Executive Producer Phil Ring on what makes Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 special.
Developer TT Games and Lego have been in the business of building super hero games for a long time now. With major success in sales and fun factor, the developers have continued the tradition with Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, exclusively for current gen systems this time around. With the added power of current gen consoles that can boost the potential of the game many more times over, it’s interesting to see what these Lego blocks can do now.
With so many tantalizing details still clouded in the mist, we had to talk with Phil Ring, the Executive Producer of the game to find out just what’s in store for us.
First of all, tell us how Lego Marvel’s Super Heroes 2 improves on the original?
We wanted to go back and do another Marvel title. We knew there were lots of things we wanted to do that were different. This game is a much bigger experience for a starting point. We’re going to a place called Chronopolis – that’s going to be our open-world hub. It’s roughly twice the size of Manhattan in this game. It’s going to have a huge amount of content for side missions. The way this works is because of the way Chronopolis is formed, it’s load of different places in the Marvel universe not just different locations, but during different times as well. So we have things like the wild west, medieval England and New York. We wanted all of these to feel like the environment they should be. So this is all kind of an incredible experience. It’s going to feel very different this time.
"We love Kang the Conquerer. He’s a really great character. The thing that really stood out to us is his powers."
Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 follows the Avengers title in the same franchise. What inspired you to go back to all super heroes rather than focusing on the Avengers again?
We thought it was great fun switching in and out. We had a lot of fun doing the Legos Marvels Avengers games, but those were actually tied to the movies. So this is us being able to tell an original story. It’s great for us to be able to switch characters in. So we can drop people like Doctor Strange into a level with Star Lord and Captain America, and just have these really cool matchup of characters.
Kang the Conqueror is an interesting choice for a villain, especially given his convoluted back-story. What motivated this choice and how does Kang gel with the general Lego Marvel dynamic?
We love Kang the Conquerer. He’s a really great character. The thing that really stood out to us is his powers. The fact that he’s a time traveler, and he can go to any location, being able to use that as an ability, not just from a gameplay point of view and the way you interact with puzzles, but also from what we can do from the story point of you. We can then fuse a whole load of characters, and that makes really funny moments as well. So what happens when Captain America meets Cowboy captain America, what happens when Spider-Man 2099 meets current day Spider-Man. Having all of these crossovers is really fun for us.
Time manipulation is an interesting mechanic in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 that we’d like to know more about. Can players rewind, fast forward and pause time throughout the game or only to solve specific puzzles?
Time manipulation is a mechanic you use for puzzle solving. For example, you might need to use a character to slow down a puzzle so you can figure it out. Or there might be an item that you can move back-and-forth in time, and when you move it in time you change its state. So you may be able to move a broken archway, and rewind time so it’s rebuilt in order to get through a doorway. So there’s lots of different ways to use it in different puzzles.
What are some of the different eras and realities that players will be able to explore? Can we expect the Ultimate universe or some other reality to make a cameo?
We have announced a huge amount. We’ve got things like ancient Egypt, medieval England, modern day New York, Hydra. There are 18 different locations, I think.
Can we expect the Ultimate Universe?
I don’t know what else is announced unfortunately.
"We don’t know how long the game is going to be. We’re still very much working on it. It’s going to be a huge title though, it does feel very, very big already."
This will be the first Lego Marvel game to focus on current gen platforms. How will you take advantage of the additional power and expand upon the proven formula?
With us doing Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC we get to do more with this game. So things like the open world we wouldn’t be able to do in the previous consoles. Even with the levels and environments. Dropping characters in, all of these visual effects, all of these powers, all of these moves are all something we really kind of needed the power in current gen consoles to be able to do that.
Will the building aspects that defined previous games be expanded upon this time around?
Yes, very much so. We’re always looking for cool ways to incorporate Lego building within the game. We are looking at doing some new things for this game with building. Not just building new levels, but even when you find vehicles and stuff like that.
What can you tell us about the new 4 player competitive battling mode?
It’s something that’s very different from previous Lego games. We wanted to have a lot of fun with it. It’s a fixed single camera. The mode that we’ve showed at E3, you have to collect Infinity Stones, and they give you different powers and abilities, and that you actually put them into the infinity core. And whoever returns it to the core at the end wins the round. And we tally up the score. It’s going to be something that feels different. It’s really exciting for us, because it means we get to pit questions of who would win in a fight between Star Lord and Spider-Man, and things like that.
How long will the overall campaign of Lego Marvel’s Super Heroes 2 be? What kinds of new additions and collectibles can players look forward to this time?
We don’t know how long the game is going to be. We’re still very much working on it. It’s going to be a huge title though, it does feel very, very big already. Of course it’s going to be full of collectibles. So we’re going to have the usuals there: you’ll be able to collect studs – they’re your currency; we also have things like pink bricks which is slightly different to the previous red bricks in the past. There’s going to be pieces like that.
What are your thoughts on the competition especially with Square Enix and Telltale both making Marvel-oriented games?
I think it’s great, personally speaking. We are all Marvel fans, everyone in the office really is. They have such great properties. We love doing anything Marvel related. Personally, I’m really, really excited to see the games come out, and see how they do things differently to us. What is great for us is that we’re actually making the Lego Marvel universe. So we get to do our own thing, our own play on the characters, have character abilities, and humor they may not be able to do. We are very excited to be able to see their games.
Will the game feature Xbox One X specific enhancements. What can players expect if they are playing the game on Xbox One X? Is 4K/60fps on the cards?
We are actually researching into it. We’re looking and seeing what we can do. We do like to take advantage of all the various platforms. There’s nothing we can confirm just now but we’re always looking at the new hardware, to see if there’s anything for Xbox One X, or PS4 Pro to take advantage.
From a development perspective, how do you find the Xbox One X to be? With so much GPU power, we are sure you must be doing some amazing things.
It’s a really interesting piece of hardware. We got one with our tech team and they’re looking to see what they can do with it. We are still trying to get our heads around it just to see what you can do. We’re always excited to get any new hardware, and you can see as people get used to it, they try to pour more, and more power out of these things. So we’re really excited to see what we can do. It’s always cool to see developers making leaps and bounds, because there are things that inspire our team to do well.
"Xbox One X is a really interesting piece of hardware. We got one with our tech team and they’re looking to see what they can do with it."
Is the game running at 1080p and 60fps on both the base PS4 and Xbox One?
Nothing that we’ve locked down and confirmed. We’re still very much in development. We’re still optimizing. We really want to get an idea of how good we can make things. This is the first showing where we have been able to show the game publicly.
For anyone not interested in the last game, what can you say to persuade them to want to play Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2?
Though Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a sequel, you don’t have to have played the first game. You don’t have to have played any of the Lego games. We wanted to make something that’s really fun, and really exciting. So if you’re a fan of Lego you’ll love this game. If you’re a fan of Marvel you’ll love this game. If you hate both of them come along and give it a try, because I really think you’re going to have a lot of fun here. It has great gameplay mechanics, great environment to explore and great levels.