Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 Update: Civil War

Activision talks about the Civil War storyline in its upcoming superhero action game. Whose side are you on?

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So far, Activision and developer Vicarious Visions have been mostly tight-lipped regarding story specifics for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, the upcoming sequel to 2006's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Aside from confirming that the game finds a mob of heroes coming together to fight an unnamed threat, there hasn't been much in the way of official word on the story. That said, there have been plenty of hints dropped about just where the narrative is going--namely incorporating the recent Civil War storyline. Although the official announcement will be hitting tomorrow, we got an exclusive briefing today and can confirm some choice bits of information.

The new MUA is inspired by the epic Civil War storyline--complete with hero-versus-hero action.
The new MUA is inspired by the epic Civil War storyline--complete with hero-versus-hero action.

Before we get to the good, we'll offer up a quick rundown on the Civil War, for those who didn't follow the event that ran through Marvel's books a couple of years ago. In a nutshell, the event was just what it sounds like, a charged split that divided the Marvel hero community. At the heart of the conflict is the Superhuman Registration Act, a bill rushed into law in the wake of a tragic event that left hundreds of people dead. The law requires superheroes to register as weapons of mass destruction and become agents of the US government.

As part of the registration process, heroes are required to offer up their personal information. The notion of a massive database existing with everyone's secret identity on file flies like a lead balloon for a chunk of the hero population. Some of them refuse to comply, which results in an ugly split among the heroes. On one side are the registered heroes advocating that all superhumans comply; on the other side are those who oppose the invasion of privacy and potential threat to their families and loved ones if the information database were ever hacked. The ensuing clash of heroes, with pro-registration heroes being tasked to hunt down nonregistered heroes, was a Marvel comics event that touched every major book in the universe and resulted in some shocking clashes between former teammates.

Given the scope of the Civil War arc in the book, the storyline seemed to be a perfect fit for the MUA formula. However, if you've read the comics or are about to hit up the Wikipedia page to find out more about the story, know that the game's narrative won't be an exact rip of the event. The game will feature a prologue to the events of the Civil War comics--based on the Marvel Secret War miniseries--which finds Nick Fury rounding up a small team of heroes for a covert mission in Latveria, the former kingdom of Doctor Doom now ruled by Lucia Von Bardas. The mission hits some snags and finds the team having to protect New York from Von Bardas, who chooses to retaliate against the Big Apple for the assault on her nation.

Following the prologue, the story will feature roughly the same setup as Civil War, including the aforementioned tragedy involving the New Warriors, and finds public sentiment regarding heroes nose-diving. The low public approval, tied to the high body count in the wake of the New Warriors incident, helps the Superhuman Registration Act become law in record time. Once the act is passed, you'll have to make a choice as to whether you and your team are pro- or anti-registration. The pro-registration heroes are led by Iron Man, while the anti-registration heroes are led by Captain America.

At the moment, Activision is officially confirming only a handful of characters. Besides Iron Man and Cap, Luke Cage is on the anti-reg side, while Mr. Fantastic will land on the pro-reg side. In addition, there are several characters whose allegiance you can dictate: Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Thing, Thor, Storm, and Daredevil. While the official roster confirmations don't currently feature any new faces to the original MUA roster, there are some new additions on the horizon. Activision has told us to expect a new face for the anti-reg side to be revealed in March.

So what if Hulk wear jean shorts? HULK LIKE JEAN SHORTS!
So what if Hulk wear jean shorts? HULK LIKE JEAN SHORTS!

If you're hungry to know more of the roster, doing some online research on the Civil War will likely offer up some pretty good ideas on which characters from the Marvel universe will be appearing in the game in one form or another. However, as we mentioned earlier, don't expect the game's storyline to follow the comic event to the letter. The writers at Vicarious Visions have been working closely with Marvel to create a story that hits many of the key moments in the Civil War while tossing in some surprises. We should also note that the team at VV has the benefit of a ringer, Evan Skolnick, who has actually written for Marvel.

From what we've heard and seen so far, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is shaping up to offer a one-two punch for both comic and game fans. The Civil War story elements should please fans looking for some comic authenticity, while fans of the original MUA should be happy for a follow-up to the addictively fun action game. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 is slated to ship later this year on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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