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June 05, 2011

Thor: God of Thunder video game looks for new worlds to conquer

Posted in: Games

In Thor: God of Thunder (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS), the player assumes the role of the titular Norse god-turned-Marvel superhero. Although the game features the likenesses and voices of Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), it does not follow the film’s narrative. However, the saying “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme” proves itself true over and over in the world of comic books. So although the narrative is different, the game definitely will feel familiar.

“The movie was about growth of character and asked, ‘Who is Thor?’” said Matt Powers, a senior producer at SEGA of America, who worked on the game. “That’s not the kind of game we wanted to make. We already know who Thor is. We wanted the player to explore more of the universe of Thor.”

In the game, whose narrative was penned by Marvel writer Matt Fraction, Loki attempts to take the throne of Asgard by tricking Thor into unleashing Mangog — a horrific beast who possesses the powers of a billion, billion souls slain by Odin, Thor’s father. Loki’s plan is simple: 1) Transport Thor to another world; 2) defeat Mangog in Thor’s absence; and 3) be embraced as the hero and rightful ruler of Asgard. Not surprisingly, the situation turns into more than Loki can handle, and once again it’s up to Thor to clean up Loki’s mess and save Asgard from total annihilation.

The game takes players on a journey to the worlds Niffelheim, to battle with the ancient frost giant Ymir; Vanaheim, to grapple with Ulik, king of the trolls; Muspelheim, to conquer the fire demon Surtur; and back to Asgard, to put Mangog back in his place.

thor mangog 1 Thor: God of Thunder video game looks for new worlds to conquer

“We picked those characters because those are some of the iconic recurring enemies from the Thor comic books,” Powers said. “Those are the characters people are going to be expecting to see in a Thor game.”

hcffteaser2 Thor: God of Thunder video game looks for new worlds to conquerSomething else people are going to expect to see in a Thor game is the hero’s magical hammer Mjölnir, whose inscription reads, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

In the game, that power translates to nearly 50 different combat moves that the player can execute, including: “ground pound,” in which a mid-air Thor slams Mjölnir straight down to the ground to damage nearby enemies; “thunderclap,” in which Thor claps his hands around Mjölnir to create a shock wave; and “power surge,” in which Thor controls lightning to obliterate his surrounding opponents.

With moves like that, it seems almost inconceivable that this is the first time the nearly 50-year-old comic book hero has starred in a video game. In fact, the entire universe of Thor, with its ice worlds, fire worlds and hammer-swinging hero seems custom-made for gaming.

“One of the things we’d like to do as a company is expand our roster of characters that appear in [their own] video games,” said T.Q. Jefferson, Marvel’s vice president for production of games. “Spider-Man and the X-Men are well established, but characters like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and even, to a degree, the Hulk, are not as well-established.”

With Thor currently starring in the free 8-bit-style Flash game Thor: Bring the Thunder as well as appearing in recent hits Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and the Marvel Superhero Squad series, and with another iteration of Thor: God of Thunder coming out for the 3DS this fall, Thor appears well on his way to making himself better known to gamers.

“We’ve seen him Thor in film, animation, comic books, and we can even say we’ve seen him in TV because of that Hulk telefilm,” Jefferson said. “Now it’s his turn to come into video games. And he’s just getting started.”

— Mike Winder

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