Interview Iron Man Sega

[ENGLISH] What is the philosophy behind a super-hero based videogame and how do you adapt a movie that was itself adapted from the Marvel comic-book ? And does adapting even cover a work where the story is original ? Michael Mchale from SEGA America answers few questions about Iron Man videogame and the next Marvel adaptations (because, let’s face it, you knew they wouldn’t stop there).

Comic Box: Why do you think Marvel chose Sega as editor of their movie licensed projects ?

Michael Mchale : SEGA has a proven track record as a game publisher that develops and publishes unique and high quality videogames. We have a large number of staff members who have an extensive knowledge of the Marvel Universe and are big fans of Marvel properties, so the partnership made sense.

Marvel is a very protective company. Is it difficult to cooperate on such video game projects ? What is your relationship with Marvel and the studios in charge of developing the games ?

Marvel has been great to work with and the games are a result of this collaboration. They gave us a lot of reference material from the films and we also shared our art assets and design ideas with them. In this way, the films influence the games, and the games influence the films. Our main point of contact, Justin Lambros, the VP of Interactive at Marvel, used to be a Videogame Producer himself so he really understands the development process.

Sega is well-known in the whole world for its iconic characters like Sonic. Don’t you think that your association with Marvel change our « familial » target into a « geek » target ?

The reality is, SEGA makes games for everyone. We have family friendly games such as the Sonic franchise and Samba De Amigo, and we also have hard core games such as Condemned 2 and Viking: Battle for Asgard. The Marvel games expand our portfolio even further. We like having a mix of our own original properties and licensed properties.

Because Marvel is at the same time owner of the comic books rights and producer of the movies, was it easier to use elements (such as villains, secondary characters or locations) which are in the comics but not in the movies ?

Absolutely ! We aren’t really interested in making « play the movie » games. It is much more interesting if we go way beyond the film to bring you content that you haven’t experienced anywhere else. In our Marvel games, about 30% of the content is taken from the film, and the rest is drawn from the comic book universe and our own design teams.

Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk seem to please both comics and video games fans. How do you explain this alchemy ?

The film teams and game teams are very aware of the expectations of the comic book fans. The films have been able to successfully bring these characters to life by doing a more believable treatment of the characters, so that they could actually exist in our own world. This is really the key to pulling in a larger audience beyond the comic book fans, while pleasing the fans. I feel that films really capture what the characters are about and stay true to those characters, and that resonates with the comic book fans.

Concerning Iron Man, why did you choose to do a beat’em all instead of a FPS ?

The Iron Man character is so visually strong and we wanted to make sure you could see him on the screen, which doesn’t really work in a first person view. Also, the character moves like a jet plane and helicopter, and it is much easier to control if you can see the character on screen at all times.

After all, Tony Stark is as important as Iron Man, why didn’t you use playing sequence of Tony outside the armor ?

Tony Stark is featured in all of our cutscenes between missions, but we don’t have him in any interactive sequences. From a gameplay perspective, it is much more fun to play as Iron Man in the suit with all of the weaponry. Tony doesn’t actually have any special powers of his own, besides his great intellect. His power comes from the Iron Man suit.

We know that Sega will be creating Captain America and Thor video games. Have you any other Marvel projects in a near future ?

We have signed up to develop games based on Captain America and Thor and I can’t speak about anything else at this time. We really enjoy working with Marvel and hope to continue our relationship with them for a very long time.

[Yann Belloir]

Michael Mchale is a producer for Sega of America.

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