In “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes,” take control of your favorite heroes as they unite to stop Loki and a host of other Marvel villains from destroying Earth. Check out the Xbox Wire interview below with Arthur Parsons, Game Director on “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” from legendary developer TT Games and stay tuned for more news and insights from other renown developers of the hottest and most anticipated games coming to Xbox.
What are you most excited about for developing on new generation hardware?
As a designer, a new generation of hardware allows us to add more to a game. Not in terms of making the games themselves significantly larger, but in terms of being able to up the depth of gameplay within given areas. We'll be able to throw more diversity and gameplay at the player, whether that is in terms of more bad guys and more variation of bad guys, or whether that is in terms of more LEGO for the player to interact with; it also allows us more memory to throw more varied audio at the player.
Ultimately the new generation of hardware is going to allow us to immerse the player more than ever before into the amazing worlds that we create here at TT. So to answer the question more directly, as designers we are going to be able to flex our creative energies more than before, and we won't have the same questions running through our heads as to whether we can or can't pull off what we want to.
How will a new generation of hardware revolutionize the future of LEGO titles?
I think it is still far too early for us to say exactly what a new generation of hardware is going to do to revolutionize the “LEGO” titles. We constantly strive to evolve and move the series forward as it is regardless of new hardware, and each title brings its own unique qualities to the table. In this very early stage of the life of the new hardware we can already see the benefits as we've pushed harder than ever before on the Xbox 360, knowing that the XBOX One can do so much more, and this has benefited both versions of “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.” We are drawing more characters and have really pushed the density of gameplay with this title, so it'll be interesting to see how we move forward from here.
Who is your favorite character to control in “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” and why?
With so many fabulous characters in “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” it is very difficult to isolate a specific one. I think everybody loves running around smashing the place up as Hulk, and Iron Man is a delight to fly around as in LEGO Marvel New York. But I guess as a designer, Spider-Man is the most satisfying character to play as, because he was the most challenging character to get right. We spent a huge amount of time getting his movements nailed, and having seen kids and adults focus test the game and swing around as Spider-Man, I believe we delivered a great Spider-Man experience. Personally though I still have a soft spot for Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) and Vulture too, he is a great playable character -- the animation team really nailed his flight.
Which character do you think fans will be drawn to the most?
Fans are going to have a really difficult time, there are so many amazing characters, and each one has little touches that really harness their abilities and personalities, whether it is running around as Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, or gliding along an ice bridge as Iceman. All we hope is that fans see the enthusiasm and passion that the whole team here at TT has put into this game.
How is Stan Lee involved with “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes”?”
So back when we started the project, the first name that went on the character list was Stan Lee. Every title we make we start with an "ultimate wish list" character that we want to get into the game. We wanted to have Stan Lee cameo as the "civilian in peril," but this soon evolved to having him as a playable character, and then eventually evolved into having him playable with every ability we could possibly give him, such as the ability to transform into Excelsior Hulk (our unique Stan Lee Hulk).
The idea just snowballed during development, and Stan was only too happy to help out and voice himself in-game and let us have fun. When players see some of the Stan Lee cameos in the game, they will be in stitches! He pops up all over the place, and these still make me chuckle when I see them. As a playable character, he is the ultimate game breaker, he can do everything, and fans will adore playing as him.
Who was your favorite Marvel character/world to develop and program?
“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” delves into so many varied environments that it is really hard to answer this one. There are some characters like Spider-Man and Hulk that were a challenge to get exactly right, but we nailed those and the environments that we really wanted to visit, like Sanctum Sanctorum and Asteroid M Island. The game is full of the fantastic locations and characters that are associated with Marvel, and it's been a joy and a pleasure bringing these to life in LEGO form. For me I just want players to really dig deep and find some of the crazier peripheral content we have put into the game, some of the obscure fan boy references and touches. When people find these things and it makes them smile and laugh it gives us immense pleasure.
What are some of the fun benefits of adding big figures like the Hulk, Rhino, Colossus and the Blob to the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” world? Can you explain the differences in dev/programming required to bring these big figures to life?
“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” features LEGO big figures for the first time, and this really allowed us to bring these immense Marvel characters to life in an entirely new way. We have Hulk who is able to pick up buses, rip up the ground, smash through walls -- ultimately, we were able to bring the Hulk's personality to life. The same applies to the other big figures, like Juggernaut, for instance. Because of his massive size and strength, he is able to charge through the X-Mansion.
These terrific end results were only possible due to the hard work from all of the team here at TT. There were plenty of tests that had to be done, new animation styles to consider, memory limitations, movement changes, cameras to adjust, and that's without figuring out how we make doorways and elevators work. We aimed high with “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” from a design perspective. We had to create a game that allowed the player (at any time in freeplay) to play as a flying character, web swinging character, hovering character, small character, big LEGO figure, pretty much anything at any time, so it was a very ambitious challenge. But without doing this, we wouldn't have done justice to the Marvel brand. Gamers are going to expect each of their favorite characters to do certain things, in a very specific way, so we had to really throw our hearts and souls into this title, and the end result is testament to that ambition, and also the dedication of our TT team of comic book geeks and fan boys (and girls).
Will there be the option to play through various storylines as villains in “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” similar to past LEGO titles?
“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” allows the player to play as any character at any time when they go back in freeplay, so this allows the player to enjoy the story all over again as any character they choose (even super heroes they can create themselves in the character creator); however there are a couple of twists in the main story that players will enjoy, so I won't spoil anything. Suffice to say that it will take more than the assembled super heroes of “LEGO Marvel” to defeat Galactus!