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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel.com: And what else can she do?

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

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

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

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know?

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

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

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Can the Battlerealm handle the Prince of Lies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lord over Battlerealm with the Queen of the Inhumans!

Medusa makes her way from the small screen—or the big screen if you’re watching the first episode of “Marvel’s Inhumans” in IMAX—to Battlerealm ready to mete out Inhuman justice in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” While the redheaded queen would rather not resort to violence, if someone or something threatens her people, she won’t hesitate to get her hair dirty.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Piero Herrera about Medusalith Amaquelin and all her uncanny abilities.

Marvel.com: I’m super psyched to see the Queen of the Inhumans—or former queen depending on what you’re reading—make the cut in “Contest of Champions.” Why’d the team want her on board?

Gabriel Frizzera: Medusa is a major player in the Marvel Universe, and it was about time she’d show up. Beyond her hair powers, fighting skills, and [strategic] mind, her leadership of the Inhumans can shake her husband from inaction and shift the balance of power in the Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: I imagine prehensile hair is…tricky for a mobile game. How’d the team make Medusa’s locks cool visually, but also satisfying to use in combat? And what’s she gonna do with those machetes?!

Gabriel Frizzera: Tricky to say the least. Technical hurdles were the major reason why she didn’t appear in the game months ago. Texture size limitations, animation, and rigging complexity etc. made her classic “hair tentacles” form almost impossible to bring to a full-fledged mobile fighting game like ours. But we finally found a creative angle that made us happy: we love when the character uses the hair as an extra appendage to complement her own awesome fighting skills, and we saw her using blades in the comics many times. So we decided to give her a specific fighting style that takes advantage of the hair as an extra arm.

Marvel.com: It looks like she’s sporting a more ornate version of her TV outfit. What went into crafting this super cool costume?

Gabriel Frizzera: We used the TV design as a starting point, but pushed it to be more ornate and detailed. Since we’re a game, we have the luxury to make things impractical as long as they looks awesome on the screen, which is something our players expect from us. And being the Inhumans, my personal opinion is bigger is always better; they are wonderfully weird and we should embrace their alien-ness.

Marvel.com: Now let’s get down to brass tacks. What does Medusa do best?

Piero Herrera: Medusa is bringing an exciting new mechanic into the game. Through her Signature Ability, “Living Strands,” she is able to use her hair to break out of the opponent’s combo by doing an Auto-Block. This does not only break the opponent’s combo, but if Medusa has the Parry mastery, that Auto-Block will count as a Well Timed Block and also inflict a Stun onto the opponent. This will prove to be a good ability both when using Medusa as an attacker and also as a defender in Alliance Wars.

Marvel.com: She almost reminds me a bit of Karnak with her Armor Break/Shattered. What was the thinking behind giving her those abilities? Is her hair prodding and probing her enemies to eventually pull them apart?

Piero Herrera: The Armor Shattered ability is currently exclusive to Medusa. It has additional properties that will help her deal with the opponent’s Armor Up abilities and also will be a direct counter to Robot Champions such as Vision or Ultron. When the opponent is Armor Shattered, Medusa is able to use her hair to Bleed opponents and those stacks of Bleed will stay active until Armor Shattered expires. Medusa is designed to be a very strong, but not very complex Champion, so we decided to use mechanics that players are familiar with, but with a different twist.

Marvel.com: I can only imagine that sh’’ll get some great buffs when allied with her Inhuman brethren right?

Piero Herrera: Certainly! We are also trying out a new type of synergy that grants a huge attack bonus if you have Karnak, Black Bolt, and Medusa on the same team. The strongest Synergy in Medusa’s kit is the one with Black Bolt, which enhances both of those character’s Signature Abilities.

Marvel.com: When do we get to bring Medusa to the cosmic melee?

Piero Herrera: Medusa is coming to the Contest on September 14. Log-in to see more details on how to get Medusa!

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

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Wilson Fisk gets ready to throw his weight around Battlerealm!

Taking some time off from his criminal enterprises on Earth, Wilson Fisk sets his sights on Battlerealm and its Black ISO-8. Think Kingpin can hack it in “Marvel Contest of Champions”? We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron to learn just that!

Marvel.com: Wilson Fisk is one seriously dangerous villain, but he’s just a mere mortal. Does he have what it takes to swindle an Elder of the Universe?

Gabriel Frizzera: Many have committed the mistake of underestimating Wilson Fisk, and ended up at the bottom of the East River. His cunning and brutality are unsurpassed; his physical strength and fighting skills surprise those who think he’s just a lumbering obese giant. The Kingpin likes it that way. His enemies never see the beast hiding behind the polite “businessman” facade until it’s too late.

Marvel.com: If there’s one word for Kingpin’s look in “Contest of Champions,” it’s “classic.” I did notice that he’s hefting a pretty brutal looking cane here. He’s no stranger to getting his hands dirty, but will he be using this weapon in battle?

Gabriel Frizzera: I guess you could call it a cane, but have you seen the size of that thing? It’s bigger and thicker than most Champion’s legs or torsos. It’s more akin to a medieval mace than a gentleman’s walking stick. Plus, this is the classic Kingpin accessory, with hidden gas and laser shooters for extra firepower. And sitting atop of it there’s a gem of pure Black ISO, powering the whole gadgetry.

Marvel.com: For a villain who’s very comfortable manipulating events behind the scenes, what did the team want to focus on for his combat style?

Simon Cameron: Fitting to his nature, Kingpin’s combat style is a mix of underhanded manipulation and well-timed aggression. In the manipulation category, he has the ability to convert Debuffs into Rage counters, increasing his attack, and the amount of power he gains during combat. Once Kingpin builds enough Rage, he triggers Overpower, which is where the aggression starts! Overpower gives him a big Fury Buff and makes his Special Attacks un-blockable.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about True Nature. How does it set the foundation for Fisk’s other abilities?

Simon Cameron: True Nature lets Fisk start the fight with Rages already stacked up, and gives him a chance to gain several Rage counters when Overpower ends. This provides Fisk with a shortcut back in to Overpower, allowing him to spend more time in his highest damage state.

Marvel.com: And Black ISO-8, what exactly does that do? I mean that’s why Kingpin’s even in the Contest right?

Gabriel Frizzera: From this day forward, all Black ISO currently in existence is property of Allied Construction, a subsidiary of Fisk Enterprises. Better not ask too many questions, wise guy, if you don’t want their “lawyers” knocking at your door at night.

Simon Cameron: For gameplay purposes, Black ISO is a Debuff that causes both Degeneration and Ability Accuracy reduction.

Marvel.com: When do we get to take the criminal mastermind into battle?

Simon Cameron: Wilson Fisk will be entering “The Contest” on August 31.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter for all the latest on “Marvel Contest of Champions” and more!

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Spider-Man’s most superior foe finds his way to Battlerealm!

Otto Octavius finds himself on Battlerealm, tentacles ready to cause as much chaos as possible—and knowing Doc Ock, Spidey’s in for a whole heap of trouble.

We talked to Kabam Designers Dominic O’Grady and Simon Cameron about Otto’s in-game abilities and what players can expect from the newest “Marvel Contest of Champion” villain!

Marvel.com: Doctor Otto Gunther Octavius—his name’s a mouthful and his tentacles a handful. How does the good Doctor Octopus find himself in the Contest?

Dominic O’Grady: The Grandmaster is not a fan of Spider-Man, particularly because his brother, The Collector, is so fond of him. For the Grandmaster it’s double-duty: He prefers villainous Champions to do his bidding, and ones that know how to fight Spidey are all the better!

Marvel.com: Doc Ock has had so many different outfits through the ages, what era or eras did the team channel for this particular iteration?

Dominic O’Grady: The main goal was to evoke a Silver Age feeling with his design, while not being tied to any particular era-associated costume of his. Of course immediate recognition is the most important detail, and we also wanted to pay homage [to] his scientific background; thus the lab coat and pocket pens!

Marvel.com: And you kept the bowl cut! How tempted were you to give players a more fashion forward Otto?

Dominic O’Grady: Not at all. Dorky haircut or bust.

Marvel.com: How do abilities like Power Lock, Heal Block, Fury, and  Armor Up help round out Octopus’ equation?

Simon Cameron: Doc Ock is a scientist; as such, he builds up a library of research on his opponent through observation and testing. In game this means Doc Ock has three Research Categories he builds based on his and the opponent’s actions; for example, he builds Physics research as his Opponent builds Power.

Each of his Research Categories gives him a passive bonus [that] scales as the category builds, and finally each category has a Breakthrough effect which [triggers] when a category reaches 100 lasting for a few seconds before resetting his Research to go again. The last variable in the equation are the good Doctor’s Special Attacks, all of which are based around him interacting with his Breakthrough.

Marvel.com: We all know Doc Ock’s a smart cookie, but how does his signature ability, Academic Background, help him lay his foes low?

Simon Cameron: Doc Ock’s Academic Background gives him two advantages. The first is starting all of his research categories at 60 instead of zero, and secondly it gives all of his Breakthrough effects an upgrade. For Biology, he gains Armor Penetration along with his Armor Up, and for Chemistry and Physics he gains the ability to steal a portion of the Health or Power blocked by his Heal Block and Powerlocks respectively. These effects do stack up to three times, though for the Heal Block/Power Lock on the steal portion of the effect stacks.

Marvel.com: Tell us a little about his allies and how they interact with the Doctor.

Simon Cameron: Doc Ock can bring a number of allies with him that enhance his abilities, as well as taking home a nice bonus for themselves. These effects target his Research Categories doing things like, preventing his Research from falling off over time, and having his Research Categories reset to 50 instead of zero.

Marvel.com: And finally, when will we get to lecture our enemies into oblivion with Doctor Octopus?

Dominic O’Grady: The diabolical doctor is available now in crystals and arenas! Get to work; there are experiments to be done!

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

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Spidey goes up against a classic super villain in the Battlerealm!

Soaring above Battlerealm the Vulture picks his targets with a bird of prey’s ruthless precision, and with all that alien tech at his disposal, takes them out with brutal efficiency. Coming off the success of “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, Vulture’s found a place to roost in “Marvel Contest of Champions” and Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron chatted with us about all his in-game goodies.

Marvel.com: You know at first I was wondering what the Collector would want with a guy in a bird suit, but then I remembered all the people in spider suits he’s wrangled in the past. He’s building a regular menagerie isn’t he?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Collector wants to catch them all! His favorite Champion is Spider-Man, and he wouldn’t miss on having the web-head’s awesome gallery of rogues. A complete set is much more valuable, and that includes the Vulture and his crazy mechanical wings. But he’s just the beginning. More Super Villains are coming soon…

Marvel.com: I have to admit, the Vulture and his killer outfit were the highlight of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” for me, mostly because his getup was just so awesome! What was it like translating it for the contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: To be honest, we had our doubts in the beginning. Initially, all we could see from the trailers was this crazy-looking dude with wings much bigger than we could ever fit on screen! But then we got some very detailed reference material from our friends at Marvel Studios, and we saw great gameplay potential. We still had to reduce those wings a bit to make them fit our maximum size rig, but the rest is pretty close to the movie version. Once we saw the Vulture moving in game, we all became converts.

Marvel.com: And the team already had the wing tech from Archangel, so do we get to see the turbine wings on at all times?

Gabriel Frizzera: Flying is the Vulture’s defining trait, so yes, he’s in the air all the time. His wings are actually more complicated than Archangel’s because the rotors are connected to a smaller second set of wings, and move independently from the main ones. And the wings also detach from his body, so we made sure to have them do that in one of the special attacks. Add to that those giant foot claws and the “ferry-cutter” gun, and his arsenal becomes even more fearsome.

Marvel.com: Appearance aside, when it comes to his kit, what does Vulture do best?

Simon Cameron: Vulture’s Kit is best used to counter Champions with access to a lot of Power, or Champions who need power, he’s also a hard counter to Incinerate. His Critical Hits build charge in the Chitauri Reactor which powers his suit. He will later spend this charge in several different ways, such as Power Drains, Incinerates, or a new Buff, Decoy. He also has a built in Dexterity effect, which can even spend his Chitauri Charge to Incinerate his Opponent as he dashes away.

Marvel.com: Can you go over his different abilities and how players should be looking to maximize his damage potential?

Simon Cameron: Vulture’s new Buff, Decoy, causes the next attack against Vulture that would otherwise hit, to miss. He also has a couple of new Debuffs, Siphon Charge and Thermal Feedback. Both of these Debuffs cause him to immediately drain a portion off all Power that his opponent gains, great for slowing down a Power Gain Champion, or just allowing him to land more hits per Special his Opponent builds up.

Siphon Charge converts the drained Power into Vulture’s Chitauri Charge making it great for utility and power control, whereas Thermal Feedback converts it into damage making it the way to go for err… damage. Finally his Signature Ability allows him to gain Power while his opponent is Incinerated, to help keep his Opponent suffering under these Debuffs as often as possible, and allows him to consume any Incinerate placed on using it to power his Chitauri Charge as well.

Marvel.com: And when do we get to take the Vulture out for a spin?

Simon Cameron: Vulture has entered The Contest; you can grab him up right now!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and follow us @MarvelGames on Twitter for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” 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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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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Spider-Man’s most psychotic foe enters the fray of Battlerealm!

Spider-Man might never want to see another symbiote again, but The Collector no doubt has a special section of his menagerie dedicated to the Klyntar. So it should come as no surprise that Carnage has finally made his dangerous debut on Battlerealm.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about the murderous Spider-foe and his impending killing spree in “Marvel Contest of Champions.”

Marvel.com: I’m super psyched to see Carnage making an appearance in The Contest. He’s the perfect amount of crazy to really shake things up. What’s he doing on Battlerealm?

Gabriel Frizzera: As always, Cletus is causing mayhem. He was probably captured by The Collector at some point, but he was too wild to play nice in The Contest, and broke free. Or was set free, like a discarded pet crocodile. Who knows for sure…the fact is you can’t have Carnage in your neighborhood without some bloodshed, and the Champions will need to deal with that sooner than ever.

Marvel.com: When it came to designing Carnage, what were some of the visual aspects the team felt were necessary to bring him to life?

Gabriel Frizzera: He needed to be repugnant. Our team took special care in modeling the muscle fibers and sticky symbiote goo travelling through his body. We tweaked the shaders to make him look wet and gross like an inside-out Spider-Man, and added scythe-like appendages and tentacles that skewer people alive, or carry him like giant spider legs. We wanted to show in no uncertain terms that Carnage is a monster, both in appearance and attitude.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about Carnage in-game. I’m imagining him fighting like a whirling dervish, slicing and dicing everything in sight. How does he play?

Simon Cameron: Cletus Kasady’s psychotic tendencies were definitely a driving force behind how Carnage will be played. The symbiote mutates to provide him with bonuses based on what his current needs are, and he loves blood, so [he] gains bonuses against a Bleeding opponent.

Marvel.com: Yeah his abilities seem to fit him perfectly. Would you mind digging a little deeper on Bloodlust and Precision?

Simon Cameron: Bloodlust is a unique ability that allows Carnage to increase the amount of power he gains for each attack he performs or receives. Precision increases the chance to land Critical Hits; this goes hand in hand with Carnage’s ability to trigger additional Bleeds on an already Bleeding target with those same Critical Hits.

Marvel.com: When are we picking Carnage? Any heroes or villains that he does particularly well against?

Simon Cameron: Carnage loves going on killing sprees against anyone, hero or villain, he does not discriminate. Pretty much anyone who can Bleed is a favorite target of this psycho. Though as a Cosmic hero he gains even more damage against Tech Class heroes—Rocket Raccoon, Howard the Duck, [and] Civil Warrior are all excellent targets.

Marvel.com: When do we get to harness the psycho power of Carnage?

Simon Cameron: This psychotic monster will be coming to The Contest on June 8. Stay tuned for in-game messaging and arena announcements for your chance to get him!

Marvel.com: Oh and before I go, we have an event quest starting up on June 7. Can you give us a breakdown of what we need to know?

Gabriel Frizzera: Our new event is called “Secret Empire Forever.” It starts with The Civil Warrior hunting Carnage before he causes too much damage in the Battlerealm. But soon they find out that, like a cornered animal, Carnage is merely reacting to being hunted by a much worse monster: an alternate version of The Punisher 2099, who became the Minister of Punishment for a Hydra Empire that dominated the USA for almost a century. Now it’s up to an uneasy alliance between Civil Warrior and the current Punisher to defeat this future fascist villain, who makes Frank Castle look tame in comparison. To take a closer look at Punisher 2099, check out our brand new Motion Comic!

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

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The galactic rogue joins the game, and we’ve got comments from Michael Rooker himself!

Do you hear whistling? Then it’s already too late.

He might have blue skin, bad teeth, and a weird fin on his head, but Yondu’s one of the most deadly Ravagers to take up arms, and an arrow, in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” We talked to Michael Rooker, the man who brought Yondu to life in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and Kabam Character Designer Simon Cameron, all about the Zatoan and his savage charm and in-game abilities.

Marvel.com: Hey Michael, how does it feel to be digitized as your blue-skinned alter-ego in “Contest of Champions?”

Michael Rooker: It feels great to see that handsome devil make an appearance in such a popular game!

Marvel.com: And how does Yondu look in the game? Like looking in a mirror, or did the gang at Kabam put their own little spin on the Ravager?

Michael Rooker: The folks working on “Contest of Champions” did a great job capturing the essence of Yondu. It’s almost like looking in the mirror, except I’m still more handsome.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, what’s ol’ finhead capable of in the game? Does he use his arrow to take people down or would he rather get his hands dirty?

Michael Rooker: Yondu doesn’t need to get his hands dirty to take down a whole army of enemies; just some well-pitched whistles and his arrow does the job! His punches and kicks are a good nod to his Ravager brawling skills. He also calls for an airstrike from his crew when he’s tired of hand-to-hand combat.

Marvel.com: Can we get a breakdown of his abilities from the team?

Simon Cameron: Yondu’s big into Debuffs; his Yaka Arrow, which he uses both in his Special Attacks and as part of his base combos, causes Bleed, even if you Block it. It also causes Armor Breaks if used against someone Immune to Bleed. Then not being above kicking someone while they’re down, Yondu also reduces the amount of Power his opponent gains based on the number of Debuffs he’s managed to put on them.

Marvel.com: Is there anyone currently competing in the Contest that Yondu might not want to tango with? And who do you think he would have no problem taking out?

Michael Rooker: I still need to teach Star-Lord a lesson for mucking around with my plans before! Yondu is the best; he’ll have no problem taking anyone on!

Marvel.com: Who do you think he’d want watching his back in the Contest?

Michael Rooker: Although he may never admit it, the Guardians would be great to watch his back; they are all kind of family right?!

Marvel.com: And when do we get to recruit Mary Popp…I mean Yondu, for our crew?

Michael Rooker: Yondu will be whistling his way into the Battlerealm come May 25. I’ll announce the start of the Arenas on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!

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

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