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Sunsoft was planning to make a Superman game for early in the life of the SNES. A short demo was dumped in early 2019. Ultimately, this game was cancelled.

Thanks to Nostalgia Alley for making this available, and The Video Game History Foundation for dumping this!

By: Evan G
Last updated: April 21, 2019

Sunsoft and the Superman license has a complicated history. An NES game was in the works, but was changed to "Sunman", for unknown reasons when development was close to completion. That game never made it out. There is a Genesis version of this game, which came out in 1992. By comparison of the graphics, I would not be surprised if Sunsoft intended to simply port the Genesis version to the SNES, although the screenshot in the preview below doesn't appear to correspond to any place in the Genesis version. The SNES was finally graced with a Superman title with the release of The Death and Return of Superman. Perhaps the SNES game was cancelled because it would have come too close to the release of that game. Another possibility is that the SNES version of Superman eventually became The Death and Return of Superman, but that would be pure speculation (it came out in mid-1994).

The prototype

A simple demo of Superman was discovered in 2019. It is completely unplayable, and shows Superman flying through an alien landscape. I do not think this kind of scenery exists in the Genesis version. The Superman sprite graphics are similar, but not the same, as the Genesis version. Considering how early this is (possibly over a year before it was cancelled), it is hard to make conclusions of what this game would have looked like in the end.

Copyright screenSuperman flying

The prototype board has 5/25 written on the label, or May 25. The 1992 Summer CES was held on May 28-31, so I would assume this was used for demonstration purposes at that event. Nintendo Power made a mention of it in their coverage of the event. Here is a video of the demo in its entirety:

Prototype Board, Courtesy of Nostalgia Alley.

Press coverage

The first mention of this game was that it was shown at the 1992 Summer CES. Nintendo Power indicated that it was planned to be released by the end of 1992. The December 1992 issue of Nintendo Power mentions that it would be out in 1993. In the March 1993 issue of Nintendo Power, there is a short preview, and suggested it would be out in spring 1993.

Preview in the March 1993 issue of Nintendo Power (courtesy of Retromags).

Finally, the May 1993 issue of Nintendo Power states that the game was delayed until the end of the year. Obviously there were problems with the development of this game.

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  • Nintendo Power, Summer CES '92 (shown at CES), Publication date: August 1992, Volume: 39, Pages: 59
  • Nintendo Power, Pak Watch - Gossip Galore, Publication date: December 1992, Volume: 43, Pages: 110
  • Nintendo Power, Pak Watch, Publication date: March 1993, Volume: 46, Pages: 113
  • Nintendo Power, Pak Watch, Publication date: May 1993, Volume: 48, Pages: 111
  • Wikipedia page for the Genesis version of the game (link)

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