The X-Men’s resident ninja warrior hits hard in Battlerealm!

Betsy Braddock makes her inaugural appearance in “Marvel Contest of Champions” this week, katanas and psi-blades ready to slice her opponents to shreds. A new combatant on the fields of Battlerealm, she enters the fray alongside Archangel and a host of other Champions with less than pure intentions.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Psylocke’s kit and the all the ninja awesome she brings to the game.

Marvel.com: Psylocke is definitely a unique mind-melding, soul-swapping, one-of-a-kind mutant. As collectibles go I have no doubt Betsy’s a must-have. The question becomes, why’d it take so long for The Collector to snatch her up?

Gabriel Frizzera: As it’s been the case with many recent arrivals, Psylocke was brought to The Contest not by The Collector, but by a third party. In her case it was The Grandmaster, as part of his X-Enforcers. He knows Betsy spells trouble for his brother: She’s a skilled ninja warrior, capable of physically subjugating her enemies, but also possesses incredible psychic powers. The Collector’s many secrets are not safe around her!

Marvel.com: Where’s this Psylocke from in the Marvel-verse? I can’t quite place her costume. Is it from a particular comic or is this another “Contest of Champions” exclusive?

Gabriel Frizzera: This one is a blend between her classic purple costume from the 90’s and two of the more recent black-and-white incarnations from UNCANNY X-FORCE. We wanted the X-Enforcers to look like an homage to that fantastic team, but at the same time feel like they’ve been “evolved” by the Grandmaster. So we did some subtle tweaks to both Psylocke and Archangel, but without changing too much.

Marvel.com: Recently she’s been using her katanas to slice and dice, but from the image I saw it doesn’t look like she packed her swords for the trip to Battlerealm. Any reason why she’s just rocking her psi-blade?

Gabriel Frizzera: Actually she uses both the katana and the psy-blade in her basic moveset! We really wanted her to feel like a ninja warrior, so the sword is out all the time, along with the psychic bag of tricks. And that’s not all: in her special 3 attack she uses her “psy-bow and arrow,” a personal favorite from the comics!

Marvel.com: I’ve always been curious, when the team takes a crack at someone like Psylocke, how do you figure out how she fights? She’s shown up in fighting games before, so did you take any inspiration from those appearances, or is this Betsy all “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: If a character has appeared before in movies or TV shows, I usually guide the team to it. But as a general guideline we only go to other Marvel games as a last resort, to avoid getting overly influenced by it. Sometimes we end up in the same creative space, but this approach helps create something fresh for [“Contest of Champions”]. In the case of Psylocke, we mainly wanted the comics “bad-girl” attitude, and then used Japanese sword fighting videos as animation reference to get the stances and moves straight from the source.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s dig into her abilities. Her Signature Ability in game is Psi-Feedback. Can you tell us a little about that?

Simon Cameron: Certainly! Psylocke’s Signature Ability increases her Critical Damage the lower her opponent’s Power is. It also gives her the ability to suppress her opponent’s Abilities when she’s reduced them to zero Power. If she can set up her opponent and keep them from gaining Power, she can do big critical damage while preventing them from countering her with an ability of their own.

Marvel.com: The rest of her abilities, Power Burn/Drain/Lock, make it seem like she’s the mutant you want to use when you really don’t want your opponent using their special powers.

Simon Cameron: Shutting down her opponent’s Power is certainly one thing Psylocke does very well. This goes hand in hand with her Psi-Charges, which allow Psylocke to continue attacking her opponent without granting them Power in return, but at a risk. Psylocke builds Psi-Charges by siphoning away some of her opponent’s Power. She can use it to power her own abilities, but these charges can also be reclaimed by her opponent to use against her. She’s a talented assassin and reflecting this she can be extremely powerful if she gets her opponent into the situation she wants.

Marvel.com: And when can we pick her up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: This skilled mutant hero and assassin will be available on March 16!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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The Immortal Weapon of K’un-Lun dons his Netflix attire!

Celebrating Danny Rand’s big jump to Netflix, “Marvel Puzzle Quest” unleashes a new 4-Star Iron Fist, bringing some seriously powerful martial arts abilities to bear.

We talked to D3 Go! Senior Producer Josh Austin about the Hero for Hire’s upgrades and the best ways to dish out righteous kung fu fury to the bad guys. Read on for the breakdown!

Marvel.com: In my humble opinion Iron Fist (Immortal Weapon) is one of the best 3-Star characters in the game. His Black AP generation is top notch and Iron Fist of K’un-Lun hits like a truck for cheap. What does this Danny Rand do differently?

Josh Austin: 3-Star Iron Fist definitely is one of the best characters in 3-Star land! This 4-Star Iron Fist (Danny Rand) is also powerful after you build up his chi, which in the game, translates to strike tiles that his abilities can generate. Basically the new Iron Fist’s abilities were designed to chain into each other—kind of like 2-Star and 3-Star Thor—so the player can gain AP.

Marvel.com: I noticed that just like 4-Star Luke Cage (Power Man), who has a unique interaction with Iron Fist, this 4-Star Iron Fist has a special interaction with Luke. How do the designers decide who gets these unique interaction? They’re fairly rare in “MPQ.”

Josh Austin: Iron Fist (Danny Rand) and Luke Cage have a history together with their Heroes for Hire partnership in the comic world, where they take assignments. A lot of characters have a synergy together in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” that’s not as apparent, but both Luke Cage and Iron Fist have been designed to work together and their power lists this out. This new Iron Fist (Danny Rand) brings either Luke Cage 3-Star or 4-Star—depending on which variant you have on your team—into the animation when using Danny’s second power and Luke Cage is on the team, which is a fun reinforcement of the upgrades the power contains.

Marvel.com: Care to tell our readers all about Danny’s kung fu? No doubt he’ll make the Thunderer proud.

Josh Austin: Iron Fist (Danny Rand)’s first power is called Chi Focus and costs six Blue AP. For this power, Danny concentrates his energy to augment his physical power. What that means in the game is this power creates a Purple Strike tile. Then, if there are any additional friendly Strike tiles on the board, it Fortifies them and the team gains Green AP.

Danny’s second power is called Crowd Control for eight Green AP. Danny rushes into the fray, making quick work of his enemies. This power deals damage, then if there is more than one enemy remaining, the team gains two Black AP. Otherwise, he deals extra damage.

Danny’s third power is called Like Unto Iron and costs 12 Black AP. Danny channels all his chi into his fist to deliver a devastating punch. It converts up to two friendly Protect tiles to Strike tiles, then deals damage.

Marvel.com: Like Unto Iron packs a seriously painful punch! And just to confirm I read that right, Danny changes Protect tiles to Strike tiles before he does direct damage? So he’ll get the added power of the Strike tiles behind his fists?

Josh Austin: That is correct for Like Unto Iron; the fist attack animation plays, then if the player has a Protect tile it converts to a Strike tile, and the enemy receives the more devastating hit.

Marvel.com: When we’re thinking about teammates, obviously Luke Cage enters the equation, but who else? Who makes Strike tiles quickly so Iron Fist can get right to fortifying them? And Sam Wilson, Falcon or Captain America, would make sure that there are plenty of Protect tiles to turn.

Josh Austin: Here are a couple examples of team-ups [that came up] during development! One team-up to make Iron Fist (Danny Rand) a strong damage dealer is to have Luke Cage (Power Man) and Wasp (Janet Van Dyne). Wasp works well as a means of strengthening whatever tiles Luke Cage and Iron Fist pump out. Luke Cage will be throwing down strong Protect tiles whenever an enemy activates a power and he will also slowly remove enemy special tiles with his Defender power.

Another option is to have Moon Knight and Medusa to put Iron Fist (Danny Rand) into a battery role. Using Iron Fist (Danny Rand)’s AP generation for Moon Knight to soak up and activate Moonsilver Blades and Fist of Khonshu while Medusa generates health and additional Green AP from matching any special tiles.

Marvel.com: And how are you building his covers? Honestly I feel like all of his abilities are worth having five points in them, but I’m thinking I would roll 3/5/5 making sure he’s capable of doing as much damage as possible. What do you think?

Josh Austin: That breakdown definitely makes sense. Definitely the Crowd Control fueling Like Unto Iron is a dependable way to generate AP since the cost of Crowd Control and the relatively easy condition of having more than one enemy remaining makes Crowd Control his go to Power.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to unleash the power of Shou-Lao the Undying on our foes?

Josh Austin: Iron Fist (Danny Rand) will be available this Thursday, March 23 and can be found in Venom Bomb that runs Thursday, March 23 through Tuesday, March 28. He will also be in the Juggernaut: Heroic Vault from Monday, March 27 through Friday, March 31. His versus tournament will be Last Defender and it starts March 30th and lasts until April 3.

Also, I wanted to mention that we’re running a 30% bonus currency sale right now through March 27 to celebrate Puzzle Quest’s 10th Anniversary. Players can use this currency boost to recruit or level up Iron Fist (Danny Rand)! Finally, we’re working with Marvel Insider on some upcoming promotions, so please stay tuned!

Pick up the all-new Iron Fist here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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Bring the action from the small screen to your gaming experience!

Last week, we introduced you to the various versions of Iron Fist across the world of Marvel Games. Today, as “Marvel’s Iron Fist” hits Netflix, we take a look at how this new iteration of the character has inspired additions to several of those games.

Suit up as this new Iron Fist and battle the villainous Hand ninjas!

Iron Fist in Marvel Puzzle Quest

MARVEL PUZZLE QUEST
“Iron Fist (Danny Rand) has been designed to utilize his ability to knock out characters in style. Each power builds up like the character’s chi to unleash more damage later in the match and he even has a power that deals more damage when there is only one more enemy left, allowing the player to finish off their prey with a devastating punch!” – Josh Austin, Senior Producer on “Marvel Puzzle Quest” at D3 Go!

Iron Fist in Marvel Heroes 2016

MARVEL HEROES 2016
“A master of mystical martial arts, Iron Fist lives up to the title ‘Immortal Weapon of K’un-L’un’ and channels his chi to achieve states of near invulnerability while pummeling foes with a flurry of unrelenting attacks. There’s never been a better time to revisit this fan favorite Hero and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Danny Rand in the [show] on Netflix!” – Ben Gilbert, Lead Game Designer on “Marvel Heroes 2016” at Gazillion Entertainment

Iron Fist and friends in Marvel Future Fight

MARVEL FUTURE FIGHT
“Our top priority [in this week’s update] was the release of the new ‘Iron First’ show. Like we did when ‘Daredevil’ was first released, we wanted to be able to bring the excitement from the TV show into the game. It’s appealing even for us as the developers to bring the skills from the show into the game. To go along with this, we have introduced a Marvel TV related uniform bundle.” – Minkyun Kim, Dev Director on “Marvel Future Fight” at Netmarble

Catch the adventures of Danny Rand in “Marvel’s Iron Fist” out now on Netflix!

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Ghost Rider, Hellcat, and Kid Kaiju join the Marvel mobile game!

Alongside a trio of new characters, “Marvel Future Fight” introduces the Character Growth system this month. The new dynamic provides players with a stat called Combat Power, a score that represents the combined strength of a character’s skills, gear, ISO-8, and custom gear. Each character will also receive a Ranking, which will compare that character to other players’ versions of them.

“We believe it will be exciting to see how a particular character that a player has put so much effort into ranks among other players,” says Minkyun Kim, Dev Director at “Marvel Future Fight” developer Netmarble.

The latest heroes jumping into the growing “Future Fight” roster come from across Marvel Television and Comics. After his acclaimed run on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider rides right into the game. Hellcat comes hot on his heels, sporting the look from her current solo series PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT! Last but certainly not least, the human face of MONSTERS UNLEASHED, Kid Kaiju, makes his first Marvel Games appearance.

“[Kid Kaiju] is one of the big projects prepared by Marvel this year, and we worked on it based off their work,” Kim explains. “This Inhuman boy, new to the Marvel Universe, was also a challenge for our team. We weren’t sure how to design his basic attacks or how to show that he summons monsters from his drawings. Everything related to him was a new venture. Just as he brought new adventures into the comics, we believe that he will bring a fresh appeal to ‘Marvel Future Fight,’”

Timeline Battle also sees a few changes geared toward improving quality of life for players who use the game mode frequently. First, recommended and restricted characters will guide players toward using new and varied heroes even at higher ranks. Using recommended heroes will grant bonus points, while restricted heroes will be unavailable in Timeline Battle until the following week. The Friendly March feature allows players to test their teams against other players in their friends list or Alliance. While these matches won’t yield rewards, they also won’t affect rank.

Dive in to the interdimensional battle of “Marvel Future Fight,” try out these new features, and recruit the latest and greatest heroes for your team.

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The Immortal Weapon cuts loose across the world of Marvel Games!

With over 75 years of rich history, the Marvel Universe has produced countless memorable heroes and villains. On a regular basis, Marvel Games Presents will highlight these characters’ histories as well as shine a spotlight on their current gaming appearances.

Today, the spotlight falls on the upcoming star of his own Netflix series, Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist!

MEET IRON FIST
Betrayed by his business partner, Wendell Rand and his wife Heather lost their lives while searching for the mystical city of K’un-L’un, orphaning their son Danny in the process. The denizens of K’un-L’un would take the boy in and train him in the martial arts; upon adulthood, he passed the trials to become the city’s representative as an Immortal Weapon: Iron Fist! Returning to New York, Iron Fist became a super hero and partnered with Luke Cage as the Heroes for Hire.

MARVEL AVENGERS ACADEMY
“How can you not love a hero who got his powers by punching an undying dragon in the heart?! For my money, he and Luke Cage are the coolest duo in all of Marvel, and his relationship with Misty Knight is one of the most important in comics history. In the world of ‘Marvel Avengers Academy’, he’s still figuring out how to use his nunchucks, but he’s already an expert in everything ‘chill.’ He’s the type of hero you want by your side whether you’re just hanging out at home or fighting for your life in an extra-dimensional Kung Fu tournament. Did I mention he punched a train and a Helicarrier?!”- Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer on “Marvel Avengers Academy”

MARVEL CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS
“Iron Fist was part of the original roster of ‘Contest of Champions,’ and a natural fit for a fighting game like ours. He represents a very interesting time when the west became fascinated by Asian culture, and this east/west dichotomy is pure Marvel gold: he’s a very skilled warrior, but a pacifist. An industrialist, but also a very simple man, raised as a monk. We love Danny Rand, and can’t wait for the [‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’] Netflix show!” – Gabe Frizzera, Art Director on “Marvel Contest of Champions”

MARVEL FUTURE FIGHT
“Iron Fist gathers ki in his body not only to defend, but also to heal. To really bring out this aspect, we designed him to become invincible when his HP is low and recover a small amount of HP. The most unique and appealing aspect of Iron Fist is that he is able to attack by summoning Shou-Lao in an energy form. The moment this skill is activated, Shou-Lao envelops Iron Fist and deals powerful damage to enemies around him. Not only will you be able to marvel at the amazing graphic effects, but you’ll be able to see Iron Fist’s unique trait.” – Minkyun Kim, Dev Director on “Marvel Future Fight”

 

MARVEL HEROES 2016
“Iron Fist offers full immersion in the mystical martial arts of K’un-L’un. Danny Rand uses flying kicks, lightning-fast punches, and explosions of mystical energy to defend the innocent. Channel your chi into the ancient fighting forms, masterfully blending them into an alloy Like Unto Iron.” – Ben Gilbert, Lead Game Designer on “Marvel Heroes 2016”

MARVEL PUZZLE QUEST
“Iron Fist (Immortal Weapon) is the complete package in ‘Marvel Puzzle Quest.’ He’s able to take on an onslaught of opponents either with mind or muscle. He is truly a living weapon–one of the best characters in his tier–that opposing enemies need to watch out for in either our Versus Tournament or Story Events.” – Josh Austin, D3 Go! Producer on “Marvel Puzzle Quest”


MORE IRON FIST

Follow Danny Rand into the pages of IRON FIST #1, coming March 22!

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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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Two new versions of the Avenging Archer make their mark!

Need more Hawkeye in your life? What kind of question is that? Of course you do, and the team at D3 Go! has you covered with new Hawkeye variations ready to put the bullseye on bad guys in “Marvel Puzzle Quest.”

We talked to Senior Producer Josh Austin about the couple of new Clints hitting the game this week and all their arrow-y awesomeness.

Marvel.com: Like Thanos and Dr. Strange before him, Clint Barton’s getting a 3 and a 5-Star variation this week. What can you tell us about the all-new Hawkeye hitting “MPQ”?

Josh Austin: This was the first character I’ve worked on while managing “Marvel Puzzle Quest” that actually made me laugh! The 3-Star Hawkguy variation and his No Good News power, which we’ll get to later, was an awkward thing to submit to Marvel. I’m glad they laughed when they saw it and I hope players do too. Overall the team has done a great job with both 5-Star Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and 3-Star Hawkeye (Hawkguy) to make him stand out from the ones already in the game.

Marvel.com: No doubt players are quivering at the chance to poke holes in their foes, but where in Marvel history did you pull this Hawkeye from?

Josh Austin: 5-Star Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we made sure to use his latest look as reference. For the 3-Star Hawkeye (Hawkguy) we used his [recent solo series] comic version as inspiration, but made sure to make him still very heroic. As mentioned above, we definitely squeezed in the very funny scene where he’s caught in bed and has to dodge fire…

Marvel.com: I’d be willing to bet we can expect trick arrows galore from the ace archer. Would you mind telling us how we’re going to be turning baddies into pincushions?

Josh Austin: This going to be a long one…

For 5-Star Hawkeye (Clint Barton), his first power is called Can’t Seem to Miss and it’s a Purple AP Passive, so it costs 0 AP. For this power, Hawkeye stays cool under pressure and hits his targets. Whenever a friendly Countdown tile reaches 0, gain Blue and Red AP and at the start of each turn fortify friendly Countdown tiles.

His second power is called Full Quiver and costs five Blue AP. This power has seven arrows that all do different things:

Bola Arrow: Hawkeye’s arrow bursts in mid-air, deploying bolas which wrap around his target, incapacitating them. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that stuns target for a few turns.

Explosive Arrow: Hawkeye’s arrow hits the target, letting out an ominous beeping before it explodes. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that deals damage to the target.

Electric Arrow: Hawkeye’s arrow hits the battlefield and releases an immense electric charge. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that creates Charged tiles.

Sonic Arrow: Hawkeye’s sonic arrow lets loose an ear-piercing scream as it flies towards its target, disorienting his enemies. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that creates Red Strike tiles.

Ant-Man Arrow: “Okay…I’m good! I’m good, Arrow Guy, let’s go!” Creates a Blue Countdown tile that steals enemy AP of a random color.

Acid Arrow: Hawkeye lets loose an acid arrow, which breaks open at his target, melting metal and burning enemies. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that creates Purple attack tiles.

Smoke Bomb Arrow: Hawkeye’s smoke arrow floods the battlefield with cover for him and his allies. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that grants Hawkeye and his teammates invisibility for two turns.

Shrapnel Arrow: Hawkeye fires his final arrow, which breaks apart in mid-air, firing explosive shrapnel which hits each of his targets. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that deals damage to the enemy team.

Finally, this power becomes Out of Arrows after firing his last arrow, now having used all of his ammo, Hawkeye has to improvise hand-to-hand. This deals damage to the target.

5-Star Hawkeye’s last ability is called Deep Breath and it costs five Red AP. Hawkeye takes a deep breath and draws his bow, taking careful aim at his prey. Places a fortified blue Countdown tile. When it reaches 0, if you have enough Red AP, spend it and deal damage, otherwise deal a little more than a fifth of the damage. At level three for me, this was 5,657 damage if you have 10 Red AP, otherwise it deals 1,561 damage.

For 3-Star Hawkeye (Hawkguy), Hawkguy’s first ability is called Because…Boomerangs and it costs 10 Purple AP. This power creates Red Strike tiles and a Purple Countdown tile that removes friendly Strike tiles and deals damage.

Full Quiver costs five Blue AP. For this power, the arrows are the same as I mentioned earlier but with a reduction of damage because he’s a 3-Star!

No Good News is Hawkguy’s final power and it costs 10 Black AP. For this power, Hawkeye is caught in bed and dodges an attack rather unexpectedly. This power heals Hawkeye and creates two random enemy protect, strike or attack tiles. It also has a Passive that whenever you match an enemy special tile, your team gains Blue and Purple AP.

Marvel.com: Ok so I really like the idea of Full Quiver, but what are the chances players will actually be able to fire off the Shrapnel Arrow? Maybe not in PvP but some of the longer PvE nodes?

Josh Austin: Both the 5 and 3-Star versions of Hawkeye have AP generating abilities that feed the Blue needed for Full Quiver, so if the player makes a Countdown tile generating team then they will be feeding the Blue needed. And since the power only costs five AP it’s pretty easy to get enough to exhaust all seven arrows. It may still be hard to get through the full quiver of arrows with 5-Star Hawkeye because enemies in PVE were dying so quickly when I was testing him!

Marvel.com: And that actually leads me to another question: How much does the team think about character abilities as PvP viable as opposed to PvE? Is that something that factors into ability creation?

Josh Austin: A lot does go into the creation of a character; the designer has to weigh in other character abilities to both find synergy with the new character and what that new character is strong or weak at. Obviously with both Hawkeyes he’s strong when used with characters that play off Countdown tiles and are Red/Blue AP users.

3-Star Hawkguy’s Because…Boomerangs power is actually the same power as Kate Bishop since that is an established moment for them both in their comic together. And of course over time, we end up having to revisit characters from time to time based on player feedback and make appropriate tweaks to make everything fit together.

Marvel.com: Can I just say, with 5-Star Hawkeye’s passive I can’t wait to team him up with Kingpin or…Sentry? The AP gain would be insane! Who else would you suggest?

Josh Austin: Definitely anyone that creates Countdown tiles and manipulates them, like Agent Coulson (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Star-Lord, and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).

Marvel.com: Ok, When can we put Hawkeye and Hawkguy to work?

Josh Austin: Both Hawkeye and Hawkguy are available on March 9 during the Avengers vs. Ultron Event that goes live that day. In addition, Hawkguy will have a Versus Tournament called No Good News that will start on March 16.

Snatch up Hawkeye and Hawkguy here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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With the classic game back available, find out why it rocks!

Do you crave 3v3 fighting game action that pits Marvel heroes and villains versus the most iconic characters in the Capcom universe? Look no further friend: “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” finds its way to next-gen systems this week on both Xbox One and PS4 as well as Steam. If the fact that Captain America can punch Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker doesn’t get you hyped for “UMvC3,” we have more five reasons why you definitely need to get your hands on this game.

Avengers, Guardians, Defenders, X-Men Assemble!

Fancy slinging shields, calling lightning, and repulsor blasting enemies? Or maybe riding a hellfire motorcycle while enlisting the aid of the Vishanti and smashing everything in sight more suits your style? “UMvC3” lets you create your own three-character team from 50 Marvel and Capcom heroes and villains to duke it out in glorious melee. You can create a team consisting of any number of Avengers, or former Raccoon City police officers, or even old school Capcom classics like Arthur and Firebrand from “Ghosts and Goblins.”

With 50 playable characters, your team-up options have virtually no limits! Explore awesome synergies, brutal assist combos, and ridiculous super moves to create the perfect team to fit your play style. My personal favorite crew consists of The Hulk, Thor, and She-Hulk. Sure it can be a little tough getting in, but those big bodies bring the pain!

Giant beams of death plus hitting people with a falling meteor equals fun

Ah the Triple Hyper Combo, known to the fighting game community as the THC. For those of you unfamiliar, triggering a THC brings all three of your characters onto the screen, each cutting loose with one of their devastating super moves simultaneously. While not incredibly useful in every situation, given the right opportunity you can unleash Ryu’s Shinu Hadouken and Iron Man’s Repulsor Cannon while Hulk grabs a passing meteor and slams it down onto your enemy’s head. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

You’re down to your last character who clings to life by a single pixel of health. Your opponent banks on one last hit of chip damage to take the round but you play your trap card: X-Factor. Activating X-Factor transforms any single character into a force of nature capable of taking out an entire enemy team on their lonesome. Granting enhanced movement and attack speed as well as a hefty damage increase, and immunity from chip damage, X-Factor can pull your butt out of the fire like nothing else, but activating it early to take advantage of its bonuses can leave you limited at the end of a hard fought match.

Do you pop X-Factor early to guarantee a kill on a tough enemy, or save it knowing it may mean the difference between life and death? The choice is yours.

Test your might against the cosmic power of Galactus

If you want to take a break from online battles, or maybe Vs. Mode doesn’t do it for you, you can always test your skills against the computer-controlled arcade ladder. If you best the AI competition and a couple of silver-clad heralds, you get to face the Devourer of Worlds, Galactus himself. And you better be prepared. Galactus has enough super armor to shrug off the most powerful of your character’s attacks and he burns with enough cosmic energy to turn your team to cinders. Think you can take him down and save the Earth?

Challenge incredible players from across the globe

When challenging the computer loses its luster, a whole host of capable combatants await online, ready to push your skills and reflexes to the limit. Test out new team strategies, learn your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, and prove you have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the best. There’s a reason you spent all that time in training mode keeping your combos crisp.

Download “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3” right now on Xbox One, PS4, and Steam, and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more Marvel games news and interviews.

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New recruits like Moon Girl and Elsa Bloodstone pitch in for monster mayhem!

Kang’s been defeated and banished from our timestream, for now. However, he left the students of “Marvel Avengers Academy” a parting gift straight from the timefog: Fin Fang Foom has been unleashed and he’s ready to take over the world with a horde of monsters by his side. Recruit Moon Girl, Elsa Bloodstone, and more to battle Fin Fang Foom and his monster army and put a stop to his nefarious plans.

We snagged Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get the full rundown of everything we’ll see in this massive new event.

Marvel.com: What threat does Fin Fang Foom pose to the Academy? Is he alone or has he brought friends?

Allen Warner: Kang the Conqueror was defeated at the end of our previous Young Avengers event, but not before he’d had a chance to explore the timefog surrounding the campus, and plant the seeds for his revenge, and eventual return. He devised a way to free Fin Fang Foom from the timefog, knowing that the gigantic awakened space dragon would wreak havoc on Avengers Academy. Fin Fang Foom is not only furious about being trapped in the timefog, but he’s also desperately searching for the immensely powerful Makluan Power Rings that were stolen from him while he slept. He uses his size and powers to not only dominate the campus, but to control the minds of monsters across the globe, unleashing them on the Avengers and the rest of the world to get his revenge and recover his rings. We’ll see him using Devil Dinosaur, Orrgo, and Hi-Vo to attack the campus, and there will be references, stories, and decorations based around many more monsters and dinosaurs who are doing his bidding across the globe.

Marvel.com: What new heroes—and monsters—can players recruit to join the student body over the course of the event?

Allen Warner: It’s an awesome combination of characters with extreme strength, intelligence, and skills perfectly suited for battling giant monsters: Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur, Elsa Bloodstone, Orrgo, Amadeus Cho, and Hercules. It’s one of my favorite event line ups so far, with every character bringing something cool and different to the table when it comes to their personalities, abilities, and visuals.

Moon Girl is the youngest student to ever join the Academy, and one of the smartest and most creative. Anyone who’s read the great MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR comic knows about their fun relationship, but it’s also really cool to see her interact with the many super-scientists at Avengers Academy from Hank Pym to Iron Man.

Elsa Bloodstone is one of my favorite underused characters. She has a great look, and I love her attitude. In our world, she has some history with a bunch of other monster hunters and cold-blooded enforcer types, so she’ll share a lot of screen time with everyone from Blade to Angela.

It felt weird to have a monster event without letting players recruit at least one monster, and my mind immediately went to Orrgo because he’s the kind of character that makes me smile just by looking at him, and he has this goofy, crazy, over-the-top attitude and power set that make him a great fit for the game, and perfect for an event that features a red dinosaur fighting a dragon from outer space. I think players will love Orrgo’s animations, and they might be surprised by his chosen career path.

Hercules is a character we’ve been wanting to get into the game for a long time. He’s a classic Avenger, has great history with heroes already at the school and new heroes in this event, and brings great energy and attitude. Our younger version of Hercules is a bro with a heart of gold. He’s always looking for the next challenge, and he loves showing off while he’s at it.

Amadeus Cho is of course, the new Totally Awesome Hulk. He has a really fun personality that fits perfectly with the game, and he’s a mental and physical powerhouse. We did something we’ve never done with a character before in the game with Amadeus, having him start as Amadeus Cho in human scientist form, and evolve into his Hulk form. It’s something we really wanted to do with the Bruce Banner Hulk when the game came out, but it presents a lot of challenges for animation in particular, so we couldn’t pull it off at that time. With over a year of animations and experience in the game under our belt, we decided to give it a shot, and he turned out great. Joe Daniels and our animation team deserve a lot of credit. We even have a unique animation for him that plays out in two completely different ways based off of which form he’s in. It really makes him feel like one of the most special characters in the game. And while it won’t appear in this event, players can now also look forward to a Bruce Banner outfit for Hulk in the future.

Last, but most definitely not least, is Devil Dinosaur. Anyone who’s been playing the game since the beginning knows that he’s been teased more than any other character. We talked about getting him in from the beginning, but there was not only the challenge of animating a fun-loving Tyrannosaurus Rex, but how do you get a giant dinosaur to fit in a school made for humans? We knew if we were doing a monster event, he had to be in it, and the team did an incredible job of making it work. He’s huge, he runs the gamut from silly to ferocious, and there is just nothing like seeing him stomping around the campus. I don’t want to spoil anything, but his visual upgrades are both appropriate and absurd, and really great. I’m so happy he finally made it to Avengers Academy, and I think our players will feel the same.

Marvel.com: Likewise, who’s going to be decked out in new duds designed to defeat the monstrous threat?

Allen Warner: There will be new outfits for Wasp, Captain America, Loki, Hulk, and Black Widow.

Loki, Wasp, and Black Widow are all monster hunters, but each one looks and feels drastically different based off of their personalities. Loki is the arrogant, old-timey Big Game Hunter, Widow is the deadly and mysterious Monster Hunter, and Wasp is the energetic, fun-loving Monster Catcher who adores monsters and just wants to catch them all.

Hulk will become Gladiator Hulk, using one of his awesome designs from the legendary “Planet Hulk” comics to better battle the giant monsters. Cap will also become a gladiator of sorts, taking inspiration from the Secret Wars [PLANET HULK comic] where he teamed up with Devil Dinosaur. It’s fun to see them both looking so different, and the barbarian and gladiator vibe is a great fit for the sci-fi fantasy setting of battling aliens and gigantic monsters.

We usually have special combat outfits for each of the weekly event characters, but this time we’re doing something a little different. Each of those characters will have their own personalized mech suit themed to their powers and personalities. They’ll get new storylines for each suit, and will be able to jump inside, and trigger some awesome animations.

Marvel.com: What will the event district look like this time out, and how will our heroes interact with it?

Allen Warner: The event district is a sprawling tropical land that time forgot. Fin Fang Foom looms large in the center, flanked by his mind-controlled monsters and trapped heroes. On the other side is a giant, ancient alien mech covered in foliage. If our heroes can figure out how to get the mech running, they’ll be able to use it to battle Fin Fang Foom in some epic giant robot vs. giant monster battles!

Our event building this time out might be my favorite yet. It’s a multi-tiered gladiator arena for the heroes to practice battling monsters, and the entire building is made out of a giant dragon skull. Our concept artist Steve Chang did an awesome job with it. It looks really cool, and it allows a lot of vertical space for multiple characters to perform actions at the same time.

Marvel.com: In what ways do you draw inspiration from events on the Marvel Publishing side—this time out, from Monsters Unleashed—to choose characters, story beats, and various design elements for events?

Allen Warner: For all of our events that are based on either the movies or the books, I try to start with the high-level idea of the source material, and fit it into the world and tone we’ve established in ‘Avengers Academy.’ For example, Civil War is about heroes battling heroes with Captain America and Iron Man leading each side. I kept that in place, but in our younger, more lighthearted setting, those battles were based around insults, dance battles, and arm-wrestling, and the teams were different based off of what I thought made sense for our version of the characters. For Monsters Unleashed, it’s essentially a big fun spectacle about gigantic monsters doing battle. Two of the most iconic Marvel monsters of all time, Fin Fang Foom and Devil Dinosaur, have either been on our playspace or been frequently mentioned from the beginning of the game, so it made too much sense to base a monster event around them. I always want to respect the source material, but I also always want to do something that hasn’t been done before, and Tim Hernandez and Bill Rosemann and everyone else at Marvel Games are really great about encouraging me to pursue my own ideas and stories, and they offer that same trust and support to our art and animation teams.

Marvel has so much history, and an incredibly deep roster of characters, so I try to use stories from the comics for inspiration, and use that sandbox to create new stories and unique character combinations. Getting to reimagine these classic characters, stories, and events, and helping to create this new world within the Marvel Universe was what drew me to this project in the first place, and it’s still what I find the most fun and exciting.

Marvel.com: How does the team at TinyCo use these ideas to create something that fits within the Avengers Academy universe and ties into the ongoing narrative experience of the game?

Allen Warner: We always go back to our premise of the characters being younger, and our lighthearted tone, and what that means for their outfits, powers, and personalities. We know what Hercules looks and acts like in standard comic continuity, but what would he look and act like as a modern day young adult? Is there a school trope that fits him perfectly? Is there a sly pop culture reference we can use to drive the idea home? What would our version of Wasp wear to go monster hunting? How about Loki? These are the kinds of questions we ask with every character and outfit, and our art and animation teams deserve all the credit in the world for knocking it out of the park time after time.

From a strictly narrative perspective, I always want every event to connect to the next, and tie back to the underlying mysteries we’ve been exploring since the beginning of the game: Why are the heroes younger, and why are some not? What is the timefog? What caused it? What is Fury hiding at the school? Why does he want to recruit some characters, but imprison others? I try to use each character and event to plant new seeds and shed new light on the big mystery, while having fun with each interaction.

Marvel.com: While we have the menace that is Fin Fang Foom and his legion of monsters to deal with now, can you clue players in to what new enemies might be lurking on the horizon?

Allen Warner: Many villainous factions have fallen since Avengers Academy opened. Some have recently been resurrected under new leadership, and others have combined forces with unlikely allies. They recognize that to have any hope of beating the Avengers, they’ll need to reach out to rival schools that have remained hidden to this point, and use their combined forces to take down the faculty on their way to defeating the students.

It will be the most eclectic coordinated attack on the campus to date, and it will be the first step in introducing characters that no one ever thought would be joining “Avengers Academy.”

Keep up to date with the latest “Marvel Avengers Academy” news on Marvel.com!

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The X-Men’s winged warrior flies into battle!

Something wicked this way comes. Armed with razor-sharp wings and deadly neurotoxins carried on the wind by the one and only Warren Worthington III, Archangel swoops into “Marvel Contest of Champions” ready to eviscerate his foes. We talked with Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about the Angel of Death and how he fits into the Collector’s grand scheme.

Marvel.com: The Horsemen of Apocalypse usually come in sets of four. Is Archangel just the first in Taneleer’s collection?

Gabriel Frizzera: He’s the first in “a” collection, but not Taneleer’s. As our players probably noticed, the Collector’s worst nightmare is returning to The Contest: En Dwi Gast, The Grandmaster. He favors ruthless killing machines as his Champions, and Archangel definitely fits the bill. To challenge the dominion of the Collector over the Battlerealm, he puts together a team of “X-Enforcers,” mind-controlled versions of X-Force. They’re assassins aiming to disrupt the Collector’s Contest, and hunt new recruits for the Grandmaster’s ranks. Check out who their first target is in our brand new motion comic!

Marvel.com: Warren Worthington’s alter-ego here looks much more menacing than the blue and purple Archangel that I grew up with. This is his X-Force outfit right?

Gabriel Frizzera: Yup. We love Rick Remender’s run [on UNCANNY X-FORCE], and you can’t get much more iconic than the black-and-white matching uniforms of that team. We used the Archangel design from that comic, which has a lot of reflective silver details that look great in the game. We even added a couple of extra sharp edges here and there to make him look more menacing.

Marvel.com: And let’s talk a little about Archangel’s kit. A big part of his gameplay seems focused on the Neurotoxin in his wings. What exactly does Neurotoxin do to your opponents?

Simon Cameron: Archangel’s Neurotoxin comes in two main varieties: pre and post Signature unlock. Pre-unlock is one of his best sources of damage; additionally, as a passive it’s also impossible to get rid of early once it’s in place and the short stun gives you an opening to start your next combo. Post-Signature unlock becomes a powerful debuff, reducing your opponent’s Ability Accuracy and acting as a Heal Block.

Marvel.com: And how do his other abilities—Bleed, Poison, Stun—round out his style?

Simon Cameron: Archangel’s Bleed and Poison abilities provide a lot of damage to his opponents and acts as the resources he uses to create Neurotoxins. His Stun abilities give him windows to land additional combos and heavy attacks safely to help keep his Bleed and Poison stacks in place.

Marvel.com: Characters with wings seem like they’d be difficult to animate in game. Does Warren only break out his wings during his special moves?

Gabriel Frizzera: No, sir! He flies during the whole fight. Unlike Falcon—who collapses his wing quite a bit in the movies—Archangel is known for using his wings as both propulsion and weapons most of the time. With that being said, we decided to go for it and have his wings be as large and imposing as they are in the comics. He slices and blocks with the wings and shoots metallic blades from it. Doing so created a new set of technical challenges—like the wings being so large they sometimes would crash through the camera—but in the end the animation team managed to make him one of the most unique-looking Champions in the game, and very effective too.

Marvel.com: And what can you tell us about the teammates he should take into battle with him? A lot of the original X-Men maybe?

Simon Cameron: Some original X-Men, some X-Force members, some who were both!

Marvel.com: And last but not least, when do we get to break him out of a crystal?

Simon Cameron: Archangel will be coming to The Contest today! Be sure to check your in-game messages and announcements to find out when.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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