Bring the Mad Titan home in time for the holidays!

This holiday season Thanos, not Santa Claus, will be delivering gifts to all the lucky “Marvel Puzzle Quest” players. And he’s bringing Death with him!

We talked to D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin about the Mad Titan’s “Puzzle Quest” landfall and everything the team has planned to keep us warm through the holidays.

Marvel.com: It’s been an awesome year for “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” there’s no doubt about that, but how are you ringing in this holiday season?

Josh Austin: This year we are ending with the mighty titan Thanos! We aren’t just bringing him in as a 5-Star character and disappearing for the holidays, we are also releasing a Thanos PVE event called Crash of the Mad Titan, a 3-Star Thanos, and we’re bringing back the popular Naughty or Nice Versus Tournament! Players have been begging for a new villain for a bit and what better way to end the year than making their wishes true with an Infinity Gauntlet bang!

Marvel.com: Thanos is another 3/5-Star split in the style of Doctor Strange. Previously the team had mentioned they were moving away from 3-Stars. What changed?

Josh Austin: We are super excited to be able to do this again, especially considering how popular it was when Doctor Strange was released a few weeks ago. Our overall focus is doing what is best for the entire community and we needed to rethink how new 3-Stars will add or take away from the player experience.

The game continues to evolve and we learn new things from both player feedback and behavior in the game. Once upon a time we wanted to progress with even stronger characters—hence the introduction of 5-Star heroes—but we have come to believe that releasing a couple of new 3-Stars each year will help the balance for players both old and new. But in all seriousness, I earned a 3-Star Doctor Strange and he is now one of my favorite characters to use in events so I am definitely a fan of us reintroducing 3-Stars.

Marvel.com: Thanos, the Mad Titan himself, finally crashes the “Puzzle Quest” party. What can you tell us about the cosmic calamity’s moveset?

Josh Austin: I can tell you Thanos is totally rad! His animations are great, one of his powers even brings out Death. I mean you do not want to mess with this guy. Both the 3-Star and 5-Star abilities go by the same name so I am going to run them by you according to the ability name starting with the 5-Star.

The first power is called Court Death and shows how Thanos’ desire to please his mistress Death can make him a terrifying threat and volatile ally. It’s a Black AP Passive that activates when Thanos downs an enemy, causing him to stun all characters except Thanos—allies and enemies—and then deals damage to all characters, a set amount to enemies and half that to his allies. The 3-Star Thanos Court Death power deals the same amount of damage to both enemies and allies.

His second ability, Infinite Power, shows everyone just how invulnerable, immortal, and nigh all-powerful Thanos is as he bends his foes to his will. This power costs 8 Purple AP and creates a 3-turn Purple Countdown tile. While the tile is on the board, Thanos deals an extra 15% match damage and no tiles may be destroyed or changed except by Thanos; tiles may still be matched away. The 3-Star Thanos version of Infinite Power gives Thanos an extra 150% match damage which is a lot higher than the 5-Star match damage, but 3-Star Thanos doesn’t get the added board control that 5-Star Thanos has.

His final power is called Come and Get Me. Thanos stands against the tide of his enemies before unleashing his wrath. This power costs 12 Green AP and places a 4-turn countdown tile that moves Thanos to the front of the team at the end of his turn. When the Countdown tile goes off, it causes damage to the entire enemy team. This ability is similar for both 3 and 5-Star variants.

Marvel.com: So on top of some awesome new characters we also have some Thanos-themed holiday fun ahead of us. What exactly can we look forward to?

Josh Austin: So much stuff for the holidays! We have the Crash of the Mad Titan event, which is a special version of Deadpool’s Daily Quest that has five pins with rewards and a Crash Pin featuring Thanos as the enemy for five days. Each day has a unique group of allowed characters including Guardians of the Galaxy, Inhumans, Villains, etc., with plenty of Thanos-themed quests. This event will include a special Thanos Vault for the duration with tons of great stuff! And ring in the New Year on January 1 with a new Thanos Versus Tournament, Behold Thanos.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else we need to know?

Josh Austin: Along with this Thanos event, there will be a 30% bonus sales for Iso-8 and Hero Points between December 20 and 26, a special holiday vault (featuring 80 items) from December 22 [to] January 1 attached to certain events, double Iso-8 rewards will be given in the upcoming Galactus Hungers (December 22), Crash of the Mad Titan (December 22), Naughty or Nice (December 22) and Unstable Iso-8 (December 25).

And finally, I want to wish Happy Holidays to everyone and thanks for playing “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” We have a special free token that we are giving out in the upcoming Vault as a thank you and we can’t wait to share more MPQ news with all the Marvel.com readers in 2017!

Take a crack at Thanos and all the “Puzzle Quest” holiday cheer here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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Celebrate three years of breathtaking bouts on Battlerealm!

“Marvel Contest of Champions” turned three this past weekend, a truly epic milestone for a truly incredible game. We got together with the gang at Kabam—Creative Direction Gabriel Frizzera and Quest Designers Scott Bradford and Dominic O’Grady—to talk a little about what this anniversary means to them, share some stats about players’ brutal brawls on Battlerealm, and what they have planned to celebrate!

Marvel.com: “Contest of Champions” is another year older and I can only imagine the solar dollars the Collector’s sunk into the upkeep of Battlerealm. The place must be a mess with all the fighting going on constantly right?

Scott Bradford: It’s definitely crazy! Every month, the game changes to a whole new beast—and sometimes permanently as we’ve done with the release of “Act 5: Elder’s War” this year. We’re always working on things for veterans and new players, to keep people on their toes with exciting—and challenging!—content!

Gabriel Frizzera: It’s been three years in Earth time. In the Battlerealm, time is relative. It could be a blink of an eye; it could be the age of the universe. But, all poetics aside, “Contest” has been a [labor] of love to all of us, and it’s truly a privilege to be the custodians of this vast universe of [colorful] Marvel characters punching each other in the face. May it last forever!

Marvel.com: Actually, speaking of constant battling, how many fights have actually happened in the past three years?

Scott Bradford – More than 39 billion! That just blows my mind. We’re so fortunate to have such a great group of players who are that devoted to having these amazing Marvel characters duke it out. A fair few of those fights may have been against The Collector! We’re looking forward to few more billion fights right alongside our players!

Marvel.com: Geez oh pizza, that’s a frick ton of fights. If you had to pick your favorite matchups, favorite battles from the last three years, what would they be?

Scott Bradford: It’s been really interesting seeing how people react to all the random Buff and Champion combinations that are possible in M.O.D.O.K.’s Lab. With completely random Buffs and Enemies, it’s hard to know what you’ll end up with, but it’s really cool to see how people handle combinations that have never been seen before and form new strategies. A personal favorite is also a particular Spider-Gwen fight in “Act 5 Chapter 2” which was a bit of a joke for our players. It was really awesome to see how much of a laugh our community got out of that fight, and how deceptively hard it was!

Gabriel Frizzera: The “wildcard” characters were the best for me. Yes, people expect us to create events based on the awesome [Marvel Cinematic Universe] films and publishing events, but every time we can shine a light on somewhat unknown Marvel characters, I feel that I’ve done my job right. To have people come to us and say they love Moon Knight, or Howard the Duck, or The Hood because of the approach we took for those characters, is very rewarding. And of course our own original matchups, like Guillotine vs. Morningstar, are something that adds a special sauce to “Contest of Champions,” and helps our game keep growing even after three years.

Marvel.com: And how many people are currently partaking in the Marvelous melee you all have cooked up?

Dominic O’Grady: A small few, over 122 million of them; no big deal, right? We’re honored to have such a massive and passionate crowd of Summoners on this journey with us, and we’re all beyond excited to go into year [four]: A year with many, many more surprises waiting ahead!

Marvel.com: What about crystals, the containers of our sweet sweet champions? How many have been cracked open?

Dominic O’Grady: With over 13 Billion crystals opened so far, it’s a wonder The Collector hasn’t thrown a fit about his stock being dipped into so often. I guess that means he’s got an even bigger collection than we initially thought. The Battlerealm has a lot of space for a guy like him! Now if only he and The Grandmaster could share better…

Marvel.com: Following that, have any champions emerged as particular fan favorites? Who have Summoners chosen most for their teams?

Dominic O’Grady: There are many fan favorites! With 112 Champions now, it can be tough to figure out who the most [favorite] is, however we do have a list of the most used Champions in The Contest based on their rarity. Experienced Summoners might not be surprised to find that they’re all some of the oldest Champions in the game, too!

  • 1-Star: Spider-Man – Spidey is one of the first Champions most Summoners will acquire, no secret in The Contest, but he’s still a fan favorite at nearly every level.
  • 2-Star: Wolverine – You can’t keep a good mutant down, and Wolverine is a well-rounded character with solid damage, the ability to heal himself, and packs in some good bleed damage, too!
  • 3-Star: Colossus – Every team needs a tank, and few are better at it than Colossus. His immunity to bleeding and massive defensive potential make him a great pick for up-and-coming Summoners.
  • 4-Star: Scarlet Witch – It’s no surprise that Scarlet Witch is a favorite here. Even with a few tweaks made to her kit, she’s a character with a ton of potential and a lot of surprises in her random buff/debuff roulette.
  • 5-Star: Star-Lord – Oh Peter, whatever will we do with you? For pro players, it’s hard to beat Star-Lord’s signature skill; the longer your combo, the more damage he does! Plus he’s got a pretty cool gun.

Marvel.com: Is the team doing anything to celebrate the game’s birthday?

Gabriel Frizzera: We’ll take a month off! Just kidding, we can’t do that—The Contest never sleeps! We’ll probably have some Isosphere-shaped cake here in the office and then go back to creating awesome content for years four, five, six, and beyond. After all, there’s nothing we [would] rather do than create Marvel goodness to the millions of fans out there.

Dominic O’Grady: I think we’re all going to catch up on sleep a little.

Scott Bradford: I’m too busy playing M.O.D.O.K.’s Lab to sleep! In all seriousness, we’ve also got some really fun celebrations lined up for our players! Everyone will receive a free Howard the Duck as either a 3 or 4-Star Champion, depending on how long they’ve been participating in The Contest, and everyone will have a 20% Boost to XP, Gold, and Battlechips for the entire Anniversary week [of] December 10-1). This, paired with week-long sales on some potions and revives, Anniversary Titles for every Summoner, and a special week-long login calendar are our thank you to players for making The Contest what it is.

Marvel.com: Anything else you want us to know going into year four?

Gabriel Frizzera: Well, there’s the small matter of one Mad Titan coming to wreck the Battlerealm that can be seen in our new trailer…

And believe me when I say the Champions in The Contest are not prepared for what Thanos is going to do when he completes his Infinity Gauntlet. Since 2014 we have been building to this moment, pretty much like in the MCU, and the payoff will be grand. I mean, if there’s any Battlerealm left, it will be the stage for a very different Contest of Champions…

Happy third birthday to “Marvel Contest of Champions,” and stay tuned to Marvel.com as well as @MarvelGames on Twitter for more news and interviews!

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Learn more about what went into the biggest video game release of 2018!

Eric Monacelli, Senior Producer, Marvel Games:

Deciding to team with Insomniac Games and PlayStation to develop “Marvel’s Spider-Man” was a no-brainer. What came next, well, that took some mental gymnastics. When you have the power and responsibility to work with a beloved character whose history is so rich and so layered–a character that many feel is the world’s greatest hero, and maybe even the greatest character in fiction itself–we knew we had to thwip up something original yet familiar, and, of course, amazing and spectacular.

First, our creative teams instantly bonded when we realized we all shared a similar childhood memory of fighting pretend villains while slinging imaginary webs in Spider-Man underwear. Next, we recognized that collaborating with some of the tremendous talent working on Spider-Man comic books today would be essential. That’s when writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage swung into our Spidey Web of Trust. The teams at Insomniac Games, PlayStation, and Marvel Games have been hard at work on making the game great since then. Here’s a glimpse into our shared vision from some of our biggest Web Heads:

If you want to hear more from the Marvel writers contributing to the project, head over to the This Week in Marvel podcast to listen to Dan Slott and Christos Gage talk more in-depth about what’s it been like to write and collaborate on the game of our (and hopefully your) dreams.

“Marvel’s Spider-Man” launches in 2018. Mark your calendars and get ready for greatness!

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The prodigious savant of mnemonic talents tears up the Battlerealm.

Taskmaster brings both swords, a shield, and a whole lot of photographic reflexes to Battlrealm ready to kick hero butt. Ol’ Tasky’s not worried about being on Battlerealm, his skills let him go up against the toughest heroes the Contest has to offer. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Taskmaster and what he brings to “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Read on to learn more!

Marvel.com: Firstly, let’s talk a little about what the Taskmaster is doing in the contest. He’s not really a go getter unless there’s money involved. Is someone else behind his appearance?

Gabriel Frizzera: Not that the Taskmaster had any choice. Like all of M.O.D.O.K.’s associates, he was once captured in a crystal by the Collector, but forgotten in a backroom somewhere in the Battlerealm. When M.O.D.O.K. freed him, he promised lots of units and gold, but also a regular job in a top-notch Hotel/Spa/Boot Camp for Champions. It beats being forced to fight in The Contest, he thought.

Marvel.com: Tasky looks really cool here in the white, blue, and orange. He’s always had a fairly consistent costume, what did the team do to set him up for “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: We looked at different inspirations. His costume is definitely one the most iconic in the Marvel Universe, with the skull mask, hood and the orange-white-blue colour scheme. But there has been some pretty cool updates in recent years, especially from animated shows that made him more tactical and armored. We wanted to keep him as classic as possible but add some of the modernized elements, so we kept the cool palette, but removed the “pirate boots” and the cape, which in our opinion would just get in the way of some of his acrobatic moves. His mask is also more angular and less of a literal skull.

Marvel.com: Taskmaster is, in a lot of cases, defined by his foes. He can mimic their moves, allowing him to pick them to pieces at his leisure. Did you guy give any extra thought to the kind of animations Taskmaster would have at his disposal?

Gabriel Frizzera: For sure! This was a chance to pay homage to some of the other Champion’s favorite moves. We lifted some of the coolest animations in the game and blended them together, so when you see him use weapons, he’s mimicking the Punisher, or Moon Knight, for example. When he’s using martial arts, it’s most likely from Black Panther or Iron Fist, or other iconic fighters in the game. It was a lot of fun to make a “collage” of moves and see them come together in a seamless moveset.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about his key abilities like Exploit Weakness, and Intuitive Pattern Recognition. What does he do?

Simon Cameron: Exploit Weakness is one of Taskmaster’s main abilities. Every few seconds the last unique attack Taskmaster’s opponent attempted is set as his target (the attack doesn’t have to have hit, just been attempted). Then to trigger Exploit Weakness, you need to land that same attack back on the opponent within a short window. Triggering Exploit Weakness does Direct Damage to the target, as well as giving Taskmaster a short window to safely trigger his Heavy Attack, instantly resetting his Exploit Weakness target. If his Signature Ability, Intuitive Pattern Recognition, is unlocked he also places Concussions Debuffs on his target when triggering Exploit Weakness.

Marvel.com: And what about Photographic Reflexes and Learn the Foe? Those sound perfectly built for Taskmaster.

Simon Cameron:  Photographic Reflexes gives Taskmaster the ability to reduce his opponent’s Offensive Ability Accuracy as he observes them performing different attacks, and reduce their Defensive Ability Accuracy by performing different attacks. While Learn the Foe gives him increasing resistance to Debuffs for each one that triggers on him in a fight

Marvel.com: What kind of characters do we want on his team?

Simon Cameron: Taskmaster loves to team up with other skill Champions. He has synergies with the likes of Crossbones, Moon Knight, Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye.

Marvel.com: And lastly, when do we get to pick him up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: Taskmaster’s already in the game! Grab him now!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews and follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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Marvel’s mightiest animals take on Tiger Shark in the mobile game!

Our favorite batch of lovable critters come to “Marvel Avengers Academy”!

The villainous Tiger Shark has teamed up with Fin Fang Foom and the Lemurians to launch an attack against the school. The Pet Avengers and their human—or humanoid—counterparts need to band together if they’ll have any chance of defeating this terrifying trio.

We grabbed some time with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to find out who’s joining the Academy, which heroes will see some surprising changes, and just how our team will bring the fight to Tiger Shark.

Marvel.com: The Pet Avengers are invading campus! What brings our heroes’ lovable companions to Avengers Academy?

Allen Warner: The classic villain Tiger Shark is angry about not getting accepted to Pet Avengers Academy, so he turns his frustration and rage into a revenge plot against both the Pet Avengers and Avengers. His fellow underwater villains the Lemurians have been without a leader since [the Avengers captured Attuma], so they decide to join Tiger Shark’s cause to get revenge and free their former leader. Tiger Shark knows that they’re outmatched, but he evens the odds by waking Fin Fang Foom, who is eager for his own revenge against the Avengers.

Marvel.com: Which fan-favorite animal heroes—both familiar and new—will we see as Tiger Shark wages his war against the Avengers?

Allen Warner: So many amazing animals and animal-themed heroes. New characters will include Hairball, Throg, Redwing, Firebird, Zabu, and Howard the Duck. For those counting at home, that’s a kinetic-powered cat, a frog with the powers of Thor, a telepathic bird, a sabertooth tiger, a surly alien duck, and a classic hero who was tutoring students at Pet Avengers Academy when Tiger Shark and the Lemurians attacked. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing all of these characters look, and how fun their stories and unique animations are. This was a huge task for our animation team in particular because of all of the unique and varied body types these animal heroes have, and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. It’s such a fun lineup, and I think it’s a really great fit for a holiday event.

In addition to these new characters, we’ll be bringing back an array of awesome animal and animal-themed heroes, including Lucky, Cosmo, Lockjaw, Black Panther, Squirrel Girl, Devil Dinosaur, and many, many more.

Marvel.com: Meanwhile, the Avengers currently attending the Academy will need to gear up like their pet friends if they hope to win this battle. What new suits will we see throughout this fight?

Allen Warner: We did something a little different this time to celebrate the Pet Avengers theme. There will still be some really fun winter-themed outfits for Wasp and Loki, but there will also be some outfits that are unlike anything we’ve ever done before. For both helpful and mischievous reasons, Loki uses his sorcery to transform some of our heroes into actual animals. I can promise that no one has ever seen these heroes like this before, and our concept artists created some amazing designs. These animal “outfits” will be for Black Widow, Loki, Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Panther. There will be new stories about their adventures in their animal incarnations, and fun new animations that celebrate their classic traits and powers combined with their new animal forms.

Marvel Avengers Academy

You can also expect the return of some of our coolest animal-themed outfits from the past, including Cap-Wolf, Cat Loki, and the always awesome Penguin Falcon.

Marvel.com: Where will Tiger Shark, Fin Fang Foom, and the Lemurians set up to bring the fight to our heroes?

Allen Warner: The villains will be hanging out around the conquered Pet Avengers Academy, which is of course, designed for our animal heroes. It’s a really cool design, and feels appropriately fun and festive for the holidays. We’ll also be covering the entire playspace in snow like we did for last year’s winter A-Force event.

Marvel.com: This event will wrap up 2017 for “Marvel Avengers Academy.” Can you give us any hints as to what 2018 has to offer?

Allen Warner: As always, you can expect us to celebrate the major Marvel movie releases, including “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” along with plans to showcase some of the major events and characters from the comics, and other big surprises. By the end of the Pet Avengers event, it will be clear who’s coming to Avengers Academy, and it will change everything…

For all the latest news and updates on “Marvel Avengers Academy,” visit Marvel.com and follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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The Runaways’ resident magic user makes her mark on the mobile game!

Can’t get enough Runaways? The new TV series on “Hulu” and the new comic series by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka not enough to scratch your itch? Have no fear friends, “Marvel Puzzle Quest” has got you covered! Nico Minoru, the original orphaned gothic sorceress, makes her “Puzzle Quest” debut and we talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about all her awesome abilities.

Marvel.com: Nico’s showing off her Staff of One in “MPQ.” Why was she the right Runaway for the game?

Josh Austin: We are super excited about “Marvel’s Runaways” [on Hulu]! Each of the Runaways have something interesting to offer, but Nico Minoru’s abilities are really intriguing for “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” She’s a fun 4-star character that will add some depth and was fun to design for the team. For this character, we had to get a list of powers approved by Marvel since her power changes names throughout the course of the match if she receives damage, which is something new for an “MPQ” character.

Marvel.com: Sister Grimm’s staff lends her some seriously sorcerous abilities that allow her to do just about anything. How did you make those powers make sense for the game?

Josh Austin: We made a special tile called the Staff of One that’s a Countdown tile; when it’s on the board the tile alters her powers. What this means for the player is Nico’s powers get more powerful whenever she uses her Staff of One and the name of each power changes. Then each power has variations and name changes but it mostly focuses on a freeze ability that stuns, a Try not to Die ability that brings out Protect tiles, and a Heal ability that’s a true heal for each Protect tile on the board [with a] max of six protect tiles. There is a Passive Purple ability that increases the power of the Attack, Strike, and Protect tiles and finally a Trifecta power that creates Attack, Strike, and Protect tiles.

Marvel.com: And just how will Nico be shaking up the board?

Josh Austin: This is going to be a little tricky, so I’m going to write it out under each color:

Her first ability is called When Blood is Shed and it’s a Passive Blue ability. Nico creates a Countdown tile when she takes damage. While the Countdown tile is active it replaces all of Nico’s powers with a new set of powers. Her second Blue ability stuns enemies, removes Countdown tiles, and also increases the stun for each Countdown tile removed.

Her Yellow ability creates Protect tiles and contains a Passive ability that increases the strength of friendly Protect tiles, but Protect tiles have no effect on Nico. Her other Yellow ability is a True Heal for each Protect tile on the board to a maximum of six.

Her first purple ability increases the power of Attack, Strike, or Protect tiles if you have more than the enemy. Her second Purple ability creates a Strike, Protect, and Attack tile. The power also has a passive component that increases the power of your Attack, Strike, or Protect tiles if you have more than the enemy.

Marvel.com: Nico feels like a true support character. From what you told us, it doesn’t appear that she does any direct damage at all.

Josh Austin: She is a great support character; the player should add anyone that creates Special tiles and she’s strong with characters that increase the strength of special tiles.

Marvel.com: And it seems she might be tricky to get the most out of; you need to hurt her so the Staff of One emerges, but she’s a little more vulnerable as Protect tiles don’t mitigate damage for her. What’s her general play pattern?

Josh Austin: She is a bit of a glass cannon, so you will want a protector to help stop her from getting damage as she boosts the team. That and adding someone that can heal with her is a good idea—someone like Medusa (Inhuman Queen) for example!

Marvel.com: Let’s talk teammates. Who does Nico fight best with?

Josh Austin: The team suggests characters that create Special tiles like Thor (Gladiator), Carnage (Cletus Kasady), and War Machine (James Rhodes). She’s also strong with characters that increase the strength of Special tiles like Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and Medusa (Inhuman Queen).

Marvel.com: And when does she enter the game?

Josh Austin: Nico Minoru enters the game on November 30 via rewards in S.H.I.E.L.D. Training and Honor Among Thieves. Her featured event will be Simulator starting on December 4 and you can play her Versus Tournament, Staff Appreciation Day, starting on December 3. Or you can find her in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Training Store Available on November 30 or Nico and Friends Store available on December 3.

Try out Nico’s sorcerous abilities here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews, plus follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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The Asgardian Goddess of Death cuts a swath across the hit mobile game!

Slicing her way straight from the big screen’s “Thor: Ragnarok” and into “Marvel Contest of Champions” comes Hela, the Goddess of Death, and she’s got an axe to grind with her brothers and everyone else on Battlrealm. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron to get a feel for how she fights, how much trouble the Collector’s in, and more.

Marvel.com: Hela, huh? Well that definitely doesn’t bode well for Battlerealm does it?

Gabriel Frizzera: No it doesn’t. The Goddess of Death feeds on massacre and mayhem, and The Contest has plenty of both. The Grandmaster is oblivious to the danger, and carries on with The Contest like is business as usual, but Champions who have dealt with Hela before know what she is capable of. It’s up to Loki, of all people, to warn his brother Thor and the others of her coming.

Marvel.com: She looks slick as all get out here. What did the team focus on to help players feel like they’re really unleashing the Goddess of Death?

Gabriel Frizzera: Antlers! We made sure the antlers were as intimidating as the ones in the comics and in “Thor: Ragnarok.” As usual we got really good reference ahead of time from the [Marvel Cinematic Universe] team to make sure we got every detail of her costume right. She’s also capable of creating mystical blades and other weapons from thin air, so the animation and FX teams had their hands full to create special moves that reproduce the incredible moments [where] she fills the screen with a whirlwind of sharp objects.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Hela’s kit? Please tell me we actually get to create the aforementioned whirlwind of sharp objects!

Simon Cameron: Hela’s kit is built primarily around building and maintaining Fury Buffs, with her Spirits of the Dead. She gains Spirits each time she lands a hit with her Summon Swords, and she drains them over time based on the number of Fury Buffs she has active. She also has abilities which scale based on the number of Fury Buffs she has active, for example her Special 3 Attack which deals bonus damage based on the amount of health her opponent has already lost. This makes Hela an excellent closer, stepping in to finish off even the toughest bosses once they’ve been weakened by her teammates. She also builds Physical Resistance against attacks that do high damage with a single hit.


Marvel.com: And it turns out her Signature Ability is Goddess of Death, how apropos. What does that do for her?

Simon Cameron: Her Signature Ability has two parts. The first grants her Spirits of the Dead at the start of the fight, based on the number of her teammates who have already been knocked out. The second part makes her Indestructible the first time she would be knocked out each fight.

Marvel.com: What kind of opponents should we be playing her against? And with what teammates at her side?

Simon Cameron: Hela has some strong synergies with the likes of Angela, Loki, Mephisto, and Dormammu, while the Missing Health Damage on her Special 3 Attack makes her great for finishing off high health opponents.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to unleash Hel ourselves?

Simon Cameron: She’s just joined The Contest so come on in and check her out!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews and follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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New Funkos of Howard the Duck, Venompool, King Groot and more coming in February!

The mobile fighting game “Marvel Contest of Champions:” is coming to Pop! As you assemble your ultimate team of champions look for the Funko Pop! versions of some of your favorite characters.

This series includes Cosmic Champion King Groot, the mystical Guillotine, Tech Champion Civil Warrior, and Venompool. Rounding out the series comes a 6” version of Tech Champion Howard the Duck!

Exclusives include a glow version of Civil Warrior at Hot Topic, a glow version of King Groot at Target, Venompool holding a phone at GameStop, and Punisher 2099 at Walgreens.

Check out the gallery above to see them all!

The Funko Pop! “Marvel Contest of Champions” figures will be released in February.

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A new mobile game brings the threat of Ultimus and the Kree to Earth!

Coming in 2018, Marvel and FoxNext Games team up to bring you “MARVEL Strike Force”! Heroes and villains alike will need to forget their differences and battle side-by-side against one of the biggest threats the world has ever seen: Ultimus. With the Kree Warlord’s sights set on Earth, players will take control of S.T.R.I.K.E.—our primary line of defense against threats like him—put a squad together, and take the fight to Ultimus and his armies.

We sat down with Jason Bender, Creative Director at FoxNext Games, to learn everything we could about this thrilling new adventure, including which of your favorite Marvel heroes and villains we’ll see as things get underway.

Marvel.com: What brings about the crisis at the heart of “MARVEL Strike Force?”

Jason Bender: In “MARVEL Strike Force,” war has come to Earth as Ultimus, a Kree warlord, has jumped from one dimension to another, conquering every version of Earth along the way. He has finally arrived at our doorstep, and it’s up to us to stop him. The player commands S.T.R.I.K.E., the Strategic Tactical Reserve for Interdimensional Key Events; the only line of defense against threats like Ultimus.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us more about Ultimus’ plan for world domination?

Jason Bender: “Strike Force” marks the triumphant return of the long-lost Kree Eternal, Ultimus.

Ultimus is a powerful warlord, obsessed with the survival of the interstellar Kree Empire. We’ve seen other Kree warriors, such as the zealot Ronan the Accuser and Korath the Pursuer, in comics and the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, but none as powerful as Ultimus. As an Eternal, he shares the same source of power as Thanos, who we’ll see a lot in the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War.” In “Strike Force,” the Kree Empire has realized that Earth will always be a threat to their existence, and have devised a plan to deal with Earth once and for all.

Now a general of the Kree Empire, Ultimus has set out to conquer Earth, but he doesn’t stop there. He has the technology to mind control the heroes of Earth so he uses them to build a more powerful army and sets about conquering the Earths of every dimension he can reach. It doesn’t take long before he has an army of Hulks, Thors, and Groots, and finally ends up at our Earth.

That’s where S.T.R.I.K.E. comes in.

Marvel.com: What heroes and villains will players be able to add to their squads at the beta’s launch?

Jason Bender: The list is extensive. We have characters from across the board. Players can collect Defenders like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, Guardians like Groot and Drax, and many of the Avengers. A variety of wildcards will make an appearance, such as Night Nurse, Doctor Strange, Quake, and Spider-Man.

Marvel.com: How will we manage the members of our team in battle? Is the combat system more active or turn-based?

Jason Bender: Combat controls are turn-based so players can play at their own pace. The action moves as fast as you do. In addition to their trademark super powers, characters will leap into battle with highly choreographed martial arts moves and a variety of team based combo attacks.

Marvel.com: Will our heroes be able to combine their powers or give each other a boost in any way?

Jason Bender: Team composition is crucial in “MARVEL Strike Force.” There is immense depth of strategy across characters and squads, which typically have [five] characters on the field at a time. Players will build a force of around 70 characters, with even more to be revealed, so that’s a lot of combinations! Squads can be built around iconic characters, such as Nick Fury leading a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, or built for ideal gameplay combinations for the most competitive teams. Characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot have unique and powerful abilities when fielded together—a vital component of making the most powerful team.

Marvel.com: In what ways will players be able to upgrade and change their squad’s abilities?

Jason Bender: Every character has to collect a variety of gear in order to grow stronger, and they have [three to four] unique abilities each. As abilities improve, new mechanics will unlock and reveal new tactical options. For example, Daredevil might start out attacking a single target at a time, but will quickly grow to chain his martial arts maneuvers to multiple enemies in a single attack. This expands your combat options quite a bit as your characters improve, leading to more and more depth of strategy over time.

Marvel.com: The game’s player-vs-enemy content is clear from the announcement trailer. Are there any plans for player-vs-player you can share with us?

Jason Bender: We want to be sure that players can put each other to the test and see who dominates, so we’re launching with player-vs-player included from the start. This is an arena that starts out friendly but can get highly competitive as you work your way to the top of the ladder. Naturally, there are some pretty excellent rewards to be earned at the top of the heap. We have plans for a wide variety of additional player-vs-player modes in the future.

Marvel.com: Outside of potential PVP, what social and multiplayer features will players be able to utilize?

Jason Bender: It’s a blast to play this with friends, so Alliances will allow people to team up and battle Ultimus together. Alliances can coordinate to conquer Raids, a cooperative game mode that provides some of the most powerful rewards in the game. The Alliances that work together most effectively will be able to conquer the toughest Raids, but the mode is tuned to be fun for more casual players, as well. Bring your friends!

Marvel.com: The announcement trailer also mentioned a bonus for players who pre-register for the beta; what rewards can we expect to receive?

Jason Bender: Players who pre-register will unlock a super-powered Daredevil and additional resources, so they will have a major advantage in the fight against Ultimus.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and follow @MarvelGames on Twitter for the latest news and info on “MARVEL Strike Force,” debuting worldwide in 2018!

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The Main Event makes his way from ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ to the game!

Ready to smash things up and prove you’re the strongest one there is? Or at the very least, prove you’re the strongest Avenger? You’ll get your chance this week when the mean green fighting machine from the Sakaar arena, the one and only Hulk, garbed in all his gladiatorial gear, crashes into “Marvel Puzzle Quest.”

We talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the new Hulk and all the beautiful destruction he promises to bring to the game.

Marvel.com: We’re getting our very own Bruce Banner Hulk 4-Star! I’m geeked! He was awesome in “Thor: Ragnarok,” and I’m assuming the team is translating that awesome to “MPQ”?

Josh Austin: That is correct! Hulk (The Main Event) 4-Star is inspired by the Hulk in the “Thor: Ragnarok” film. Along with his Sakaar Arena look from the movie, his power set focuses on dealing lots of damage and shaking up the board.

Marvel.com: We now have a grand total of five different Hulk variations in the game. How does Hulk (The Main Event) keep things fresh?

Josh Austin: Our Hulk definitely stands out! He has the Sakaar Arena helmet and all his gladiatorial garb on. Plus, this version of The Hulk is a major show-off. He starts the fight with a Grand Entrance, kicking off the fight in style, and with The Crowd Goes Wild, he roars at the crowd and the crowd roars back!

Marvel.com: All right, you’ve teased the moves a bit here so let’s talk about the strongest Avenger’s abilities. What can this Hulk do?

Josh Austin: Hulk (The Main Event)’s first ability is called Grand Entrance and it’s a Green Passive. For this power, Hulk smashes his way into the Arena and wreaks havoc. At level five he destroys seven random tiles that do not deal or gain AP. Of course any cascades do damage and gain AP. At the start of the turn, he swaps two random pairs of tiles.

The next power is called Gamma Bomb and it costs 14 Purple AP. Hulk channels his inner wrestling superstar, grabs his opponent, and slams them to the ground dealing damage and creating Critical tiles.

The last power Hulk (The Main Event) has is called The Crowd Goes Wild and it costs 12 Yellow AP. For this ability, Hulk roars at the crowd, and they roar back cheering on the champ. This translates to creating Fortified Countdown tiles that each turn [do] one of the following: deal damage to the enemy team, give Hulk a burst of health or gain AP.

Marvel.com: Grand Entrance is interesting. If he swaps random tiles at the beginning of the turn, can he create Match 5s and will that lead to extra turns for the player? Or is it more like Rocket and Groot’s I Am Groot ability?

Josh Austin: There is a possibility this could happen, especially if the player gets any type of cascade from the swap or the destruction of the tiles due to Grand Entrance.

Marvel.com: How were you building the big guy cover-wise? I was thinking 3/5/5 would be a pretty solid load out. 

Josh Austin: 3/5/5 is what I would focus on to maximize on the damage from Hulk. The Grand Entrance is a fun ability to have, but the damage from the others is better than the chance at cascades and possible damage, depending on the outcome of the tiles being destroyed or swapped.

Marvel.com: And because this is a team game, whom do we want to force into the arena with him?

Josh Austin: Makes sense to have anyone that can give him some Purple. Scarlet Witch is a good addition to his team for the purple generation, also Star-Lord (Legendary Outlaw).  He’s strong with characters that react to Countdown Tiles like Carol Danvers, Agent Coulson, and Star-Lord (Legendary Outlaw).

Marvel.com: When can we pick him up for ourselves?

Josh Austin: He will be live starting tomorrow, November 16. Both the S.H.I.E.L.D training event and the Hearts of Darkness—Hulk is a placement reward in this event—starts tomorrow. The Hulk and Friends store will run November 19 through November 24. Hulk (The Main Event)’s featured event will be Webbed Wonder. His Versus Tournament is Raging Fire and it will start on November 19.

There will be a third Sakaar Arena that features Hulk and this runs November 17-23. Hulk (The Main Event) will be included in the store along with a 5-Star Thor (Gladiator).

Pick up Hulk (The Main Event) here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews, and follow us on Twitter @MarvelGames!

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