Monday Jul 27, 2009
The Marvel Games panel happened on Sunday, the last day of Comic Con. The hall was full of eager Marvel fans, and there was much anticipation as the panel got started.
On the panel were:
Chris Baker, Manager of Licensed Games at Marvel
TQ Jefferson, Director of Licensed Games at Marvel
Evan Skolnick, Activision
Dan Tanguay, Activision
Kyle Brink, SEGA
Matt Fraction, co-writer of the Iron Man 2 game story
Lenny Brown, THQ
TQ started the discussion, describing his job. He works with developers and publishers through the entire process of making the games. He shared his triangle of success — respect the characters, respect the process, and respect the gamers.
He also shared his steps to improving games to keep them “suck-free”. First, they strive to improve the creative process. This means giving developers access to Marvel staff and Marvel talent. He cited Matt Fraction working on the Iron Man 2 game as an example of putting Marvel’s talent to use in their licensed games.
The second step is realizing that movie games don’t have to be “movie” games. They don’t have to be about the movie. It can be much more compelling to tell original and unique stories within the movie setting and universe. Because games take more time to make, and you can do things in games that you could never do in movies, this is quite beneficial.
The third step is to actively listen to fans. They read their blog comments, Twitter feeds, forums, and what’s published on the internet to gain insight into what the fans want and how they can improve.
Next, Activision showed a trailer for their new game (sorta… they had some technical difficulties, unfortunately) and talked a bit about it. THQ then did the same.
Kyle went last with Iron Man 2. He said that they received *lots* of feedback about the first game, so they started with the feedback that they got via fans, reviews, articles, etc to figure out what to do differently in the second game. What they heard loud and clear was that the controls and options needed a lot of work, so they started there. Kyle described some of the ways that the game improves on the first one, and takes it to the next level.
Matt Fraction was particularly glad to not have to follow the movie storyline. Movie scripts can change dramatically and constantly, and not being beholden to that is very freeing. They also talked about being able to do things in the game that would be way too expensive to do in a movie, so being able to use a movie setting but divorce the storyline from the movie makes for an all-around better game.
The audience asked some Q&A, including a few young kids who wanted to know about which Marvel characters would be seen and would be dying in the different games. No big reveals here, but I guess that’s to be expected.
At the end of the panel, a rep from Sony came up to announce that Marvel characters would be coming to Little Big Planet.
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