High Moon Studios has already shown what it can do with licensed material, having worked with the Bourne and Transformers franchises. Now the Activision-owned studio is targeting its first comic book license, bringing the Merc with the Mouth to Mature-rated life. Marvel’s Deadpool stands out from the super hero crowd for many reasons, including his ability to say whatever he wants and do whatever he feels like doing.
“Deadpool is a character who knows he’s a comic book character, and in our case he knows he’s a comic book character in a videogame,” said Sean Miller, game director on the Marvel project at High Moon Studios. “He’s making this game for himself. This is a game that he wants to play. The takeaway from that is that he really lets us do things that we can’t do in a lot of other games in the Marvel universe. He talks a lot. He’s irreverent. He’s funny. He’s a wise ass. He’s also really powerful. There’s no other character that loves kicking ass and getting paid for it — and eating chimichangas — more than Deadpool.”
Deadpool’s superhuman healing power, which he got from Wolverine, allows him to take intense amounts of damage. The game will feature this ability, showing first the damage and then the healing. This will include the dismemberment and all the outlandish stuff from the comic books.
“Deadpool is a martial artist and a swordsman,” said Miller. “What’s cool about this for us is that Deadpool isn’t just restricted to knives or swords or guns. It’s about using all those things, and it’s about changing the way that you play the game based on what it is that you’re using. So the seamless transition between gun play and melee is really important to us.”
In the comics, Deadpool is known for being insane. In the game, he literally will have multiple voices in his head to show this split personality. The developer is embracing this antihero as the ultimate case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. In fact, the character will learn things from listening to his different voices, just as the player will. And this dialogue, as shown in the early build, was very funny. So players will be laughing while they’re slicing and dicing enemies, or blowing them away with really huge guns.
“Because the voices inside his head don’t know what the other one knows, there’s some great fun in the conversations that he has with himself,” said Miller. “As a character who knows he’s in a videogame, he’s also aware that you have the controller in your hand. His fate is tied to the way you play the game, so he’s going to be playing with you while you’re playing with him. Those extra voices actually do a good job of giving us another way to explore who Deadpool is and how you interact with him.”
In sticking with his comic-book personality, Deadpool will make quips and remark on just about everything that happens in the game. He’s got quite the personalities. And since he’s the star of this show, everything is seen from his perspective, through his filter. High Moon promises that other Marvel characters will appear in this adventure, although they’re only confirming Psylocke at the moment. These characters may look different than fans are used to, since Deadpool has enhanced or modified things based on his unique perspective.
“Like in many of the comics, the level starts with Deadpool as a mercenary on a mission,” said Miller. “This is not a Deadpool team-up. This is not a Deadpool X-Force thing. This is a Deadpool game. He’s been paid to assassinate a crazy billionaire media mogul, who has got his own personal militia. He’s been doing some things that are not quite right, so somebody has paid Deadpool to go and kill him. This becomes the impetus that brings Deadpool into a much larger story.”
High Moon is working with Marvel comic book writer Daniel Wayne, who’s penned the last six years of Deadpool, to create a unique story that fits in with the current Marvel Universe. And it’s a story that only Deadpool can solve. The story spans everything from the world everyone knows to some places that Marvel fans will be very familiar with.
The demo showcased why Deadpool will be one of the rare Marvel games that’s rated Mature. The Punisher was the last game to push the violence quotient that high. But while that game was somber and dark, Deadpool is funny and gory. His personality, as brought to life by actor Nolan North, makes the blood and bullets seem a bit less deadly. It’s so over-the-top that the game doesn’t get dragged down into any type of darkness. It’s violent, but funny. And you want to pull that trigger or use those swords just to hear what his voices will say next.
“The game has a lot of violence, a lot of suggestive themes and things like that, but it’s all done with an eye towards entertainment value just being good clean fun to play,” said Miller. “Deadpool has fun at everybody’s expense, including his own. And we get to go along for the ride and see how he pokes fun at the videogame universe, at the Marvel Universe, and all these things.”
Deadpool, who has appeared as a minor character in games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, is anything but ordinary. Miller said that in choosing this project, which isn’t attached to any movie in the works, the studio wanted to give this character justice.
“We like to looked at what we wanted to see in a game as a fan of this character, and our Deadpool game takes it to another level,” said Miller. “He’s an anti-hero. I would say that he challenges what it is to be hero.”
And while this game will certainly challenge players in how to creatively kill off enemies, it will be a fun ride. Deadpool is coming. And the gaming world may never be the same.