In a recent interview about the upcoming Batman Arkham City video game one of the developers, Dax Ginn, said that making a Superman game would be very difficult because the character lacks the vulnerability that Batman has. I say this is bunk!
Superman just requires more creative game developers and game players that can appreciate something different. Frankly, the best time for a good Superman game would have been back in th 80’s or early 90’s when arcade-style games, focused more on getting a high score over “beating the game,” were more popular. Removing the player’s ability to “lose” and only making the penalty for bad play that they’ve wasted time or not maximized their score could encourage more unique game play. The drama of Superman isn’t that he might die (and in fact it usually feels very contrived when that is the case; how much Kryptonite is really out there?!) but that everyone around him can.
Perhaps instead of not dying or simply beating the bad guys, the player could be encouraged more by time constraints and higher success rates? Then the player wouldn’t have to suspend disbelief as to how a nameless thug with a standard hangdun and bullets managed to kill Superman. For example, the challenge would be about subduing thug fast enough (it’s not like Superman would ever choose the easy route and simply kill them all with well-placed heatvision) to save captives from a ticking bomb or sinking boat. This way the game would be both playable and true to the character.
Of course, the last time a game was made that didn’t really allow the player to die–Prince of Persia in 2008–players’ reactions were … less-than-positive.