Justin Lambros, Vice President of Interactive Marvel Studios, headed up the panel featuring the game creators behind “Iron Man” (Jeff Tseng), “Marvel Universe Online” (Jack Emmert), “Spider-Man:Friend or Foe” (Rob Kostich), and an un-named, just announced Marvel Comics fighting game (Kudo Tsunada) as they all spoke candidly about the graphics, game play, and mechanics of their upcoming games.
Justin started by asking each of the guests to give some information about their individual games. Jeff set off by saying how perfect the character of Iron Man is for an action-packed video game as the hero can fly, shoot lasers, explode things, everything a good action game should have.
Jack began by letting the audience know he cannot say anything about the release date and price. He then went on to say the Marvel Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) is unique from others like it in that it has a whole geography taken from the comics ripe for exploring. They can also update the game to fit current continuity as well as have the occasional time travel mission allowing the player to take part in pivotal moments in Marvel history.
The new Spider-Man game will incorporate aspects and characters from all three Marvel films as well as allow the player to team up with various heroes to save the day. Rob added that Spidey will be able to team up with any villain once he defeats him in the game allowing for odd partnerships and power combinations. And for the first time in video games, Spider-Man will get out of New York and go on a worldwide adventure thanks to the help of Nick Fury and his helicarrier.
Kudo started by saying previous fighting games never captured the spirit or power of a true comic battle and that usually it’s a previously released fighting game with super heroes ‘painted on.’ It will not be an arena based fighting game, giving the player an opportunity to have a knock down, drag out fight covering blocks of New York instead of a tiny fighting ring. He also added with a chuckle that there won’t be any EA created ‘fake’ heroes like there was in the previous EA game, “The Imperfects.”
Questions were then given by audience members with many asking Jack about more details on “Marvel Universe Online.” One answer revealed that while you create a hero at the start like most MMORPGs, there will still be all the classic Marvel characters to interact with, and possibly even the chance to play as a few at one point in the game. He answered a question about ‘powers’ by saying he can’t reveal any specifics, but that the game will be the first Action MMORPG, a major shift from Jack’s previous hit “City of Heroes.”
Jeff was hesitant to answer a question about what armors will be seen in the game for fear of spoiling the upcoming “Iron Man” movie, but he did say all versions from the movie will be available as well as a few ‘blasts from the pasts.’
Asked how many playable characters will be in “Spider-Man: Friend or Foe,” Rob could only say that it will be upwards of 10 and there will be player versus player (PvP) available.
Kudo was asked how he can balance a game when there’s so many characters of varying powers and ability, using Deadpool vs. Thor as an example. He replied by stating he considers it more as something to capitalize on than something to worry about. He looks forward to tackling this obstacle as he plans for each character to have unique and worthwhile abilities that make them useful in any fight. The game is still early in development, so all that is known about the number of characters is that it will be more than 2, but less than 50.
Jack informed one fan that although the game is still far from completion, “Marvel Universe Online” will have PvP and the obligatory super hero team up.
A fan had a question for the whole panel asking how big each of their games’ worlds are. Jeff answered first by saying the “Iron Man” game will have massive levels for each mission with ‘miles’ for Iron Man to fly around in. As mentioned above, Spider-Man will be going all over the world thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D. Kudo reiterated that he wants a large super hero landscape for the heroes to battle in, since they’ll need a lot of room to jump and fly around. And the Marvel MMORPG will go all over the world, but primarily focus on the fictional Marvel locales.
Another question was directed towards Jack with the fan wondering how the game physics will work compared to previous MMORPGs. It’s still too early to say, but the “City of Heroes” engine is being completely updated, but it’s likely there will be destructible environments.
The art style for the just released Marvel fighting game will not be based on the typical next-gen, photorealistic graphics. Kudo finds it funny that so many games are focusing on photo-realism, he wants the Marvel game to be it’s own style with a cross between comic book style art and and realistic graphics. No cel shading was specifically mentioned though.
The show ended with Kudo saying he wants the huge, destructive environments to be fully interactive with players. Broken pipes, pieces of debris, various things, should all be available to the hero, especially the ability to know a player through a wall causing the roof to collapse on top. He quickly added before time was though that ‘normal life’ will go on around the fighting with innocent bystanders and vehicles moving about the screen.