America Chavez Bolsters Her Video Game Resume with ‘Marvel Avengers Academy’
America Chavez joins her A-Force teammates in the battle against Malekith in “Marvel Avengers Academy.” With the hero soon to debut her own solo ongoing series – America – in March, fans are eager to add her to their teams. The team at TinyCo had a lot of fun developing their take on Ms America, but she still brings the same uniqueness to the game that she does to the comics.
We spoke with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get a look at the process of designing not only this version of Ms. America, but also the set of fantasy outfits our heroes are donning during this event – including America’s Knight outfit.
Marvel.com: America Chavez, Miss America herself, lands in “Marvel Avengers Academy” this week. With her upcoming solo ongoing, there’s a lot of fan excitement around the character. What was it like bringing her to the Academy this winter?
Allen Warner: It’s always great when we can support what’s going on in the comics and vice versa. I’m really looking forward to her having a solo book, and it’s been fun adapting her for the world of our game. There are a lot of tough and capable female heroes attending the Academy already, but America brings diversity, swagger, a unique backstory, and some crazy powers that make her really special. Of course, our version of America doesn’t share the exact same history as her comics counterpart, so there are a lot of surprises and opportunities to tell stories that can’t be told in the books. I wanted to focus on making her more than just a bruiser for the team, and make her motivations more personal to explore what’s under that tough exterior.
From a visual standpoint, our art and animation teams did their usual outstanding job with her designs and animations. We wanted to showcase her personality and raw power, and use some of the things that make her unique like kicking in star portals for interdimensional travel, and throwing giant sharks at people because it’s awesome.
Marvel.com: When did America Chavez enter the discussion for new characters coming in this event?
Allen Warner: We’ve talked about putting her in the game for a long time. She got very close with an earlier release, but we decided to go in another direction. As soon as we knew we were doing an A-Force event, it was a given. She’s an integral part of this team, and one of the best young Marvel heroes, so there was no way we were going to leave her out.
Marvel.com: Off the bat, she gets a new secondary outfit as part of the Fantasy set releasing with this event. How did you and the art team go about designing her “Knight” outfit?
Allen Warner: Yeah, each week the new character who’s introduced also gets an awesome fantasy outfit. She was a tough one to figure out to be honest. We tried a few angles, but it just didn’t feel like her. We hadn’t introduced a knight yet, and I started thinking about how it could be fun to tell a story about how America adapts to traditional knight protocol and armor. She’s fiercely independent, and doesn’t have much use for armor, but these are special circumstances facing Malekith and the Casket of Ancient Winters, so she decides to give it a shot. It’s a lot of fun to see how she reacts, and who she seeks out to try and figure out how to meld her personality and powers with something so traditional.
Marvel.com: How did the team come around to this set of outfits as part of Malekith’s attack on Earth?
Allen Warner: We wanted to have all of the outfits feel like part of a set, and with everyone battling elves and giants, fantasy made sense. It’s not something you usually see in Marvel outside of the realms of Thor or Doctor Strange or the Black Knight, so I think it feels really fun and fresh to see some of these other characters in that setting. The art team outdid themselves with all of the outfits, and the response across the board has been really positive.
Marvel.com: The outfits look to be drawn out of the characters’ roles or traits – Blacksmith Iron Man and Paladin Thor, for example. What went into the creation of these?
Allen Warner: Yeah, the first step with each one was to think about what made sense for their personality, and what kind of stories we’d be able to tell with the quests and animations. In some cases, we went for the one that immediately made the most sense. Other times, we purposefully went in a different direction because we thought it would make for some fun results. I bounced my ideas off of Tim Hernandez and Bill Rosemann at Marvel Games, and after getting their feedback and go-ahead, our art team went to work trying to combine what makes each character iconic with what you’d expect from these classic archetypes. I think they turned out even better than anyone expected.
Marvel.com: What about Wasp led you to create her “Archer” outfit?
Allen Warner: To be honest, before we had the idea of these all being a cohesive set, I’d planned on having her be more ‘toy workshop’ elf than ‘arrow-shooting’ elf. When we decided to go with the set and fantasy approach, I started thinking about how it would be fun to keep her as an elf, but in a fantasy setting. Elves are great archers in various fantasy stories, so I started to get excited about what being an elf means to Wasp, and seeing her interact with the Dark Elves on an ‘elf-to-elf’ level, and getting archery lessons from Hawkeye. Archery will also be a major part of our next event, so it felt like a great bridge to the next story.
Marvel.com: Similarly, how does Singularity embody the “Healer” role for her outfit?
Allen Warner: Singularity is so sweet, and generous, and self-sacrificing that it just made sense. Singularity’s powers aren’t technically magic, but still feel very mysterious and magical, and are usually used for protecting others. It’s another outfit that’s really beautiful, and we even added unique functionality, so that each time Healer Singularity battles a Frost Giant, it drops a health pack to heal your heroes.
Marvel.com: Was there any one design in particular you had a lot of fun putting together?
My favorite has to be Huntress Angela. It’s a really natural fit for her personality and backstory, and the outfit turned out incredible. It’s influenced by her awesome “Angela: Queen of Hel” look from the comics mixed with a sort of forest hunter vibe, and just looks amazing. It’s one of the most detailed outfits we’ve ever made for any character, and I think people will be really excited when they see it.
Marvel.com: Anything you can tell us about what’s coming up next?
Allen Warner: We’re about to introduce Angela, Lady Loki, and Captain Marvel, who’s another iconic character we’ve been wanting to include for a really long time, and we’ll also be giving players the opportunity to get some of the heroes they may have missed in previous events.
There are a lot of things stirring just under the surface of the Academy. Malekith and the Casket of Ancient Winters are causing a massive distraction that’s giving multiple villains the opportunity to put their plans into action. Previously defeated villains are about to activate the next phase of their plan, and a well-known villain is about to make his presence known for the first time. Not only that, but our most sought-after hero is about to join the school, and he’s bringing our most awesome and unlikely playable character with him.
Play “Marvel Avengers Academy” today and stay tuned for further updates and events!