Lessons Learned From Iron Man: The Video Game

Sega is quite aware that the first Iron Man video game it published wasn't too warmly received by critics, something the developers of the second game based on the Jon Favreau films are trying to address.

"The good news is that everyone in the known universe told us what was wrong with the first game," said Kyle Brink, creative director at Sega Studios San Francisco, the team working on Iron Man 2: The Video Game. Sega Studios San Francisco is the re-branded Secret Level, the team that worked on the original Iron Man and Golden Axe: Beast Rider for Sega.

Yeah, I know.

But Brink says that there has been some personnel turnover at the studio, plus new faces—including his own hiring as the studio's creative director. The Iron Man team is listening to complaints, things like having to half-pull a trigger on the Xbox 360 or PS3 to make Iron Man hover.

"The controls were a big issue in the first one, so we completely revised the controls here," told us during an interview at Comic-Con. "They're based on the top 20 games out there, so they should be immediately familiar to people and they're consistent across all movement modes out there."

"We also brought the range in tighter, because in the first you were hunting pixels," he adds, addressing one of our own gripes about the original.

Brink says that adding in diverse enemies, diverse environments—both indoors and outdoors—will alleviate some of the repetition that plagued the first Iron Man.

T.Q. Jefferson, director of games at Marvel, touched on some of the changes that have been implemented on the Marvel side to make the company's games stay "suck free." That includes the recently established Marvel Creative Committee, which is focusing on using in-house Marvel talent—like Invincible Iron Man comic book writer Matt Fraction—on games based on the comic book publisher's properties.

Jefferson says that one of the new Marvel games tenets is that "movie games don't have to be movie games," abandoning the strict limitations of a movie's plot, characters and set pieces. Instead, Marvel games will be "original stories set in the movie universe" making it more feasible to release a game alongside the film, with input from folks like Fraction.

Even though Iron Man 2: The Video Game isn't due out until April 2010, Marvel and Sega were showing off a playable (by Sega staff only) demo of the game at Comic-Con. It looked impressively polished for a game still 8 or more months out, hopefully a good example of Marvel's change in strategy for games.

We'll have more from our interview with Kyle Brink and Matt Fraction shortly.