A matter of days before the launch of the latest video game release, TT Games Head of Design Arthur Parsons sat down with Brick Fanatics to talk through LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2. Brimming with energy and enthusiasm for this latest title, the experienced video game developer explained how the team at TT Games returned to the world of Marvel with an ambitious new story to tell.
How does it feel to have the game about to launch?
It has been a very long five or six weeks from when we finished the game to it coming out. Which is always like you are sat in purgatory and you are just waiting, waiting, waiting to see the game finally hit the shelves.
It is just like dropping off a cliff because one day you go in and you are so busy it is unbelievable, and the next day you have nothing to do. It is that black and white. Obviously we are working on the season pass now but you get to that point where it does just drop off. So me and the team have been asking, ‘is it released yet?’ I can’t wait for the Joe Bloggs on the street to just be able to go into a high street shop and pick it up and go home and have fun.
When we did the first one we left a cliff hanger right at the end of the post credits. That game was about saving the Earth and we knew we wanted to come and explore Kang the Conqueror. He’s an amazing villain and we knew we wanted to go on a bigger scale, explore more areas of the Marvel universe. I can’t think of a game that has done that, been able to bring in multiple versions of Spider-Man, Thor or Captain America but working together. Characters that shouldn’t cross paths, coming together and having this fun jaunty adventure.
It is a great story, it is loosely based on a couple of comic book stories – Kang Dynasty and Avengers Forever. Then we worked with the guy who wrote those to write this story, so it could be an actual comic run. The story is kind of non-linear, so that is new, you get to branch off and choose – I’ll go this way with those guys or this other way, but it always comes back together. To eventually get to fight Kang is epic.
Did you look at other comic books for source material, or did you always have those stories in mind?
We always knew. Those of us that worked on the very high level design, we always knew that Kang was the one. If you pick a villain that people know, they have a preconceived idea of how say Doc Ock would be, but Kang is not very mainstream. He is mainstream in comics, he has been in hundreds and hundreds of comics. So this is Kang, this is why he’s cool; he’s from the future, he’s got amazing amount of technology, he’s massively noble, he likes to fight on an even playing field. We can explore that character without that baggage of preconceptions.
Obviously with this being a timey wimey story it means we can do what we want and we can bring all these places together and have Spider-Gwen fighting alongside Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man Noir, and all of them having that humour of ‘hold on who are you?’ ‘I’m Spider-Man.’ ‘Why have you got a stupid suit on?’ ‘I’m Spider-Man. Why have you got a stupid suit on?’ It is just that humour.
Did using so many different characters and universes give the chance for lots of comic book ‘research’?
Lots of comic books. Generally we are big comic book fans anyway, but there was a lot of comic book reading. Each of us has got areas that we love. But for example, in the season pass we’ve got Cloak and Dagger and Runaways content. I am not big on either of those so it’s great to be able to go and read those stories. It has been great to go and read all of the Glenpool issues and really get to know the characters and as well dig through proper old comics, Kirby stuff to be able to bring in Wild West Captain America or Egyptian Avengers, whatever it might be. Having of fingers in all areas of these different parts of Marvel, I think people will really enjoy that.
We need to make sure every game is as brilliant as it can be, that every game is fun and authentic to its relevant IP (intellectual property). We also need to make sure that each game has its own oxygen. So as we are talking through games, we ask what is special about this game? So The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Video Game was like being taken to NINJAGO but also really highlighting the combat.
When it comes to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, this is its own thing, what is special about this? It is about personality and the deep dive into Marvel, having an amazing original story. So the games have their own separate space even though they are from the same family. The way I look at it is like it’s a Cayenne and a Panamera. Porsches are great, and you can pick either that Porsche or that Porsche.
We make sure that each game has its own thing. It has its own things that you can hang hats on to give them their unique feel. They are always going to feel the same because it is a minifigure interacting with LEGO, but we work really hard to make sure they don’t feel the same and they do feel really unique.