[This is the ninth in a series of 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 Xbox 360 screenshot|
It would seem that the Liquid Entertainment visual effects team listened to a lot of Metallica while pouring their blood, sweat and tears into “Thor: God of Thunder.” How else to explain the lightning that you can practically ride?
“[We call it] ‘procedural lightning,’ and one thing that’s cool about it is it’s always unique,” hints Liquid’s Director of Technology, Matt Altman. “Because we’re custom writing it, it’s not something you can really get with an effect systems. Considering this is Thor we’re dealing with, the importance of it was worth the effort and the time. And it comes out pretty cool, with the screen flashes and stuff like that. Lightning is one of our biggest atmospheric effects, but we combine it with other effects like fog. One thing about our fog that’s different than a lot of other [games’ use of it] is that you don’t see sheets and stuff like that as you’re running through it; we have some depth to it. The beauty of it is, because we altered these things, we can customize it, so when you have these things in combinations, it makes for a pretty awesome effect.”
You’ll see those customized atmospheric effects put to their most effective use when Thor must lock horns with the trouble-making heavy hitters on the outskirts of Asgard.
|Thor: God of Thunder PS3 screenshot|
“We like to think of the extra [visual] efforts as a few extra toys to add to standard toys,” Altman says. “It all comes together in our big boss fights. As players start their grappling, the visual effects and the controls just come together in our boss fight, and that’s really where we put our best efforts.”
Of course, one of the benefits of getting an advance peek at visual effects is that sometimes you see something that you’re not supposed to see…and we witnessed a doozy.
“Yep, you’ll be able to play as Thor as the Destroyer,” Altman confesses, harking back to 1987’s THOR #381 where the spirit of Thor actually inhabited the body of the Destroyer briefly (and gave us the awesome visual of the Destroyer in Thor’s cape and wings with Mjolnir on tow). “It’s one of the unlockables in the game, playing as that version of Thor. So again, you see our A.I. systems in play, all the little things that we do, special effects and everything. Hopefully the user finds the experience enjoyable.”
We may have left our oversized banner at home, but consider this MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, good sir.
"Thor: God of Thunder" has been rated "T for Teen" on consoles and "E 10+ for Everyone 10 and older" on Nintendo DS by the ESRB. Get your copy of the game on Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii and Nintendo DS right now!