The sequel to the fan favorite next gen console game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is almost here. Even so many are still unclear on what the story line is for this new game. The early trailers make the game seem to be based off of the Civil War story line splitting heroes into two camps lead by Iron Man and Captain America. However, there are several characters that have been revealed as being playable in MUA2 that were not involved in Civil War such as Thor and the Hulk.
So, what gives?
Game Director Dan Tanguay of Vicarious Visions recently took some time to talk to ComicBookResources.com about how the eagerly anticipated release will mirror and deviate from the popular story lines developed in the pages of Marvel Comics.
The story in “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2” is inspired by these story arcs [Civil War and Secret War]. They are not direct adaptations. (This is one of the reasons the game isn’t called “Marvel: Civil War.”) Act I roughly covers “Secret War” and the “Road to Civil War.” Act II explores “Civil War,” while Act III is entirely new for this game. It details the aftermath of “Civil War.”
There are numerous examples of events we have had to change for gameplay. In the “Secret War” storyline, for example, a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent named Daisy Johnson destroys Castle Doom with an earthquake. However, the gameplay is much stronger if the players must destroy the Castle instead. So they must travel into the Castle’s depths in order to destroy its reactor. It engages players and makes them feel partly responsible for the events that follow.
Using two of the most dynamic story ideas of the past five years in Marvel Comics is a stroke of genius. I would like to point out, however, that the game developers created quite an impressive story on their own last time. I’m thinking that the ‘third act’ will be where this game really shines.
Fusion is the ability for heroes to team up and combine their powers into an unstoppable force. In order to trigger one of these moves, players must have earned fusion by excelling in combat. Triggering it is as simple as holding down the left trigger (Xbox 360) and selecting which hero to fuse with. (In cooperative play, other players instead must choose to fuse with the first player.) Once that happens, players can then maximize their fusion using additional controls, such as creating a larger radius of damage, steering, or targeting. For example, targeted fusions (such as the Fastball Special) are perfect for defeating pesky mini-bosses.
Each hero can fuse with every other hero in the game. That leads to a staggering number of fusion combinations. The game will ship with 24 heroes on disc. Between those heroes, that’s over 250 combinations. Once we factor in downloadable content, the number of fusions could easily top 400 combinations. Each fusion will have subtle characteristics representative of each character’s powers, i.e. Thor will create a massive whirling lightning Tornado, while Deadpool will throw in his signature explosive grenades into the mix.
Originally entitled Marvel Ultimate Fusion, the combination attack of two heroes was the initial innovation of MUA2. It had been downplayed in recent months in favor of the Civil War storyline so much that I was worried that it had been removed from the design.
Gamers rejoice, Marvel Ultimate Alliance will hit stores on 9/15/09 for Nintendo DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360.