Gamescom 2012: Deadpool First Look Preview – Breaking the Fourth Wall
Written Monday, August 20, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
“You got any girls in there?” That's Deadpool's opening gambit on the menu for his eponymous action game as he taps on the screen and addresses the player, before pretending to be in an elevator and descending from view, extending his arm with a thumbs up as the Terminator 2 theme kicks in. Welcome to the wild and wacky world of Marvel's most offbeat comic book character and star of Transformers: Fall of Cybertron developer High Moon's latest project. After years as a Marvel bit player in other better known characters' games (Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions) or as a fighter in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the Merc With a Mouth is finally entering the limelight for his very own pastiche-packed hack and slash title. And it's bat shit mental.
Capturing the irreverent humour of the Deadpool has been the core remit for the game, so enlisting long time Deadpool writer Daniel Way and the vocal talent of Nolan North who's voiced the character for years as animated versions of the character and most recently in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has been the first order of business to get the vibe just right. As far as the anarchic spirit and off-the-wall smirks go, it seems that High Moon is certainly on the right track, and from the moment our first look demo gets underway, there's a manic energy that doesn't let up. Opening with the distinctively red-costumed contract killer arguing with the voices in his head in his seedy apartment while scratching his crotch with a pistol, Deadpool soon gets his first contract and we're ready to “get into some shit,” as he so eloquently puts it.
As an early pre-alpha build of the game, Deadpool is looking understandably a bit rough around the edges at the moment, and the voice work is currently placeholder, but there's a real sense that there's some genuine potential in its freewheeling slicing and dicing, amid Deadpool's constant jokes and fourth wall breaking asides to the player. Deadpool knows he's in a video game, so there's plenty of scope for piss-taking, whether it's out of video games in general or out of the rest of the Marvel universe, or indeed out of whatever fits the scenario, whether it's smart movie references or songs. One minute he'll be humming Michael Jackson's “Smooth Criminal” and the next he'll be wading through “poop...evil poop” in a sewer.
First things first, and Deadpool finds himself braving the evil poop where he inflates a bouncy castle and goes “boing boing” up into the rafters and into the offices where his contract awaits. Wall jumping his way up and out of the sewers like Ryu Hayabusa in Ninja Gaiden, Deadpool gets on the trail of arrogant media billionaire Chance White, carving up goons with his dual katanas and blowing them away with his twin pistols (bang! Bang bang bang!). As he slices through enemies, Deadpool earns 'DP Points' that can be exchanged for upgrades and new weapons. Purchasing new weapons in turn grants an array of accompanying new moves to add to Deadpool's burgeoning arsenal, and pistols give way to pulse rifles, while the staple katana swords can be switched out for sais or a pair of huge lump hammers. Heading into a shiny marble-floored lobby area, DP is set upon by more guards, presenting an opportunity to unleash some more frenetic moves, like a breakdancing spin on his back that soon racks up 27 hits in a matter of seconds. “No charge for the floor wax,” he quips.
There's plenty of gory dismemberment on show as the spandex-clad assassin cleaves a bloody path through White's henchmen, but as Deadpool enters the elevator to the next floor up, the objective changes to 'enjoy the singing'. And sure enough, the insanity continues as DP turns to the screen and serenades with a song and dance number, dropping to his knees as he's swept up by the power ballad. Making his way to the rooftop of White's towering skyscraper, Deadpool falls afoul of an attack helicopter that he quickly hijacks out of midair, holding up the pilot who flies the chopper while DP lets rip with the mini-gun ('Morpheeeeeeeeeeus!' reads the objective in a neat Matrix nod). Tearing up all of the reinforcements in showers of meaty chunks, the helicopter soon gets shot down and Deadpool finds himself running along the plummeting carcass, leaping towards the penthouse window, singing 'I Believe I Can Fly', before realising that he actually can't fly at all.
Dropping out of the air, DP nonetheless finds his way back into the building using his hammers as he windmills his way through more minions on his way to a hulking guard with a massive gun who's quickly dispatched. Stealing the enormous cannon, Deadpool fights his way through more guards, eventually getting to Chance White, whose number is up. There's money at stake for bringing him in alive though, so while Deadpool smashes through the top floor window with a “shoryuken” and surfs White's helpless, flailing body down the side of the building, there is actually method to the madness. Crashing into the bouncy castle set up earlier, both White and Deadpool emerge unscathed and the contract killer can collect his bounty. But not before eyeing up Psylocke's assets as she stands over him in the bouncy castle, looking at him accusingly. Yes, Deadpool still loves 'bewbs'.
Based on this first look demo, High Moon Studios appears to have a strong grasp on Deadpool's enduring appeal, and as the character becomes increasingly popular among Marvel comics fans, there's going to be more pressure on the developer to get it right. While it's evident that the game could still use a lot of work, it's clear that the character, his personality and his abilities have already been nailed, which means that if the gameplay follows, then there's no reason why Deadpool can't be a genuinely exciting proposition when it releases next year. It's hard to tell how well the game plays at this point, but it looks like a dose of raucous hack and slash fun all served up with a hefty side salad of unhinged comedy. Ultimately it'll be the depth and nuance of the combat system that'll decide whether Deadpool flies or dies, regardless of how well it manages to capture the comic books, but we can't wait to find out how the game shapes up in the coming months.
Deadpool will be busting through the fourth wall in 2013.