Hulk Smash! First game details, screenshots, art and renders of Radical Games' high-powered sequel.
by Douglass C. Perry
March 8, 2005 - The time of crappy, useless comic book videogames is dead. With Marvel games appearing on the silver screen and comic book properties continuing to steadily increase in value, the publishers and developers that dare take on a comic book license these days have no choice but to make a quality project. (Or, if they don't, they'll be beating themselves with a paddle for days, having paid a boatload of money for a license with nothing to show for it.)
While there are a handful of good to even excellent comic book games -- Spider-Man 2 and The Punisher, for instance -- there are fewer and fewer really bad ones. Encore's Daredevil, which never made it to market, and TDK's Aquaman, which just plain sucked, are more remnants of bad publishing and cheap development that anything else. And remember, Titus made perhaps the worst comic book game ever, Superman 64, a long, long time ago.
Which is why VU Games has taken on Marvel's jade giant in a new way; sans the movie license, and with bigger goals. In its second approach to the comic book "hero," the Incredible Hulk, VU Games and original developer Radical Games wanted to go all out, balls to the wall, and give you, the ever-hungry gamer, something to cheer about, to marvel over, something that makes you say, "Holy sh*t, that's cool."
With GDC right up in our faces, we were able to get a sneak peak at The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction before it actually is shown to the public. We spoke with producer Vlad Ceraldi, who's worked on The Simpsons Hit & Run and was the technical director on The Simpsons Road Rage, and lead designer Eric Holmes, who also led the design for the first Hulk, and was a designer on State of Emergency.
In their discussion of all things Hulky, the two give in-depth answers on almost everything, from replay options to chain jumping to adversaries, game design, and the originally written story. The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, a single-player action game, will hit retail stands in August 2005 on Xbox, PS2, and GameCube.
IGN: The first Incredible Hulk title did some great things as comic book videogames go. It tapped into the Hulk's strength by showing him damaging streets, using interactive objects in the environment, and more. The engine was robust and it satisfied some hardcore gamers and apparently a good number of casual players as well, but there was room to work, room to improve. How is this game different and better than the first?
Vlad Ceraldi: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is the full-monty Hulk experience. We have let it all hang out. The first title approached smash everything but Ultimate Destruction will blow gamers away with "I can't believe I just did that" moments. The scale and sense of freedom of this game is much greater than any other comic book videogame to date. If you felt that locomotion in other games was great as you swing from place to place like a monkey in tights, you are in for a big surprise -- nothing can stop the Hulk! You can barrel down the street sending buses and traffic into oblivion, run up buildings leaving a swath of destruction in your wake and leap over buildings as you bound across the city linking super jumps together. We re-wrote our game engine to make sure that the player has the freedom to lose control -- where the world is your weapon and you can choose how, when and where to play.
IGN: Since The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is not based on a movie this time around, will the storyline be original? Or is it based on a comic book story arc? Also, will there be any references to the previous game, and is this a sequel?
Eric Holmes: This is not a sequel in any way. Ultimate Destruction has an original story penned by none other than the award-winning Paul Jenkins. If you are a comic book fan, I don't think I need to introduce him (Editor's Note: Paul Jenkins is best known for his work in re-creating the Hulk, though he's also written Batman stories, and he originally got into the business by editing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). The story and the game are true to the Marvel universe and to the Hulk's history. It is firmly rooted in the Hulk comic heritage but we did not stop there -- in a videogame first, the story from Ultimate Destruction is actually forming part of the Hulk continuity. We have worked closely with Ames Kirshen, the director of video game development at Marvel to ensure that we have created the most authentic Marvel and Hulk experience possible in a videogame.
Click here for the remaining two pages of this interview.