The big Disney fan expo last weekend had an entire gaming block in which the entertainment company revealed the first trailer for a new Marvel game. But that was only the first glimpse. Later, D23 also held a chat between Skydance developers Amy Hennig and Marc Bernardin, who, while tight-lipped about the details of their charming superhero charm, still had plenty of cool stuff to share.
First, the basics. We know it’s a cinematic action game set in World War II that he’s watching because Hennig is famous for his work on fast-paced, story-driven games like Uncharted. According to the trailer, it’s apparent that you’ll be playing as four main characters, who in a later press release revealed to be a young Steve Rogers. Azzuri, T’challa’s grandfather and previous Black Panther. Gabriel Jones, a soldier. and Nanali, a Wakandan spy.
The Skydance sit-down, however, got a little more fleshed out. A few things they mentioned, you’d expect: It’s very promising the best in class graphics, for example. Who would have thought it? But other things, while not Earth-shattering, gave some added color to the details we already knew.
- The World War II setting was chosen because it was a formative time for Steve Rogers, something they thought would be fun to take through Black Panther. Nanali, meanwhile, is a character who only appears briefly in the comics, but that’s exactly why Skydance cast her. It looks like they’ll use this as an opportunity to flesh out the fledgling spy’s background. Gabriel, they pointed out, would explore what it meant to be Black during this Nazi-meets-Hydra era and how it might feel for him interacting with Wakanda. As they put it, Skydance wants to explore the idea of four unlikely heroes – two of whom are superheroes, two of whom are not – all together in global conflict.
- Hennig spent a lot of time talking about the studio’s desire to make the game accessible to everyone, to the extent that they consider it one of the four main pillars of the overall project. “We have this franchise and this IP, which is loved worldwide, but we’re going to put it behind this kind of walled garden where if you can’t hang, if you can’t do good, then it’s not for you?” he posed, trying to points out the absurdity of this hypothetical scenario. “We want everyone to feel like they can experience this,” he clarified. “They can put themselves in the shoes of these heroes, the controls are simple, contextual, intuitive, but also deep—for players and people who have never touched a game before.”
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- It’s structured like a TV series – which they described as an action-packed, serialized adventure. To achieve this vision, Skydance sought to assemble a team of creatives with diverse experiences across media including television, film, comics and games. Fun fact: One of them involves an ex Kotaku writer and forever GOAT Evan Narcisse, who has also worked on a few Black panther comics. Hennig likened the group to the “Avengers” of people who tell stories. While Skydance aims to have a story-driven game, it wants to make something that gives the player “second-to-second agency.”
- While the game will take inspiration from sources like action-adventure games, it also draws from pretty much everywhere. Hennig mentioned rhythm games, virtual reality experiences, and mobile games, though it will likely be a while before we know how these things come into play. To top it off, she reiterated her larger point about making sure anyone and everyone could pick up the game without studying a manual or memorizing combos.
So there’s still a ton we don’t really know about Marvel’s WW2 game. But given the impressive pedigree behind it, and its larger design goals, it looks like this Captain America and Black Panther crossover is something to keep an eye on.