The mind behind the new Telltale Series shares screens, talks character casting, and much more!

Soon, Telltale Games will bring Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to life in a new episodic video game series! After yesterday’s reveal of the voice cast behind the team, and with today’s panel at PAX East, we wanted to see just how much news we could share with Guardians fans here at Marvel.com.

So, we called up our friends at Telltale and—amid all the convention prep—managed to grab a few minutes with Sean Ainsworth, the game’s Creative Lead!

Marvel.com: Players will take up the mantle of Star-Lord in “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.” Will we experience the story from the perspectives of other members of the team at any point?

Sean Ainsworth: Yes, there will be sequences within the game where you’ll get to play as other Guardians. How and why is kind of a spoiler so we’ll keep that to ourselves! Star-Lord will still be the main playable character so that you’re able to forge meaningful relationships with the other Guardians, but the Guardians have never and will never be a solo act, so the team dynamic will shine in multiple ways.

Marvel.com: If we’re going to play as the pilot of the Milano, is it safe to say players will get a chance to fly the infamous ship?

Sean Ainsworth: You’ll essentially be the captain of the Milano, able to walk around inside it, check in on the other Guardians—or whoever else might be inside at the time. By the end of the game we want you to know it inside and out—warts and all. Telltale games focus heavily on the narrative rather than twitch gameplay, so while the Milano will get into some dust-ups for sure, those sequences will primarily be heavily cinematic QTEs. The game is not an action game, though there will be a lot of death-defying, well-choreographed action.

Marvel.com: Can you give us any clues about this adventure? What are the Guardians protecting the galaxy from this time?

Sean Ainsworth: Without giving anything away, I will say that you’ll start the game protecting the galaxy what feels like for good, but complications from the discovery of a powerful artifact will arise, causing the Guardians to look deeply at themselves as a group and what they mean to one another. Also there will be punching and shooting and disintegrations and rad music.

Marvel.com: In these preview shots, we get a look at Star-Lord and Drax outside Knowhere, as well as Rocket sporting a trademark giant-gun-he-probably-just-assembled. We also see Star-Lord drifting outside a—potentially crashed?—Nova Corps ship. Can you give us any more detail as to what’s going on in these images?

Sean Ainsworth: Drax and Peter are chasing something and someone very important to the season here…something I will not be spoiling! In the final game, instead of Drax, you might actually experience that scene with an entirely different character by your side, based on decisions you make as a player—one of the best thing about Telltale games is being able to choose the way things happen in the game, and we want to offer people multiple choices based on who or what they care about most at any given moment.

I can say that the gun Rocket’s holding will become important to the story pretty early on, that it’s unstable, and that it’s not strictly legal.

Marvel.com: What was the casting process like, searching for those who would fill the cosmic boots of the team?

Sean Ainsworth: Very difficult, actually. We wanted the cast to embody the characters but also offer something new—a different take. We listened to thousands of auditions and whittled it down, and still didn’t get it right on the first go around in a few places. The team has to sound like they belong together—you have to hear that chemistry—and it took a little while to balance that out. In the end though we’re all very excited about the cast. It was important to us that we get these characters right, but also that we differentiate the game from the films [or] animated series, so that it stands on its own merits.

Scott Porter, who folks might know from “Friday Night Lights” or from a few other Telltale series, has made for an awesome Star-Lord. He’s really passionate about getting it right, and brings a lot of natural charm and charisma to Peter.

One of the hardest parts to cast was Groot, weirdly. We got a lot of auditions that seemed to miss the point; Groot is only saying one phrase over and over, yes, but he’s actually saying much more than that, and Adam Harrington—another actor we’ve worked with extensively—really nailed it. We could say “Okay, Groot’s melancholy in this scene,” and he’ll give you a melancholy “I am Groot.” Or we’ll go “Now he’s really saying ‘I’m worried about Rocket,’” and you’ll get “I am Groot” with layers of worry about Rocket woven into it. It’s pretty outstanding.

Marvel.com: As you work with the cast, does the process for writing dialogue change at all? Do you make adjustments to play to the unique voice these actors bring to their roles?

Sean Ainsworth: After we start working with them, yes. Also we’ll allow them to kind of riff on lines in the booth, or change the wording to sound more natural, especially for difficult phrases or lines that sound better on paper than out loud. Sometimes an actor will improve a joke, too—Scott Porter, for instance, just added a “What?” to the end of a line in the first episode that just made it much funnier. That all comes out of the actor understanding the role and situation, and being able to imagine it well enough to embellish it. We try to make the process as natural as we can to encourage that kind of thing.

Marvel.com: Every game is going to be different when it comes to directing the voice work. In this case, how do those actors who haven’t previously worked with Telltale bring a new perspective to the process?

Sean Ainsworth: We have a certain way of working that we sometimes massage—lovingly—based on who we’re working with. Sometimes actors do better, for instance, if you act against them in the booth. Sometimes they like to do line reads until they get it right—or have an idea of a line read they’ll ask to do; some of our best reads come from this. It all depends on the actor. We usually stick to our regular methods, but there’s always room to improvise and accommodate the actor to make sure the performance—and thus the game—is as good as it can be.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and our social channels for all the latest news on “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series”!

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TT Games' Arthur Parson joins the show to preview this major gaming release!

With mere weeks remaining until “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” comes to consoles everywhere on November 14, we tracked down TT Games Head of Design Arthur Parsons to get the inside scoop on this exciting gaming experience!

Download episode #308.5 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes or Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

This Week in Marvel focuses on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Tuesday and Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Editorial Director of Marvel Digital Media Ben Morse with Manager, Video & Content Production: Blake Garris, Editor Marc Strom, and Assistant Editor Christine Dinh. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM, @BenJMorse, @blakegarris or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Everybody’s favorite fuzzy elf BAMFs on the scene!

Do you smell the brimstone in the air? That can only mean one thing—the swashbucklin’ Nightcrawler’s on the scene!

Following on the coattails of a couple of other mighty mutants, Kurt Wagner joins the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” crew with a couple of swords in hand. We talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the bouncing blue elf and what he’s all about.

Marvel.com: We got Rogue, two different Gambits, and now Nightcrawler? Please tell me the mutant mayhem’s never gonna end!

Josh Austin: Nightcrawler is our latest 4-Star mutant to join the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” roster! While this much-requested character has finally found a home in “MPQ,” we have a lot of plans coming, and X-Men fans will not be disappointed! We will definitely be seeing some more mutant characters in the coming months! But of course we can’t just have mutants coming to the game so expect some variety and nice surprises in the coming months.

Marvel.com: Nightcrawler’s signature ability is his teleportation. I can only imagine he’s got some tricky stuff up his blue-furred sleeves right?

Josh Austin: That’s correct, Nightcrawler is one tricky hero! A summary of how he works in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” is that he deals damage based on friendly and enemy AP and converts basic tiles based on how many colored tiles are on the board.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s get into the elf’s abilities. What can he do?

Josh Austin: Nightcrawler’s first ability is called BAMF! And it costs 7 Purple AP. With a puff of smoke and brimstone, Nightcrawler teleports away from damage and into position to strike. This converts basic tiles to the color most present on the board. The ability also has a passive that triggers when the team would take damage causing Nightcrawler to go airborne instead of taking the damage.

His second ability is called En Garde! and it costs 9 Red AP. Time for the dual sabers and his superhuman agility! For this ability, Nightcrawler deals damage and if the player has enough AP in their strongest color based on the abilities level, then this power deals almost even more damage.

His last ability is called Everywhere At Once and it costs 12 Blue AP. For this ability, Nightcrawler leaps in and out of the shadows to confuse, to disarm and disorient his enemy. Deals damage for each point of AP the enemy has in their strongest color and destroys 4 AP in that pool.

Marvel.com: Everywhere at Once sounds like it could be crazy for Nightcrawler’s opponents and that Kurt would do really well in teams that share a lot of the same color powers. That fair to say?

Josh Austin: Everywhere at Once has the ability to delay the opponent from using a power that needs the enemy’s strongest AP color, which can come in handy. If the player wants to focus on raking up and damaging with this ability, using Black Panther (T’Challa) with Rage of the Panther becomes a great combo as Black Panther is giving the opponent AP in their strongest color, then Nightcrawler is dealing damage and reducing the AP amount in the strongest color.

Marvel.com: And I feel like I would want to play him with teammates who can create specific color tiles, characters like Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men), Iron Fist (Immortal Weapon), and Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel) for extra juicy Match 5s. Anybody else he likes fighting with?

Josh Austin: Actually Nightcrawler is really great with Cloak and Dagger and generating Black and Purple AP. Overall though yes, when putting a team together having characters that create specific color tiles works well with Nightcrawler as he generates more tiles in the color most dominant on the board.

Marvel.com: And what else do we need to know about Nightcrawler?

Josh Austin: Nightcrawler will be available on October 19 and will be a part of two events with him as a placement reward including Thick As Thieves and S.H.I.E.L.D. Training event that will start on October 19. Nightcrawler’s featured event is called The Hunt and starts October 22. Lastly, his Versus Tournament is called Fuzzy Elf and starts on October 22.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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Get the scoop on the new Funko Pop! line and Episode 4, out now!

This week, we returned to our favorite ragtag group of galaxy savers and their struggle with the Eternity Forge in “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series.” In the latest episode—Who Needs You?—the team must overcome their own fractured relationships and in-fighting to escape the Sacred Shrine alive. Players will help Star-Lord lead the team to safety while exploring the past of another team member—Drax the Destroyer.

Not only are the Guardians of this story gracing phone screens, televisions, and PC monitors around the world—but soon they’ll appear in vinyl as Funko releases a new set of Marvel Gamerverse Pop! collectibles. Gamora, Rocket, Lylla, and Hala the Accuser will all appear in this latest set—created in collaboration between Telltale and Funko!

We sat down with Justin Lambros—Executive Producer on “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series”—to learn what we could about the series’ penultimate episode and about the developer’s work with Funko on this new set of collectibles.

Marvel.com: Episode 3—More Than a Feeling—left players with a serious decision about what to do with the Eternity Forge. With the artifact either empowered or destroyed, what state is the team in when we pick up here in Episode 4: Who Needs You?

Justin Lambros: This was our biggest choice of the season so far, and as per usual, the various Guardians had very different ideas of what to do with the Forge. Groot and Gamora sided pretty heavily with destroying it, while Rocket and Drax were very interested in using its power to bring back loved ones. Combine that with two very different versions of Hala to deal with, and you’ve got the Guardians in the middle of a crisis. I don’t want to spoil anything, but pretty quickly in the episode this will come to a head, and you’ll have to start picking up the pieces as Peter. Some of your team will support you, and others, well let’s just say will be less than helpful. This episode is really about trying to keep these cracks in the group from being full fractures.

Marvel.com: The fate of the Eternity Forge also has an impact on Hala. What threat does she now pose to the Guardians and the galaxy at large—either with or without the ancient artifact?

Justin Lambros: One of the things that’s so fun (and challenging) about creating Telltale games is having branched states for characters, and we’ve done a whopper with Hala. You’ll either be facing her as the leader of a resurrected Kree empire with a fully operational armada of ships, or a living grim reaper/undead Kree Accuser who has nothing left to lose. Neither of these things seems like a good place for our heroes to be, but it has very different potential solutions to figure out how to save the galaxy.

Marvel.com: What lurks in these caverns that the team will have to contend with as they make their escape? Hala is one problem, but it sounds like there are many more hiding in the shadows.

Justin Lambros: An early decision we made with episode 4 was to really focus on the characters of the Guardians themselves to help make the current state of the galaxy a more personal issue for the team and the player. So, we’ve got an story here that puts even more internal pressure on the team directly before they can even begin to address the “saving of the galaxy” that they are supposed to be doing. Our creative team came up with a new and exciting set of problems, which will keep the pressure on the Guardians while they are sorting out their differences. It’s one of the great things of the IP that we wanted to show off in this episode: new space creatures and fantastical environments.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen glimpses of the past for Star-Lord, Rocket, and Gamora so far, with Drax up next this episode. What element of Drax the Destroyer’s backstory will we explore?

Justin Lambros: What we’ve talked about from the earlier creative meetings for this project was to dig into a different side of Drax in his flashback. His backstory in the comics is quite different from the movie, but we wanted to merge them a bit, trying to show Drax in a more normal family life, rather than digging into his history as a fierce warrior. I’m hoping players find it as compelling as we did in making it.

Again, one of the real goals of this project was to round out a more complex version of each of these amazing characters from the Guardians, and Drax is surprisingly complex when you start to dig into his past and what he has done to deal with it. We hope it makes some of the big choices later in the episode very challenging for the player.

Marvel.com: There’s just one episode remaining, what can you tell us about the upcoming finale? Is there any one part of the story’s conclusion that you’re most excited to share with players?

Justin Lambros: I couldn’t be more excited about the final episode. The team building it worked on the early episodes of the project, so they’re carrying a lot of passion and knowledge for what’s come before in the series. It’s a very complex, branched episode that really aims to pay off on the character choices and consequences from the series in a big way. And without spoiling anything, I’m most excited about how we’ve kept the big final choice that we had planned from the early stages of pre-production and also added some more branched content and new moments that we didn’t even conceive of at the earliest points. So, I’m hoping that whatever content the players get, they feel a strong emotional attachment to what they’ve decided for these characters, and, hopefully they get to save the galaxy as well.

Marvel.com: We teased last month that the Guardians as we know them here in “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series” are getting the Pop! vinyl treatment from Funko soon. What has the collaboration been like with Marvel and the folks at Funko to help bring Telltale’s game designs to life?

Justin Lambros: This has been an amazing collaboration for the team and me personally. Not just because I’ve been collecting Funko Pop! vinyl for years and have a ridiculous collection of Marvel Super Heroes (and especially the Guardians), but also they’ve done an amazing job of representing the unique design elements that we have brought to our characters into their trademark stylization.

It’s been a blast for us to put our unique Telltale art style on the main Guardians, but it’s been in bringing the lesser known supporting characters to life in our game that we’ve really been able to shine. And Funko has put together a mix of those characters for us and really blown us away with their work. It’s a terrific mix of cute and bad ass that we couldn’t be more excited to have applied to some of our game characters.

Marvel.com: Hala and Lylla are sure to have Marvel + Funko fans excited, as these characters are joining the company’s collectible line for the first time! How do you feel about helping to bring them into the Funko fold?

Justin Lambros: I’ve had the privilege to work on a number of Marvel projects in my career and one of my favorite aspects is drilling down into the lesser known realms of the Marvel character library and bringing those characters to life in the interactive medium. And when the game version of these characters then comes to life in other ways, it’s really satisfying for the team members who work so hard on concepting, modeling, texturing, and animating these vibrant personalities to see others inspired by and adapting their creative work.

Lylla is an old comics character that has a very minor reference in the first Guardians film, so it was great to be able to have her play a major role in episode 2 of our series. And the undeniable cuteness of that Funko Pop! has really made our creative team proud, as Lylla held a special place in the hearts of our writers and designers. And Hala is a more recent comic creation, so we were happy to get some more awareness for this truly imposing character from the comics in our game and beyond.

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The original wielder of La Fleur du Mal is prepared to steal souls in the Battlerealm.

An ancient and evil iron maiden Morningstar smashes her way into “Marvel Contest of Champions”  brandishing a blazing bludgeon and a seriously negative attitude. Wielding her namesake, what kind of trouble will Morningstar be stirring up on Battlerealm? Fear not, we asked Kabam Lead Character Artist Gene Campbell and Character Designer Simon Cameron all sorts of cool stuff about the Contest’s newest combatant

Marvel.com: This lady looks like she means some serious business. What’s Morningstar’s story?

Gene Campbell: Morningstar, once known as Queen Haasen of Languria used to have it all. Once a powerful Queen and tyrannical ruler over an ancient land, she used the cursed powers of the Guillotine sword to keep her frightened subjects loyal and subservient. However, her subjects had enough and the people revolted, taking the sword and its powers away. In her weakened state she was imprisoned in one of her very own torture devices she had used against them as she was locked away and forgotten over the centuries.

As time passed by locked in her iron prison, a mysterious and powerful stranger took notice. Queen Haasen was offered a deal to return to the world and become the Morningstar. All she had to do was help this stranger with obtaining a power of his own desire located within The Contest of Champions and he would return her cursed sword and all of its power that she obsessed over. But, like most deals with this mysterious stranger… there is some fine print, and The Morningstar’s vengeance will come at a price.

Marvel.com: And Morningstar a “Contest of Champions” original, right? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of her before this.

Gene Campbell: She sure is! We thought it was about time to expand on the world of our first original Marvel character, Guillotine. Guillotine, not only a very important character in the story of Contest of Champions but she has become quite the popular and useful character in the game. She’s a fan favorite and players love her abilities. So like any good Super Hero, she needed a nemesis and Morningstar was created.

We worked really hard to make sure she had an interesting, unique and iconic look. We knew we wanted her to be big and imposing, to have vibrant and contrasting materials that fans have come to expect from our characters. The idea is that she would be an overbearing, strong and aggressive war machine created from the living iron and brass that she was cursed to walk the Earth in. It was also important that like any great Marvel character, that she has a strong and layered narrative and rich backstory connecting her to Guillotine.

Marvel.com: What was it like coming up with abilities for a character we’ve never seen in the comics?

Simon Cameron: It was a lot of fun! We always do a bunch of research into what a character’s abilities are, and how we could represent them within The Contest, but usually this is limited to whatever reference material we can find online or in print. Since Morningstar is an original, we were able to sit down with the person who actually created the character to talk about what she could do, and even allow some of our ideas for gameplay to seep back into her lore.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about her abilities. The key to her power is collecting Souls right? Can you give us a little more info on that?

Simon Cameron: Absolutely, collecting Souls is core to Morningstar’s kit, and how she ramps up in power over the course of a quest. When she uses her Special 3 Attack, she gains a counter. Each time she deals damage to her Opponent, the counter increases and each time she receives damage the counter decreases. If the counter reaches 100, or she wins the fight (including killing her opponent with a Special 3 Attack), she steals the Soul. If it reaches 0, her Opponent maintains possession of their Soul until she tries again. Each Soul she gains unlocks additional abilities. For example, her Special 2 Attack becomes Unblockable with 3 Souls, and empowers others such as her Special 1 Attack which gains Energy Damage for each Soul.

Marvel.com: And what else can she do?

Simon Cameron: In additional to stealing Souls, Morningstar’s Signature Ability is an excellent counter to some Buff reliant Champions, especially those that rely on potent Fury, Power Gain, or Regeneration Buffs. Once unlocked, this ability reduces the potency of any of those Buffs that her Opponent triggers, and gives her own version of each of those Buffs as her Opponent triggers them. This can be extremely potent against the right Champion, allowing her to drastically reduce Hyperion’s Power Gain, or Wolverine’s Regeneration.

Marvel.com: Who does she play well with? She doesn’t look she makes friends easily.

Simon Cameron: While I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “friends,” she does have an arrangement of sorts with Mephisto. She brings him Souls in exchange for Power. As the original wielder of La Fleur du Mal, she shares a mystical connection with Guillotine’s bloodline, and finally she shares an understanding, such as it is, with Angela and Magik, each having faced similar challenges in ruling over their domains as both powerful warriors and queens.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know?

Simon Cameron: Morningstar will be coming to The Contest on October 12! Check her out as she’ll only be playable in Contest of Champions!

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

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Hear from your favorite Marvel creators and more in quick hit episodes!

The stars of comics, games, and more came out this year at New York Comic Con 2017, and we made sure to talk to them all! The illustrious digital editorial team of Ben Morse, Eric Goldman, Christine Dinh, and Tucker Markus asked the tough questions and got the fun answers in over a dozen special episodes of This Week in Marvel.

Listen now and get the inside track!

Gerry Duggan
The writer of DEADPOOL and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY comments on the return of Adam Warlock, what’s next for Wade Wilson, and more!
Listen here!

Artists Alley
Peter David, Chris Eliopoulos, Erik Larsen, and Declan Shalvey share stories from the convention floor!
Listen here!

Matthew Rosenberg
One of Marvel’s up and coming writers gives us the scoop on PHOENIX RESURRECTION, PUNISHER, and SECRET WARRIORS!
Listen here!

Robbie Thompson
Learn all about what went into the Marvel Legacy primer pages, plus find out what’s in store for SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL!
Listen here!

Christopher Hastings
Exploring the world of UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL and getting to the bottom of I AM GROOT!
Listen here!

Aaron Kuder
The GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY artist joins us for a chat about all things cosmic!
Listen here!

Brandon Montclare
What does Marvel Legacy have in store for MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR? Find out!
Listen here!

Ed Brisson
The versatile writer talks CABLE, IRON FIST, and OLD MAN LOGAN!
Listen here!

Marvel Puzzle Quest
The team from D3 Go! celebrates the anniversary of their mobile game with Marvel!
Listen here!

Dan Slott
One of our favorite writers wraps up SILVER SURFER and readies AMAZING SPIDER-MAN for Marvel Legacy!
Listen here!

Marvel Contest of Champions
Gabriel Frizzera discusses the genesis of Morningstar and much more!
Listen here!

Camp Lo
The hip hop duo speaks out on their Marvel connections, their musical origins, and more!
Listen here!

Donny Cates
The newly-minted Marvel writer previews his plans for DOCTOR STRANGE and THANOS!
Listen here!

Gabby Rivera
We speak with the woman behind America Chavez’s ongoing adventures!
Listen here!

Charles Soule
The hardest working man in comics talks DARTH VADER, ASTONISHING X-MEN, DAREDEVIL, and more!
Listen here!

Wrap-Up
The last word from the gang on all things New York Comic Con 2017!
Listen here!

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Area 13, the Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. and more spooky inclusions.

With the Inhuman crisis settled down, the students at “Marvel Avengers Academy” start getting ready for the biggest Halloween party any of them have ever seen. But Baron von Strucker has other ideas for our heroes. Despite being defeated multiple times in attempts to squash the Academy, Strucker has returned with his most nefarious plan yet. Our heroes will need all hands on deck to deal with the fearsome foes he lets loose on campus.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get an idea of what’s in store for “Marvel Avengers Academy” this Halloween.

Marvel.com: Just when the heroes at Avengers Academy thought they could relax and celebrate Halloween, a new, spooky threat rears its head. What creepy plan does Baron von Strucker have in store for the Academy?

Allen Warner: After suffering multiple defeats at the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, and watching his best agents see the wrongs of their ways and defect to Avengers Academy, Baron von Strucker is desperate to save Hydra School, and rebuild his organization.  He plots with an imprisoned villain to access the Nexus of All Realities, and uses the ultimate portal’s power to infiltrate the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Area 13, unleashing its imprisoned collection of dangerous monsters and creatures, and holding the Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. hostage.  Since Baron Zemo, Crossbones, and Madame Hydra have all betrayed him by becoming heroes, he also accesses an alternate universe to bring zombified versions of his former accomplices to join him in the fight. He’s hoping that the chaos, his new monstrous allies, and his powerful weapon the Satan Claw, will be enough to crush S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers once and for all.

Marvel.com: Sounds like Strucker has a veritable army of frightening foes lined up for players. Who will we be up against in this event?

Allen Warner: He’ll be fighting alongside his remaining Hydra Agents and students, and his zombie minions, while using the strange tech and creatures within Area 13 to become more powerful, and stop the Avengers from freeing their allies.

Marvel.com: If Strucker breaks into Area 13 to free all these prisoners, will we get a look at the former S.H.I.E.L.D. base?

Allen Warner: Yes, the event area will be Area 13 itself, now controlled by Hydra, and overrun with an over-the-top collection of aliens, monsters, and extreme weirdness that has been released from the facility.  There will also be a separate Area 13 laboratory where the secret base ran its weird, high-tech experiments.  It all makes for a really cool mix of sci-fi-fi, fantasy, and horror that’s a great fit for Halloween.

Marvel.com: The students and faculty at Avengers Academy will need a hand tackling all these new enemies. Who joins the team to put some extra beatdown on Strucker and his cronies?

Allen Warner: Along with characters from our previous Halloween event, we’re bringing in a bunch of members from the Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Dum-Dum Dugan, Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Vampire by Night, Jasper Sitwell, and Hit-Monkey.  Of course, Orrgo will also be returning from our ‘Monsters Unleashed’ event to help his team.  As anyone who follows the game and these interviews knows, I’m a huge fan of the weird and wacky side of Marvel, so it’s awesome to introduce all of these characters who are so different from one another and everyone else on our campus.  Dum-Dum Dugan is a Life-Model Decoy with ties to Peggy Carter, Captain America, Winter Soldier, and J.A.R.V.I.S.  Jasper Sitwell is a top-level S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, and the nicest, most well-mannered zombie you’ll ever meet.  Man-Thing is a hulking, immortal swamp monster with a heart of gold.  Werewolf by Night is a classic werewolf, and classic Marvel horror hero.  Hit-Monkey is a ruthless assassin who just happens to be a well-dressed monkey.  And Vampire by Night is a really cool werewolf-vampire hybrid.  They’re all fun and weird and unique, and perfect fits for Halloween.

I also think it’s really cool that players will have the chance to collect characters who are all part of the same team, and who all visually evolve to wear similar S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms, so even though they look so different, they collectively look like the ultimate monster squad, and fit right in with all of the other S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents already running around Avengers Academy.  As usual, our great art and animation teams did some amazing work with all of these characters, and have some really fun takes on them that have never been seen before.

Marvel.com: It wouldn’t be Halloween without costumes. Our heroes have to have fun one way or another, after all. Who all will take the fight to Area 13 decked out in their Halloween finest?

Allen Warner: Yes, it wouldn’t be an Avengers Academy Halloween without awesome costumes.  It’s a really great mix of fun and creepy outfits.  Some are original creations, and others are inspired by looks from the comics and TV.  There will be new outfits for Vision, Mockingbird, She-Hulk, Phil Coulson, Captain America, Thor, and Punisher.  Players will also be able to unlock the zombie looks for Baron Zemo, Crossbones, and Madame Hydra as outfits.  It’s exciting because these are the first outfits for a lot of these characters, and I think people are really going to love what our art team has created for each of them.

We’re also bringing back outfits from last Halloween, and other outfits befitting the holiday for Captain America, Wasp, Loki, Black Widow, Falcon, Enchantress, Iron Man, Maria Hill, and more.  It’s an amazing selection of costumes that look even cooler when everyone gets together for the traditional Avengers Academy Halloween-themed dance routine.

Marvel.com: Once Halloween has come and gone, what’s next for the Academy?

Allen Warner: An intergalactic gladiator tournament, an unexpected villainous coalition, and a celebration of everything Asgardian.

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The Ragin' Cajun arrives to the hit mobile game!

Gambit, the X-Men’s resident exploding card shark, makes his “Marvel Puzzle Quest” debut this week—and we’ve been assured the kinetic energy-charging Cajun’s ready to unleash the full deck on the bad guys.

We talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the cards up Remy’s sleeves—and got some more details about all the anniversary action going down throughout October.

Marvel.com: Remy Lebeau has always been one of the coolest X-Men around—like his companion Rogue, was Gambit another popular player write-in?

Josh Austin: Yes, for “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” the most requested characters have been Rogue, Gambit, and Nightcrawler. In our last player poll, Gambit ranked as the most requested, followed by Nightcrawler—but Gambit had nearly double the amount of votes! So this news should go over well with our players!

Marvel.com: There’ll be both 3-Star and 5-Star versions of him hitting the game. Will there just be some number differences between the variations?

Josh Austin: That’s right—he’s the same power set, but with a large difference in power between the Gambit 3-Star Modern and the Gambit 5-Star Classic. The 3-Star version of a 5-Star presents a great opportunity for newer players to get an amazing fresh character if they haven’t reached the 5-star realm yet.

Marvel.com: What does his kit look like?

Josh Austin: Gambit’s first power, Ragin’ Cajun, costs 11 Purple AP. Gambit unleashes a torrent of kinetically charged playing cards that target the opponent’s weak points. This power creates Countdown tiles—replacing enemy Special tiles and dealing damage for each Countdown tile when they expire. The modern version at level 166 creates three 3-turn countdown tiles that deal 2,678 damage each. The Classic 5-Star Gambit creates four 2-turn Countdown tiles, replacing 4 enemy special tiles and they each deal 5,292 damage when the Countdown expires.

Gambit’s second power, Aces & Eights, costs 7 Red AP. For Aces & Eights, Gambit charges up a killer hand of cards. This attack destroys random Charged or Basic tiles dealing extra damage for each Charged tile destroyed this way—then creates 2 Charged tiles. For Gambit Modern 3-Star at level 166, each Charged tile destroyed deals an extra 520 damage. The 5-Star Gambit Classic deals 7,580 damage at level 450 power level 5 for each Charged tile destroyed this way.

Gambit’s last ability is Stacked Deck—a Black AP Passive ability. For this power, Gambit finds an advantage for himself at any cost, and this means Gambit generates AP every turn for his two other powers. However, the passive also prevents his allies from firing powers in the same color as Gambit’s active powers (Purple and Red).

Marvel.com: Stacked Deck means allies can’t fire Red or Purple powers? I guess we might want to avoid teaming him up with anyone who uses Red or Purple AP?

Josh Austin: Gambit gets a little selfish with Stacked Deck and will actually block an ally from using a red or purple power—this happens only if the player has a cover in either purple and/or red. So, you would not be able to use Rogue’s Red power (Sugah, You’re Goin’ Down) until Gambit gets downed, stunned, or sent Airborne. Passive powers will still trigger—only powers the player can trigger can be affected.

Marvel.com: There’s an anniversary coming up and I have no doubt the team has a ton planned. Can we get a quick recap?

Josh Austin: To start, we currently have a sale for players to take advantage of before all the anniversary madness begins. Players will get a 30% bonus in Iso-8 and Hero Points purchases. Sale ends October 4!

The anniversary festivities then begin on October 5 and every player will get a free anniversary token when they log-in that day. All events throughout the season will have double Iso-8 rewards, anniversary tokens, and more.

For events, we have the following:

Versus Tournaments

– Class of 2017 tournament starts October 5
– Let’s Be Frank tournament starts on October 8
– Danger Room tournament starts on October 10
– RRRAAAWWWR! starts on October 12

Story Events

– We have a brand new event called The X-Men vs Apocalypse that starts October 5! Apocalypse, a real baddie with Horsemen of the Apocalypse abilities, brings out some nasty tiles to try and destroy the player’s heroes. More will be announced as we get closer to the anniversary!
– Honor Among Thieves starts on October 8
– Sim Challenge (X-Men Edition) starts on October 12

Other Changes

Devil Dino is coming back to Deadpool’s Daily Quest!

Marvel.com: Let’s hear more about the Fan Favorites Legendary Token—basically, players get better odds for their favorite 4-Star characters?

Josh Austin: That’s correct, a survey was run earlier in the game for players to vote on their favorite characters.  The 12 most popular 4-Star Characters and 8 player favorite 5-Stars will be featured in a special store with increased odds. There will be a new Legendary Cover store called Fan Favorites that features players’ favorite 4-Stars and 5-Stars. Players can purchase a token to this store with Command Points or earn a token to this store from the Crash of the Titans mission in the Deadpool’s Daily Quest that starts on October 10th.

Marvel.com: What else do we need to know about the crazy celebrations on the horizon?

Josh Austin: Gambit will be released October 5 during the debut of the X-Men vs Apocalypse event. His Legendary store starts on October 5 with increased odds at getting Old Man Logan and Phoenix along with Gambit (Classic) 5-Star.

Gambit (Modern) 3-Star will be available in the Honor Among Thieves event that starts October 8. Gambit (Modern) features in the event and will have multiple covers in the Vault. Gambit’s PVP event is called Ragin’ Cajun and it starts October 15 with Gambit (Modern) being the featured character.

We will also be at New York Comic at the D3 Go! Booth (#447) this week! Come by and say hello to me and members of the team.

Finally, everyone at D3 Go! and Demiurge wants to thank all of our players for such an awesome year. We appreciate all the feedback and support we get and we really hope we can bring out more features and characters that the community has requested in the upcoming year. Thank you!

Grab the Ragin’ Cajun for yourself here and stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews!

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Can the Battlerealm handle the Prince of Lies?

Want to clean some hero clocks with one of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe? Kabam’s got you covered, unleashing Mephisto on the Collector and “Marvel Contest of Champions.”  Want to know what the crimson-clad villain’s up to? Well, we talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Champion Designer Piero Herrera about the Lord of Evil and all the mayhem he’ll no doubt be causing in the Contest. 

Marvel.com: Mephisto is a serious baddie! Can the Battlerealm even handle that much evil energy?

Gabriel Frizzera: That’s definitely a concern… the Battlerealm has been taking a beating lately, and Mephisto is known for causing mayhem wherever he goes! Nobody knows for sure how he arrived in The Contest (neither the Collector or the Grandmaster would want anything to do with the Prince of Lies), so one could assume Mephisto arrived on his own volition, which in many ways is probably worse. Whatever his plan is, Champions and Elders alike will have to watch their backs.

Marvel.com: And what exactly is his beef with the Grandmaster and The Contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: Personally I think he likes the chaos of The Contest of Champions… It’s his element. He’s not bound by allegiances, but the whole concept of a cosmic contest full of captive Super Heroes and Villains that he can manipulate attracts him. He can be free to use his mind tricks to play both sides, for his own amusement and benefit.

Marvel.com: Oh man Mephisto looks awesome here! Typically we see him rocking an all-red outfit. Where’d the bone armor come from?

Gabriel Frizzera: He’s dressed for the occasion! As much as we love the classic red tights, we thought it was a good opportunity to give give him a battle outfit to fight in The Contest. A bone armor felt like a good fit for the Lord of Hades, so we designed one inspired by a Roman Centurion, but with a hellish twist. He also wields a fiery whip to instill fear in the hearts of puny mortals.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about his abilities. Burning Aura sounds like a really powerful ability.

Piero Herrera: It sure is. This ability will shake the meta in the Alliance Wars game mode. It is also the first time we introduce an “Aura” that is based on proximity as opponents will occasionally take Incinerate damage when nearby Mephisto.

Marvel.com: And what in the world is Soul Imprisonment? That sounds crazy awesome.

Piero Herrera: Crazy awesome to counter Champions like Hyperion’s Power Gain at the start of the fight? Yes. This ability reduces the chance for opponents to activate their Buffs by 100%!

Marvel.com: What should we be looking for in teammates? I can’t imagine too many heroes or villains would want to hang out with the Mephisto.

Piero Herrera: Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider bargained with Mephisto, enabling them to get enhanced powers if on the same team. Doctor Strange gets more Life Steal and Ghost Rider gets a good boost to his attacks at the start of the fight.

Marvel.com: And when can we tap into his eldritch energies for ourselves?
Piero Herrera: Mephisto is live right now! Check your in-game inbox for more information on how to get him.

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

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The southern belle strikes at the heart of the hit mobile game!

Rogue hits “Marvel Puzzle Quest” at supersonic speeds, bringing her power draining abilities, mean right hook, and boundless determination to a team near you! Want to take out bad guys and look great doing it? Well we talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the southern belle’s powers, the future of mutants in “MPQ,” and the game’s impending anniversary. Read on!

Marvel.com: It’s been a while since we’ve seen anyone with an X-Gene join the roster. Can you talk a little about why mutants are back on the menu?

Josh Austin:
I know, right? Keeping the secret that we are bringing back the mutants was so hard! Players have been asking for a long time and Rogue is just the start. We will be releasing a few more, plus some mutant-themed events that should bring a lot of excitement to the game.

Marvel.com: Super happy to see Rogue making the cut too! Why was she the right mutant for the job?

Josh Austin: Rogue has been one of the top requested characters for so long. Every time I would send out a preview character with the community one of the top automatic responses seemed to be Rogue, so we wanted to start with her. She’s a 4-star character and will be tough to beat with her power siphoning and damage reduction. Players are going to have fun using her and dread facing her. The designers did a great job translating her powers to “Marvel Puzzle Quest” and she’s going to be a great addition to any roster!

Marvel.com: Rogue’s been in her fair share of video games in the past. What does the team have in store for us in “Marvel Puzzle Quest”?

Josh Austin: Since we did not want to disappoint on such a highly requested character, we definitely went with her familiar power set of draining powers, flying head on into combat with a devastating punch and even leading her team in the attack, all done in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” fashion.

Marvel.com: And what can she do in “MPQ” fashion?

Josh Austin: What the above overview translates into is Rogue’s first ability, Gloves Off, which costs five Green AP. This power then becomes Power Siphon. Power Siphon is a Passive ability that has Rogue absorbing enemy powers but risks damaging herself with continued exposure. What this means in terms of gameplay is enemy matches in this ability’s color generates no AP and [deal] no damage while friendly matches generate double AP and deal double damage! At the start of the turn, spend 14 AP in this ability’s color to deal damage to the target and deal about half that amount of damage to Rogue. This power then becomes Gloves Off again.

Rogue’s Second ability is called Sugah, You’re Goin’ Down and costs 12 Red AP. It’s a headfirst flying charge punch that sends the enemy reeling. It deals damage and destroys a block of tiles dealing damage but not generating AP.

Rogue’s final ability is called Leading the Charge and it’s a Yellow Passive. When Rogue is in front, enemy matches deal less damage for each teammate still in the fight. Whenever the enemy makes a Green, Red or Yellow match, Rogue is sent to the front automatically.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk a little about Gloves Off. Because of the potential damage Rogue risks, is this something she needs to use sparingly or do the benefits outweigh the risks.

Josh Austin: The risk is only if the player gets the 14 AP to set off Power Siphon’s damage function. The moment the player collects 14 AP in the chosen color, Rogue damages the enemy and receives damage. If you have someone that can use up the AP, so you’re just doing double damage on matches, Rogue will be totally fine.

Marvel.com: How about teammates? Who does she play well with?

Josh Austin: Because of Rogue’s ability to gain double AP with Power Siphon and the damage reduction with Leading the Charge, she works well with many characters and she will be a great ally or really difficult opponent! She is strong with characters that create Charged tiles like Black Bolt, Silver Surfer, The Hulk (Totally Awesome), Thor (Goddess of Thunder), Mordo, and Lockjaw.

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

Josh Austin: Rogue is coming to “Marvel Puzzle Quest” on September 28. She will be in placement rewards for Hearts of Darkness, which starts the same day. Players will also have a chance to get her through tokens awarded in S.H.I.E.L.D. Training. Her featured event will be Webbed Wonder that starts October 1 and players can snatch her up as a progression reward. Her Versus Tournament, Close Contact, starts on October 1.

Rogue will also be the first character released in a mini-gauntlet at the same time as her debut event, which will reward players tokens to the debut event store and a cover of Rogue. We will have more information on the details of this change in the D3 forums closer to Rogue’s release!

Marvel.com: And I heard you have some other fun bits of news to tease for October?

Josh Austin: Yes! We are getting close to our four-year Anniversary of “Marvel Puzzle Quest” so players should stay tuned next week as we introduce details of what is coming to the game for the Anniversary. We are looking forward to the celebration and sharing more details about a couple of other X-Men characters coming to the game. You may have heard of them—Gambit and Nightcrawler! I can’t say anything more than that but stay tuned next week for more info about their release and a special in-game X-Men themed event.

Play with Rogue’s mutant powers here and stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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