There are few writers in the comic book world as busy as Christos Gage. Currently, he’s writing a multitude of books for DC, Marvel, and the indies, including some major titles like Avengers Academy, GI Joe, and Vertigo Crime’s best entry to date, Area 10 (read our review of Area 10!). But guess what? That wasn’t enough for the man, and now he’s diving head first into writing the recently announced Captain Amerca: Super Solider video game from Sega.
This past weekend at the New York Comic-Con 2010, Joey Esposito, Erik Norris, and Joey Davidson got a chance to talk with Gage about his involvement in the highly anticipated game.
CraveOnline: Can you just tell us who you are, what we’re doing, and what we’re even talking about?
Christos Gage: Sure! My name is Christos Gage, I’m the writer of the Captain America: Super Soldier video game, also the writer of numerous comic books and some television.
CraveOnline: Cool man. We’re familiar with your comics, but what’s the experience been like writing for a video game, is this your first?
Chistos Gage: It is my first video game and it’s been a great collaboration. To me, it’s sort of halfway between comics and television because it’s very collaborative. You use live voice actors, so the screenwriting aspect of it comes in handy to keep your lines even shorter than in comics. But then, as in comics you have the freedom of blowing up a galaxy. In this, you can do whatever you want. You can have tanks, you can have all kinds of villains, you can have Arnim Zola as a human and then robot Arnim Zola comes out later.
CraveOnline: Very different from what you can do in a film or TV.
Christos Gage: Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to worry about the budget in that sense. You have to worry about it in the sense that you can’t have 8,000 characters, but it’s got a lot of the freedoms of comics and a lot of the emotional advantages of screenwriting. I mean, you play this game and you feel like Captain America. You feel like you’re the peak human and I love that you can throw the shield and bounce it off three guys and it comes back to you. Or they shoot at you, and if you time it right you can deflect the bullet and shoot it back at them. I mean, that stuff is so much fun.
CraveOnline: That’s awesome. So is it hard to find the “voice” between the comic book version and the movie version of Captain America?
Christos Gage: With respect to the movie, we were just told to do the best game we can. To me, there’s just Captain America’s voice. What the challenge is, I’m used to writing the Captain America of the present day in the comics. He’s this living legend and been through every possible situation. This takes place in the 40s, during World War II.
Christos Gage: Yeah, so it’s a young Captain America who is just now starting to discover his capabilities and what he can do. Which is great, because I mean the setting is awesome, but also as a player when you do discover what you can do in the game, it’s like the character is discovering his capabilities. And when you do follow along and gain experience, you can do more wild stuff. So it was interesting to write a younger Captain America, so he might be a little bit more exuberant, a little less — not that he’s not confident, he’s always confident — but he’s a little less “seen it, done it”, you know?
CraveOnline: Not a veteran.
Christos Gage: Yeah, not a grisly veteran like the modern day, not a living legend yet.
CraveOnline: What kind of story are we going to see with this game? Is it going to be something that borrows from the comic, or sort of a new introduction to Captain America?
Christos Gage: It’s its own thing. We’re not recapping the origin, Captain America is already active in World War II, there’s a castle in the Balkans that HYDRA has taken over and is using for all these nefarious experiments. They’re producing weapons that could change the course of the war, so Captain America has to infiltrate, find out what they’re doing, and put a stop to it. So within that context, we’ve got a lot of classic Captain America villains from the comics such as Baron von Strucker, Arnim Zola, Red Skull, Madame Hydra; I was very pleased because I suggested Iron Cross, who is an obscure villain from The Invaders comic, who is essentially like a Nazi Iron Man. He’s in this World War II-era tech, this metal suit, and they did a great job redesigning him for the game, it’s really cool. I was really psyched about that.
CraveOnline: You mentioned The Invaders; any chance we’ll see Namor and company in the game? I know that’s probably not something we’d see in the movie, it would just be overload.
Christos Gage: Captain America will have allies in the game, but Cap’s the only playable character. They’re not necessarily going to be who you expect, like for instance we can’t use Human Torch because he’s part of the Fantastic Four, which is licensed to Fox. But he will have allies and some of them will be people from the comics that you’ll recognize. I can’t say who because that’s me giving away movie secrets. I have read the script, but I signed an NDA, and if I say the wrong thing the black helicopters come in [laughs].
CraveOnline: [laughs] They’ll just end up taking us out too. How did you get tapped to do this project, did you go to Marvel or Sega with the idea?
Christos Gage: They actually approached me. They said “you’ve written Captain America in the comics, you’ve got some screenwriting experience, would you be interested?” and I said, “Sure, but I’ve never done a game before”, but then I talked to these guys and they were really collaborative. They already had the idea of the castle as the setting and they were like, “Can you work with us to come up with a story for this?” and I did, and it all went really smoothly. Knock on wood, it’s been a great experience for me.
CraveOnline: Is there one thing that you’re really proud of with this Cap game, or anything that you guys are super excited about?
Christos Gage: Well for me, I’m excited to play it, and do all the stuff like bounce the shield off multiple people. As far as what I’m proud of, to me, I’m an old school fanboy. I’m always proudest to get stuff from the comics into the game that old school fanboys like me will look at and say “Okay, I know where that’s from and yes, that does work with the continuity of Captain America.”
Christos Gage: On the flip side, the idea that people — kids, adults, people that have never read a Captain America comic book — will hopefully play this game and say, “You know what? I should check out the comics” and find out more about Iron Cross or whoever.
CraveOnline: Games are a huge medium that get a large draw that you could potentially pull in as new comic readers.
Christos Gage: Yeah, absolutely.
CraveOnline: Get ‘em hooked on the pipe man, that’s all it takes.
Cristos Gage: That’s right, I would love it if that happened. If I could get people hooked. On the pipe. [laughs] But no, I would love it if people used this as a gateway to the comics. I mean, there’s 70 years of Captain America out there, and it’s awesome stuff. One of the reasons we did this in World War II, other than the fact that it’s a classic setting that’s so much fun, is someone who is maybe just becoming familiar with Captain America from the movie and doesn’t know much about the character, we want them to be able to come into this and not need a degree in Marvel history, like I have, to understand what’s going on [laughs]. And hopefully they delve into it and say, “Hey, what’s going on? What’s up with HYDRA? Who is the Red Skull?”, you know, and find out more about it.
CraveOnline: It’s pretty interesting, speaking as a fan myself, when they announced that the Cap movie was getting made with it solely taking place in World War II, that’s what I was hoping for in the very beginning. I just never thought it would actually happen. I figured the origin would be about 15 minutes before it jumped to the present day. I’m assuming you were pretty pumped to write something taking place solely in World War II?
Christos Gage: I was very, very excited about that because that’s what you think when you think of Captain America coming into being. I think it would be awesome to do another one set in the present day, and you see how Captain America has changed and become that living legend. But I loved starting in World War II because that’s what made him who he is.
CraveOnline: Thank you so much for coming over here to talk with us, and best of luck with everything.
Christos Gage: Thank you, guys.