As the latest LEGO video game launched around the world, TT Games Head of Design Arthur Parsons took time to discuss LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 with Brick Fanatics. As is now expected with these releases, the game is packed full of characters to unlock and then play. What is special this time is that the professional geeks at TT Games have delved into some of the strangest and most interesting corners of the Marvel universe to find them.
You developed at least one original character for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 – how did that happen?
We wanted to do something different that we had not done. I speak to the Marvel guys quite a lot and they were like, ‘this is cool, all these time variants of characters. You know, if you want to make a character up you can.’ We were like, ‘we can?’ They were like ‘yeah’.
So we have got this cool story where Goblin of the future, Goblin 2099, in Alchemax is experimenting on Venom and Carnage. Could we fuse the symbiotes? Marvel were like, ‘yeah, that would be really cool if you fuse the symbiotes.’ So the first game had a scary moment with Venom that was nice, so we thought we would pay homage to that with this thing where you have got Carnage and Venom, they’re, who are cool characters, kind of fuse together to make Carnom. We didn’t really use our thought process too much to come up with that name.
So you have got Carnom, a character who is the worst of both of those, who then as you are fighting him changes again and becomes Carnom Max, a bizarre evil angry symbiote creation. That was really nice, so now I am thinking maybe Carnom will appear in a comic… that would be the ultimate, so brilliant.
There are some very obscure characters in the line-up. How do you make them accessible to those players who are not immersed in decades of comic book lore?
People are not going to know everyone in this roster, I guarantee it. They might be interested or excited enough to go and read some comics, I think that’s good as well. For kids, maybe they have got a Spider-Man duvet and they have been to see Thor Ragnarok and that’s the extent of their knowledge. The free play grid actually has baseball cards so you can bring up a card, flip it round and it tells you a bit about the character including the first issue they appear in. So people can go and actually read about this character – what makes this character tick? Obviously Guardians were big before the Guardians movies, here’s some comics. So I think that would be really cool if kids actually went and read the comics after playing the game, I’d love that.
Was having different versions of the same characters, from different comic book runs a way to have the collectibility factor that LEGO games are known for?
Yes, completely refreshing the roster. I did not want to make a game that we had made before. When you get to play the game this won’t spoil it, but in level two, Iron Man gets injured because I didn’t want a game that focused around the same people. This game has, I cannot remember the number, I think it might be 34 characters that dip in and out of your playable party on your journey through the story.
These are characters that are new and exciting so Miss Marvel, Kamala Khan, She Hulk, Captain Marvel, Black Panther – they are fresh and energetic, of course working in tandem with Thor and Captain America. It really is refreshing to play because it is new characters, not only that but we are getting to have Guardians characters working with Inhumans, Spider-verse and Avengers characters in one playable party. And then you get the villain of the piece asking, ‘what’s going on here? I normally fight you but who are you?’ And it just makes for some really good moments.
Do you have a personal favourite character in the game?
There are loads. It was great to put Forbush Man in because no-one knows who that is – he is a guy who puts a saucepan on his head and he has no special powers. That’s what makes him great. When he puts his saucepan on his head he thinks he is all powerful, but he has no powers.
I love weird characters like Hellcow. Her back story is that she is a cow who was bitten by Dracula and she is now a vampiric cow. You have got Hit-Monkey, who is a monkey who is a hit man. You have got Thorg, who is a frog that just happens to have the power of Thor He has got his own version of Mjolnir. Spider-Ham is always a great character.
I have always loved Howard the Duck. I like to think I got Howard the Duck his cameo in the first Guardians movie because we put him in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes before Guardians. I’d love one day to meet James Gunn and him say, ‘yeah I played the game and I loved it’. It’s never going to happen.
I think there are so many great characters, there are so many big hitters, but also so many weird and wacky ones… who knew that there was a green skinned medieval version of Hulk called Green Skin Smash Troll? I didn’t. It’s a Hulk with a weird green handlebar moustache. It doesn’t get much better. So yeah, there are some brilliant characters and there are some weird characters. I think people are going to have an amazing journey if they uncover all of this stuff.