Scribblenauts is the little game that could. Developer 5th Cell has spent much of the past decade trying to re-imagine the platformer, and while other auteurs like Adam Saltsman modified the decades old Mario formula by forcing your character to run, run, and run some more, 5th Cell have taken a more subtle approach. The run, jump, and explore game doesn’t have to be about how you move, but how you explore the world. They toyed with these ideas in the Nintendo DS’ Drawn to Life, but really broke out with Scribblenauts. After 2012’s Scribblenauts Unlimited though, it seemed like there was nowhere else to go with its whatever-you-imagine approach to design. Now it seems that 5th Cell’s answer to series stagnation is a heaping spoonful of superheroes.
Sources speaking with IGN’s Mitch Dyer have said that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and 5th Cell are hard at work on a game named Scribblenauts Unmasked, a superhero spin on the conjuring tricks in the old Scribblenauts games. Series hero Maxwell would don his funny little rooster hat and magic pencil to help the superheroes of the DC Universe like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
At least, that was the plan. Sources say that the PC, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS game is undergoing a major overhaul ahead of its E3 2013 reveal. Not only is the title no longer a guarantee, but the game may not even star Maxwell when it’s ultimately released.
Borrowing from the more linear, narrative-style structure of Scribblenauts Unlimited, Unmasked would bring you to familiar DC locales like Aquaman’s Atlantis and Batman’s Wayne Manor. Obstacles are vintage Scribblenauts, though. When Killer Croc bars your way for example, tempting him with food won’t be enough to move him, but food layered with dynamite certainly will.
Warner Bros. Interactive has been increasing its output of games starring the DC heroes in recent years, raking in sales thanks to the popularity of games like Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Batman: Arkham City. It’s already proven this year that it’s happy to let signature development partners play with those characters. Look no farther than NetherRealm’s Injustice: Gods Among Us for proof. With Traveller’s Tales working on Lego Marvel Super Heroes in 2013 rather than a new Lego Batman, it makes sense that Warner Bros.’ would turn to Scribblenauts to find an all-ages outlet for its comic book properties.