The correlation between the world of comic books and video games is a lot tighter than many people may realize. While one can certainly feed the other as far as basic concepts go, there are also similarities in design elements, the importance of story and the balance between plot and action that makes one immersive and the other a page-turner.
Of course comic books have been getting a lot more attention over the past 8 years – Marvel Comics’ characters in particular – ever since Sam Raimi’s take on Spider-Man hit the big screen and took the four-color intellectual property into the glitz of viable film franchises. Video games had no choice but to keep pace, resulting in a number of game releases that have run the gamut from doing justice to the franchise to being obvious mercenary attempts to capitalize on current popular trends for that particular character.
Marvel and THQ recently teamed up, along with developer Griptonite, to launch “Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet.” The game hit retailers a few weeks back, and CBR was spoke with Jason Gholston over at Griptonite about the project.
CBR News: When creating a game based off a license such as the Marvel Universe, what do you initially think are the biggest challenges going into the project and then what were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome during the course of the production cycle?
Jason Gholston: People love Marvel and when you’re working in the Marvel Universe, you want to do right by the fans. It’s a challenge to have fun with the characters and the worlds they inhabit and keep the fans on your side.
“Super Hero Squad” is a great universe where you can do almost anything! Finding ways to really maximize that potential was the biggest hurdle.
The game keeps the mood light in both the graphics and game tempo. Why did you choose this style to build a game around?
“Super Hero Squad” doesn’t take itself too seriously and we wanted to be true to the spirit of the show. But it was important to us that the story has real heart and dark moments that really test the Squad.
Ultimately “The Super Hero Squad” is about the laughs and keeping the tempo snappy by mixing up the game play styles helps to keep it funny.
Are you a fan of Marvel’s comic books? When did you first start to read them and who has been your favorite character? What storyline intrigued you the most?
The whole team loves Marvel, and we started young. We’re big fans of the marquee heroes but we have a special place in our hearts for Squirrel Girl. Some of our favorite storylines; “The Runaways,” Dan Slott’s “She Hulk” and the classic “Dark Phoenix Saga.” When we heard we were going to be working on The Infinity Gauntlet, we were excited, honored, and humbled.
What elements do you bring into the game that you feel might be surprising to players, or at least be unique to this game?
The cast of heroes and villains is large. Fans may be surprised to see Nova, Annihilus, Nebula, Nightmare and Grandmaster amongst others in the game. There are six unique challenge modes that support up to four players with over 30 maps giving the player a huge amount of content.
Being a Super Hero Squad game gives it an attitude that is pretty unique and really helps the game standout amongst the deadly serious comic book based games out there.
What elements do you feel will resonate the strongest with players?
“Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet” has a great co-op experience. Older comic book fans are going to have fun playing with their little brother or their own kids. We wanted this to be an experience that encourages teamwork as well as a bit of friendly competition. Fans of the Infinity Gauntlet and the Super Hero Squad are going to enjoy the story and the journey it takes them on.
What provided the most enjoyment for you during the creation of this game?
Making this game was fun. Our brainstorming meetings were always a blast – it was great to see everyone topping each other’s gags and really stretching to come up with something special. The voiceover sessions were amazing and a game couldn’t dream of having a better cast. George Takei, Mark Hamill, Jane Lynch, John O’Hurley, Tom Kenny, Charles Adler, Jim Cummings, Tara Strong, Steve Blum and the rest of guys just nailed it.
Do you view this game as a stepping stone to other Marvel-based titles? What would you like to see come along next?
The game was built to be accessible to comic fans of all ages. If they are a fan of this game, it’s safe to say they would like the other Marvel games as well. The Marvel Super Hero Squad universe is big with an unfathomable number of possible stories that games could be built upon. It’s exciting to think of all the things that could be done.