By Gregg Sanderson
On the heels of recent releases Spider-Man: Edge of Time, X-Men: Destiny, and Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet for Nintendo 3DS, Marvel Entertainment has a slew of upcoming games cutting across a wide range of Marvel characters, not to mention game platforms and genres. Javon Frazier, Marketing Director for Marvel Games, along with Chris Baker, Manager of Licensed Games at Marvel Studios, led a panel of developers at New York Comic Con to discuss each one. The big surprise? Announcing the upcoming movie tie-in game The Amazing Spider-Man, complete with a world premiere video!
Jay Minh, David Brevik, Seth Killian, Gerard Lehiany and Doug Heder
Before the panel discussion began, the recent releases were given a quick spotlight, showing trailers and behind the scenes videos for Edge of Time, Destiny, and Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos has never looked more adorable.
Frazier then went down the line, asking each developer to tell everybody “What makes your game so cool?” THQ Executive Producer Peter Armstrong showed off Super Hero Squad: Comic Combat and its ability to use THQ's uDraw peripheral. The uDraw tablet is the unique gameplay hook for the title – you draw directly to the game world and control your super squad in a very Real Time Strategy way. The game sticks to its “Comic” title, with heroes and villains alike breaking the “fourth wall” and peering into the player's universe! Cult-favorite Squirrel Girl is in the game too, her trailer video drawing cheers and big laughs from the crowd.
Peter Armstrong and Neil Sorens at New York Comic Con
Zen Studio's Neil Sorens walked us through Marvel Pinball, looking to “bring pinball back.” The Marvel version of the arcade classic is available on a ton of systems, including Android and Tablets, which seems like a great fit. The console versions rate in the 80s on Metacritic, and the tables look really slick. Sorens showed off two of the new “Vengeance” and “Virtue” tables, a sweet looking Ghost Rider Vengeance table and on the side of Virtue an X-Men table at last!
Next up was Super Hero Squad Online, which Jay Minh from Gazillion told us has ballooned up to 60 playable characters! This includes the Miles Morales version of Spidey, and soon to join the Squad are Blade, Doc Strange, Firestar, Nova, and Sentry. Minh showed off some Halloween-themed content (throw a Halloween party!) in a trailer video, including some costumes they'll make available.
Having the title of ex-President of Blizzard and helping create Diablo under his belt, Gazillion President and COO David Brevik brings a world of credibility to delivering Marvel Universe MMO. That'll come in handy, as the last attempt at a Marvel MMO was scrapped, while SOE and DC have gone through their own ups and downs with DCUO. Marvel Universe is in the early stages of production, so Brevick was light on details, but we were shown 3D models of Wolverine, Deadpool, and Cable. Brian Michael Bendis will write the game, although Brevik was mum on which Marvel storylines they might pull from. MTV Geek confirmed with Brevik that Marvel Universe is “designed to be Free to Play from the beginning,” and learned that Gazillion is progressing towards an Alpha version. Gazillion hopes to make announcements soon on that, and also the tricks they have up their sleeve for dealing with that pesky “What do you do about 50 Wolverines on the same server?” design challenge. It's an MMO. Patience and cautious optimism are your friends. (We can't wait either!)
Activision's Seth Killian walked us through what's new and improved in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (check out MTV Geek's full NYCC coverage of UMVC3 here), the expansion title follow-up to the super-popular MC3. What makes this ultimate? “We went back to the drawing boards, worked on all the characters,” said Killian. They've added 12 new characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes. The two most recently announced are Nova and Phoenix Wright, and we watched each one's trailer. Nova can redirect damage to powering up super moves and Phoenix Wright can prosecute his opponent. Galactus is an insane, ridiculous, amazing PLAYABLE character in Arcade Mode. They've also added a Spectator Mode to help add more trash talking to your life.
Marvel made sure to save the biggest for last, as the Beenbox/Activision duo of Gerard Lehiany and Doug Heder to a world premiere of the first trailer video for The Amazing Spider-Man! The video was all real-deal gameplay and while it started off looking just a bit, ahem, Mirror's Edge-y, as Spidey swung, glided, and spun through and across the Manhattan skyline during daytime and at night, the grace and wonder of fun-factor of web swinging really came across. Beenox promises all new technology has been developed to “bring the city back into a Spider-Man game.” (Um, yes please!) The video also sported some serious attention to detail in the game, from the view above the Brooklyn Bridge, down to the soles of Spidey's costumed feet. The game will expand on the movie universe and will not re-tell the movie's story. No villains were announced yet (Spidey faces off against a giant mechanical spider thing in the trailer). Lehiany was very excited about their top-secret “immersion” gameplay feature they have planned to make you really feel like you're Spider-Man. All in all an encouraging debut presentation for a game you can grab in Summer 2012.
The audience Q&A featured a surprise guest-star as Spider-Man comics writer Dan Slott took the mic! Dan asked if there would be any alternate Spider-Man costumes the game (A: TBD). Dan also requested a Murderworld table for Marvel Pinball, which is a total no-brainer, isn't it? Finally, as part of a response ton one question, Javon Frazier made sure to let us know that Marvel has the Avengers game license back and will make some further announcements soon (movie game?), an intriguing tease that ended the panel.