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Thor: God of Thunder - Ice to See You

Preview the hostile, icy landscape of Nifelheim--and prep for combat with Ymir and Mangog in this special look at the game!

This is the second 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 they're best enjoyed with mutton and mead.

By Jesse Thompson (Additional reporting by Ryan Penagos)

"Thor: God of Thunder" screenshot - Thor vs. Frost Giants

We hope Thor remembered to pack his mittens. He's about to go on a long journey, and it ain’t exactly to the Caribbean.

After completing the first challenge of "Thor: God of Thunder" (freeing the Gjallarhorn and alerting his fellow Asgardians to the trouble afoot), Thor must leave the warmth and coziness of Asgard behind for the harsh, frozen tundra of Nifelheim, home to Ymir the Frost Giant.

"Nifelheim is a world that was once rivaled Asgard to some degree, not in technology but in power," says Bennie Terry, Art Director for developer Liquid Entertainment. "But Asgard has robbed it of that power, and what we see are the remnants of what's left over. We wanted it to feel hostile. It's not like Asgard where, even though there's war going on, it still feels kind of friendly and familiar. This is a place that Thor absolutely does not want to be, but he's thrown into the midst of it because he has to go and defeat Ymir at the end of the level in order to move on to the next level."

But before Thor can go toe-to-toe (and beard-to-beard) with a towering icicle, he must first traverse Nifelheim itself, which has its own share of challenges--from freezing-cold blasts of liquid nitrogen (courtesy of Ymir’s taunting face that will occasionally materialize pre-battle) to looming, treacherous spires.

"When Thor lands in Nifelheim, what you see first are large, open vistas," Terry teases. "Nifelheim is a terraforming world; it's frozen, but it's being kept cold by these large spires in the distance, and they'll create these large structures in the sky that pretty much keep it cold year 'round."

Rest assured, Thor will quickly get his blood pumping as he must strike down a series of spires in order to reach Ymir's castle. But even after you beat the frosty one into a slushie pulp in his own house, another opponent awaits in the neighboring Cave of Ages, behind a massive gate that will leave your mouth agape...namely, Mangog. But a demon made up of the sum total of a billion beings killed by Odin can’t be that tough, right? Wrong-o. (Why else do you think game writer Matt Fraction threw him into the mix?)

"Thor: God of Thunder" screenshot - Thor vs. Frost Giants

"Before [Thor can throw a punch or swing his hammer], we wanted to make the enemy just be able to hit him," laughs Lead Animator Rick Arroyo."Thor is a god, but we wanted to show that there is a challenge. So in this example, Thor is fighting with Mangog, and of course Thor is the hero and can rise to the occasion and take him out, but there is struggling, there is a moment where you feel that there is a challenge, like 'Okay, Thor really needs to step up.'"

The vastness of the battleground will certainly aid in your efforts to flog Mangog (as will a bit of good ol'-fashioned strategy, as simply repeating hammer throws won't ensure a victory), but be aware that this is a battle you stand a good chance of losing...luckily, you still have a chance to forge ahead in the event Thor fails to layeth the smacketh down.

"If you lose health to him in battle, we have what is called a CS Lock, where you're actually button-mashing to win that lock," Arroyo says. "If you lose it, there will be significant damage dealt, but you won’t get killed unless your health is very low." In other words, don't get killed.

What will help keep Thor alive is using Mjolnir to fly and navigate across the various locales where the Thunder God finds himself. But before you pull a Talking Heads "Well, how did I get here?", Terry is one step ahead of you.

"The paths are pretty guided," he says. "It's not completely free-roaming, like an open-world game where you can go anywhere. There are specific events that kind of pull you forward. But, yes, you do these sorts of epic 'jumps across.' And that’s where Thor actually uses Mjolnir--he'll spin it up, throw it in the distance and then he'll fly down to those locations."

To see if Thor's arm remains in its socket--and what awaits him after the game's clashes with Ymir and Mangog--stay tuned to Marvel.com.



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