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Thor: God of Thunder - Beyond Thunder Dome

Your visitor's guide to Asgard--and the nasty local elements to steer clear of--in SEGA's new 'Thor: God of Thunder' game

This is the first of several behind-the-scenes featurettes Marvel.com will be running to lead into the release of SEGA's "Thor: God of Thunder"; think of it as a Director's Cut DVD commentary BEFORE the game even hits stores. Keep checking in every couple of days for a new teaser with more tidbits from the developers and designers, and remember that each article is best enjoyed with mutton and mead.

By Jesse Thompson
"Thor: God of Thunder" screenshot
Welcome to Asgard...but don’t stare at the scenery for too long. Unless you can quickly take cover behind Volstagg.

When it comes to your entry point in the upcoming “Thor: God of Thunder” video game (out May 3 from SEGA, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Nintendo DS), you begin as Thor in the frozen, futuristic landscape of Asgard. But this ain’t necessarily the Asgard you’ll find while flipping through Norse mythology books, ESSENTIAL THOR trades, or even in the “Thor” feature film (in theaters May 6, of course).

“Some of the elements were inspired, but we’re not designing the game directly lock in step with what the movie is doing,” says Bennie Terry, Art Director for developer Liquid Entertainment. “We pulled a lot from Marvel’s universe, specifically the nine [worlds] Thor travels to, trying to actually incorporate what we saw there and re-invent it to some degree.”

One thing remains unchanged, of course: Leave it to Big Poppa Odin to have the most impressive digs.

“Everywhere you go, the predominant focal point you always see is Odin’s palace, to emphasize his power and Asgard’s greatness,” Terry says. “Every civilization has that one thing that says you’re advanced, and in this case, you’ll see his power as the player pushes out. Our formula is fairly simple: We want tight spaces intermixed with large, open vistas, so you get a sense of ‘I’m actually moving through the level.’”

"Thor: God of Thunder" screenshot
And movement is what you’ll need as it doesn’t take long for the kingdom to quickly turn into a war zone akin to Detroit at the beginning of “Robocop.” But instead of thugs running wild in the city streets, the game opens with an Asgard that’s been overrun by a cadre of frost giants from Niflheim called the Jotun.

“It’s kind of like a small, special-ops raiding party that initially hits and opens up the gates for the rest of the Jotun to come in,” says Terry, “and you’ll see that later on towards the end of the game.”

It’s up to Thor to decimate a massive ice dome that’s formed over the Gjallarhorn, the Asgardians’ early-warning device that stirs them to battle. Of course, that will be easier said than done while dodging bombardment attacks from above and slugging it out with frost giants as he traverses the landscape, breaks his way through the ice barrier, and then turns right around and heads back to Odin’s palace. And he’s certainly not gonna like what awaits him there.

"Thor: God of Thunder"
“That’s where he fights his first [super-sized], real enemy,” Terry teases. “We have three sizes of characters: [those] which are approximately Thor’s height; they don’t really pose a real significant challenge, they’re more fodder units. And we have [others], which are twice Thor’s height and they pose more of a challenge; they’re not as powerful, but it’s an energetic fight. And then we have [the big guys], where Thor is really battling giants; he’s scaling up their bodies, he’s climbing up to dominate them, but that’s kind of a see-saw battle--either way, it hurts. When a [gigantic enemy] wins, it hurts Thor; when Thor wins, the [other combatant] gets demolished, so it’s that level of power expenditure that he’s going for when he fights those level of enemies.”

In that case, we hope he’s given Mjolnir a good spit-shine. Until then, stay tuned to Marvel.com for more forthcoming details on what happens to the Odinson outside of Asgard in “Thor: God of Thunder”!



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