In the world of Marvel Comics, the word “population” conjures up thoughts of the Avengers, the X-Men, or the Fantastic Four. Recently, we learned that Skydance New Media and Marvel Entertainment are working on a Marvel composite video game. Rumors on the internet believe that this game will focus on Reed Richards and his wonderful family. Yesterday, during the Disney & Marvel Games Showcase, we learned that this group is not the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, or any known Marvel team. Skydance is creating its own team of four heroes, set in World War II.
The timeframe features the Captain America front and center of the fight against the Hydra and Nazi armies. Through a narrative, Wakanda joins and the player gains control of Black Panther, but not someone you know. This Black Panther is Azzuri, the grandfather of T-Challa. If you think it’s a deeply rooted piece of Marvel lore, the other two characters are even less well known. From Howling Commandos, players will transform into the role of Gabriel Jones, an evil trumpet player in the comics. The fourth character is Nanali, the leader of a new network of Wakandan agents, who has only appeared in a few comics.
The most confusing aspect of this game is the lack of a name. Following the announcement, I sat down with Amy Hennig, president of Skydance New Media, and Marc Bernardin, Skydance story advisor. I asked them why they decided to publish a project with no name.
“Naming takes time,” Hennig said with a laugh. “We wanted to do this process carefully and without haste. We’re telling an origin story, so there isn’t a single book or title or group that we can point to right away. The original is no small feat, and then you realize Marvel’s been around for a long time and they’ve used every word you can think of.
Four heroes. Two worlds. A fight.
Skydance’s focus is on making this superhero experience as widely accessible as possible, hoping that anyone can play it from start to finish. When asked about the point of inspiration for this quirky group, Hennig cited movies with men on duty, such as Dirty Dozen. “The Marvel characters from that time period felt instantly compelling,” she added. “We liked the idea of exploring the Black Panther of that era. What was Wakanda of the 1940s when they were hidden from the world? How will they react to these World Wars in their borders and continents? And the debate about whether they can stay neutral and sit on the sidelines when the whole world is at war.”
Bernardin also said that we will see different sides of Steve Rogers, who is learning how to be a leader. “We didn’t see who Steve Rogers was during the Second World War. The comics have gone into that territory a bit, but we haven’t seen that on screen yet. What makes them heroes? And how do we incorporate that and keep kicking them in the shins and forcing them into places where they don’t want to work. “
The other two characters, Jones and Nanali, give players non-superhero perspectives into the two worlds. All four characters are playable at specific points in the story. The four-hero setup is usually geared towards a co-op or an asymmetrical game, but Hennig makes it clear that the game will be a linear single-player experience. “That’s why the Uncharted abbreviation is so useful,” she says. That means the chapter is based on movie clips. It will not be designed exactly like the Uncharted games. This is a unique experience with four completely different perspectives on Marvel’s history.
When asked if this Marvel saga would give us different take on heroes like Insomniac’s Spider-Man game, Hennig said they’re taking all existing Marvel lore. “We wanted it to feel right to all, but not to one particular thing,” she said. “We didn’t get to know Steve Rogers as a young man, newly transformed and new in uniform.”
“Whenever we see Steve Rogers at this point, he’s pure at heart,” added Bernardin. “He was a knight on a steed, but we didn’t understand that he went to officer training school. No one taught him how to be a leader. He is naturally gifted, but has a learning curve. How does he build a team? We are looking for ways to promote him.”
Hennig and Bernardin don’t reveal much about Azzuri but do say that he’s older than the comic book version of T-Challa and those who read the movie know it.
“I am very excited about this studio,” Hennig said. “I am very excited about this game. We’re building on our experience telling action cinematic adventures. We’re making changes to the mechanics and controls that will give a fresh feel to longtime players and welcome those who’ve always wanted to pick up a controller but may have been afraid that a not for them. We’re trying to solve that problem by making a game where you feel like you’re embodying these characters and crafting the experience moment by moment, instead of feeling like a fighting game. techniques, logistics that you have to beat. We’re looking at games that make you feel like you’re entering the flow state instead of managing the skill tree. People who have played it say they lost themselves in our experience because the game is doing what they intended instead of fighting them. “