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Thor Month

Thor: God of Thunder - Chairmen of the 'Board

We explore the storyboards and villains in this latest preview of the video game!

By Jesse Thompson (Additional reporting by Ryan Penagos)

[This is the sixth 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.]

Pre-fight interactions in video games aren't always the most compelling events. Fortunately, the team at Liquid Entertainment, producers of SEGA’s forthcoming "Thor: God of Thunder," decided to step things up. Their goal? In the storyboarding process for the game, make the interactions between Thor and his nemeses as monumental and realistic as (in)humanly possible.

"When we sketch out our ideas," says Liquid’s Lead Animator Rick Arroyo, "we try to find the most creative way, the most exciting, dynamic way, we can to make these guys feel like they’re in this epic battle."

Thor: God of Thunder screenshot

Players will get a taste of the epic when Thor squares off against Mangog...and Odin engages in a little spear-slinging, "Leave my boy alone!" parental support.

"[You’ll see] Odin heave his spear at Mangog to help you fight Mangog," Arroyo says, "and we wanted to make the player feel like [grabbing the spear for yourself] is something you would do if you were Thor and you were fighting this giant. You'll really be able to feel Thor trying to rip
the spear out and then come back and re-throw it. He charges off, comes back, and he's throwing with all his power right at Mangog. Thor has his hammer and Odin has his spear, and these are two extreme, powerful weapons. Already you're Thor, and everyone knows you are badass. But your dad? Everyone will be like, 'You came from him? Oh man. I got goosebumps.'"

But what happens when Thor doesn't have his old man watching his back and loaning him his tools? It's safe to say the kid's gonna do alright. Remember that ice-armored frost giant we described in last week's installment? The crew at Liquid have mapped out an elaborate sequence where you make frosted flakes out of the icy beast.

"This is one of my favorite ones: Thor comes crashing down on that guy like a meteor, like a comet," Arroyo enthuses with a wild look in his eye. "And he goes head on. If we can get the audience excited and then have them saying, 'Man, did you play "Thor"? Did you do that move?' Then we did something really cool and were able to touch the audience in a certain way. So here, he comes out crashing like a comet, then he's pummeling the giant, who's struggling to gain his balance. And Thor...he's fearless. So that's what we wanted to capture with this battle of the giants, where he's charging up the camera and then BOOM! With the sound and all the effects, you just get that sort of amazed, breathless 'Haaaaa' moment."

That "Haaaaa" moment will quickly turn into "Haaaaoooooooly crap" when Ulik the Rock Troll surfaces...with the equivalent of Asgardian nuclear warheads at his disposal.

Thor: God of Thunder screenshot

"Sometimes a guy might grab a chair and throw it you or take the TV and throw it, or something like that," says Arroyo, once again arousing suspicion that he's probably been on the sidelines of one too many hardcore matches. "But in this world, Ulik grabs these giant cells from what we're calling 'the frost grinder' and throws them at Thor. These are giant batteries, so if you get hit, you receive significant damage; it's very dangerous. But we wanted to show that Thor can take on whatever you throw at him. So he catches one and is like, 'No, I’m the god here. I'm the super hero here.' He grabs it one-handed and swings it right back at Ulik to give him the damage. Again, this just came down to 'What can we do to have fun with it?' So Ulik uses two hands, but you use one hand."

At the end of the day, the character interactions in "Thor: God of Thunder" boil down to showing a certain balance of different strength levels. There will be occasions where Thor will cross paths with creatures twice his size who can easily manhandle him. But, to our eternal gratitude, there will be plenty of "stress relief" opportunities with the big guys, too...meaning Thor will have nothing to worry about. Surtur's minions, we're looking at you...

Thor: God of Thunder screenshot

"With those guys, you'll be able to jump on them, grab them by the horns, and end the struggle really quick," Arroyo promises. "You’ll be saying, "I'm gonna take my hammer, charge it up, and ram it down your throat.’ I mean that’s Thor: straight in your face. He'll be standing there in
that nice, strong pose for a brief moment, and then just ram it down with a lot of attitude and determination to just end it."

Hammers to the face and calling it a day? Yeah, we think it’s safe to say the gang at Liquid understand the appeal of Thor.

Stay tuned for more info on "Thor: God of Thunder" and pick up your copy of the game for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS and 3DS starting May 3!  

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