More on Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction
The following was originally posted on 1up.com:
From "Hulk" to "The Incredible Hulk"
Heading into 2003's summer movie season, Ang Lee was hot off of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, comic book movies were big business, and it seemed to many like Hulk could be the next big franchise to hit theatres. Naturally, Vivendi saw this coming and signed up Radical Entertainment to develop a game based on the film, hoping for a Spider-Man style movie tie-in that would sell like crazy. While neither project would be considered a failure, in retrospect both faced certain limitations -- the movie's special effects overshadowed its story, while the game followed the movie so much that it missed out on some of the qualities that make the Hulk character ideal for a game.For the follow-up game, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, a lot's changed. With the movie tie-in out of the way, Radical has been free to hit the reset button and design a game around the character rather than a defined story. That means no more stealth segments playing as Bruce Banner, no more linear structure, and a massive focus on letting Hulk run around fighting anything he wants. "Probably the biggest decision we made was to go with a non-linear, open-world game," says lead designer Eric Holmes. "This was a hard choice to make as a development team as it's one hell of a challenge to make a game like this. For instance, we had to find ways to build the assets required to make a whole city, to make the character move in unique ways through the world so the player feels empowered and unique, to make enemies that can navigate a city and keep up with such a dynamic character, to make all of that come together and to make it all fun -- not easy!"
Given this structure, Ultimate Destruction is drawing comparisons to the console version of Spider-Man 2 -- Radical's design team is even using the term "locomotion" to describe their movement, like SM2 did to describe its web swinging. The primary difference between the two games is that while Spider-Man 2 was more finesse-based, the latest Hulk is -- note the title -- all about destruction. "Scale illustrates what Hulk can do over and above any other character," says Holmes. "Sure, a few games have you blowing up cars and so on -- maybe you have to shoot it for 30 seconds and then it catches fire, but no other game has destruction with the ease, power and scale of the Hulk experience. Hulk does three impossible things before breakfast."When coming up with the game design, the team at Radical had various taglines they used to describe this kind of madness. Holmes' favorite is, "Action on the Richter Scale," a phrase that was in some ways a guide for the developers. "This was a goal on the development team: to create action, moves, abilities, destruction that would measure on the Richter scale," says Holmes. "If our ideas wouldn't result in a move, an event or destruction to measure on the Richter scale, we didn't put them in. So I guess by following that early tagline, we ended up with a game that truly embodies "Ultimate Destruction."
As producer Vlad Ceraldi puts it, "We wanted...to give [players] the freedom to lose control."
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