1. As the game is set out as an RPG, how will the player choices be handled in a pre-determined universe?
The core concept of X-Men Destiny is player choice and it is manifested in a number of different ways. From the very beginning the player has a choice of who they want to play the game as – Grant, Aimi or Adrian – each with their own unique back story. Because of their unique back stories, the characters in the game will react in different ways. Beyond that, the player is faced with a choice of core powers and all throughout the game they have the ability to customize that core power in a number of different ways. So even if you and I selected the same character and the same core power we could end up at the end of the game with completely unique manifestations of that power. Finally, there is choice in how you choose to interact with different X-Men Universe characters in the game. Depending on how you choose to interact with them will have varying effects on your play through. For example, aligning with the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants may open up the ability for you to access different power-ups in the game. Even though X-Men Destiny has a linear story, there are a number of ways that we add in variable outcomes to that experience.
2. What balances are in place to ensure that characters don’t become too powerful and make the game too easy, when collecting and equipping X-genes and powers?
We do extensive play balancing during the production of our games. With three different powers and all of the various choices you can make to customize those powers it is a daunting task. It really comes down to creating some really over the top powers that look cool and are fun to play with and trying not to limit the player. Through our play balancing sessions we can see where one branch of a particular power may be a little much and we make tweaks to keep things in line. That said there are definitely situations where one power or X-Gene may be more advantageous than another. For example, I may want to have Surge’s offensive X-Gene leveled up when fighting large groups because it does chain damage to multiple enemies. It’s all about creating situations that players need to figure out and manage their abilities, which is truly unique to X-Men Destiny.
3. How many powers are there going to be to collect, and can we expect future DLC that will give new X-genes provided the game does well?
At the core of X-Men Destiny we have three unique base powers – Shadow Matter, Energy Projection and Density Control. Each of these three powers has multiple choices where the player gets to choose to customize it with one of two choices. Those choices will manifest themselves in the special attacks that the player can unleash on enemies. For X-Genes, there are also a huge variety to choose from. Pretty much each X-Men Universe character featured in the game comes along with an offensive, defensive and utility X-Gene that is based on their core mutations. Finding them all and choosing how to mix and match them adds a huge level of strategy and customization to the game. In terms of future offerings for the game, that isn’t something that we are talking about at this stage.
4. Will this game only contain characters from the X-Men universe, or can we expect a cameo or two from some of the more amazing Marvel Universe denizens?
X-Men Destiny is set in the X-Men universe so you can rest assured that there will be a large number of characters to interact with. Some of these we have announced already and others we have not started talking about yet. I can tell you that there will be a lot of character interaction to keep any Marvel fan content.
5. The game is built around choices, with players either joining up with the X-Men, or with the Brotherhood of Mutants, but can we possibly expect a third side in the conflict?
As you mention X-Men Destiny is set around the choice of siding with the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Mutants. This is a theme that is really appealing to fans of the X-Men and the ability for players to get to create their own character and make that decision is unique to X-Men Destiny. Our story is more complex than just X-Men vs. Brotherhood though. There are forces at work in San Francisco that threaten both sides as well as normal humans. It really comes down to which side you want to join in order to defeat the larger threat at hand.
What about the already-existing X-Men – can we get an indication of how many will be featured in the game? It has been said that a player’s allies and enemies will depend on the players’ actions, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the paths of the original characters cross with the ones of the likes of Cyclops, Magneto, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Wolverine and the rest…
Well, all the character you just named are in the game, along with many more. Colossus, Surge, Quicksilver, Mystique… lots. But some are more deeply embedded in the game than others. There are some characters whose relationship to the playable characters is more crucial in story/gaming terms and others who are more like chance encounters or who become important in relation to a single mission. I don’t want to commit to an overall number, I’ll just say that creating a rich and peopled world was one of our explicit goals in X-Men Destiny.