Marvel Fighting Game Inspired by Super Smash Bros. Was in the Works
Marvel almost had a fighting game in the spirit of the Super Smash Bros. series on its hands at one time. The Marvel universe and characters seem to be ready for such a broad crossover since its heroes are regularly featured in crossover media and boast a slew of outrageous abilities ideal for a clash. Though production ultimately veered away from the Super Smash Bros. paradigm, the thought of what might have been being still interesting.
When the first Super Smash Bros. game was published, it shook up the fighting game landscape and had an impact on gaming in general. It combined the most famous characters from a well-known corporation, presenting its fans with a powerful dose of fan service. When you combine it with crisp, clean gameplay and a fantastic multiplayer experience, it’s no surprise that the franchise has enthralled the gaming industry so brilliantly. Marvel, it seems, is no exception.
Marvel’s Super Hero Squad was launched in 2009, only one year after Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and is now recognised for the likes of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and the card battle tactics of Marvel’s Midnight Suns. Due to the popularity of previous games, the DS version of Marvel’s Super Hero Squad almost became a riff on the classic fighter’s formula. However, according to game creator Luke Muscat, the game ended up being released in a different version owing to a number of responsibilities and restraints.
Muscat explains in a video how the game was originally intended to be a street brawler, similar to the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. Halfbrick finally received news from publisher THQ that they would be shifting course, aiming for something more akin to a Super Smash Bros. game, and most of the work was scrapped. When the game was about halfway finished, Halfbrick was approached again with news of a big oversight: the contract THQ had signed required the game to be a street brawler, and the business had seemingly just overlooked that element. Forced to scrap months of work, Halfbrick hurried at the last minute to put together what it could, but the game ended up being “a complete hot mess.”
Muscat discusses his experience working on an Avatar: The Last Airbender video game that was also subject to considerable interruption from its publisher in the same video. There are two main themes here: licenced games and publisher intervention. Licensed games sometimes lack creativity or polish, and publisher demands are frequently mentioned as development barriers, but it’s fantastic to receive some clarification on why from a creator.
Muscat, on the other hand, ends the video with a third horror scenario that was not a licenced game nor was it facing publisher backlash. Perhaps the lesson is that game creation is a true maze of difficulties.