SDCC 09: Different Facets/Same Jewel: Fraction & Iron Man 2

Trailer: Iron Man 2 - Video Game

Part of the reason that Comic-Con International: San Diego has grown over the past 40 years is how different media and their creators have become intertwined.  To that end, Invincible Iron Man scribe Matt Fraction was tapped to bring his writing talents to the upcoming Iron Man 2 video game.  Newarama caught up with him at the Marvel Booth on Friday.

Newsarama:  How did you get involved with the Iron Man 2 game?

Matt Fraction: The guys at Sega are fans of my book, and I did some consulting stuff for the movie, the sequel to the film and they wanted to put it together and asked if I could try it.  I had never written a game and wanted to give it a shot, so I took the opportunity.

NRAMA: How does the game relate to the Iron Man 2 movie?

FRACTION:  It’s not an adaptation of the movie, it’s a parallel narrative, a sister story.  Like the comics, it should feel like the same world, but it's different tales.

NRAMA:  So is it what’s happening between the scenes?

FRACTION:  No, it’s time agnostic, there’s no unified continuity.  We don’t want to give gamers a substandard adaptation of what going to be the biggest movie of the summer, rather different facets of the same jewel.

NRAMA:  Can you reveal any new characters in the game?

FRACTION:  Crimson Dynamo is the only one we can talk about right now.

NRAMA:  Will there be anything in the game that fans of your book will be able to recognize?

FRACTION:  The tone.  I hope it sounds right, I hope it feels right, I hope it vibrates the way the Iron Man book vibrates.  I hope the characters sound like the characters you know and love I hope it all feels coherent and of one piece.  I hope you recognize the tone.

NRAMA:  Did you get to put words in the mouth of Robert Downey Jr and the other actors?  What was that like?

FRACTION:  I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Sega!  I pretended I was.  It was "dress for the job you want to have" you know what I mean?  Write for the people you want to have read it.  I did my best to write "sky high."

NRAMA:  You consider yourself a gamer?

FRACTION: Ablosutly, I’m not a good gamer, but a big gamer.

NRAMA: Favorite titles?

FRACTION: I’m so excited for Beatles: Rock Band I can’t put it into words, being both a gamer and a Beatlemaniac.  I’m into Call of Duty: World At War, trying to stem the tide of Japanese swamp zombies, Rock Band, Shadow of the Colossus, I’m all over the place.

NRAMA:  Easier or harder to write for games verses comics?

FRACTION: It’s different, a different animal.  You have to kind of work along side the development team there are components of the game that had already been created or in production, so it was a little like algebra.  There wasn’t a straight a, b, c, d, e, f, g, that comics tend to be, this was much more about taking elements that we already have and incorporating them into the story.

NRAMA:  Did you ever write anything that had the programmers come back and say ‘we can’t do that!”?

FRACTION: I proposed a few things, that having never worked in the development process before I didn’t understand wouldn’t work. I wanted to do an ‘in the helmet’ level where you see what Tony sees, and a first-person level, that we couldn’t do because that wasn’t the game the development team had set up.

NRAMA: How long was the writing process?

FRACTION:  It’s ongoing, the lion’s share has been done, but there is still going to be dialog polish before the final read out.

NRAMA: In that case when did the writing start?

FRACTION:  Early Spring, February/march.

NRAMA:  Any special challenges that you came across?

FRACTION:  I’ve been writing the book long enough that I felt proprietary towards the characters so I was pretty convinced I could get them sounding right.  That was sort of the easiest part.  Learning how the development process works, a game is a different anomaly from a comic where I can put what I like in the order I like.  I just wanted to contribute to the kind of game I wanted to play and what would keep me from wanting to skip a cutscene, or immediately regret spending money on.

NRAMA: Movie games have a bit of a reputation, was there something you wanted to do or not do to keep it from falling into this trap?

FRACTION: I wanted it to sound right, that it sounds like the characters in the book I write and the movie I love.  Not feel like a cranked out movie tie in, but like a real game.

Iron Man 2: The Game is currently due out for all major consoles April, 2010. The Movie is due May, 2010

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