On a recent earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav waxed lyrical about the ongoing success of Hogwarts Legacy, before going on to discuss this in the context of James Gunn's upcoming Superman film. The movie, Superman Legacy, has rather brutally dumped everyone's favourite super-geek Henry Cavill and is intended as a reboot of the character.
The point Zaslav's making is that games are now as big if not bigger than the more traditional movie avenues for the likes of Harry Potter. "The real differentiator for us as a company is that we own our IP," said Zaslav (thanks, Tweaktown). "We may be the only media company that owns, whether it be the DC universe, Harry Potter, all the content that we own, Game of Thrones, that's for us to deploy. I think that's particularly important strategically."
Zaslav went on to outline just what a success the game has been: "Hogwarts Legacy has amassed more than $1 billion in retail sales and over 15 million units sold worldwide to date, and today the team is launching the game on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms."
There's then a great moment as a company executive attempts to explain why something like Hogwarts Legacy appeals to players. "If you look at Hogwarts Legacy, a big piece of the success of that game is that you go into it," said Zaslav. "If you're a player, you go into that game and you're in that world. That's kind of a new concept. Before it was gaming and it was storytelling, and now… it's very difficult to understand what the definition of the metaverse is."
Well he got that right. Zaslav then went on to put Hogwarts Legacy in the context of the other big names that Warner Bros. owns and, while he didn't explicitly say 'we are going to make an open-world Superman game', see what you make of this.
"When we launch a product on Max or HBO, and when we have a game, that game belongs to us, but now there's this in-betweener," said Zaslav. "It may be in the next couple of years that we launch a Superman movie and… people spend more time and there's more economics of people just hanging out in the Superman world and universe."
There's little information on Superman Legacy beyond the projected 2025 release date, though many seem to think it's going to be some sort of riff on the (excellent) All-Star Superman comics. There have been unofficial Superman games over recent times, as well as an eye-catching demo that put a Superman-like character in the Unreal Engine 5's Matrix showcase, but it's fair to say that the Man of Steel has never really been done justice in games. The prospect of an open world with Superman in it is mouth-watering (an open planet?!?) but, as anyone who's played EA's Superman Returns will tell you, a great concept does not always a great game make.
"The fact that we own all of that is something that I think is going to be really important as we look forward," Zaslav ended. "As technology develops, and given the amount of time that people spend on gaming, we don't want to be in the motion picture and longform storytelling business and have somebody else in the business of hanging out in those worlds. Those worlds are going to be quite profitable in the years ahead."
Hey, Zaslav: give me an open world Superman that even gets close to the quality level of an Arkham game, and you can take my money.