IRON MAN 2 The Game: "Unique Story, Movie Universe"

Trailer: Iron Man 2 - Video Game

SEGA made it very clear at a press event in New York that they're well aware the first Iron Man game tied to the blockbuster movie fell into a lot of the movie-game traps. "Not to speak ill of the dead, so-to-speak, but there were a lot of bad choices," said Creative Director Kyle Brink. This is good news for fans of the armored Avenger, as the new game makes a lot of changes and moves the Shellhead into an all-new adventure.

That was the major point hammered home by Brink, that this is "a unique story in the movie universe." This isn't an adaptation of Iron Man 2 the movie. The story is co-written by comic scribe Matt Fraction, who teamed up with a group of writers from SEGA. Brink said this worked out great, with Fraction keeping them in touch with who Tony Stark is. "Matt Fraction was one of the easiest writers to work with," Brink said, "he really knows Iron Man and helped us capture the character."

The gameplay changed considerably from the first game to this sequel, also with the goal of making the player feel more like Iron Man.  Flight, hovering, shooting, and melee have all been redone entirely. Hovering is now automatic, shooting has a great auto-lock that is enabled and disable with a single click. Flight is tuned to a person-sized object and the way they would manuever, rather than flying like an extremely small plane

Melee was a big focus from the beginning for the design team. When asked his main goal, Brink said he wanted to bring the action in closer. "The first game had you hunting pixels, and shooting enemies from 500 feet away. In order to feel powerful, you need to hit someone in the face with your fist." To that end, there are six different melee styles, and two can be outfitted to your suit at a time, switchable on the fly.

Firing, likewise, has been remapped to the two trigger buttons, and pulling both fires the now significantly more powerful Unibeam. Two weapons are set to each side at a time, out of a huge selection. There's no ammo to be collected, instead weapons simply recharge for firing again. War Machine is playable in nearly the entire game, and is not just a palette swap, with a different fighting style and more heavy weaponry. There are about "two thirds of the missions" that can be played with your choice of character, and in one third the gamer will have to use one, the other, or alternate between both to solve puzzles. Unfortunately, with the reduced development time of about 14 months, compared to the average game development of two to three years, co-op and network play were taken off the table early.

The game engine was significantly improved to include dynamic lighting. Thanks to this, there are tons of destructable objects, and even entire buildings that can be brought down. In the first game, this was impossible, as if a building was destroyed, the shadow would still be there.

Several armors are in the game for Iron Man, including those from the movie and from the comics. The Ultimate armor and the Silver Centurion armor are two examples mentioned by Brink. These will use the weapons and melee styles, which are all upgradeable with experience, interchangably, so you won't be locked to just one configuration per armor.

Brink recognized the repetitiveness of the first game, and noted that the team came up with a variety of missions, none of which include an objective of "defeat X amount of enemies." There are indoor and outdoor battles. There are battles that encourage flight, battles confined to the ground, and inbetween. There are missions where certain objects must be searched out, and missions where infiltration and using the suit's technology to take down enemies from within are the main objectives. The final level, Brink teased, is an enormous "living level" where you're fighting nearly everything around you.

Outside of the movie tie-in, "Iron Man makes a great character for a game, because you can fly, hover, run, use multiple weapons, have deep shooting gameplay and deep melee play," said Brink. "Most games do any 2 of those things, and call that success," he continued, explaining how this one is unique.

As for other characters outside of Iron Man and War Machine, Nick Fury appears in the game as a mission briefing character, and as someone you call in for support in some missions. He supports Tony Stark, of course, by flying the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-carrier in and using its heavy duty weaponry to blow things up real nice. There's even an entire mission fought on, around, and in the flying monstrosity. Black Widow, the Crimson Dynamos, and A.I.M. are all found in the game, as well. A.I.M. looks amazing, with a more realistic re-design to their costumes that lets you actually take them seriously as a threat. Expect battles against gigantic mechanical monsters throughout the game, as developers "wanted real threats for someone as powerful as Iron Man to be able to completely cut loose against." More than a few surprise guests are promised for comic fans, as well.

Overall, the game is tied to the movies in using the likenesses of the actors and the general setting of the Marvel movie-verse, but SEGA seems to have crafted an experience worthy of this founding member of the Avengers and a few of his closest friends. With Marvel's commitment, as Brink mentioned, to let movie-games branch off, and even completely stray from the movies' storylines, a new era of movie tie-ins may be upon us when Iron Man 2 releases alongside the film of the same title this spring.

Check back tomorrow for an all-new trailer of the game! Until then, enjoy this teaser!

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