TT Games has been the studio behind the LEGO versions of such adored franchises in pop culture as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Batman. They’ve also on occasion been known to dive into the Marvel universe. This year the developer is set to bring the much asked for sequel to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. At SDCC, we’re once again lucky enough to talk with the creative director at TT Games, Arthur Parsons. He and his team have a long history in gaming, but what you may not know is how deep the studio’s love for comics runs.
The original LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game was one of the most extensive takes on the house of ideas. Featuring several locations iconic to the publisher and an even greater number of characters, fans could spend dozens of hours wowed by the level of care put in. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 looks to be even bigger, as the developer announced this weekend; the game will feature such universes as the 2099 verse along with characters like Throg, Howard The Duck, Goliath, Forbush Man, Doctor Octopus, Cosmo, and taking the place of bonus mission keeper this time around…GWENPOOL. Parson’s himself instantly connected one of Marvel’s newest characters with the right spot in the game. “Gwenpool is in many ways more self-aware than Deadpool, her story of being a girl who crossed into this super hero universe and turned herself into a superhero because she knows being a supporting character would get her killed is a perfect example of what we can play with in Marvel,” explained Parsons.
When it comes to the catalog of Marvel characters, TT Games is among the most knowledgeable groups outside of the comic book publisher’s walls. Just look at the addition of the green skinned god of thunder. “Throg is a great example of being able to put a character in the game that’s different from the norm. He’s one few people outside of comics know about but has such good stories,” said Parsons. Indeed, the LEGO games have done a better job than titles like Ultimate Alliance or the Marvel vs. series of utilizing the full library of Marvel’s history. In a quick story Parsons told the audience during the LEGO Marvel panel at SDCC, the studio brought in a new artist hire and as eager as the new guy was to get to work the first thing Parsons had him do was open the Marvel Unlimited account and read a laundry list of specific comics which took the employee about four days. There might have even been a test for him at the end but he wouldn’t confirm. The creative director isn’t taking all the credit, as he praised his game’s director and development team for having just as much passion for the material as he does. Arthur even enlists the help of his young daughter to do quality control as she’s credited with at the end of many TT games.
Even the studio’s choice of villain for the game goes against the grain. Kang The Conqueror is the big bad in the game who brings different dimensions and times together in one massive world he rules called Chronopolis. Parsons and Marvel creative director Bill Rosemann both credit the inspiration for the story to comic book scribe Kurt Busiek’s Avengers Forever and Kang Dynasty. Busiek even contributes to some of the game’s writing and Parsons credits the partnership they have with Marvel for making that happen, ” I told Bill how much I loved those comics and if we could do a story along those lines and he made it possible to go straight to the source. It shows how great of a partner they have been the entire way.”
We’ve had the privilege of talking to many great game designers over the past few years and they’ve all had the one common denominator of wanting to tell stories using completely original properties. Parson’s who’s been with TT Games for about 17 years has a special appreciation for his place in the gaming industry. TT Games has created a bridge between what games aimed at younger audiences and games you can actually enjoy playing with your kids. Parson’s noted, “I didn’t always work on these games, some of my earlier games included Mupper Racing Mania, but with these Marvel and DC games I get to play with something I grew up loving soo much. I feel fortunate to be where I am in this industry.”
You know LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a game comic book fans should play because it’s made by a team that is undoubtedly about comics. Yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy you saw in the trailer look like the movie versions of the characters, because even though the movies practically made them household names few of those people would recognize the classic or comic iterations. So TT Games compromised by visually using the film GOTG for a base and layering them with much of their comic book history. Fans will get the classic versions of the characters in the game. Greenskyn Smashtroll, Throg, and Spider-Gwen should be enough to prove the love of comic books this game has but Arthur Parsons has a level of comic book fandom you might not even know. His first comics as a child were books only published in the UK like The Mekons, Eagle, and Dan Dare. “I would love to make a LEGO game with those characters, but it would just be for me because I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who would want to play it,” said Parsons. Though I did tell him should that day ever come, I want a copy of that game too.
The team at TT Games is working diligently to bring LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and yes an almost just as equally graphically powerful version as either console to the Nintendo Switch on November 14th. Oh and if you couldn’t be at the LEGO Marvel SDCC panel, let me know what you think of the below LEGO Kang homage cover. I might just have one or two to send.