Posted Mon, Jul 30, 2007 by Cody Bye
While attending San Diego Comic Con, we had the opportunity to sit in on the panel about Marvel’s upcoming video games. The new Iron Man and Spider-Man games were represented, and a new Marvel fighting game was announced. While all of these will be bringing great new game play and content for fans, the game that got the most attention was Marvel Universe Online. Thankfully, the Statesman himself, Jack Emmert, was on the panel to answer the bulk of questions from fans about what to expect in the upcoming Marvel world where you too can play as a super hero.
Cryptic has a vast amount of experience with super heroes due to their previous MMOG, City of Heroes / Villains.
Jack began by talking about how large the world they are trying to create will be. The focus will be on significant places in Marvel like New York and the Canadian wilderness, but will include the whole of our world. Players will also get to explore fictional locations that are specific to the Marvel universe. Jack mentioned that the world will be vast, but those two areas were specifically mentioned.
Many of the questions from fans were about the Marvel lore that players will be involved with. Jack said the team’s attitude is “mostly Marvel” and they hope to put as much of the comics into the game as they can while trying to balance everything with the current story arcs and time line. With forty years of comics to work with, there is a huge time frame for the game to take place in. Jack mentioned that players will have many options in exploring the current Marvel world as well as chances to possibly go back into Marvel’s history. To my surprise, even Secret Wars was mentioned.
One of the biggest projects that Cryptic Studios is working on is a database of information about Marvel comics. Jack mentioned he had just finished re-reading the entire run of The Fantastic Four. The main reason was to pick out every single gadget, character, NPC, weapon, and all the information possible to build this database for the game. He mentioned that almost everything you see in MUO, even if it is very unique, once appeared in a Marvel comic.
When answering questions about characters, Jack mentioned that you will be playing as a hero and fighting along side other Marvel heroes in the game. There will be heavy interaction between players and their favorite teams or super heroes, Jack even hinted that in some cases you may actually play as the unique Marvel heroes themselves. He did not go into detail on this but said the team at Cryptic is working on loads of game play options for players.
With CoX under their belts, Cryptic is set to do great things in the Marvel Universe.
Cryptic and Microsoft are concentrating on moment to moment game play. They do not want a boring grind fest MMO; they want action. Jack mentioned they want the game to play as a console game by keeping things very fast paced for the player. Along with the high level of action, they also have to keep a close eye on game balance. All MMOs suffer from very difficult balance issues and Cryptic is working hard to make sure game balance is a focused effort.
Another point that was great to hear is the Cryptic team has been included in Marvel’s writer retreats. This is when the writers of the Marvel Universe get together to discuss story lines and ideas that work within the Marvel lore and time line. With the game designers being included, it really gives them a chance to stay on par with the stories and adventures in the comics. It seems like all the teams involved are really working together to make the best game possible.
In closing, while the panel also focused on other games that Marvel was coming up with this year, the online game got the most questions. It seems like the buzz surrounding this game will continue to grow as we get closer to beta and launch. In speaking with Jack briefly before the panel, we both said we wished there was some game footage to preview. Not yet unfortunately, but stay tuned! With the response Marvel Universe Online received at the convention, I don’t think it will be long before we get to see a preview of the game. Until then, we’ll just have to enjoy the Marvel world in the other games, comics, and those huge summer movies.