Exclusive Interview -- Marvel: Ultimate Alliance

C.B. Cebulski is so enthusiastic for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance that he was chomping at the bit for a chance to talk about the project.

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Created in alliance with Activision and Raven Software, Marvel's hugely anticipated action-RPG, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance features one of the largest rosters of comic book characters ever in a video game and put fans in complete control of their favorite Marvel heroes. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance well also be one of the first Super-Hero games for all of the next-gen video game systems, as well as the current-gen, handheld, and PC platforms.



Marvel writer C.B. Cebulski hooked up with the game designers to craft an exclusive story for the game, with unique action and relationships that won't be found in any comic book. Cebulski is so entusiastic for Marvel: Ultimate Alliance that he was chomping at the bit for a chance to talk about the project.



Marvel: How did your involvement with the Ultimate Alliance come about? Who did you have to tie up and stuff in a closet to get on the Dream Team?



Cebulski: Raven and Activision came to me based on a recommendation from Ames Kirshen, Marvel's video game godfather. They were looking for a writer/consultant who also had editorial experience and a good grasp on the Marvel Universe. We talked and discussed the game and I guess they agreed I fit the bill for what they were looking for on Ultimate Alliance.



Marvel: You're a creative and effusive guy; what's been the single most creative thing about getting to put your stamp on this game?



Cebulski: The fact that we were able to come up with an original story set just slightly outside of current comic continuity has been very freeing creatively. While all the characters look and act just like they do in the comics, we were unencumbered to tie the story into events happening in the current comics, like Civil War. This gave us the leeway to create our own mega-event in Ultimate Alliance along the lines of the original Secret Wars or House of M, bringing every Marvel character we could together for this colossal crossover.



Marvel: Players will definitely recognize all their favorite Marvel characters in the game. Did you approach the characters and the dialogue the same as you would a comic?



Cebulski: Yes, exactly the same! The characters need to act and speak just like they do in the comics.



Marvel: How well do you feel the Marvel characters adapted to the game mechanics? Which character translated the best, in your opinion?



Cebulski: I think it was a natural and seamless adaptation. We see the characters "act" in the comics, and have more recently watched them move on the big screen adaptations in the movies, so the basis was all there. Raven, Blur and Activision did an incredible job of capturing the slightest nuances in every character's body actions. In the cut scenes, the way Spider-Man moves blows me away. Even the details in the way his toes and ankle bend when he lands from a jump are flawless. In the game itself, The Thing has wonderful game play. Making a big character made out of rock seem natural as he fights is a tall order, but one the developers nailed!



Marvel: That's going to go a long way with gamers. So, how do you construct such a story as is featured in Ultimate Alliance, with it being "open" enough as a game and still feel satisfied as a writer?



Cebulski: Working closely with Bob Love at Raven and everyone and Marvel and Activision, it was rather easy. They came to me with a story in mind and I just helped them put the pieces together and sew it all up, making it new reader friendly while also keeping it satisfying for long time Marvel fans, like me.



Marvel: Good to hear. How will Ultimate Alliance attract Marvel fans who aren't necessarily gamers?



Cebulski: The graphics and game play are truly unlike anything you've ever seen in a video game before, taking full advantage of new technologies and the advanced graphic and sound capabilities of the next gen platforms. I know we hear that all the time, but I think in this case that it's the absolute truth. Marvel: Ulimate Allinace is already winning awards and it hasn't even been released yet! Whether you know the Marvel characters or not, this is the buzz game of the year that everyone is going to be playing and talking about.



Marvel: Many of Marvel's greatest achievements have been team efforts. What was it like working with this game design crew?



Cebulski: I had an amazing time! Everyone at Raven and Activision has been so friendly and accommodating. As huge Marvel fans and comic fans themselves, everyone was working with the single-minded goal of making this the most rockin' video game in both story and game play. I think the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance team succeeded on every level!



Marvel: What's been your most favorite aspect of the game while playing it, as opposed to writing it?



Cebulski: Easy! Hearing the dialogue I helped craft brought to life by the amazingly talented voice actors on the game!



Marvel: Finally, anything you were hoping to do with the characters, their actions and dialogue, which maybe didn't happen? Something left for the future possibly?



Cebulski: There were plenty of more minor Marvel characters that I'm a fan of that I would have loved to include in the game. But with such a huge library of heroes and villains to choose from, of course not everyone could be included. Still, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance boasts the largest cast of characters of any game to date, over 140 Marvel characters. And as for those we had to cut... well, yes, there's always hope for a sequel!




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