It has to be earned
I put it to Shawn Escayg, Creative Director on Avengers, that a video game was the perfect place to bring MODOK — essentially a giant head — to life, rather than as a feature film inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
“To me, it’s all earned,” Escayg replied.
“If you earned it on the narrative, you could make any villain come to life. One of the setups for MODOK and our interpretation of MODOK, was a little more grounded in our particular story. We’re influenced, obviously, heavily by the comics, but we wanted to put our version of it and make sure he sits in our world… and fits in with everything else we’ve been selling.”
“So you imagine the disaster of A-Day, the failings of the Avengers just to hide some people were injured, like George Tarleton who becomes MODOK, by the Terrigen blast. Others like Kamala Khan were infected, exposed to the Terrigen Mist and started displaying powers. And it was our construct of the question of, ‘Hey, are these really superheroes or are they just dangerous, powerful beings?’
“Itt was challenging the superhero ideology in of itself. Are they dangerous? Are they just superheroes? So MODOK was an evolution of that argument. Here you have George Tarleton desperate to protect humanity, alongside the Avengers but a little wary of the Avengers. He’s seen them do destructive things before and now he’s exposed and now it has reaffirmed his beliefs that there is no controlling these guys.”
No laughing matter
“I think it’s easy for MODOK to be almost comical in his existence,” Scot Amos, head of Crystal Dynamics, admitted.
“As Crystal, what Shaun and the team have done is say, ‘what would happen if you take a brilliant scientist who’s out to do the right thing [and] make the world a safer place?’ To have free internet for everybody and a worldwide wi-fi and phones that charge instantly.
“And then this… incident happens. What would happen if you’re affected by this event?”
Presumably, you’d have a MODOK who isn’t going to the butt of a joke.
“I think the Crystal [Dyanmics] lens is really going back to the heart of who this person is,” Amos continued. “It’s not the moustache-twirling, ‘Oh, I’m going to take over the world’ [type villain]. That’s not his motivation. His motivation is to, [as the trailer above says], end superpowers. The idea of taking them, harvesting them, using them under his control.
“He’s like an enlightened dictator. His intent is very clear and even noble. It gets corrupted as a purpose as he gets corrupted, as he evolves.”
You can listen to our full interview with Amos, Escayg alongside Crystal Dynamics’ Vince Napoli and Phil Therien as part of the latest episode of the Friendly Fire Show.
Avengers heads to Windows PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Stadia on 4 September and will head to Xbox Series X and PS5 upon their launches. A free current- to next-gen upgrade will be offered alongside cross-saves and platform-specific cross-play.