As events were winding down at NYCC on Sunday, OTF stopped by at the SEGA booth to talk with Next Level Games’ Brandon Gill, game director of the upcoming third-person action platformer, Captain America: Super Soldier, slated for release July of next year.
Captain America: Super Soldier is, at its core, a third-person action/platformer, intentionally grounded in reality (“We’re not doing anything like air combos or things like that,” Gill tells us) but rather is focused on melee fighting, the vibranium shield, and serum-aided acrobatics.
The game takes place entirely in a “massive castle complex in the Bavarian mountains where Hydra’s set up shop,” says Gill, but refrains from saying much more than that about the setting. “The castle’s former owner is a well-known World War II Captain America character, I’m not going to tell you who it is, but you can probably take a guess. Hydra and Red Skull have taken over, and he’s kinda pissed about that.”
Do I feel Baron Zemo in our future?
The Cap we’ll see is based primarily on Ed Brubaker’s Cap, and Next Level has taken that into account for gameplay. He’s a “thinker and tactician,” and that comes through in combat. Very clearly influenced by Arkham Asylum, the combat is the 360 degree freeflow-type that we’ve come to know and love, but Cap also gets his knocks in via offensive grabs and shield throws to stagger enemies or leave them vulnerable to stronger attacks. The shield is, unsurprisingly, critical for defense, letting you block attacks or even directly reflect projectiles back, and these points of defense must be weaved into your combat in order to survive.
Cap also has a “Focus Meter” that grows as you attack and gives you access to an enhanced version his core fighting abilities. The demo only had one to show: “Enhanced Stike,” which goes into a slow motion cinematic of Cap outright crushing someone’s face. These cinematics will vary, we’re told, but we’re certainly looking forward to what other focus attacks will be in Cap’s arsenal.
The platforming sections exploit Captain America’s acrobatic talents as the perfect soldier, giving Nightcrawler a run for his money. The platforming is “based on rhythm” where you have to properly time the pressing of the “mobility button” in order to glide across the screen. “Get the rhythm right, and he moves faster and more acrobatically,” Gill instructs. If you button mash, you’ll find youself a bit slower and more clunky, which isn’t a good thing when an anti-aircraft cannon is trained on your position.
The environment is self-contained in a Metroidvania style (or Arkham Asylum style) structure, which means that the map unlocks as you progress and you can return to previous areas to pick up collectibles that will aid you along the way. In this case, the collectibles go toward Cap’s character progression: collecting info, film reels, etc. will unlock new HYDRA weaponry or upgrades. Some upgrades are global (“similar to researching in Bioshock,”) while others upgrades have a little more freedom.
For those worried: no, this is not a movie game. “We’d rather worry about making the game instead of sticking to a storyline that already exists,” Gill reassures. “We actually created our game flow and everything first, and then Christos Gage [Marvel writer, Avengers: Initiative] came in, worked with us, and stated writing a story that worked with the game we wanted to make.”
I’m sure we can all breathe a little easier knowing they weren’t beholden to the movie script, instead opting for Gage to pen the originaly story, but we can’t give them the benefit of the doubt yet, even those games that aren’t tied to the movie script are often compromised because of the requirement to ship the game during the week of the movie’s opening night.
And, lastly, no, it’s not Chris Evans under that mask. “Everybody keeps saying that it looks like him, but, no,” laughs Gill. I don’t know, Brandon, he sure does look like him…
Captain America: Super Soldier is slated for release in July 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS.
PS: Gill tells us that, while they don’t have any plans for post-launch DLC at this time, they will be doing pre-order incentives, like new skins for Cap. When asked if those skins gave you stat or ability bonuses, Gill very quickly replied with a “can’t answer that.” Take that as you will.