NYCC '09 - The Marvel/ Activision Panel

The forces of comic books and video games collided once again at the New York Comic Con on Sunday. This time the team-up was between Marvel Comics and Activision, a team that has come together several times before, with quite successful results. The eagerly anticipated games being showed off included the movie-based X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the gigantic Marvel Universe action RPG, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.

Ricardo Torres, E-i-C of Gamespot led the panel, with three representatives from Activision on the dais.

A trailer for the Civil War inspired MUA2 was shown to kick things off, with several scenes from straight out of the comics shown in animated form. The usual suspects of characters were shown, with all characters on display being ones from the first game. It then said Fall 2009 for release.

Evan Skolnick is the lead writer on MUA2. He is a former Marvel editor now working for Vicarious Visions. After his introduction, we were told that we wouldn’t get any new roster members at this panel.

Torres had some questions from the game’s forums, and the first was about the character selection process. Skolnick said a combination of forum requests, story, meaning characters necessary to this comic adaptation, and who is going to be fun to play as.

The story being based directly on a comic storyline this time allowed them to choose key moments, and they really liked being able to have people choose a specific side in the game. Some things will be done differently for the game, though. For example, in the comic, Captain America winds up giving up, and the “give up” button was pretty boring.

Very destructible environments are back and better than ever, now powered by the HAVOK physics engine.

A huge cast is a difficult proposition for this style of game, and many variations have to be written to cover all possibilities. Skolnick said, “We have to write 60 or more lines” for a conversation that only lasts a couple seconds.

Dan Vondrak and Mike Gummult from Raven Software were up next to talk about Wolverine. Raven actually started developing a Wolverine game on their own based solely on the rumor that Activision might want to do one based on the feral character. They had already decided on several of the core elements of the game when Fox got involved and made it the movie game. Vondrak then launched into the Cinematic that opens the game, showing a dystopian future and a vicious killing spree. This is a Wolverine game that rivals the most violent games out today. His claws are used to kill people, and man oh man does he do that here. Much more on that to come in our hands on report of the game later this week, but suffice to say it looks absolutely amazing, with beautiful real-time regeneration, and attacks that sever limbs, heads, and slice bodies in half.

After the footage was shown, the audience clapped enthusiastically, and Gummult started talking about the combat system. The big goal was to make Wolverine’s claws do what they should really do if they were acting in motion as they do in the comic. There are a wide assortment of combos and moves to allow you to play the game the way you want to. The berserker rage famous in the Hellfire Club scene in the comics is the style of play Raven was really trying for. Next they showed another clip taking place in a spill way under Weapon X, and showed Wolverine in his classic blue and yellow threads. They showed off some power moves and some more unique kills. One more showed a helicopter fight sequence from the movie, including Wolverine using helicopter blades to decapitate an enemy.

You gain experience for every kill in the game, and can expand and customize Wolverine as you go through the game.

The panel then moved to Q&A.

A fan who loved Ultimate Alliance wants to know about what platforms the second will be available for, but they couldn’t talk about that yet.

Wolverine will be on the Wii, but it will be a different game than appears on 360, PS3, and PC.

The teaser at the end of MUA featuring Galactus may still get picked up in a sequel in the future.

The fusion system adds uniqueness to characters with similar powers like Thor and Storm in MUA2

Very large scale boss battles are promised for Wolvie, and Newsarama has the exclusive first playthrough of one of those in our hands-on this week.

Air combos , ground combos, throws, juggling are all in the single player game.

After a warning that he’d get a question about Deadpool, Vondrakk got a question about the Merc being one of the bosses. “He’s on the helicopter in the opening, and that’s all I’ll say.”

No DLC is announced yet for either game, but it is always a possibility.

The Wolverine game will have about 95% of the movie’s content, plus about 30% more content included.

Being forced to choose a side in MUA2 does not cut your roster directly in half, but Captain America and Iron Man won’t be able to be on the same team.

Voice talents for the game will be a mixture of old and new in MUA2, and camera angles will be similar to the first, but brought in closer a bit more often.

Any Special Editions planned? Can’t talk about those quite yet.

Characters that didn’t appear in the comic Civil War can still show up in the game, with Hulk being specifically mentioned. They’ll try to make sense of the choices as to where they fall on party lines, “and if it doesn’t make sense, it’s Skrulls.”

They don’t feel there is any character other than Wolverine that could have a game like this, from either company.

After the Q&A, a quick last trailer of Wolvie was shown, this one featuring a one-on-one battle with a Sentinel. It was so epic, it crashed the Xbox360 they were running it on.

More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage:

NYCC '09 Video Page

NYCC '09 Mini-Site

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