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“X-Men: Destiny” Video Game Preview


 Toonzone recently had a chance to sit down with representative from Activision and preview the upcoming X-Men: Destiny video game.

X-Men Destiny is a level-based Action RPG that takes place in the modern day X-Men universe. Professor X is dead and the X-Men are struggling to keep their numbers intact while trying to rebuild his legacy. Purifiers, a group of anti-mutant militants, have drastically increased in numbers recently. This has caused an outbreak of violence and hate crimes against mutants. 

The game, which is written by X-Men: Legacy author, Mike Carey, follows three new mutant characters as the discover their powers for the first time. You’ll be able to choose between Aimi (the 15 year-old daughter of ostracized Japanese mutants), Adrian (the son of a Purifier martyr, who discovers he is what he’s been fighting against his entire life) and Grant (a happy-go-lucky, all-american guy who is suddenly thrust into the world of mutant politics and dilemmas). During the course of the game you’ll decide whether your character’s allegiances lie with the X-Men or the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

The characters represent your foundation for the game’s narrative. Each character has a different back story and different perspective in the way they interact with the different characters of the world, but they are not representative of a power class. Instead, at the start of the game you choose one of three powers. That choice determines your power class. You can then customize your character’s powers by collecting and equipping x-genes, which contain DNA taken from other X-Men and Brotherhood characters. 

When you collect an x-gene, it contains an offensive, defensive and utility component. You can mix and match one character’s x-genes with those of another. The power you selected at the beginning of the game will always remain intact. Equipping x-genes will change the expression of that ability. Additionally, you’ll be able to equip a “fan suit”. Fan suits are designed to make your character kind of look like other characters in the X-Men Universe. Depending on your situation, equipping an specific character’s fan suit in conjunction with their x-genes will unlock “X-Mode” and may give you an extra tactical advantage. X-Mode allows you access to the powers of the character whose fan suit you’re wearing while you also have their x-genes equipped.  According to the Activision representative, they want to allow players to form their own mutant identity, but also kind of give the opportunity to play as their favorite character. The fan suits will be slightly modified for the size, gender and personality of the different characters.

Every power class will consist of a series of light and heavy attacks that can be combined to create finishing moves that may help you in different situations. Some moves shown in the projectile class were focused projectiles for attack on a single enemy, others have area effects that hit enemies on all sides. Rewards come with successful combinations. Experience points allow you to level each one of your powers up and you’ll be able to unlock additional bonuses within the character’s power tree.

In the upper-left corner of the screen, there was a notched blue meter which controlled the special attacks rewards system, your “M-Power”. As combos are pulled off, the bar fills and allows access to powerful special attacks. The more the bar fills, the more powerful the special attack that becomes available. The most powerful attack will drain your M-Power entirely. 

During the course of the game, you’ll fight alongside and engage in conversations with characters in the X-Men universe. Doing this can unlock side quests, which may allow you to earn additional x-genes and fan suits. To provide incentive for level exploration, you’ll be able to potentially meet characters you would not come across if you did not go off the beaten path.

In the preview, we were taken through two levels of Aimi’s storyline, an early level in San Francisco and a later one at a laboratory. The power of energy projection was selected for her. Energy projection will allow you to attack from a distance, with the balance of a weaker defense.  Aimi started out with basic energy projection. Surge’s offensive x-gene was then equipped, causing Aimi’s power set to reflect an electrical element. During the level, we had the chance to meet Northstar, who fights alongside you for a bit. 

We then were taken to a later level where Aimi has met Gambit, who has helped her track down a secret lab run by human scientists who are obsessed with synthesizing an x-gene that would grant super human abilities to any non-mutant who took it. It’s here that Aimi meets Quicksilver, whom she has just rescued from captivity. The human leader of the lab, John Sublime, has injected himself with an x-gene in order to try and gain the advantage. The injection causes him to turn into a giant monstrosity. The multi-stage battle requires you to think carefully about what x-genes and fan suit you have equipped in order to maintain a tactical advantage over the boss, particularly as he pumps more x-genes into himself. Once he’s beaten, you’re tasked with making the decision to handing the recovered x-genes over to Colossus to be destroyed or to Gambit, so that the Brotherhood might use them in their war against the Purifiers. (I chose the Brotherhood) Colossus threatened to turn me over to Cyclops.

With that our game demo ended and the Activision representative then said that they wanted to present the opportunity to the player to also customize the narrative. You can make choices throughout the game that ally yourself with the Brotherhood or the X-Men. They wanted to make sure the choices, such as giving the x-genes to Colossus or Gambit, existed in a moral gray area. 

They used the example of Magneto coming down and threatening the world with destruction. That would make it pretty clear who the bad guy was. The likelihood of you wanting to join the Brotherhood would not be very strong. They wanted to find a common enemy between the two sides and a reason that both sides would have a compelling argument and case to be made for how they wanted to resolve the conflict. It all depends on what you as the player believes is the best decision and the choices you make will have an immediate effect on the game’s narrative, as well as influencing the way the final conflict will resolve itself. As you play through the game, you will be faced will a permanent decision to side with either the X-Men or the Brotherhood.

Up until that point, you can side with the Brotherhood the entire time and then go with the X-Men. So, your character can be a member of the X-Men, with largely Brotherhood abilities. Also, those choices throughout the game will open you up to x-genes and fan suits that you will not have access to if you make other choices. As this is the origin story for these characters they thought coming to terms with which philosophy you believed in was an important part of the story arc for any new mutant character.

X-Men: Destiny will be released for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii this September.