With the increasing social aspect of pretty much everything people do nowadays, the video game medium is leaning in that direction.
With giant MMOs like World of Warcraft and the online features of platforming games it was only a matter of time till Marvel dipped their toes into the genre.
Enter David Brevik, creator of the Diablo series.
Marvel approached Brevik and his team on creating a game that can have fans and gamers engross themselves in the Marvel Universe in a way that hasn’t been done before.
It was a challenge that Brevik could not pass up and from the looks of the demo available during New York Comic Con 2012, it seems like it’s way on its way to being a gaming experience like no other.
Marvel Heroes allows gamers to play as their favorite Marvel superheroes as they face off against the universe’s biggest baddies in a story written by acclaimed writer Brian Michael Bendis.
The story has Doctor Doom obtaining the Cosmic Cube (or the Tessaract as known to fans of the Avengers movie) and is ready to shape the world in his image.
“Brian has been very collaborative in the process.” said Brevik, “He’s shown up at the offices to see the progress of the game and to give his input. It’s been a great collaboration.”
In the PC only game you take your heroes on a variety of missions that span some of the Marvel Universe’s greatest areas like Hell’s Kitchen, the Raft and the Savage Land.
While playing the demo, it felt like another installment in the Ultimate Alliance franchise with the exploration aspects and choosing which attacks to use. You are free to explore the areas as well as interact with the environment which was common in those games. The Hulk can pick up a car for instance while Spider-Man can web throw a canister. However, what gives this game a difference is the way you can level up your hero.
By completing story mode missions and even side missions (called discoveries) you gain more experience that you can use to strengthen your hero’s stats to how you see fit and equip more moves to their arsenal.
Another aspect is how you can change heroes mid-way through a mission. Need a long-range fighter? Choose Iron Man. Need a close combat brawler? Choose Wolverine. Each hero has their own unique feel and allows for instant re-playability.
Some characters have unique traits like the ability to fly (Ms. Marvel was given as an example) and uniforms that will be available. These uniforms can augment abilities and stats.
Brevik gave the Avengers movie costumes as examples of some of the alternate costumes players will see. Also be on the look out for costumes that correlate with the Marvel NOW! relaunch going on at the publisher. Some other costumes were announced at the convention as well.
How you use the power ups and costumes is what will make you stand apart from everyone else, so if you and your buddies all choose to fight as Hulks you will all have different stats and abilities according to your liking. And Marvel Heroes will allow for these team-ups to happen easily. You can create a party with your friends or team-up with strangers online up to five per team. This allows for more cooperative gameplay that lends itself nicely to MMOs.
Of course you can play the story solo as well.
When asked if you can create your own Marvel hero (say like in DCU online) Brevik answered with an emphatic “No.”
“When I’m playing a Marvel game, I wouldn’t want to play as anyone but the heroes I grew up with.”
He added that to use the many heroes available will allow the players to play the game in so many different ways.
And luckily for Brevik and his team Marvel has allowed all of the heroes and villains to be used in this game. They will release some a little at a time and at NYCC they have announced Luke Cage, Jean Grey and Nova to the list of playable characters. That list will continue to balloon as development continues.
So are there any more Marvel games down the pipe? According to Brevik this game is “big enough” but is the beginning of a long relationship with Marvel.
“We may never work on another game for Marvel, but we will continually work to make this one work.”
Closed Beta started on October 1st, but the developers are still accepting participants on their website. A launch date has not been released, but they assure gamers that they will not launch until they know it’s ready. So stay tuned for more announcements on Marvel Heroes.