Yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen in on a conference call with some of the folks behind Iron Man 2: The Game. Dean Martinetti, Producer, and Mike McHale, Development Director, both from SEGA, answered questions from the gaming press. As a long-time fan of Iron Man, from the comic books to the recent movie, I was quite interested in the new game. I played and enjoyed the first movie's game, but it was far from an ideal experience. Control issues, linear level progression, and inconsistent difficulty made that game very frustrating. Martinetti and McHale were very honest and acknowledged the issues that plagued the first game, and assured us that Iron Man 2 will be a huge improvement.
Iron Man 2: The Game will not follow the story of the movie very closely; rather, it is an extension, a seperate story contained in the Iron Man movie universe. They felt that Iron Man is a very "gameable" character, and while the movie's story works as a film, that doesn't always make for a compelling gaming experience. Matt Fraction, who is currently Marvel's go-to guy for Iron Man comics, wrote the overall story, and all the dialogue for cut scenes. The game's plot incorporates several villains from the comic series, including AIM, the Roxxon corporation, and a favorite of mine, the Crimson Dynamo. Film characters including Nick Fury and Black Widow will appear in the game as NPCs, but the main draw is being able to play as either Iron Man or War Machine.
Iron Man and War Machine will be interchangeable, and you can select either one of them to complete most missions. The two play quite differently. Iron Man's strengths are energy weapons, such as repulsors and lasers, and has a more acrobatic fighting style in melee. War Machine uses ordinance like cannons, rockets, and missiles, and in melee uses a brute force approach. Each character's armor can be customized with whatever weapons you choose, and you can even program in particular melee attack routines. As far as special suits of armor are concerned, Martinetti and McHale assured us that plenty would be included, but could only mention the suitcase armor (seen in the latest movie trailer) at this time.
Iron Man 2 will have more of a focus on melee than the first game. There are several levels which take place in interiors, where flying around and attacking at long range isn't an option. Some boss fights will be up close and personal, more like a boxing match than the hit and run tactics of the previous game, and should be more satisfying as a result. The environment is more dynamic and destructible this time around, as well. Specifics about the different bosses and levels were sparse, though an entire level fought on and around the SHIELD Helicarrier was mentioned, and they promised massive bosses, far larger than what could be included in a movie. (I'm hoping for Fin Fang Foom!)