'Marvel Powers United VR' coming in 2018 from Marvel, Sanzaru, and Oculus Studios!

True Believers! The day has come and we’re here to deliver incredible Marvel Games news from D23 Expo! We just announced “MARVEL Powers United VR,” an action-packed, multiplayer co-op title from Marvel, Sanzaru, and Oculus Studios, and you can get your hands on this game in 2018!

Our very own Christine Dinh has the exclusive first interview with Steve Arnold, Head of Oculus Studios. Before you dive into the interview, check out the announce trailer above!

Marvel.com: When did you guys start working on “MARVEL Powers United VR” for Rift?

Steve Arnold: We’ve been working on “MARVEL Powers United VR” for awhile! When the opportunity came about for Oculus and Marvel to work together on realizing a Super Hero VR experience, Oculus approached Sanzaru to create a prototype presentation—Sanzaru and Oculus have worked closely together on past VR projects, and there are some big Marvel fans at both companies. Marvel has very high standards, of course, and Sanzaru more than rose to the occasion. So here we are—Oculus, Sanzaru, and Marvel in an alliance behind “MARVEL Powers United VR.”

Marvel.com: Can you tell us about the story of “MARVEL Powers United VR”? What can you tell us about the big bad, Ronan? Where is the story set?

Steve Arnold: “Marvel Powers United VR” tells the story of The Masters of Evil—a mysterious, nefarious alliance of powerful Super Villains from across the Marvel Universe—who have managed to steal the Cosmic Cube and use it to tear apart the universe, forging new realities subservient to their rule. Suddenly, heroes from across the Marvel Universe are hurled together in a chaotic, interdimensional conflict spanning past, present, and alternate futures to fight to reclaim the Cosmic Cube and restore order to the universe.

Each time you play, you won’t know which faction or boss you’ll encounter—every experience will play a little differently. One time you may get the Kree and Ronan The Accuser as a boss; another time you’ll get something totally different.

Marvel.com: This is obviously a new adventure for Marvel games. What new and different experiences does “MARVEL Powers United VR” offer Marvel fans?

Steve Arnold: VR is the perfect medium for a Super Hero game, and there are a couple things that make “MARVEL Powers United VR especially exciting. We’re starting with just a few characters right now, but by launch there will be over a dozen playable Marvel characters and even more team combinations.

Marvel.com: What has the collaboration with Marvel, Sanzaru, and Oculus Studios been like?

Steve Arnold: The collaboration between Marvel, Oculus and Sanzaru—some of the most experienced subject matter experts in the world when it comes to Super Heroes, VR, and gaming—has been a dream come true. There’s a lot of fan service and love jam-packed into this game, and great ideas came from all sides. We love the partnership and can’t wait to show the world all of the cool stuff that we’re putting into the game!

Marvel.com: You’ve just announced the first three characters: Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain Marvel. How did those three get chosen to suit up for battle? Can you tell us more about their abilities within the game? What are they capable of?

Steve Arnold: Hulk, Rocket, and Captain Marvel are very popular, so it made sense to start off with a few characters fans would really love experiencing. These characters also represent the spectrum of Super Heroes we plan to launch for “MARVEL Powers United VR” in 2018, in terms of both abilities and physical scale. On one end of the spectrum, there’s Rocket Raccoon: He’s much shorter than most characters and uses futuristic weaponry. On the other end, there’s the Hulk. He’s huge, of course, and primarily a melee fighter. Captain Marvel is in the middle: She’s physically closer to normal human stature, but her power-set includes ranged attacks with her photon beams, like Rocket, and she’s also super strong like the Hulk and able to engage in melee combat. Building out this variety of characters early on gave us some best practices that we’re applying to optimize all future characters, and VR lets you appreciate—and experience—the sheer difference in scale between characters like Hulk and Rocket like no other medium can.

Marvel.com: Clearly with the upcoming “Marvel’s Inhumans” television series slated to come out this fall, the love for Lockjaw is real! How central is Lockjaw to the story?

Steve Arnold: Lockjaw is crucial. He ensures our Super Heroes are teleported to and from their missions. But stay tuned—we’re still in development, and there are some fun things we’d love to do with Lockjaw throughout the game and missions.

Marvel.com: We’ve heard fans can get hands-on with “MARVEL Powers United VR” at the Marvel booth at SDCC. Any plans for future demos?

Steve Arnold: That’s right, the first public demos of “MARVEL Powers United VR” will be at the Marvel booth at Comic-Con. There are no set dates (yet!) for additional public demos before launch, so try out MARVEL Powers United VR now if you can!

Marvel.com: How long do we have to wait until we get “MARVEL Powers United VR” in our hands?

Steve Arnold: The game is slated for a 2018 launch, but you’ll have to sit tight—there are no details about a specific date right now. Keep your eyes on Oculus and Marvel social channels, though, because we’ll be revealing a ton of new information right up until launch.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and powersunitedvr.com for more exciting updates about “Marvel Powers United VR” coming soon!

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See where you can catch your favorite heroes at SDCC!

Look out, True Believer, the superheroes you love – and the supervillains you love to hate – are waging war on your consoles, PCs, and mobile devices! From “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite” to “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2,” “MARVEL Powers United VR,” and more, check out the full schedule of where you can find Marvel Games at San Diego Comic-Con!

Below is where you can learn more and get your hands on what’s coming from Marvel Games!

Thursday, July 20:

    • 12:00 – 12:30 PM | Marvel Gaming: Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite | Marvel Booth #2329
      Want to know more about Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite: tune into Marvel LIVE at booth #2329 or online at www.marvel.com/SDCC2017 or Marvel’s YouTube channel.

        • 1:00 – 2:00 PM | Marvel Games Panel | Room 6BCF
          Be there as key members of the Marvel Games team take to the stage to share the latest and greatest with you . . . and open the floor to answer your questions! Hosted by Greg Miller, Kinda Funny, Mike Jones, Vice President & Executive Producer, Marvel Games, and Bill Rosemann, Executive Creative Director, Marvel Games, will be joined by special guests Arthur Parsons, Head of Design, Tt Games (LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2); Brett Elston, Associate Brand Manager, Capcom (Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite); Bryan Intihar, Creative Director, Insomniac Games (Marvel’s Spider-Man); Justin Lambros, Executive Producer, Telltale Games (Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series); and Mat Kraemer, Creative Director, Sanzaru Games (MARVEL Powers United VR).

      Friday, July 21:

      • 11:15 – 12:15 PM | Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite Panel | Room 6BCF
        Universes merge in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, as the collaborative team from Marvel and Capcom discuss the immersive cinematic story featured in the upcoming game. Learn how both sides joined forces to bring the story to life, with iconic heroes from Marvel and Capcom teaming up to battle against a sinister new supervillain who threatens to destroy their newly formed world.

       

      • 12:30 – 1:00 PM | Marvel Gaming: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 | Marvel Booth #2329
        Want to know more about LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2, tune into Marvel LIVE at booth #2329 or online at www.marvel.com/SDCC2017 or Marvel’s YouTube channel.

      Saturday, July 22:

    • 1:45 – 2:45 PM | LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2: Meet the Talent Behind the Video Game | Room 6A
      The team behind the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 videogame including Arthur Parsons (head of design, TT Games), Bill Rosemann (executive creative director, Marvel Games), Justin Ramsden (designer, LEGO), Kurt Busiek (comics writer, Avengers Forever), and Dan Veesenmeyer (comic content artist, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers)-offer an inside look at this all-new original adventure, the sequel to the smash hit LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.Moderated by Marvel’s Ryan Penagos (vice president and executive editor, Marvel Digital), this celebration of the Marvel Universe will provide fans with a first look at a new game trailer, new character and artwork reveals, and exclusive audience giveaways. Bringing together iconic Marvel Super Heroes and Super Villains from different eras and realities, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 pits players against the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror in an epic cosmic battle across the expansive Open Hub World of Chronopolis. The game will be released on November 14.

    Sunday, July 23:

    Stay tuned to www.marvel.com for all the breaking news from Marvel Games at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Follow @Marvel on Twitter, “like” Marvel on Facebook, and watch Marvel LIVE at www.marvel.com/SDCC2017 for minute-by-minute updates on all things Marvel. Join the conversation using #MarvelSDCC.

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Snatch up this classic Spider-Man villain in his first 'Marvel Puzzle Quest' debut!

The Vulture makes his very first appearance in the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” universe after an awesomely successful opening weekend in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” To get a better idea of what the “MPQ” Vulture is all about we talked to D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin about Toomes’ abilities, his playstyle, ideal teammates, and more. This isn’t the sheer green tights-wearing Vulture you remember gang – this is a whole new bird of prey.

Marvel.com: The MPQ Sinister Six is complete now that the Vulture’s joined the squad. All the game’s Spider-Men and Women really need to watch the skies now huh?

Josh Austin: That’s right, as players saw in the Spider-Man vs the Sinister Six event, 4-Star Vulture (Adrian Toomes) can go airborne to generate Green, Blue, Black and Red AP and deal devastating attacks. If Vulture is airborne and the team has 10 Blue AP, he will use his Hybrid Tech Slicer to destroy enemy Strike, Protect, Attack and even Invisible and Countdown tiles! Vulture (Adrian Toomes) is another formidable villain added to the “MPQ” roster!

Also, while you got to play against him in the Spider-Man vs the Sinister Six event, there is going to be a second run of the event and Vulture (Adrian Toomes) will get the new MPQ character boost for the rerun of the event between July 24 and July 27.

Marvel.com: How much inspiration did the team take from the film version of the Vulture when designing his abilities? Did any of his comic appearances help round out his kit?

Josh Austin: It’s inspired by the comic book version, but with the movie coming out, we worked with Marvel to get the character close to the movie version.

Marvel.com: Speaking of his kit, what can Mr. Toomes do exactly?

Josh Austin: His first ability is called Circling Prey and it costs 6 Black AP. This ability sends Vulture Airborne for 2 turns with a (PASSIVE) that gains Green, Blue, Black and Red AP.

His second ability is called One Fell Swoop and it costs 9 Green AP. For this ability, the Vulture swoops from the sky to rend his enemies with sharp talons, which in game translates to creating a Countdown tile that deals damage when it expires. There is also a (PASSIVE) with this ability that if the Vultures returns from being Airborne while the countdown tile is on the board, it removes the tile from the board and deals damage to the enemy team instead of just the opponent in front.

The third ability is called Hybrid Tech Slicer and it costs 10 Blue AP. For this ability, Vulture uses that cool energy weapon he has in the movie in a type of fly-by that deals damage and destroys up to 4 enemy Strike, Protect or Attack tiles.

Marvel.com: Ok Vulture sounds really different than a lot of the characters in “MPQ” because he WANTS to be airborne. Most of the time being airborne is like being stunned, but is it fair to say Toomes is built around being untargetable and then flashing in for damage and then escaping to the skies?

Josh Austin: That is correct! He’s unique in how he gets AP for going Airborne which helps him use his abilities while Airborne, which is new to “MPQ”! And remember, Toomes isn’t targetable while Airborne and he has an ability that speeds up if he returns from Airborne while the special tile is on the board. Put all this together and you’ve got a kit that can really ruin a do-gooder’s day!

Marvel.com: Who helps him keep to the thermals and supports his hit and run style?

Josh Austin: Vulture is strong with characters that help him get Airborne including Gwenpool and Colossus and characters that use Green or Blue AP including Iceman, The Hulk (Totally Awesome), The Punisher (MAX), Quake, War Machine or Rocket & Groot (Awesome Mix Volume 2). He’s even great against opponents that send him Airborne like Nova and Riri (Iron Heart).

Marvel.com: And when can we take him under our wing?

Josh Austin: Vulture is available on Thursday, July 13 and will be available as placement rewards in Venom Bomb that starts that same day and runs until July 18. He will also be featured in The Hulk event which runs between July 17 and July 25. His versus tournament is called Junkyard Wars and runs from July 20 and July 24. I also would like to note that “Marvel Puzzle Quest” will be at the D23 Expo this weekend in Anaheim, CA. Come by the Marvel booth and check out the new Vulture, Spider-Man and other characters with us. Any one that has the game downloaded on their device, will get a free in-game gift so that is a nice incentive to come by and say hello!

Snatch up Vulture (Adrian Toomes) here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The Wall-Crawler gets a Stark-sponsored upgrade to his fight game!

With the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” debut just around the corner at a theater near you, “Marvel Contest of Champions” finds itself with one more arachnid caught in the Collector’s web with the Stark Enhanced Spider-Man swinging into Battlerealm. We talked with Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about translating the Web-Slinger from the silver screen to the mobile game and how he’s going to be dishing out damage to the bad guys.

Marvel.com: We’ve got an all-new Spider-Man joining The Contest, this time coming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s fought other heroes in “Captain America: Civil War,” but Battlerealm is a whole different beast. Can he hack it?

Gabriel Frizzera: Like we have seen in the MCU, this version of Spider-Man wants badly to be in the big leagues. He believes he’s ready to fight with the best of them, and what better place than the Battlerealm to prove he’s worth it? Of course, his brand-new Stark Enhanced spider-suit won’t hurt when he faces the heavy-hitters in The Contest of Champions!

Marvel.com: I noticed he’s sporting those slick white accents in his costume just like from “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Did the team make this costume movie perfect, or is there a little Kabam flair in there?

Gabriel Frizzera: The guys at Marvel Studios were kind enough to share very detailed reference from Spidey’s movie costume ahead of time, and we made sure to stick to it as much as we could, down to the web count over his body—very important. But, since we wanted this Spider-Man to play and look different from the classic Spider-Man in the game, we decided to add some glowy tech details in specific areas to complement the movie design. That will allow players to recognize at a glance which Spider-Man they are fighting against.

Marvel.com: We already have a couple Spider-Men and Women in The Contest duking it out; what are the chances they’ve got some advice for our boy?

Gabriel Frizzera: More than likely. The Spider-People in The Contest have gained a lot of experience in the last couple of years, and they’re very familiar with the unsavory types that would love to crush anyone wearing that familiar blue-and-red spider-suit. Since this version of Spider-Man hasn’t met most of his future rogue’s gallery, he’ll need all the help he could get.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk abilities: what are we trying to do with Spidey to make the most of him?

Simon Cameron: Stark Enhanced Spidey is good at getting in his opponent’s head, and comes with a couple of new abilities to help him do this. He gains Poise by Evading, or triggering the Dexterity Mastery. Poise represents Spidey taking control of the fight, granting him extra attack as his confidence builds. He can then convert Poise into Taunts, by landing uninterrupted strings of attacks. Taunts lower the target’s attack, and increases the chance that they’ll trigger a Special Attack, as he goads them into doing something rash. His new suit also packs a Stack Tech AI, giving him a huge chance to avoid Special Attacks, but it can be disabled by landing Heavy Attacks, or by Cosmic Champions.

Marvel.com: What’s his signature power, Hero’s Mantra, all about?

Simon Cameron: Hero’s Mantra is all about improving his Smack-Talk abilities, Poise and Taunt, and is broken into two basic conditions: Below 50% Health and above it. Above 50% Health, Spidey gets an offense boost, with his Poise Charges granting him additional Critical Rating and his Taunts lasting longer. Below 50% Health Spider-Man plays things a little more defensively, his base Evade chance increases, and his Poise Charges grant additional Block Proficiency instead of Critical Rating.

Marvel.com: Last but not least, we have a new event quest hitting the game. What’s going on there and what awesome new stuff can players expect?

Gabriel Frizzera: The one-shot this month is called “Battlerealm: Homecoming, and it’s about a young Spider-Man trying to prove himself in The Contest. His mentor Tony Stark tries his best to keep Peter out of trouble, but like all things in the Battlerealm, this proves to be exceedingly hard. Peter decides go after some bad guys and ends up uncovering a nefarious plan to harness a mysterious new power source, capable of shifting the balance of power in The Contest. We also have a new motion comic that hints at bigger adventures by the Web-Crawler, and the arrival of some classic villains!

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

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War in the future, the hunt for the Celestial Madonna, and much more!

Since the early days of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Kang the Conqueror has agitated the Avengers and then some with his mastery of multiple eras and desire to add the Marvel Universe to his empire. On November 14, the time tyrant takes on a new role as central antagonist in the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2,” creating a campaign that crisscrosses all reality and space.

Before you play the game, discover the story behind this agent of chronological chaos with the History of Kang!

After Kang the Conqueror’s initial defeats at the hands of the mighty Avengers, one might think the chronal despot would’ve learned his lesson. Alas, quite the contrary; he reached new levels of villainy during his subsequent gambits, destroying any credit he might’ve gained previously as an honorable opponent.

The Human Torch and The Thing broke up Kang’s attempt to subjugate King Arthur, Merlin the wizard, and the entire membership of the Knights of the Roundtable during medieval times, but the rogue bounced back not long after only to lose his new time-travel craft to Thor’s anger over his Growing Man android.

The same Growing Man later kidnapped a severely injured Tony Stark from his hospital bed under the direction of his master, which prompted the Avengers to confront Kang in his far-future palace. There they learned of their enemy’s bid to save his beloved Ravonna, a dying princess from the future, by playing the so-called “Game of the Galaxies” against the immortal Grandmaster. Kang enlisted Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to fight for him, but proved his mettle as a scoundrel when he tried to kill the Grandmaster.

The Avengers clashed with such game opponents as the Squadron Sinister and the World War II-era Invaders, but in the end, they won their freedom with the help of The Black Knight. Despite his good intentions to rescue Ravonna from the brink of death, Kang instead failed in the challenge and the princess continued to cling to only a shred of life.

After a senseless scramble to use The Hulk to invade the year 1917 and a war in the 23rd century with Zarrko the Tomorrow Man, the Conqueror pulled out all stops to seek out and seduce to his side the legendary Celestial Madonna. Operating out of the old pyramid of one of his alternate previous selves, Rama-Tut, Kang abducted three women from Avengers Mansion and waged war against the heroes with his Legion of the Unliving until the heroes allied themselves with Immortus, yet another time-version of their foe.

The Vietnamese heroine Mantis stood revealed as the Celestial Madonna, but managed to elude Kang’s clutches. The despot trapped the archer Hawkeye in the Old West of 1873, prompting Thor, Moondragon, and Immortus to travel there to mount a rescue. When Thor battled Kang for past and present grievances, the fight rang out over the land until the time lord’s armor overloaded and he seeming perished in a massive dispersal of his personal atoms. Immortus noted that with Kang gone, both he and Rama-Tut would never exist, and so to prove his theory, he faded away into nothingness before the startled eyes of the Avengers.

Check Out: STRANGE TALES #134, THOR #140, AVENGERS (1963) #6977, #131132, #141143, GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #24, INCREDIBLE HULK #135, MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #9-11

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Get your hands on an all-new 5-star Spider-Man!

The “Spider-Man: Homecoming” hype train is pulling in to the station early thanks to “Marvel Puzzle Quest” and their all-new 5-Star Spider-Man. We talked to D3 Go! Producer Josh Austin about Spidey’s new look and abilities and a new boss event the team has in the works!

Marvel.com: Peter Parker in a Spidey suit is about as classic as you can get but this time it looks like you’re putting the MCU spin on our favorite wallcrawler.

Josh Austin: That’s right! With the film due out next week, now seemed like the best time to have Peter Parker be our new 5-Star Spider-Man. He joins a cast of other awesome Spideys like Classic, Original and Back in Black, so we definitely couldn’t miss Peter Parker in MPQ as we prep for some fun upcoming events in the coming weeks.

Marvel.com: With all the different Spidey suits already in the game, what kind of special sauce does this Spider-Man come with?

Josh Austin: For this MCU variation we added the new Tony Stark tech suit introduced in the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” film. For this Spider-Man, with the helpful direction from Marvel, we made sure to emphasize the tech of the suit to make him stand out from the previous variations.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s talk about his abilities. What’s going on under the mask here?

Josh Austin: Spider-Man (Peter Parker)’s first ability is called Stick Around. It costs 6 Blue AP and creates web tiles. What’s great about this power is if there are enough web tiles on the board then this power will stun the entire enemy team.

Arachnid Agility is Peter’s second ability, which costs 10 Green AP. Spider-Man deals damage to a random enemy, then the same amount of damage to another random enemy once for each web tile on the board for a Max of 5 web tiles (or 5 times).

Lastly, Parker’s final ability called Web Shot sends out a spider drone from Spider-Man’s new outfit. This ability costs 7 Red AP and deals a good amount of damage and converts web tiles to Critical tiles based on the ability level and how many are on the board. For example, at level 450 and power level 5, if there are three Web tiles it converts 1 to a Critical tile and if there are 5 or more, it converts 3 of them to Critical tiles. AND this power has a PASSIVE that creates Web tiles if there isn’t any on the board helping to feed into his other powers.

Marvel.com: What do you think Spidey does best here? Looks like he has no problem webbing them up and keeping them out of the game

Josh Austin: Spider-Man (Peter Parker) deals a good amount of damage and has the ability to stun the whole team. His Blue and Red powers are relatively low cost, while his Green ability can be pretty powerful, but it is to a random enemy. So overall, he follows the more reactionary variation of his powers, relying on his spidey sense and his drone spider from his new suit!

Marvel.com: And it seems like anyone who creates web tiles would serve as an awesome teammate to the embattled Peter Parker. Am I on the mark here?

Josh Austin: That is 100% correct! The more web tiles the better! So teaming him up with Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen will help build on his Blue and Red powers. Also, anyone that can help generate Green would help with his costlier power like Star-Lord (Awesome Mix Volume 2) and The Hulk (Totally Awesome).

Marvel.com: Am I missing anything else cool about Spidey? I also hear there is a new Boss Event?

Josh Austin: For a 5-Star his abilities have a low AP cost, he has an active power that can stun the whole enemy team and his Web Shot ability has potential to create some devastating cascades with the Critical tiles it can generate. Aside from an awesome new Spider-Man 5-Star character and the recent addition of some of his well-known foes, we are adding a new Story event to Marvel Puzzle Quest called Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six.

This Sinister Six is themed to “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” and will feature Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Carnage, Venom, Green Goblin and even the new Vulture before he’s released as an earnable character. Overall the event follows other Boss events, but the Boss Node will have a wave of different variations of the Sinister Six. As the players Alliance completes rounds, the boss node will get harder, but the good news is as a new boss comes in, their AP resets to 0 so the player should stand a chance against these ruthless foes.

Marvel.com: And when can we pick up Spidey?

Josh Austin: Spider-Man (Peter Parker) is available in the Legendary Cover store starting July 6. He will also be rewarded in the Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six event that starts Thursday, July 6 as well so just in time to experience some Spider-Man fun as you get ready to see the movie.

Pick up the all-new all-awesome Spider-Man (Peter Parker) here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The face of judgment from the future breaks through to Battlerealm!

Bullets and blades blast and slice across Battlerealm as Jake Gallows, the Punisher of 2099, brute forces his way into “Marvel Contest of Champions” as the game’s 100th character.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about what makes this particular Punisher tick like a time bomb.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, how much effort does it take for The Collector to reach through the past and future to snatch up a specimen?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Punisher 2099 was captured in the original batch of Champions for The Contest. But it wasn’t necessary for Collector to reach through time, since Jake Gallows had travelled back to the 21st century to execute Carnage, as part of an initiative by the future Hydra regime to punish criminals in different timelines. They’re very proactive at the Secret Empire— they won’t let small things like the space-time continuum get in the way of their punishment!

Marvel.com: And what makes Jake Gallows so special that he gets to fight it out in The Contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: Gallows was one of the characters Marvel allowed us to redesign for the CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS comic book, and appeared briefly in the last issue—before being quickly dispatched by Frank Castle. We had plans to put him in the game for a while, and when the opportunity to do a Secret Empire tie-in came about, we decided to have him as the villain. Turns out he’s also our 100th playable character, so it worked out great that he’s one of our original designs!

Marvel.com: 100 characters is a super cool milestone, and outside of Angela, this may be my favorite looking combatant in “Contest of Champions.” Seriously, this Punisher looks absolutely awesome! What can you tell us about his design?

Gabriel Frizzera: We are fond of his ‘90s garish outfit and gadgets, but we wanted to push him to look more like a “futuristic shock-police on steroids.” The central piece of the design is the chest skull made of knives and guns—which teleport into his hands; not a second to spare in the future. His whole arsenal is white to contrast with the black and red suit, but also to speak to the nature of 2099’s technology: all weapons would be freshly formed and reconfigured on the spot by nanotechnology. His original concept had way more weapons—like mag-blades on his arms and an electro-baton—and a tactical helmet, which ended up having to be cut for memory reasons. But we kept his bad-ass disintegrating gun and “Grenazers”!

Marvel.com: Aside from his bad ass new look, what sets him apart from Frank Castle?

Gabriel Frizzera: We joke in the office that Jake Gallows makes Frank Castle look like a soft-hearted hippie! We had a lot of fun writing the contrast between the two, the same way other writers love to contrast Frank Castle among more “straight” heroes like Captain America. In the story, when placed between Jake Gallows’ and Steve Rogers’ radically different views of justice, Frank Castle is forced to admit he might be a bit closer to Cap than the fanatic Punisher 2099. It was fun for me to write dialogue where Gallows calls Castle a “half-measure,” the same way Castle called Matt Murdock [“Marvel’s Daredevil” on Netflix]. That shows how far Punisher 2099 has strayed into villainous territory.

Marvel.com: Tell me a little about Punisher 2099’s abilities…

Simon Cameron: Punisher 2099 gets much of his strength from his Nano-Tech, which is powered by the Nano-Tech Battery. This charge builds over time, and his Special 1 gives him an Overcharge Passive effect, giving him additional Nano-Tech charge for a few seconds. This charge is spent by a number of automatically triggered effects—things like: Triggering a Heal Block on an Opponent when they trigger a Regeneration Buff, Draining the Charge to Regenerate Punisher 2099 if his Health drops below a threshold, or adding a Stun effect to his Heavy Attack. He also enters an Overdrive mode if his Charge reaches 100%. This drains his Charge over time, but grants him additional Attack, and reduces the amount of Power his Opponent gains when they’re struck by Punisher’s attacks.

Marvel.com: And what’s Retribution 2099 all about?

Simon Cameron: Retribution 2099 is Punisher’s Signature Ability. It lets him start the fight with his Nano-Tech Battery partially charged; it also adds a new automatically triggered effect to spend his Nano-Tech Charge on. This ability triggers when his opponent hits full power, draining a small amount of it, and power locking them for a couple seconds. It’s a little like a Special 3 get out of jail free card.

Marvel.com: And when can we hope to bring the Punisher’s weapon mastery to bear on the bad guys?

Simon Cameron: Punisher 2099 opens fire on The Contest June 29!

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

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Spidey swings back into the Marvel mobile game just in time!

Spider-Man and some of his spectacular friends swing back to “Marvel Avengers Academy” as Peter’s other school—the Midtown School of Science and Technology—prepares for their homecoming celebration. But the villainous Vulture has other ideas! He launches an attack on both learning institutions and it’ll take everyone at the Academy—plus some new pals Peter’s made over the last year—to thwart his plan and save the dance.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to learn everything Spidey brings with him in this latest event.

Marvel.com: What’s bringing the web-head and his spider-powered crew back to “Avengers Academy”?

Allen Warner: At the end of our previous Multiverse event, we learned that someone had been scavenging Maestro’s collection of “trophies” for tech and weapons, along with various labs and superhuman battle sites across New York. Nick Fury tasked Spider-Man with finding the perpetrator, and he’s coming back to report what he’s found. It also coincides with the homecoming dance at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, so Spidey will be bringing the party to Avengers Academy, and bugging everyone for dating advice.

Marvel.com: Why is Vulture so set on laying waste to Midtown Sci-Tech and the Academy?

Allen Warner: Vulture is a brilliant scientist and inventor, but was turned down by both Avengers Academy and Midtown Sci-Tech after being accused of stealing other students’ tech and ideas to further his own goals. He feels like his fellow super-scientists don’t respect him, and the entire world is conspiring against him, so he starts using tech and weapons found in various superhuman battle sites to rebuild and repurpose mechanical monstrosities into things like an army of Vulture-ized Octobots. He wants power and respect, and he’ll destroy everyone and everything at both Avengers Academy and Midtown Sci-Tech to get it.

Marvel.com: The event district gives us a peek at Peter’s life outside the Academy; what new things will players discover?

Allen Warner: The event district is Midtown Sci-Tech itself, decked out for homecoming. It’s completely different than anything we’ve done before, and really cool because it brings a lot of fun, school flavor the campus. Unfortunately, Vulture shows up to ruin the party, so he’s perched atop the school with his prisoners and minions, plotting his attack on Avengers Academy.

Marvel.com: And the event building carves out a space for one particular Spider-heroine…

Allen Warner: Yes, we’re big Spider-Gwen fans over here too, so we wanted her to share the spotlight. The event building is a multi-tiered punk rock venue where Gwen and some surprise guests are going to perform, and throw their own brand of homecoming bash. The building represents Gwen really well with its gleaming white exteriors, colorful neon blue and pink graffiti, a unique stage and dance floor, and some other really cool surprises.

Marvel.com: How will players battle Vulture and his refurbished Octobot army?

Allen Warner: Players will battle Vulture’s tech on the campus as a team, while battling Vulture himself, and a couple of foes he’s tricked into fighting by his side. Part of his plan is to create chaos and keep the heroes busy by setting Symbiotes loose in New York, so your heroes will also battle in the streets of New York to protect the city.

Marvel.com: What new faces will join the Academy—and the fight against Vulture—as Peter calls on more of his friends from across the multiverse?

Allen Warner: A really cool collection of various Spider-Heroes, amazing friends, and one grumpy newspaper publisher. Players will be able to recruit Silver Sable, Spider-Girl, Agent Venom, J. Jonah Jameson, and Silk. J. Jonah Jameson was really popular as a cameo character during our first Spider-Man event, and I’d forgotten how fun he is to write until this event came around. His personality is great to bounce off of the students, and I can’t wait for everyone to see his visual upgrades. Silver Sable is one of my favorite Spidey characters. She looks amazing, and is a cool fit alongside some of the spies and mercenaries running around the school. Agent Venom is one of the most awesome Symbiotes, and he brings something completely unique to the table, and of course [his alter ego] Flash [Thompson] and Peter Parker have a classic rivalry. Spider-Girl and Silk are two of the coolest spider-powered characters in my opinion. They both were very close to making the cut in our first Spider-Man event, so I’m really excited to see them finally make it into “Avengers Academy.” As always, our art and animation teams have knocked it out of the park with everyone’s designs and actions, and I think players are going to love having all of these characters at their school.

Marvel.com: And there must be some cool new outfits on the way as well…

Allen Warner: Definitely. There are new outfits for Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, Mary Jane, Venom, and Doctor Octopus. It’s a cool mix of some iconic looks, some seldom-seen but awesome outfits from the comics, and a couple of classics given fun Avengers Academy-style re-imaginings. It’s a really cool group that I think people will love.

Marvel.com: With the second Guardians of the Galaxy event, players were able to recruit the heroes from the previous event; will we see something similar here?

Allen Warner: Yes, we got a really positive response from players during the Guardians 2 event who enjoyed that opening week featuring characters from the original event because it gave them a first or second chance at characters they’d missed out on before, so we decided to do a similar thing here. The opening week will give new and longtime players the chance to get one of the outfits and a few of the characters from the original event, as well as a new character and outfit. Over the course of the event, players will have a chance to get every single character and outfit from the original Spider-Man event, including Miles Morales, Mysterio, Black Cat, Electro, Green Goblin, and many more.

Marvel.com: Once the Vulture is thwarted, what new adventures will players be able to look forward to?

Allen Warner: We’re going to find that Vulture isn’t the only person who’s secretly holding a grudge against Avengers Academy. He’s been sharing his scavenged tech and weapons with some faraway enemies, and they’re ready to go to war.

For all the latest on “Marvel Avengers Academy,” stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter!

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Join the party and play the hit MMO game for Xbox one today!

Xbox One players rejoice, “Marvel Heroes Omega” is making its way to your console today! Want to crush baddies as the Hulk? Blast bots into oblivion as Cyclops? The gang at Gazillion has you covered. We talked to Lead Designer Ben Gilbert about “Marvel Heroes’” big move and just what that means for players everywhere.

Marvel.com: The team is opening up a whole new player base to “Marvel Heroes Omega” today, the Xbox One crowd. That’s gotta feel great.

Ben Gilbert: Yes, it sure does. The reception to our Closed and Open Beta for Marvel Heroes Omega on PlayStation 4 has been great so far — and we’re very excited for Xbox One players to be able to join the party today.

Marvel.com: And while lining up the Xbox release you guys are getting rid of the Beta in “Marvel Heroes Omega” on the PS4? The game is fully functional and ready to rock?

Ben Gilbert: That’s absolutely correct. Marvel Heroes Omega transitions out of “Open Beta” starting today! Today’s live launch on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One follows a ton of updates and improvements largely based on player feedback, covering everything from fixes for bugs, improvements to performance, quality of life, and tuning for Heroes and enemies, just to name a few highlights. Both console platforms will benefit from these updates made to Marvel Heroes Omega during the PlayStation 4 Open Beta.

Marvel.com: I can imagine the team got a lot of cool data from the beta. Anything that you can talk about? Number of players? Total hours spent beating up bad guys?

Ben Gilbert: We saw over one million new players take part of our Closed and Open Beta phases for Marvel Heroes Omega and are very happy with the reception we’ve received so far; 4.5 out of 5 star rating from PlayStation 4 players. However, the best feedback we receive is always the stories from our players.

Marvel.com: Now that we have the game firing on three different platforms what else do we have coming down the pipeline?

Ben Gilbert: That’s the great thing about working on a game set in the Marvel Universe. Even with four years worth of content updates to date for the PC version, I still feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can still add to the game. There are still so many possibilities when it comes to new playable characters, villains, and stories and settings we’ve yet to explore. On top of that, the Marvel Universe continues to evolve and expand. Between the new comics, films, television shows, and Netflix originals, I doubt we’ll ever run out of material for new content updates on any platform.

In the near-term, PC players can look forward to the introduction of Carnage as a playable Villain along with a thorough update for Venom. It’s something the design team has been excited about introducing for a long time. For console players, there’s also a lot to look forward to with the introduction of the notorious Black Cat as our next playable Hero. Console players can also expect new playable Heroes and more on a regular basis as we work towards bringing more parity between consoles and PC.

Marvel.com: What goes in to creating new costumes from the MCU? Does the team get design specs early and then get to work?

Ben Gilbert: Yes, we work closely with the good folks at Marvel and often get advanced looks at what’s coming up next in the Marvel Universe, mostly in the form of reference materials. I can’t speak for everyone, the people here at Gazillion are big Marvel fans, just like our players. So it’s a real honor and privilege to be able to check out what’s coming to the big screen ahead of time so we can bring it to life in our game. However, that privilege also comes with the responsibility to make sure we get it absolutely right – and I’m really proud to work with a team that shares the enthusiasm and passion for the Marvel Universe needed to do just that.

Marvel.com: Anything else you want to tell players?

Ben Gilbert: If you have a favorite Marvel character or like action-RPGs, I’d encourage everyone to give Marvel Heroes Omega a shot! It’s the very first free-to-play Marvel game on consoles and with one of the largest rosters of playable characters, there’s a good chance you’ll either find them right now in Marvel Heroes Omega or very soon! Players can take on the role of some of the most beloved and iconic founding members of the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Defenders, X-Men, and so much more. We even have Squirrel Girl!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Heroes Omega” news and interviews.

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The Conqueror encounters Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for the first time!

Since the early days of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Kang the Conqueror has agitated the Avengers and then some with his mastery of multiple eras and desire to add the Marvel Universe to his empire. On November 14, the time tyrant takes on a new role as central antagonist in the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2,” creating a campaign that crisscrosses all reality and space.

Before you play the game, discover the story behind this agent of chronological chaos with the History of Kang!

When one examines a being such as Kang, a master of time-travel among other incredible accomplishments, one must remember that what we perceive as a linear progression of history here in the present-day may actually not be so according to Kang himself. Slipping in and out of time along his personal chrono-line, he’s created false representations of his career to modern scholars and historians—in essence, simply because one may encounter the man at one time, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a Kang from an earlier time in his life.

After Nathaniel Richards abandoned the guise of Pharoah Rama-Tut and adopted that of Kang the Conqueror, he entered into direct conflict with the Avengers, and thus created an enmity with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for all time.

His first sally against the present-day Avengers came during the earliest line-up of the team, but also one of their strongest. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Giant-Man, and The Wasp responded to a call from the Pentagon to investigate a UFO and instead met Kang in all his new-found glory. The despot explained his past persona as Rama-Tut and then proceeded to proclaim his reign over the planet. The Avengers, of course, defied him and battled until their unfortunate capture.

This first encounter ended when young Rick Jones and his so-called Teen Brigade created a diversion and freed the heroes from Kang’s holding cells, Giant-Man used a new acid-base solvent of his design to destroy much of the Conqueror’s personal equipment, and the despot escaped back to the future to lick his wounds. During the battle, the heroes found Kang to be arrogant, full of his own superiority, and disdainful of anything the present-day could offer next to his own 30th century technology.

Avengers (1963) #8

Avengers (1963) #8

  • Published: September 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After he realized his mistake in confronting the Avengers directly, Kang later schemed against them by remaining in the future and sending a Spider-Man robot to first lure the group into a false sense of security, and then waylay them one by one. The Conqueror’s plan worked beautifully until the real web-slinger swung in to destroy his artificial doppelganger and help the Avengers turn the tide once more against Kang.

In this second encounter versus the famous team, Kang’s superiority manifested again, but when he realized he’d been defeated, he devolved into near-hysterics, proclaiming everything he’d done “was all in vain.”

Time passed and Captain America took the reins of a smaller team of Avengers consisting of himself, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and The Scarlet Witch, sometimes referred to as “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” Looking in on them from the future again, Kang reasoned the team’s then-current status made them ripe for his revenge and so transported them to his far-flung century. His mistake manifested in his revelation to the heroes that he’d fallen in love with a princess named Ravonna, and might err in his judgment in any dealings with her. Cap’s team helped the princess in a war between her kingdom and Kang’s immense forces, but in the end those same forces turned on the despot and he in turn allied himself with Ravonna’s people to save her.

This adventure highlighted Kang’s capability to love another human being, despite his high-minded and frankly wicked actions. Sadly, as the Avengers faded away to return to their own time, Ravonna, her eyes open to Kang’s good side, fell dead from an assassin’s cowardly strike. The Conqueror, having failed to conquer love, turned away to harden his heart for the next battle against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Check Out: AVENGERS (1963) #8, #11, #23, #24

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