At WonderCon 2011 in San Francisco, we sat down with Christos Gage, writer of Avengers Academy from Marvel Comics, and discussed his role as writer of the new Marvel Entertainment and SEGA video game, Captain America: Super Soldier.
Set in the continuity of the upcoming film, Super Soldier features a separate story with appearances from villains such as Baron Strucker, Madame Hydra, Iron Cross, and Arnim Zola. Gage told us about his experiences with writing a game, and hints at what we can expect come July.
Newsarama: So, Christos, how did you get involved in the project in the first place? I know it's a Canadian company.
Christos Gage: Right. Even though it's a Canadian company, I agreed to participate [laughs]. Marvel Studios approached me and asked me if I'd be interested in working on this game. I said, "Sure," and I went to Marvel Studios, read the script of the movie, cause it's set in the movie universe, even though it's a separate story from the movie story.
Then we went up to Next Level Games up in Vancouver, and they already had some things set, like the setting which is a medieval castle that Hydra has converted into an experimental facility and factory for experiments and WMDs. Then you talk about story, and villains, and characters, and I threw out a bunch of ideas. I threw out Iron Cross, an obscure villain from the Invaders comic, and they were like, "That sounds great!" So I could tell it was gonna be a pretty good relationship, since they were open to that sort of thing.
Nrama: According to the game designers, one of the big questions they wanted to address was whether Captain America was a product of genetic engineering, and whether that was, by nature, wrong, because Arnim Zola factors into the game. What were the things that you thought about while addressing that? Was it tough to address those questions in a setting where they're not normally a pertinent issue?
Gage: It's more like showing the difference between Captain America, and the things that Arnim Zola does. I think there's a line from the movie trailer where Dr. Erskine says, "It's because you're a good man, that I chose you." And basically, in the hands of evil people, evil things are gonna come out of it. And I don't think it's telling tales out of school to say that you will see the product of Arnim Zola's genetic experimentations in the game, and they're not as positive as Captain America.
Nrama: Yeah, that seems like the natural bump there, haha. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first game you've written, correct?
Gage: Yes, this is my first game.
Nrama: Was it different from writing a comic? There's obviously some elements of repetition in the script that have to be figured out.
Gage: It's an interesting hybrid of writing a comic and screenwriting. You're writing for voice actors most of the time, so there's that aspect of screen writing where you want to keep it brief. At the same time, there's some element the freedom of comic writing, not as much as in comics where you can literally do anything, but in screen writing you have to keep budget in mind when you're writing. So this is sort of a nice in between point.
Nrama: Was it fun to get to play around with Steve Rogers, having written him before?
Gage: It was fun, and it was interesting. I've written Steve Rogers a few times, but it's always been as a modern day Captain America, a veteran guy, a leader. And in the game it's set in World War II, and as you pointed out, Captain America's a familiar character to me, but to get in his head as a young guy, whose just beginning to get the hang of his abilities and what he can do. And of course, he's still Cap, so he's capable, he's just maybe a little more exuberant, and excitable. It was interesting saying, "OK, what was he like as a younger man, who hasn't been through all the things that modern day Captain America has been through"
Nrama: So he's a little bit wet behind the ears.
Gage: Right. And he's not gonna be incompetent, but he may get a little more emotional when he sees his friends in danger. There's some moments where he's a little more exuberant, more excitable. more hot-headed maybe.
Nrama: Is there anything that you can tell us about the game that we maybe haven't seen yet? Any surprise cameos we should be on the look out for?
Gage: I don't know if there are many unrevealed secrets. I will say that there are a lot of easter eggs for comic book fans. You want to make it accessible for casual gamers, but I threw in a lot of easter eggs for the fans, like myself, who will hopefully have a lot of fun finding them throughout the game.
Nrama: Excellent, I look forward to finding some of those myself!
Gage: Thanks, I look forward to hearing what the fans think.
Captain America: Super Soldier hits XBox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS on July 19, 2011.