Project Postmortem

Marvel Super Hero Squad - 2009

Platforms: Nintendo Wii

Development Schedule: 18 months

Developer: BlueTongue Entertainment THQ Pty Ltd

Publisher: THQ


Project Description

Marvel Super Hero Squad is a video game that features cartoonish super-deformed versions of the Marvel Comics superhero characters, as seen in the Marvel Super Hero Squad toy line by Hasbro, as well as the television show made by Film Roman and Marvel Animation for Cartoon Network.

The game is split into two parts: Adventure Mode and Battle Mode. In Adventure Mode, there are 6 chapters for each hero: Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Hulk, Wolverine, Falcon and Thor. In the character selection, and the level players are playing, there is the main character, then the player gets to pick their own superhero, and they have a large amount of choices. In each level, they have to defeat a wave of enemies and achieve their target (Ms. Marvel tells them what to do). If it's a boss level, it is similar to the Battle mode although what the player has to do is either achieve 5 points, 7 points or 10 points in order to defeat him. Battle Mode is a free-for-all fighting mode. The player makes a new profile, then they either have two options: Versus Mode or Squad Mode. If it is Versus Mode, they pick their character they want to play as but if it's Squad Mode, Player 1 picks two characters, Player 2 picks the other two characters. Then in the Options section, the player picks how many points they can achieve in the battle: 5, 1O or more. Then they go and play the battle. Once finished, they can play again with different characters or go back to the main menu.

This project came about when El Tigre was drastically cut back in scope. Marvel were looking to license their IP in new ways and we decided to quickly put together a playable demo, based upon the upcoming Super Hero Squad cartoon. The initial design was "Marvel toys in a childs room, much like Toy Story, with the heros battling the villian toys". We developed a fully playable prototype within 2 weeks, with the Marvel characters Iron Man, Hulk, Spiderman and Wolverine battling against Doctor Doom and his minions, starting out on the floor of the child's room and working their way up onto the child's desk to a toy Helicarrier.

We took our prototype to Marvel, who loved our pitch so much that we were awarded the license to create the title.

The game was implemented using our in-house engine Toshi.

My Role

This was my last project with BlueTongue before I opted to leave the studio and relocate to Sydney.

I was responsible for level design tools, camera systems, and some player character behaviours.

The level tools and camera systems were continuations from previous projects with minor tweaks. The camera system was adjusted to allow for a dynamic "brawl" camera that would move and reposition to keep all characters within view while they brawled, without the camera moving in erratic and distracting ways. This system would go on to be used in future BlueTongue prototype games until the studio's closure.

I enjoyed implementing many player character abilities, such as the classic "Hulk Slam" that would send a shockwave out damaging opponents, and Nightcrawler's "Teleport Kick" ability that was implemented in a way to match the 2003 X-Men 2 "X2" movie opening scene where Nightcrawler would dissapear and reappear in rapid sucession, appearing next to an enemy that he would attack each time. This ability would slow down gameplay, with the camera following Nightcrawler around the play area until complete.