GTA NoPixel, or RPG shows such as Critical Role, the real fun does not come in winning the challenges between heroes and villains, but in creating compelling stories together.

The typical arc of {Supers} campaign is that of 1) individual acts of heroism and villainy in the disparate locales across the city, 2) heroes and villains consolidate their powers into teams and leagues and groups of morally aligned superfriends, 3) as the sides are settled into two or three major sides, Heroes and Villains start the Super War

Inspired by ~

GTA / GTA RP {NoPixel}

Grand Theft Auto – NoPixel RP server

City of Heroes

Surviving Eight” ~ The Surviving Eight are eight prominent heroes who escaped the Rikti War with their lives. They have dedicated themselves to helping Paragon City rebuild after the war devastated much of the area. They are also known as The Freedom Phalanx, they help inspire the next generation of heroes, leading by example and helping them however they can.

DC Universe Online

Endgame: {Supers} allows you to become like that of a demigod, one of the pantheon of superpowered individuals who are in constant contact for control of the city, and the world. Customize your super and become them, in form and function, power and persona. Plot world domination as a villain from your dark lair while heroes bear witness to its opening salvos within the city from their own command centers; then, along the disparate lines of heroism and villainy, unite together with your super friends and wage war in the dynamic environs of Ultrapolis.