Given how many people flock to San Diego every year to attend Comic-Con International, it’s nice to occasionally get quality one-on-one time with one of the multitude of creative talents appearing at the show. Comic Book Resources got just such a thing on Saturday afternoon at the show with TT Games’ Arthur Parsons, who serves as Game Director on the upcoming “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers”.
The latest LEGO adventure is far from the first for TT Games; the video game developer has produced brick-based adaptations of a number of big deal franchises, including Star Wars, Batman, “Jurassic World,”, Marvel and many more. Now they’re adapting the feature films “Marvel’s the Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to their LEGO format for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC. But in talking to Game Director Arthur Parsons about all the fun new stuff they’re adding to this game, we realized — with all due respect — that it wasn’t Parsons or even Captain America, Thor, or Black Widow that we wanted one-on-one time with. Rather, it was a certain writer with an iron-clad contract — Stan Lee.
CBR News: “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers” is based on the two “Avengers” movies. But there are a lot of story elements in those films that come from other Marvel movies. Does “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers” just cover the two “Avengers” movies, or do you also play parts from those other films?
Arthur Parsons: It’s somewhere between the two. It’s not like in the old games where you’d play “Avengers” and then play “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” That wouldn’t work because of the time lapse in between. So what we’ve done is stitch them together. Our opening level is the beginning of “Ultron,” where they’re attacking von Strucker’s castle, but when Tony grabs Loki’s staff, it segues to the scene from “Avengers” when Loki got the staff, and you then play through the rest of “Avengers.”
Will there be parts based on the other movies, like “Iron Man 3” or “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” that play into what happened in the “Avengers” films?
Well, we haven’t talked about that yet, but their could be some cool stuff.
There are multiple teams at TT Games making “LEGO” games, and while the most recent one was “LEGO Jurassic World,” your team’s last game was “LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.” Compared to that game, what new gameplay mechanics have you added to “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers”?
Quite a lot, really. I really wanted to revisit the combat. I thought that was an area we could improve. In previous games, your cool special moves were triggered automatically, but now the player controls when they do those moves.
Also, The Avengers are all about teaming-up, so we’ve built in a system called “Avengers Initiative Moves” where you can team up and pull off cool moves.
Was this inspired by the scene in the first movie where Captain America gives Black Widow a jump onto a Chitauri chariot?
That and the other scenes where they work together. Like that one in “Ultron” when Black Widow is on the motorcycle and she throws Captain America his shield.
Of all the main characters you play as, who was the hardest to turn into a LEGO character?
I don’t know, our art guys kind of nail it every time. Maybe the Hulkbuster because there’s a lot of parts. It’s probably the most complex.
And which character was the hardest to make work in the game?
That would be Hulk. Not only do we have to make [the Hulk] fit everywhere, he’s the biggest figure, but you also want him to cause all this destruction. But we not only did it, but we actually made him even better in this game than he was in “LEGO Marvel Superheroes.” He’s a lot more dynamic and acrobatic and destructive.
Any fun characters in the game that are not from the two movies?
Well, Stan Lee was in “LEGO Marvel Superheroes,” and he had a whole bunch of super powers. This time, though, because it’s about the Avengers, he’s going to be able to suit up as Iron Stan. He has his own armor, complete with a mustache on his helmet. He can also call in the Stanbuster, which has a lamp and a giant pencil missile, and when it opens up, it has a typewriter so Stan can do a bit of writing.
The game will also have over a hundred characters that have never been in our games before. We recently announced Wiccan, America Chavez, Detroit Steel, the Sam Wilson Captain America, and Jane Foster Thor. There’s a load of cool stuff. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
My understanding is that for the dialogue you used the actual audio files from the films as opposed to using a new recording with the cast or voice actors.
Right. Because this game is kind of a parody, it makes sense. Like there’s a scene in “Avengers” during the New York battle where Cap says, “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” Well, we have a little guy running by with a barrel full of fish, and having the real dialog just makes it funnier.
But we’re also going to be recording new dialogue with some cool people, like Stan Lee. For instance, in the scene from “Avengers” when Loki is in Germany and makes everyone kneel but that one old man stands up, in our game it’s Stan Lee instead, and he’s like, “But I’m Stan Lee!”
Finally, in keeping with the tradition of the Marvel movies, is there a scene after the credits of “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers” that hints at what the next “LEGO Marvel” game will be?
Yeah, this is something that my team likes to do. We had a little silhouette of the Avengers at the end of “LEGO Batman 3,” except when you turn on the lights it was The Justice League. So yeah, if people pay attention, they’ll know what’s coming next.
“LEGO Marvel’s Avengers” will be released on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and PC later this year.
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