Interview: Dan Wallace Senior Producer of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

A while back, we had an opportunity to ask the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 team some questions and Dan Wallace, the game’s Senior Producer, was kind enough to answer them for us.

Diehard GameFAN: Why focus on the Civil War events in the game instead of many of the other big crossover events Marvel has done in the past?

Dan Wallace: We knew we wanted to do Civil War because it’s a perfect fit for the game. It features a huge cast of characters, has a great plot that is relevant to current events in our country and gives us the opportunity to let Marvel fans chose sides and change the outcome. Plus it’s just a really cool story!

DHGF: Are there going to be downloadable content packs again featuring varying characters? If so, is this downloadable content going to be available to PS3 owners as well, or is it going to be strictly for Xbox 360 owners?

DW: Yes! We will have downloadable content with characters and more and it will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3 owners.

DHGF: As you have this game across multiple platforms, are each of the varying games getting exclusive rosters?

DW: We aren’t creating exclusive rosters per platform, but there will be some surprise characters to be discovered. More details on this later!

DHGF: Will all of the versions be featuring the new revamped combo system?

DW: We’re calling those fusions. We’ve made improvements to nearly every aspect of the game but nothing comes close to the amount of time we’ve put into team fusions. It’s more than just a revamped combo system – it’s heavily integrated into gameplay. There’s no better way to pay off on the largest army of super heroes than to allow all of them to combine their unique powers with explosive results.

Imagine every hero combining powers with every hero in unique ways. With 24 characters right out of the box and even more coming in DLC our fans can look forward to hundreds of fusions. Here are some examples of the wide variety:

    Clearing: These act as a smart bomb, clearing dozens of enemies at once. This is great for massive encounters or when you’ve been ambushed. Iron man shoots his repulsor beam into Wolverine’s claws which deflect out multiple beams, frying anything in front of him. This also heats up Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton with energy he releases at the move’s end, sending a blast outward, decimating any enemies surrounding him.

    Guided: You can steer these to hit any target you choose. These are very flexible, making it great for trickles of enemies. The first fusion we ever envisioned when we came up with the concept was the fiery tornado. Torch shoots a stream of fire into a tornado that Storm creates. You can steer this tornado around leaving a fiery path of destruction.

    Targeted. You can aim these at any single target, inflicting massive damage. These are great for taking down leaders or mini-bosses quickly. The most well known of these is of course the Fastball Special. In our version, Hulk picks up Wolverine, slings him around and releases him to skewer the target of your choosing.

DHGF: How does the team go about deciding which characters to include? Does Marvel have a lot of input on this process?

DW: There were a ton of things to consider when we were evaluating characters for the game. Are they required for the story? How popular are they with the fans? Do their powers work well in the context of our combat system? How would they fuse with the other characters? Have they ever appeared in the game before? Etc… Aside from all of that we need to consider how difficult it will be to pull the character off. We don’t want to take on a character unless we can fully realize them. If Mr. Fantastic wasn’t stretchy, fans of him would be very disappointed. We put together a giant spreadsheet ranking all of the characters we could think of against each other and then we threw it away and picked our favorites. We agonized over the spreadsheet until we were pretty happy with what we had. Marvel did help us in giving some input but they were largely accepting of the choices we made.

DHGF: While the game seems to focus on the storyline of the Civil War, only a few of the heroes are locked into sides, such as Iron Man and Captain America. Will a player be able to recruit anyone from the opposing side, or are some of the other heroes going to be locked into their side as well?

DW: At the high level we don’t ever want to force you to use a certain hero. We want the player to play as any hero they want anytime. Civil War choice is the exception for us. You’re not only deciding if you’re for or against the Hero Registration Act, you’re also deciding if you’re with Captain America or Iron Man. The idea of recruitment as a gameplay mechanic was something we considered, but we decided we really want to keep most of the roster open to the player and didn’t want a mechanism in place that would close much of it off.

DHGF: Is there anything that might not make the final game that you might want to include in a future release, such as a sequel?

DW: Oh yeah, there are many, many things. I’m not going to give them away though, somebody might be listening :-)

DHGF: Have any of the other big Marvel events been looked at as a possible new game?

DW: The Marvel Universe is enormous. There are so many things in there that you could pull out and make a game out of that it is staggering. We’re constantly thinking of new things we can do.

DHGF: Following the X-Men Legends and its sequel, will this be the last planned game in this series? If it is could we expect a game based off of one of the other teams, such as the Avengers?

DW: While we do love our Ultimate Alliance, we are pretty open to other ideas. We do enjoy working with Marvel and in general are big fans of their characters and storylines, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope we can keep on working with them no matter what the team.

DHGF: Thank you for your time!

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is scheduled for release September 15th on all consoles.

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