At Comic-Con international in San Diego, Marvel previewed its upcoming releases from video game publishers Activision, THQ, and Sega. The panelists included Matt Fraction, Matt Hoffmeier, Evan Skolnick, T.Q. Jefferson, Dan Tanguay, Lenny Brown, and Kyle Brink. Marvel Games’ Chris Baker moderated the panel.
The panel opened with Director of Games T.Q. Jefferson’s overview of Marvel Games’ objectives and approach to developing video games, stressing the importance of respecting the Marvel characters, the development process, and the artform itself.
After presenting a trailer for “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2,” Chris Baker asked writer Evan Skolnick and Project Lead Dan Tanguay from Vicarious Visions what they were doing to make “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” better that the original. Tanguay answered that they were taking the franchise in a new direction, but keeping the elements from the original game that fans loved, and adding new features such as “fusion,” the ability to combine two powers. Tanguay also noted that the storyline of “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” is based on the “Civil War” comic storyline from Marvel. Skolnick also noted the influence on the game’s storyline by the recent “Secret War” comic, and that they had to take narrative liberties so players wouldn’t be too limited by choosing sides during the “Civil War” portions of the game. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” is set to release on September 15.
Next, the panel introduced the “Super Hero Squad,” which features a four-person battle mode. Writer Matt Hoffmeier described the game as “the lost episode of the series.” When asked if the story influenced gameplay, Hoffmeier answered that the game and the cartoon influenced each other.
The panel then showed the audience a trailer for “Iron Man 2,” developed by SEGA Studios San Francisco, which features an original story set in the “Iron Man” movie universe. The game is set to release in April of 2010.
After the trailer, Creative Director Kyle Brink pointed out that they incorporated a lot of player feedback from the first “Iron Man” game.
Baker asked “Iron Man 2” Co-Writer Matt Fraction about the differences in story between the film and the game, and Fraction answered that they were “parallel narrative streams but the character is the same.” Fraction also noted that co-writers Michael Kirkbride and Kyle Frank handled most of the “house-building” and it was Fraction’s job to “say what the rooms looked like.”
Baker then announced that “Marvel v. Capcom 2” will available to play on X-Box Live arcade July 29th, and will be available on Sony Playstation Network on August 13. He also noted that a Super Hero Squad MMORPG and a Marvel Universe MMORPG were in development.
Next, Mark Valledor from Sony shared costume concepts for Iron Man, Wolverine, and Captain America for the Sony Playstation 3 game “LittleBigPlanet.”
The panel then opened for questions, and a fan asked why Jean Grey was alive in “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” after she died in the first game. Tanguay answered that her rebirth involved the components of the M’Krann crystal.
Another fan asked if future “Ultimate Alliance” games would involve space, and Jefferson answered that it depends on the characters that they use in the game.
When asked about downloadable content for “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2,” Jefferson answered, “We have plans.”
A fan asked if there would be another “X-Men legends” game, and Jefferson replied, “it depends on demand.”
When asked if the Marvel character War Machine would feature in “Iron Man 2,” Brink replied, “We can’t talk about that.”
A fan asked why Crimson Dynamo was chosen over Whiplash for “Iron Man 2,” and Fraction explained that it was “Easier than contradicting the movie.”
When asked about player rewards for “Iron Man 2,” Brink answered that there were several unlockable armors.
Another fan asked if playing the campaign mode in “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2” meant that players were limited to playing on one side of the “Civil War,” and Tanguay explained that players do not have to choose a side until the point in the game when they are required to register their super-powers. Tanguay also noted that the Alliance eventually reunifies.
A fan asked if Captain America dies in “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2,” or if Spider-Man switches sides, and Skolnick replied that Spider-Man does not defect, and that the end of the game’s storyline goes off in a surprising direction.
Finally, a fan asked if Nick Fury dies in “Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2,” and Skolnick answered, “You have to play the game to find out.”