In MultiVersus, the Smash Bros-like platform fighter with a roster of classic Warner Bros. characters, the Iron Giant is not the gentle-hearted pacifist of the 1999 film. He’s a combatant right alongside Superman and can, presumably, violently toss his enemies off the stage into oblivion. Although his moveset hasn’t been revealed yet, his inclusion in a game about cartoon characters murdering each other has sparked some criticism over the game’s latest trailer.
People are understandably skeptical about the Iron Giant’s place in a fighting game, especially after he uncharacteristically bashed apart Mechagodzilla in the 2018 Ready Player One film. When I asked game director Tony Huynh about this, he gave me the sort of loose explanation you’d expect for a videogame where Warner Bros. characters inexplicably battle each other on colorful deathmatch arenas:
“So, first of all, we’re starting with this being an alternate universe. Characters are pulled in from all over. And also if you understand the Iron Giant lore, there are multiple Iron Giants. And it’s an assembly line of different Iron Giants. So that being said, the backstory on the website is that Iron Giant is learning from Superman, who is his idol. And Superman uses his powers to protect people. And our game is inherently focused on co-op and protecting your ally.”
For what it’s worth, the alpha build I played this week didn’t include a playable version of the Iron Giant, so it’s still unclear how he’ll actually fight. The game, in my experience, does focus on team-driven play and there are support characters like Reindog that aren’t constantly trying to pummel their opponents. Tom and Jerry, a two-in-one character, even has an animation where Tom throws a fist toward Jerry (who naturally ducks out of the way) to create an extremely clever punch attack. It plays off of their rivalry in the cartoon and the characters themselves, rather than promoting the idea that Tom wants to sock Wonder Woman in the nose.
It’s entirely possible that the Iron Giant will focus on protecting his allies in the tank role, but it seems unlikely that he won’t be able to kick ass just like his idol Superman.
“We want to take these types of criticisms into account,” Huynh added. “So if that doesn’t satisfy, we’d like to hear it, but I think a lot of the game mechanics and the character haven’t been revealed yet, either. So that might help as well.”
MultiVersus is in a closed alpha right now, which you can sign up for before it ends on May 27. The open beta is expected to come out in July. Maybe then we’ll be able to find out if the Iron Giant has had a change of heart in the last 23 years.