Christos Gage on Writing Civil War and Captain America: Super Soldier

Christos Gage is an accomplished and respected writer in the comic book world. He wrote one of the biggest events in Marvel history: Civil War. As a man well attuned to the character of Captain America, he’s the go-to guy for scripting the new Captain America video game, Captain America: Super Soldier–his first gig in the industry. At WonderCon last week, he answered a few of our questions about his transition from comics to games.

GameZone: You’re a writer on some of the Captain America comic books. Tell us a little about that.

Christos Gage: Yes, I’ve written Captain America. I wrote the Captain America/Iron Man Civil War special [and the] Captain America Siege special, so I’ve written the character several times.

GZ: Captain America is a beloved character, a figure of American truth and justice. With the movie and game coming out this summer, what’s it like jumping from comics to the video game experience?

CG: It’s actually fun and interesting because in the comics I’m used to writing Captain America in the present day. He’s the grizzled veteran. He’s the leader. He’s seen everything. He’s the one everyone else looks up to. In the game, it takes place in World War II, so he’s a younger guy. He’s still discovering the full capabilities of his abilities. He’s a little more emotional and hot-headed than he is in the present day. It’s very interesting to write a character I’m used to writing but at a different time in his life, and [to make] sure I honor the fact that he’s different. He’s younger, so that was fun.

GZ: This has a different plotline from the movie. While some of the same things are touched upon, visually it’s very similar, but otherwise it’s completely different.

CG: Essentially. And I think this was good, but the game is set in the movie universe, which makes sense. This will be the version of the Cap that most people are probably going to be familiar with. Other than that, there is no requirement to stick to the storyline of the movie. That’s good, as nobody is going to want to see a movie, then play a game where they are essentially playing the same storyline they saw in the theater.

We were told to just make the best game we can. We didn’t have to worry. In any movie, changes are made when you lead up to production, when you are in production, and in production at the last minute. We weren’t thrown any curve, like, “Oh, we’ve changed this location to a different place.” We didn’t have to deal with any of that.

The premise for this game is it takes place in World War II. Hydra has taken a medieval castle and turned it into a factory for WMDs that they would use against their troops. To prevent that from happening, Cap has to infiltrate and shut it down. He has to face all kinds of villains, like Baron Strucker, Madam Hydra, Iron Cross, Arnim Zola, the Red Skull … so it’s a lot of fun. I hope people enjoy it.

GZ: Have you worked in video games before?

CG: No, this is my first time writing a video game. I did do a comic book adaptation for Wildstorm for an adaptation of Dante’s Inferno. I went up to EA for that, so I got to see the build process. I did have some knowledge of the process of making a video game, but this is my first time writing an actual video game. It was very interesting.

GZ: With comics, I’m sure you have a script, which you send out to the artist, and you discuss what your vision is. What’s it like with a game, where you come up with a script, but they already had assets from the movies and a direction they wanted to go in? What was that like?

CG: It was a bit more fluid of a process than that. The guys from Next Level [Games] and Sega made it very smooth. I would write a cutscene and send it in, and they would say, “Can you adjust this a little bit because when we enter the next level the player is actually going to be here and not there.” It was very easy to do, and they were very easy to work with. I was worried that with my newness to the process I might have trouble adjusting to it, but I didn’t at all.

GZ: It’s funny, because Captain America is in another game that came out this year, Marvel vs Capcom 3. What’s it like working on this serious, based-in-the-movie canon as opposed to the comic book canon, and then see Captain America in this very over-the-top fighting game with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dante, Chris Redfield and all of those crazy characters?

CG: To me, it’s fun. It’s apples and oranges. I love the Marvel vs Capcom games. I mean, I was playing Street Fighter when it was in the arcades back in the day. E. Honda is my favorite! I was actually disappointed that E. Honda was not in Marvel vs Capcom. I blame Frank Tieri, the writer for the game, for that. [Laughs] I’m just busting his chops.

It’s a totally different thing. We have the Captain America immersive game, which is very true to Captain America in terms to his abilities. In Marvel vs Capcom, you’ve got him doing, you know, the hadouken and stuff like that. [Laughs] Essentially, it’s a totally different fighting system. For me, I actually made a deal with Frank Tieri that I would send him a copy of this and he would send me a copy of Marvel vs Capcom 3, so I look forward to playing that.

GZ: So what’s next? Could you see yourself working in video games in the future?

CG: Yeah. As a matter of fact, I’m currently working with Marvel on another video game that is top secret that I can’t talk about.

GZ: So we’ll see that in June for E3?

CG: No, we’re a couple years out on that. It’s in a very early [stage] on that. I think Cap will be there, and they will have a boss fight at that point. I think. I don’t quite know.