Who Was There: On hand from Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 developer Vicarious Visions were studio head Guha Bala, lead writer Evan Skolnick, and game director Dan Tanguay. From Marvel there was director of games TQ Jefferson, and none other than Stan Lee. MUA2 voice actors Armin Shimerman (Green Goblin) and Fred Tatasciore (Hulk and Thing) were also there. The panel was moderated by GameSpot’s own editor-in-chief Ricardo Torres.
What They Talked About: There was no overarching theme to the panel, with topics jumping between various parts of the development process. In fact, the only area that wasn’t really explored was the technology behind the game. The panel kicked off with a trailer featuring the newly announced Penance as a playable character. When asked why Penance was included in the game, we were told that because the game takes place in the Civil War timeline, they really wanted someone who exemplified the changes that occurred during that period. Penance is someone who changed dramatically during the Marvel Civil War in terms of the way his kinetic powers became more intense, so they went with him as an iconic figure from that timeline.
Another big topic of discussion was the alterations made to the Civil War story in order to better suit the game. Civil War is known as a very dialogue-heavy timeline, which doesn’t translate all that well to an action game, so they had to work hard paring down all the nonessential parts. They also had to tweak the ending to make sure the resolution is a satisfying one for players depending on which side they chose. But they also added to the story in the form of characters, such as Thor and the Hulk, who were never involved in that timeline. Why? Vicarious Visions simply couldn’t imagine a game of Marvel heroes without those two.
About halfway through the panel, Stan Lee took to the stage to do his usual routine of cracking jokes and praising the work of those involved with the various Marvel projects. He also went on to “inject a note of sophistication” as he said laughingly. After a bit of time talking to Stan Lee with questions about his ultimate superhero fantasy (none, he’s already living a fantasy) and his thoughts on the Civil War timeline (loves it, wishes he’d come up with it himself), it was time for audience questions.
Best Audience Question: One person asked if it was going to be possible to switch sides during the game, going from pro-registration to anti-registration or vice versa. We really like the idea and think it would make for an interesting twist on the freedom of choice you’re given. Apparently, Vicarious Visions also liked the idea because they said they’d originally thought of the concept of defection mechanics, but ultimately, they decided that it would make the game too complex for average players.
Worst Audience Question: One well-meaning fan made the mistake of phrasing his question in a way he probably didn’t mean to, asking the game’s voice actors what it’s like doing voice work compared to “real acting.” They took the question in stride, but the audience let the poor kid have it.
The Takeway: The audience was filled with Marvel fans and, unsurprisingly, they ate up every last bit of the panel--including the brand-new trailer debuted at the end. If you’re in the same camp, it looks like you’ll have a lot to look forward to with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.