Disney’s big fan expo last weekend had an entire gaming block in which the entertainment company revealed the first trailer for a new Marvel game. But that was just the first glimpse. Later on, D23 also held a chat between Skydance developers Amy Hennig and Marc Bernardin, who, while vague about the particulars of their cool-sounding superhero romp, still had plenty of cool tidbits to share.
First, the basics. We know that it’s a cinematic action game set in World War II, which tracks, because Hennig is famous for working on fast-paced, story-driven games like Uncharted. Per the trailer, it’s obvious you’ll be playing as four main characters, which a later press release revealed to be a young Steve Rogers; Azzuri, T’challa’s grandfather and the previous Black Panther; Gabriel Jones, a soldier; and Nanali, a Wakandan spy.
Captain America and Black Panther Video Game Team Up | D23 Expo 2022
The Skydance sit-down, however, fleshed some of this out a little further. Some stuff they mentioned, you’d outright expect: They’re promising best in class graphics, for example. Who’d have thought? But other stuff, while not Earth-shattering, lent some additional color to the details we already knew.
The World War II setting was picked because it was a formative era for Steve Rogers, something they thought might be fun to cross over with Black Panther. Nanali, meanwhile, is a character who only appears briefly in the comics, but that’s exactly why Skydance picked her. It sounds like they’re going to take it as an opportunity to flesh out the fledgling spy’s background. Gabriel, they emphasized, would explore what it meant to be a Black man during this Nazi-meets-Hydra era, and what it might feel like for him to interact with Wakanda. As they put it, Skydance wants to explore the idea of four unlikely heroes—two of whom are superheroes, two of whom aren’t—all brought together by global conflict.
Hennig spent a long time talking about the studio’s desire to make the game approachable to everyone, to the degree that they consider it one of the four major pillars of the overall project. “We’ve got this franchise and this IP, that is universally loved, but we’re gonna put it behind this sort of walled garden where if you can’t hang, if you can’t get good, then it’s not for you?” she posed, trying to point out the absurdity of that hypothetical scenario. “We want everybody to feel like they can experience this,” she clarified. “They can put themselves in the shoes of these heroes, the controls are simple, contextual, intuitive, but also deep—for longtime gamers and people who have never touched a game before.”
It’s structured like a tv series—which they described as being a bingeable, serialized adventure. To achieve that vision, Skydance sought to put together a team of creatives with diverse experiences across media, such as TV, film, comics, and games. Fun fact: One of those includes former Kotaku writer and forever GOAT Evan Narcisse, who has also worked on some Black Panther comics. Hennig likened the group to the “Avengers” of people who tell stories. While Skydance aims to have a story-driven game, they want to make something that gives the player “second-to-second agency.”
While the game will take inspiration from go-to sources, like action-adventure games, it’s also pulling from pretty much everywhere. Hennig mentioned rhythm games, VR experiences, and mobile games, though it’ll likely be a while before we know how these things come into play. To cap this off, she reiterated her larger point about making sure anybody and everyone could pick up the game without studying a manual or memorizing combos.
So, there’s still a ton we don’t really know about Marvel’s WW2 game. But given the impressive pedigree behind it, and its larger design aims, it seems like this Captain America and Black Panther crossover is one to keep an eye on.