Exclusive: Rob Gee on X-Men Legends!

On Tuesday, “X-Men Legends” hits stores and Superhero Hype! has an exclusive interview with Rob Gee, the game’s Project Lead for Raven Software. “X-Men Legends” is the only epic action-RPG where gamers pick and customize a team of X-Men, and for the first time, experience the X-Men’s greatest strength – working together to combat evil and protect the fate of mankind. The story begins when the X-Men learn that Magneto, their greatest adversary, has devised a plan to give mutants the power to reign supreme over humans. The X-Men are then forced to battle Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants to prevent global chaos and stop the imprisonment of the human race.

What makes X-Men Legends different than past hero games and other role playing games?

Rob Gee: Besides being the first role playing game based on the X-Men Universe, the most significant difference from other games in the genre is X-Men Legends focuses on the player being able to customize and control a team of four X-Men to unleash mutant mayhem as they see fit. The whole concept of what the X-Men are about is working together to overcome impossible odds to protect the world that shuns them and that’s what we made X-Men Legends all about.

Who wrote the X-Men Legends story? Can you tell us a bit about the story?

Gee: The X-Men Legends story was originally plotted out here at Raven with the help of our Producers at Activision and then we were able to bring Man of Action on board to further enhance and enrich the storyline. Man of Action is a group of comic book writers and artists that were involved with the X-Men comics at the time. Since then, they’ve been all over the comic industry working on some outstanding projects. It was a great experience to work with them polishing the story and finalizing all the character dialogue.

The story begins with Alison Crestmere, a young mutant who is rescued from the villainous clutches of the Brotherhood of Mutants by the X-Men. The X-Men invite her to Professor Xavier’s institute to help her learn how to control her developing mutant gift – the power to create and control magma. The story grows from there until it achieves epic proportions that X-Fans would expect to experience. There are many subplots that interweave each other based on character histories and old story elements from past comics. There are enough elements of love, loyalty, betrayal, intrigue and humor in X-Men Legends to satisfy any X-Men fans, young and old. The climactic ending of our story is best left unsaid – I don’t want to spoil anything!

Players can choose four X-Men for their team. How will the team members work together? How do the combo moves work?

Gee: In X-Men Legends, the player can customize and assign a team of four heroes for game missions. The player can then dynamically switch between characters during gameplay, using each of their power sets to overcome obstacles and villains alike. Non-player controlled characters have default AI settings in the menus that can be adjusted by the player to make each hero aggressive or passive, as well as which powers each hero will use during combat situations so no matter what character the player is controlling, the other team members are there, ready for anything.

For ease of play, we’ve given the player an ‘ALLY’ button that can be used to create combos by directing the other heroes to attack the player’s target, or to rally near the player when no targets are available. This makes combat in X-Men Legends mirror the established teamwork seen in the comics. Simply go after a bad guy, let’s say a Sentinel, use your ‘ALLY’ button as you wade into battle and watch the combos begin to rack up as you use your super powers in tandem with the rest of your teammates. Combos result in added damage bonuses; Adamantium claws, optic blasts and lightning strikes are just a few power attacks that can combo for devastating damage bonuses against a single target. Make sure to combo against more powerful enemies to bring them down faster before they have a chance to take out your allies!

Which of the X-Men will be available to the players? Any clues as to which villains they’ll face?

Gee: Players can expect to play most of their favorite mutants from the comics and movies including: Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Iceman, Gambit, Nightcrawler and Psylocke. That’s about half of our final list, so be assured that we have a great selection of mutants to choose from. Clues for which villains you’ll encounter? How about Charles’ step-brother, a bone-wielding Morlock leader, a hopping, amphibious stooge, a shape-shifter and some guy with ‘magnet’ in his name.

Since the game supports up to four players, what modes will be available for multiplayer?

Gee: In addition four player coop play through Story Mode, multiplayer modes are broken down into two different categories: Skirmish and Sparring modes. Skirmish is where the players can pick from heroes or villains (as they’re unlocked) to fight against AI opponents or play other sub-games, like Last Man Standing, or King of the Hill. In Sparring mode, the player is able to go head-to-head against their friends with pre-made X-Men heroes. Each hero has a strength and weakness, so it’ll require some experimentation and strategy to defeat certain heroes. Watch out for Jean Grey – once someone has mastered her, she’s the most powerful of all.

What games have Raven done in the past? How did they decide on doing an X-Men game?

Gee: Raven is responsible for many critically acclaimed titles. They started out with Black Crypt and Shadow Caster and then moved onto more action-oriented first-person shooters titles like Heretic, Hexen and Soldier of Fortune (and their sequels), Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. Raven introduced many new features to the FPS genre that have since become standardized, like mouse driven looking, jump, flight, sloped architecture, usable items and equipment management. Many of these features come from the desire to add more dimension to whatever we’re working on.

We’re known for our FPS games, but we don’t have a set FPS mentality here. The majority of us grew up on pen and paper RPGs and we still play them today ( weekly). Many of us love games from Real Time Strategy to the MMORPGs to the classic old-school Atari 2600 titles (and beyond). So when Activision offered us a Super Hero Action Role Playing Game to work on, we heartily agreed to the challenge! The huge bonus was that it featured the X-Men, a group of characters just screaming to be used in an RPG setting! A Wolverine RPG, or Gambit RPG would be fun to make, but we had it even better: an RPG allowing the player to pick their own favorite X-Men to play with and customize! How could we not make this game?!?

It’s been a great and rewarding experience to put X-Men Legends together! We know we have something very special here and we’re proud to put the name of Raven on it!

What kinds of things will X-Men fans find to unlock if they search out every last corner of the game?

Gee:If the fans scour the game’s nooks and crannies, they’ll either find rewards that enhance gameplay (like Danger Room discs for training, or bonus stat, skill and experience points) or they’ll discover historical rewards that showcase comic covers or concept art from the game’s development process. Be sure to check the mansion dormitories out thoroughly every now and then for items that shed a little more light on our heroes’ personalities and private thoughts, or the subbasement or the Professor’s office for backgrounds on villains and heroes alike. Players can also view loading screens and cinematics that have been unlocked during the game at certain points within the mansion.

Lastly, explore the Danger Room’s training courses to learn more about game mechanics and, if needed, extra training to unlock more experience levels and skills when the game’s difficulty is too challenging or the player needs a little more edge to defeat a particular boss.

Pre-order the game at Amazon.com and check out the official website for more info and downloads!

Source: Superhero Hype!