X-Men: The Official Game Preview

This Memorial Day, the X-Men return to the big screen, and two weeks before fans will get their first taste in X-Men: The Official Game, courtesy of Activision and the creators of X-Men Legends.

The game itself is not a re-telling, or re-playing if you will, of the story of the film, but is a bridge between X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand, leading up to the start of the new film (that explains, among other things, why Nightcrawler does not appear in the new film) in a new story written for the game by Zak Penn, one of the writers of both “X2″ and “The Last Stand,” and long-time X-Men comic writer Chris Claremont.

In the game, players control three characters – Iceman, Nightcrawler, and of course, Wolverine – through the branching, and occasionally overlapping, storyline, allowing players to go through some levels multiple times, gaining different perspectives on the story each time.

“We picked those three characters,” developers said, “because of the variety of their movement. They’re so different and they each require a different set of skills. Iceman rides his ice sleds and is the only character with distance attacks, and his levels reflect that. Nightcrawler, who was in many ways the hardest, has his acrobatic abilities and his teleportation, and Wolverine is there for the hack and slash… he also had a very difficult health system to model, because his power is regeneration, and its very easy for that kind of character to become unintentionally unbeatable.”

Of the three characters, the biggest breakthrough came on Nightcrawler, creating a truly intuitive control system that mixes his acrobatic abilities and teleportation abilities effortlessly. With just a few moments play, Nightcrawler is quickly jumping, flipping, and bamfing around his levels. “And some of the testers can really rip it by now… they’ll have him ‘porting and attacking multiple enemies without ever touching the ground.” X-Men: The Official Game also includes a slight RPG element, as in-between levels, players can increase selected abilities of their characters, making them better fighters, or faster, or able to take more damage, etc.

There are roughly ten bosses spread throughout the 30 odd levels of the game, including the chance at the beginning to replay two of the bigger fights from the first two films; Wolverine versus Sabertooth atop the Statue of Liberty, and Wolverine versus Deathstrike in the depths of Weapon X.

Not all elements for the game were available during the preview – the cut scenes consisted of crudely animated models as they were still in the process of being completed, and according to producers, an announcement is imminent concerning the “well-known” voice talent that has signed on to the game.

X-Men: The Official Game will be available this May for the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance and PC.

Source: Joshua Starnes