The hit mobile game comes under siege from a variety of old enemies!

Throughout the various battles threatening “Marvel Avengers Academy” and the world last year, the students and faculty locked up their most troublesome enemies. Ronan the Accuser, Mephisto, Carnage, Kingpin—these number as just a few of the villains with a grudge against our heroes.

And now they’ve broken free.

The students must band together to redeem one of their own and fight back against the most powerful threat they’ve ever faced

We snagged Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get the lowdown on how these former foes break free and what it all means for Avengers Academy.

Marvel.com: With these villains breaking free, what characters will be coming to the Academy to aid our heroes this time?

Allen Warner: We’re bringing back a total of 15 recruitable characters from 2016, with some battling the bosses, and others needing to be rescued from the escaped villains. This includes Winter Soldier, Union Jack, Punisher, Electro, Blade, Green Goblin, and more. It’s an opportunity for longtime players to get some of the characters they may have missed in previous events, and for newer players to get a bunch of characters who weren’t available when they started playing.

Marvel.com: Will players who have unlocked all of the cages so far see something different than those who only have some of them?

Allen Warner: The team of escaped villains is comprised of Ronan, Kingpin, Carnage, and Mephisto, so anyone who has any or all of those imprisoned villains on their campus will notice that their cells are empty until the end of the event.

Marvel.com: Similarly, what will players who’ve unlocked all the returning characters have to work toward in this event?

Allen Warner: Players who already have all 15 returning characters will have another opportunity to get cells for every escaped villain.

Marvel.com: How will we tackle the villains leading this siege of the academy?

Allen Warner: Main game Avengers like Black Widow and Falcon will battle the escaped villains alongside some of the returning characters like Dracula and Captain Britain. They’ll be fighting to progress the story, and return the escaped villains to their cells, and every victory gives them a greater opportunity of recruiting returning characters.

 

Marvel.com: What other new actions or content will we see?

Allen Warner: There’s a brand-new storyline for the event. Marvel Games Creative Director Bill Rosemann had the great idea to have the event inspired by the classic “Under Siege” Avengers story where Baron Zemo brings some of the world’s most powerful villains together to form the Masters of Evil, and get revenge against the Avengers. I wouldn’t necessarily call our version of Baron Zemo kind and gentle, but he’s definitely not the reprehensible force of evil he is in standard continuity, so this story is more about Mephisto exploiting Zemo’s insecurities to manipulate him into setting the villains free. Zemo eventually realizes that he’s being played, and does what he can to right his wrongs, and help the Avengers return the villains to their cells, and save their friends.

I had a lot of fun revisiting some of these returning characters, and watching them interact with each other I purposefully paired them off into weird combinations just to see what would come out of it. You’ll see how Jack O’ Lantern reacts to Winter Soldier’s gloomy poetry, how Groot responds to Electro’s relentless hyperactivity, how Blade and Captain Britain plan to deal with England’s supposed vampire problem, and many more. It was a lot of fun, and creating unique scenarios and conversations like these is what I love the most about our game.

Players who get any of these characters for the first time will also get access to each character’s personal storyline, and unique animations. If you’ve never seen some of these awesome animations, like Jack O’ Lantern’s dance or Punisher trying to make it through a metal detector, you’re in for a treat.

Marvel.com: This event will be a brief one, so can you give us a preview of what’s coming soon?

Allen Warner: There are two major things on the horizon. First, our next major event, revolving around Ultron leading a robot revolution, and Hawkeye arriving with some of his low-tech friends to save the day. I still don’t want to give away too many details yet, but I’m really excited about some of the surprises we have in store, including a fun and unexpected aesthetic that makes for some great outfits and adventures.

We’ll also soon be adding hangouts to the main game. We got a great response to the hangout feature during our Halloween event, which allowed players to send pairs of characters off to do cool dual actions. This expands upon that feature, allowing players to use any combination of characters from the main game or previous events to take part in original and brand-new dual actions. It’s a really fun feature that gives players the freedom to create their favorite pairing while earning new decorations, and ultimately unlocking Ares as a playable character for the first time.

That’s just a small sample of the exciting characters and features on the way, so stay tuned!

And stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest on “Marvel Avengers Academy”!

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Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Wasp and more suit up for the A-Force event!

In the currently ongoing “Marvel Avengers Academy” Winter Event, Malekith uses an ancient artifact to plunge the world into eternal winter. With the help of newcomers from A-Force, the heroes attending the Academy battle the evil dark elf and his army of frost giants.

And what would a battle with elves and giants be without the proper attire?

Many of the Academy students—including each of the A-Force newcomers—don new fantasy themed outfits to inject a little joy into their fight against this latest threat. We grabbed Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get the rundown of his favorites.

Rogue Spider-Woman – “Inspired by the look of thief and assassin outfits in classic fantasy games and films, Spider-Woman wears this outfit to enhance her already impressive stealth and espionage skills. The outfit unlocks a fun storyline about Spider-Woman uncovering secrets behind Malekith’s true plan as well as Nick Fury’s hidden agenda, and features unique animations of her scaling the Academy walls, and picking Odin’s pocket for intel.”

Healer Singularity – “Singularity is a kind and gentle soul who is always looking out for her friends, so it makes perfect sense that she’d play the role of Healer in this group of fantasy archetypes. The outfit plays to her bright and whimsical personality, and features a unique storyline about her offering to heal some of her toughest classmates, including Punisher and Jessica Jones.”

Archer Wasp – “No stranger to alternate outfits, Wasp becomes an elven archer in a storyline befitting her infectious excitement and wild imagination. She tries to embody every characteristic of every possible incarnation of elves, seeking advice from everyone from the dark elves she’s currently fighting to arrow aficionado Hawkeye. The outfit comes with some fun animations, including playing a fantasy-inspired flute throughout the campus, and attempting to shoot an apple off the top of the head of one of Iron Man’s hapless helper robots.”aforce_asset_fantasycostumes

Huntress Angela – “Inspired by her awesome design in the ANGELA: QUEEN OF HEL comic series, this outfit plays to Angela’s strengths as a master hunter and assassin. It’s one of the most detailed outfits ever included in the game, and features a unique storyline about Angela recruiting famous hunters like Blade for the ultimate Super Hero hunting party to track a once in lifetime target.”

Blacksmith Iron Man – “Always the master craftsman, Tony Stark indulges in his fantasy dreams to become an archaic blacksmith, crafting weapons and armor for the Avengers and their new A-Force teammates. It features a fun storyline about Tony using the dark elves’ fear of iron to his advantage, and unlocks unique animations like him using his repulsor beams to smelt iron ore, and using his engineering genius to craft a rapid-fire procession of weapons and items ranging from swords to what appears to be Ultron’s head.”

This is just a small sample of some of the awesome outfits, unique content, and fun adventures available in the current A-Force Winter event in “Marvel Avengers Academy,” ending January 5. Stay tuned for all the latest news, interviews and more!

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America Chavez Bolsters Her Video Game Resume with ‘Marvel Avengers Academy’

America Chavez joins her A-Force teammates in the battle against Malekith in “Marvel Avengers Academy.” With the hero soon to debut her own solo ongoing series – America – in March, fans are eager to add her to their teams. The team at TinyCo had a lot of fun developing their take on Ms America, but she still brings the same uniqueness to the game that she does to the comics.

We spoke with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get a look at the process of designing not only this version of Ms. America, but also the set of fantasy outfits our heroes are donning during this event – including America’s Knight outfit.

Marvel.com: America Chavez, Miss America herself, lands in “Marvel Avengers Academy” this week. With her upcoming solo ongoing, there’s a lot of fan excitement around the character. What was it like bringing her to the Academy this winter?

Allen Warner: It’s always great when we can support what’s going on in the comics and vice versa. I’m really looking forward to her having a solo book, and it’s been fun adapting her for the world of our game. There are a lot of tough and capable female heroes attending the Academy already, but America brings diversity, swagger, a unique backstory, and some crazy powers that make her really special. Of course, our version of America doesn’t share the exact same history as her comics counterpart, so there are a lot of surprises and opportunities to tell stories that can’t be told in the books. I wanted to focus on making her more than just a bruiser for the team, and make her motivations more personal to explore what’s under that tough exterior.

From a visual standpoint, our art and animation teams did their usual outstanding job with her designs and animations. We wanted to showcase her personality and raw power, and use some of the things that make her unique like kicking in star portals for interdimensional travel, and throwing giant sharks at people because it’s awesome.

Marvel.com: When did America Chavez enter the discussion for new characters coming in this event?

Allen Warner: We’ve talked about putting her in the game for a long time. She got very close with an earlier release, but we decided to go in another direction. As soon as we knew we were doing an A-Force event, it was a given. She’s an integral part of this team, and one of the best young Marvel heroes, so there was no way we were going to leave her out.

Marvel.com: Off the bat, she gets a new secondary outfit as part of the Fantasy set releasing with this event. How did you and the art team go about designing her “Knight” outfit?

Allen Warner: Yeah, each week the new character who’s introduced also gets an awesome fantasy outfit. She was a tough one to figure out to be honest. We tried a few angles, but it just didn’t feel like her. We hadn’t introduced a knight yet, and I started thinking about how it could be fun to tell a story about how America adapts to traditional knight protocol and armor. She’s fiercely independent, and doesn’t have much use for armor, but these are special circumstances facing Malekith and the Casket of Ancient Winters, so she decides to give it a shot. It’s a lot of fun to see how she reacts, and who she seeks out to try and figure out how to meld her personality and powers with something so traditional.

Marvel.com: How did the team come around to this set of outfits as part of Malekith’s attack on Earth?

Allen Warner: We wanted to have all of the outfits feel like part of a set, and with everyone battling elves and giants, fantasy made sense. It’s not something you usually see in Marvel outside of the realms of Thor or Doctor Strange or the Black Knight, so I think it feels really fun and fresh to see some of these other characters in that setting. The art team outdid themselves with all of the outfits, and the response across the board has been really positive.

Marvel.com: The outfits look to be drawn out of the characters’ roles or traits – Blacksmith Iron Man and Paladin Thor, for example. What went into the creation of these?

Allen Warner: Yeah, the first step with each one was to think about what made sense for their personality, and what kind of stories we’d be able to tell with the quests and animations. In some cases, we went for the one that immediately made the most sense. Other times, we purposefully went in a different direction because we thought it would make for some fun results. I bounced my ideas off of Tim Hernandez and Bill Rosemann at Marvel Games, and after getting their feedback and go-ahead, our art team went to work trying to combine what makes each character iconic with what you’d expect from these classic archetypes. I think they turned out even better than anyone expected.

Marvel.com: What about Wasp led you to create her “Archer” outfit?

Allen Warner: To be honest, before we had the idea of these all being a cohesive set, I’d planned on having her be more ‘toy workshop’ elf than ‘arrow-shooting’ elf. When we decided to go with the set and fantasy approach, I started thinking about how it would be fun to keep her as an elf, but in a fantasy setting. Elves are great archers in various fantasy stories, so I started to get excited about what being an elf means to Wasp, and seeing her interact with the Dark Elves on an ‘elf-to-elf’ level, and getting archery lessons from Hawkeye. Archery will also be a major part of our next event, so it felt like a great bridge to the next story.

Marvel.com: Similarly, how does Singularity embody the “Healer” role for her outfit?

Allen Warner: Singularity is so sweet, and generous, and self-sacrificing that it just made sense. Singularity’s powers aren’t technically magic, but still feel very mysterious and magical, and are usually used for protecting others. It’s another outfit that’s really beautiful, and we even added unique functionality, so that each time Healer Singularity battles a Frost Giant, it drops a health pack to heal your heroes.

Marvel.com: Was there any one design in particular you had a lot of fun putting together?

My favorite has to be Huntress Angela. It’s a really natural fit for her personality and backstory, and the outfit turned out incredible. It’s influenced by her awesome “Angela: Queen of Hel” look from the comics mixed with a sort of forest hunter vibe, and just looks amazing. It’s one of the most detailed outfits we’ve ever made for any character, and I think people will be really excited when they see it.

Marvel.com: Anything you can tell us about what’s coming up next?

Allen Warner: We’re about to introduce Angela, Lady Loki, and Captain Marvel, who’s another iconic character we’ve been wanting to include for a really long time, and we’ll also be giving players the opportunity to get some of the heroes they may have missed in previous events.

There are a lot of things stirring just under the surface of the Academy. Malekith and the Casket of Ancient Winters are causing a massive distraction that’s giving multiple villains the opportunity to put their plans into action. Previously defeated villains are about to activate the next phase of their plan, and a well-known villain is about to make his presence known for the first time. Not only that, but our most sought-after hero is about to join the school, and he’s bringing our most awesome and unlikely playable character with him.

Play “Marvel Avengers Academy” today and stay tuned for further updates and events!

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The dark elf provides the catalyst for an awesome A-Force event!

With Dormammu dealt with, the Sorcerer Supreme takes up his new post among the students of “Marvel Avengers Academy.” Our heroes prepare to enjoy the start of winter as snow begins to fall on campus.

But they’re forced to cut their celebration short, as they learn this snow isn’t natural. Malekith has unleashed the power of an ancient mystical artifact to bring eternal winter to Earth and create a new kingdom for the Dark Elves and Frost Giants. Luckily, a number of new faces—including some Asgardian warriors—pour into the Academy to help our students fight the villain and his armies and prevent this new ice age.

Marvel.com: While our heroes were focused on battling Dormammu, Malekith has quietly gathered new power and now threatens the world. What evil will the Avengers Academy students and faculty be up against as the first snow falls on campus?

Allen Warner: There have been mentions of the Casket of Ancient Winters being somewhere in New York going all the way back to our Spider-Man event, and during our Doctor Strange event, we learned that the evil Dark Elf ruler Malekith had finally gotten his hands on it. Marvel fans know that it’s one of the most powerful artifacts in the universe, and can be used as a weapon of mass destruction to unleash infinite icy storms across the world.  Malekith wants to use its powers to plunge our world into the next ice age, so that the Dark Elves and Frost Giants can take over. The Avengers Academy students not only have to defend their campus from Malekith, his minions, and angry Frost Giants, but they also need to deliver supplies around the world to help people survive the storms, and fight back against the Dark Elves.

Marvel.com: Malekith has generally been considered an enemy of Asgard and its warriors; will any of them be traveling to Midgard to aid our heroes? And will anyone else come to the Academy’s rescue as the winter semester begins?

Allen Warner: We learn that Thor (Jane Foster) has been defending Asgard in Odin’s absence, and he asked her to come to Midgard to help battle Malekith and the Frost Giants. Her designs and animations are great, and I really liked exploring a dynamic for them that’s unique to the world of our game. He personally asked her to take on the mantle of Thor when Thor Odinson was missing in the timefog, and there are some fun and interesting aspects to their shared history, how there came to be two Mjolnirs, and watching her meet Loki and that “other” Thor for the first time. We also learn that Angela has been hunting down Malekith on her own for some time. I’m really excited about having her in the game. She and Odin also have a unique dynamic in our world, and I think people will be blown away by her designs and animations. We’ll also be reintroducing Sif, who was one of our most popular characters during the Civil War event, and fits in perfectly with these other Asgardian warriors.

The Asgardian warriors have crossed paths with other heroes on their respective journeys, and they call on some of their most powerful allies from A-Force, including She-Hulk, Singularity, America Chavez, and Captain Marvel. They’re all incredible characters who bring something completely unique to the event, and the world of “Avengers Academy.” I’m really excited about this lineup because we’ve been waiting to introduce them for a long time, and our talented art and animation teams have done some amazing work for all of them. I think players who aren’t familiar with some of these characters are going to fall in love with them, and fans of these characters are going to be thrilled. Sticking to the awesome female hero theme, we’ll also be giving players the chance to get some of the great female heroes they may have missed in previous events.

A-Force in "Marvel Avengers Academy"

A-Force in “Marvel Avengers Academy”

Marvel.com: How will Malekith’s unleashing of eternal winter set the scene for our event district? What new outfits will we see our heroes sporting?

Allen Warner: This is the first time we’ll be changing the look of our entire playspace, and covering the ground in snow. It looks great, and makes the event feel really special, festive, and different from anything we’ve done before. The event district itself is one of my favorites. It’s an icy landscape with Malekith’s ship dominating the scene. The open Casket of Ancient Winters releases a constant blizzard, our new heroes are trapped in ice, and massive Frost Giants stand guard on either side. Outside of the event district, there’s also a really cool Ice Palace where a lot of animations will happen, and some great holiday themed buildings and decorations, including a series of awesome animated holiday scenes featuring our hapless helper robots.

We decided to really embrace the classic fantasy aspect of battling elves and giants, so the outfits are based around fantasy archetypes that will be immediately recognizable to anyone who’s familiar with fantasy games, shows, and literature. Characters like Spider-Woman and America Chavez will transform into fantasy archetypes like a rogue, a paladin, an archer, a blacksmith, a healer, a huntress, and more. There will also be some really cool fantasy inspired creatures, decorations, and animations.

All of the fantasy outfits are amazing, but my favorite outfit in this event has to be Lady Loki. Loki adopts her female persona to infiltrate A-Force and befriend the influx of female heroes. Her intentions are mischievous and malicious at first, but she ultimately fits in better than expected. I think it’s one of the best looking outfits we’ve ever made, the animations are fun and dramatic, and I think her story turned out really hilarious and heartwarming.

Marvel.com: How will our heroes—new and old—battle Malekith and his Dark Elves to put a stop to his plans?

Allen Warner: Our heroes will battle Malekith, Dark Elves, and massive Frost Giants. The Frost Giant fights in particular are really cool because all of the event heroes will be able to attack the giant at once, so it makes for these great scenes with everyone showcasing their powers. Heroes will also pilot Sleigh-Cycles, delivering supplies to citizens around the world to help them deal with the blizzards, and defend themselves against invading Dark Elves.

Marvel.com: While dealing with this new threat is the big focus here, will players be able to see any signs that will prepare them for the next enemy on the horizon?

Allen Warner: Two characters we’ve been teasing since the beginning of the game are finally about to enter “Avengers Academy.” One is an angry robot with a grudge, and an endless army of followers. The other is a guy with a whole bunch of arrows.

Get the latest news on “Marvel Avengers Academy” at Marvel.com!

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Stephen Strange heads to the Academy in new game event

With Loki and Enchantress already sporting plenty of magical power, sorcery isn’t so strange to the students and faculty of Avengers Academy. But when the Sorcerer Supreme comes to campus, it’s a whole new ball game. Stephen Strange, along with a group of his fellow sorcerers, travel to the Academy in hopes of closing the breach that allowed Mephisto to travel to their world and wreak havoc. But not all is as it seems, and soon the Avengers find themselves embroiled in a battle against the worst the Dark Dimension has to offer.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to find out just how much trouble the school’s in.

Marvel.com: Doctor Strange is bringing a little mysticism with him to Avengers Academy, what can you tell us about the events that brings the sorcerer to campus?

Allen Warner: During our Daredevil event, the Hand was using their occult magic to create a dimensional rift next to Avengers Academy.  During our Halloween event, Mephisto was able to exploit that rift to bring his hellish dimension to Earth.  The heroes were able to stop him, but the only people capable of closing the rift once and for all are Doctor Strange and the Young Masters of the Mystic Arts.  Unfortunately, one of their own not only wants to keep the rift open, but help beings from the Dark Dimension invade our world.

Marvel.com: And what threats does Strange need the help of the Avengers to defeat?

Allen Warner: Kaecilius is sending his zealots to attack the Academy, and has placed Eldritch Portals around campus to trap and transport the heroes.  The students and heroic sorcerers will not only have to deal with those, but battle the powerful beings that he summons from the Dark Dimension.  Some of these creatures have invaded the Sanctum Sanctorum and other areas on campus for some fun animations, while some are all-powerful forces of evil who the heroes will have to fight themselves to save the day.

Marvel.com: How will players guide the Academy students through battling Kaecilius and his zealot army?

Allen Warner: The sorcerers need to stay focused on the big bosses, so Doctor Strange helps craft Spellbooks to dispel the portals, and summons Mystic Beings to battle the zealots.  There’s a really cool elemental theme running through the entire event, and players will also create powerful elemental weapons to fight more powerful enemies.

Marvel.com: Which of our heroes will suit up in new, more mystical digs?

Allen Warner: Tony Stark isn’t a big fan of having to admit that there are some problems technology can’t solve, so he and Doctor Strange get into an argument about whether science is better than magic, and it results in him becoming Tech Wizard Iron Man.  It’s a really fun costume where he uses both his inventiveness and sense of humor to poke fun at classic wizard tropes while trying to prove that he can do anything a sorcerer can do.  Loki isn’t a fan of any other sorcerer claiming to be supreme, so he creates the most over-the-top sorcerer outfit imaginable.  It’s completely outlandish and gaudy and glorious.  As you would guess, Enchantress feels the same, but she takes a more elegant and darker and refined route to proving her mystic superiority.  Black Widow needs to don a proper disguise to infiltrate the Dark Dimension, so she becomes Cthulhu Black Widow, bonding with the creature to take on its properties and powers to get what she needs from its realm.  There’s also an incredible Steampunk Doctor Strange outfit that looks awesome, and comes with some amazing animations, as well as Elemental Combat outfits for him, Mordo, Wong, and Doctor Voodoo.  The mystical and extradimensional aspects of Doctor Strange’s world really let us push the limits of what was possible, and I think people will be blown away by what our talented artists and animators have created.

Marvel.com: What will the special event district look like this time out?

Allen Warner: I think this is the most visually impressive event district we’ve ever created.  We took advantage of the classically psychedelic vibe of Doctor Strange and some of the movie’s trippy visuals to create something unlike anything that’s ever been in the game.  It looks amazing, and we’ve done some really cool things with the way characters interact with the environment.  There are some really great effects and animations relating to everything from how you upgrade items to summoning Mystic Beings to training your heroes.  At the center of the event district is the Sanctum Sanctorum, magically transported by Doctor Strange, and floating above the ground.  Characters will have some awesome mystical-themed animations there, including encounters with some of the smaller creatures who’ve managed to sneak through the dimensional rift, and attack the Sorcerer Supreme’s home.  I’m also really excited about the decorations in this event.  We got to use so many of the weird and wonderful artifacts from Doctor Strange’s long history, and the mystical theme lends itself to awesome fantasy inspired creatures and locales.

Marvel.com: Stephen surely isn’t coming to the Academy alone; can you clue us into some other recruits along for the ride?

Allen Warner: He definitely won’t be the only sorcerer.  The other recruitable characters are Mordo, Wong, The Ancient One, Doctor Voodoo, and Nico Minoru.  We wanted to include all of the main players from the movie, and include a couple more magic users from the Marvel Universe.  Doctor Voodoo is just such a cool character with a completely unique approach to heroic magic.  He looks awesome, and his animations are great.  Nico is one of the best young characters in all of Marvel in my opinion, and she has such a great look and attitude and power set that lend themselves perfectly to the world of our game.  I’m really excited about what each of these characters brings to the event and the overall world of Avengers Academy moving forward.

Marvel.com: Wiccan has been heavily rumored to be a part of this update, is he going to join up as well?

Allen Warner: Unfortunately, Wiccan won’t be a recruitable hero in this event.  We’ve been looking for the right spot to get him into the game because he’s such a cool character and good fit for our world, and I had him in in the first draft of the conceit and content list for this event, but to be honest, it just didn’t seem right to have him in an event without Hulkling because their relationship is so important to both characters.  We’re also planning on having a Young Avengers event next year, and it wouldn’t feel right to leave him out of that either since he’s such an integral part of the team and those great stories.  I know he’s a beloved character with passionate fans, and I hate to disappoint anyone who was excited to get him in this event, but I promise that he will make his way to Avengers Academy in the near future.

Marvel.com: Will players be able to finally slam shut the dimensional rift in this event, or could we see more terrors come through in the future?

Allen Warner: Anything is possible, but if players are able to help the Avengers and heroic sorcerers succeed, I think we’ll be done with dimensional rifts for now.  As you can guess, that doesn’t mean that everyone is safe.  A conqueror will emerge from the timefog.  Monsters will be unleashed.  An embittered robot will start a revolution.  A new school will make its presence known, and challenge Avengers Academy’s status as the greatest institution for heroes with powers.  And that’s just a small sample of what’s coming.

Marvel.com: Can you give us any hints on what’s coming next for the Avengers Academy students and faculty once Kaecilius is dealt with?

Allen Warner: There have been clues about a known enemy of Asgard who finally got his hands on one of the most powerful artifacts in the universe just in time for winter.  A legendary warrior will try to stop him, calling on her most powerful friends and allies to form A Force strong enough to save the world.

Play “Marvel Avengers Academy” now and stay tuned to Marvel.com in the coming days and weeks for the latest on Doctor Strange in other Marvel games. Marvel Insiders also earn points for checking out each of these articles. To become a Marvel Insider, join here: marvel.com/insider 

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The demon lord rears his ugly head for Halloween, bringing new heroes to the game!

Halloween rapidly approaches, and while the students of “Marvel Avengers Academy” prepare their costumes and plan their parties, the demon Mephisto assembles his minions for a celebration of his own.

Mephisto will soon cross over from his hellscape to the Academy’s plane of existence, hungry for new souls and servants. With the villain flanked by Dracula, Satana, and an army of Fire Demons, the Avengers have their work cut out for them if they hope to put an end to his invasion.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get the low-down on Mephisto and his motivations, along with what Halloween celebrations we’ll see at the Academy.

Marvel.com: What brings Mephisto to our plane?

Allen Warner: We learned at the end of the Daredevil event that Kingpin had struck a deal with Mephisto to help him enter our dimension, and was working with the Hand to use their occult magic to open a dimensional rift. Of course, with those three factions, there was and will continue to be plenty of double and triple-crossing, as each one tries to use the others to get what they want. The Avengers Academy students and the heroes of Hell’s Kitchen managed to stop Kingpin and the Hand before they could open the portal, but the Hand still weakened the area enough for Mephisto to finish the job as the Halloween season further blurred the boundary between the physical and supernatural worlds.

Mephisto collects souls and thrives on fear and subservience, so he sees this new dimension and campus filled with superhuman and supernatural heroes as an untouched realm for him to conquer that will expand his kingdom and take his already incredible powers to the next level.  Part of the evil joy he gets out of collecting souls is forcing people to give them up voluntarily, so he uses his charms, his minions, and his talents for emotional manipulation to trick and torment the students rather than immediately launching a full-scale assault. He wants to humiliate his adversaries as much as he wants to collect their souls, and we’ll learn over the course of the event that he’s really after one person in particular.  Only one soul has ever challenged him in his own dimension and escape unscathed,  and he can’t rest until he gets his revenge.

Marvel.com: While Mephisto is the big-bad here, what other threats does he bring with him?

Allen Warner: He’s working with a couple of other shady, self-interested characters who are perfect for Halloween in Dracula and Satana. Dracula actually has sort of “good” intentions, trying to turn the Avengers Academy students into vampires as a means of rebuilding his vampire nation, which has fallen on hard times and is nearly extinct. The demoness Satana simply wants to feed on souls. She’s always hungry for more, and Avengers Academy seems like the perfect place to sink her teeth into. We see very quickly that she doesn’t like to take orders from anyone, and she doesn’t share Mephisto’s love for drawn out mind games, so there’s a lot of friction there that will eventually result in her setting her eyes on a much bigger prize. Along with these two powerful helpers, Mephisto is also bringing a legion of Fire Demons from his home dimension that come in all shapes and sizes, and will try to drag anyone they battle back to Hell.

Marvel.com: What new heroes will be brought into the fold in order to help dispatch their new supernatural foes?

Allen Warner: A really exciting lineup: Misty Knight, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, and Blade.  Each one brings something completely different to the table, and comes with awesome abilities and a great backstory. If players can defeat Dracula and Satana, they’ll also be able to recruit them to the Academy to help in the battle with Mephisto. There will also be one more surprise character who will be revealed further into the event. It’s someone I don’t think many players will be expecting, but a character who couldn’t be better suited for Halloween.

Marvel.com: Ghost Rider comes to the game hot on the heels of his TV debut in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” while Misty Knight just made her live-action debut in “Marvel’s Luke Cage” today on Netflix. What actions and abilities do these heroes bring to the Academy and the fight against Mephisto?

Allen Warner: Yeah, the timing is amazing. To be honest, we planned this out so long ago that we had no idea either one of these characters would be debuting in different TV shows at the same time the event is launching, but we obviously couldn’t be [happier]. It’s always great when we can support Marvel characters in different media and vice versa, and both of these characters are so awesome that I’m glad to see them getting introduced to a new audience.

Ghost Rider is someone we connected to a potential Halloween event way back at the beginning of development. Like [“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”], we’re also using the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider to include even more diversity in the game, and support the more modern approach to the character. It’s great because he’s one of those characters like Ms. Marvel or Miles Morales that already have this youthful approach and energy, and they can walk right off of the comic page into our game without some extensive reimagining that we do for other characters.  We love that aspect of our game, but it’s also cool and exciting when a traditionally young character enters the game and interacts with characters like Black Widow and Captain America who aren’t usually in their age range. Ghost Rider will use all of his awesome abilities from wrapping bad guys in his flaming chains to hopping inside of his fiery car to take off and do donuts.

Misty Knight might seem like a strange fit for Halloween at first because she doesn’t have the obvious supernatural connection the rest of these characters do, but she might play the most critical role in the whole event. I always like to connect all of our events together narratively, and there were a few mentions in the Daredevil event of Misty investigating exactly what Kingpin and the Hand were planning. We focus on her great detective skills, and I like the idea of a “normal” character being in an event filled with supernatural characters because she can be the voice and viewpoint of the player, and comment on all of the weirdness like we would. She’ll have actions relating to her awesome skills and abilities from martial arts, detective work, and using her bionic arm to not only punch, but to use its cryogenic blast for an amazing animation.

Marvel.com: Blade and Moon Knight round out the additions; what new, unique actions will players see these two tackling?

Allen Warner: Blade is the ultimate vampire hunter and the Daywalker, having all of the vampire strengths without any of their weaknesses. We had some fun with those ideas in his actions and animations, along with playing to his traditionally stoic persona. He’s a no-nonsense guy in a campus filled with nonsense, so it’s fun to see how he bounces off of the other students.  He was another character we mentioned from the very beginning as being part of a potential Halloween event, so it’s great to see him finally entering the game, and embodying everything that makes him so cool in the comics and movies.

Moon Knight is such a unique character that you can approach in so many different ways. We wanted to address him being embodied by an Egyptian god. The split personalities. The fact that he’s literally come back from the dead. Not to mention that he has a huge collection of awesome moon-themed gadgets and vehicles. He has some really fun animations, some awesome combat animations, and some great decorations related to his backstory and tools of the trade.

Marvel.com: The Academy students will be fending off Mephisto and his subordinates, but what other activities will players be able to participate in during this event?

Allen Warner: There are a lot of fun new things to do in this event. The main event building is Haunted Avengers Mansion. It’s the iconic Avengers HQ decked out in creepy, authentic Halloween decorations for Wasp’s big Halloween party. We’re also adding a Halloween themed park, and a bunch of characters will use both places for brand-new actions and animations.  You’ll also be able to send characters through Mephisto’s portals for some extra-dimensional trick-or-treating, bringing back materials to defeat him and his minions. Last but not least, we’re introducing a feature that lets players pair up characters, using a bunch of fun dual actions and animations. Completing these actions gives you access to outfits and other prizes that you can’t get anywhere else. The students have to strengthen their relationships with each other to combat Mephisto’s manipulative powers, culminating in an iconic multi-character animation that I think people are going to love.

Marvel.com: This new threat arises during a Halloween party, so our heroes must be rocking costumes. What will players see their favorite characters dressing up as?

Allen Warner: This is one of the most exciting parts of the entire event. We’re adding new Halloween costumes for every main story character in the game to this point, from Iron Man to Hulk. We usually only give new event outfits to the earliest characters since some people may have just started playing the game, but Halloween seemed like too good of an opportunity to not give everyone at least one outfit. If you just started, and it will still be awhile before you reach characters like Ant-Man or Maria Hill, you can still acquire the outfits, and the outfit and related quests will unlock as soon as you’ve recruited that character. For our longtime players, it will be the first time we’ve offered alternate outfits for characters like Ms. Marvel, Enchantress, and Taskmaster. Since most of the new characters in this event are pretty serious people, we decided to go with the opposite approach for the costumes. Even if you’re a lifelong Marvel fan, I guarantee you’ve never seen a lot of these characters look anything close to what they’ll look like in some of these Halloween costumes.

It was a ton of fun brainstorming and creating the different looks, and we owe a big thanks to our fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit for suggesting and voting on outfits they wanted to see.  The winner was Cap-Wolf, which looks great with some amazing animations, but we also used quite a few of the other suggestions we received: Loki dressed as Thor, Black Widow wearing a “This is my Halloween Costume” T-shirt in classic unimpressed Black Widow fashion, and more.  My personal favorite is Falcon dressed like a Penguin.  I don’t want to spoil everything just yet, but I really feel like people are going to get so many smiles and laughs from the awesome designs and animations created by our always amazing art and animation teams, and the great ideas suggested by our creative and passionate fans.

Marvel.com: How will the event district play into Mephisto’s siege?

Allen Warner:
The event district is Mephisto’s hellscape. It’s a massive area of fire and brimstone where Mephisto watches everything from his throne. This is where the recruitable heroes will be trapped in Mephisto’s magic, along with the portals used for extra-dimensional trick-or-treating. There’s a large open area in front of Mephisto’s throne because when it’s time to finally battle the big boss, the students will have to bond together, and perform an iconic Halloween activity to infuriate the demon, and distract him with synchronized hilarity before taking him down for good.

Hopefully, they’ll be able to defeat him and close the dimensional rift once and for all, but if not, they may have to seek out the assistance of a certain sorcerer who’s no stranger to dimensional travel…

Play “Marvel Avengers Academy” today and stay tuned for further updates and events!

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Discover how animation and writing come together in the hit mobile game!

The Daredevil event comes to a close this week in “Marvel Avengers Academy,” and with the fun new animations we saw from Lawyer Loki and Matt Murdock in the Academy Courthouse, along with Peggy Carter’s fan-favorite, two-character actions with Black Widow and Captain America, this seemed like the perfect time to dive deep into the collaboration between the writing and animation teams at TinyCo.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer, and Joe Daniels, Lead Animator, to get a glimpse of what it’s like to develop the many varied actions and animations we love to see our heroes carry out in the game.

Marvel.com: How do the two of you collaborate to develop animations? Walk us through one of your weekly brainstorm sessions. Where do you start off? How do the ideas begin to coalesce?

Allen Warner: We have a meeting each week with our producer and the art and animation leads to talk about the upcoming characters, and brainstorm animations. We start by talking about the basics of the character: backstory, personality, powers, how they’ve been portrayed in the past and how they’re currently being used in the books and other media, etc. After that, I’ll share how I think they’ll be portrayed in our reimagined world from a narrative and personality perspective, including if they seem like a natural fit for a classic school trope. Then we start brainstorming. We try to give each character at least one action-oriented unique animation that highlights their powers and abilities, and at least one that’s more casual and lighthearted. We try to touch on the things that are integral to each character, and make them unique, and have fun with it in a way that’s unique to our world and game. We come up with a short description for each animation, and then hand it over to Joe and the animation team to work their magic.

Joe Daniels: When we meet to brainstorm, it’s definitely a structured whirlwind of ideas being spit out from all parties, and it’s a ton of fun. We bounce around from character to character, thinking of how all the character actions will feel together from the player perspective. With events, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how many actions we can put in a space, and really try to make good use of it all, like we did with the Daily Bugle in our Spider-Man event where all the characters could be using that building together in different ways. Then when I take the description to my team to begin animating, there is another round of fleshing out the details of the acting and movements where a lot of new bits come out. With Loki’s “Ruin Fury’s Reputation” action in the Daredevil event, we knew we wanted to have Loki do some silly things in what looks like Nick Fury’s body. We didn’t get too specific until I handed it to the animator who came up with some great ideas like having him pretend to be a dog and scratch for fleas. Seriously, where else would you see Nick Fury doing that. It’s awesome.

Marvel.com: How does the process differ when you’re creating animations for characters already in the game versus creating the base set of animations for a new character?

Allen Warner: Event characters are different because they have fewer animations since they’re only available for a limited time, and we also have to be conscious about only using them in buildings and areas that are available early in the game since they’ll be available to players who may have just started playing. There’s more of an emphasis with them to immediately hit the things that are critical to their character. For example, with Captain America, we knew he would be available for the long haul of the main progression story, so we waited a while before giving him an animation where he throws his shield because we knew there would be time for it later. If he was an event character, that probably would have been the first animation we made. For progression characters, it’s sometimes based more around new buildings that players unlock. We’ll say, okay, we have an auditorium with a stage coming up, so who makes the most sense, or would be the most unexpected person, to be performing on stage, and what exactly would they be doing?

Marvel.com: How often do animation ideas end up on the cutting room floor? What is the weeding out process like? Are there any animations that the team has been really into, but didn’t end up making it into the game for one reason or another?

Allen Warner: In the brainstorm process, there are a lot of ideas that don’t get used for different reasons. Sometimes they’re too time and work intensive to produce, sometimes we just come up with something better, and sometimes we like the premise, but can’t find a way to make it work within the constraints of the game. Joe might know, but I can’t think of a time when we’ve agreed on an idea, and haven’t been able to produce or use the animation. They always find a way to make it happen, and make it better than anything we imagined.

Joe Daniels: Yeah, Allen is great to work with as a writer because more than most he thinks about the visual experience he wants to see. It’s easy to write something that is difficult to show clearly in animation, but having people on the team who think this way makes my life a lot easier. From time to time we do hit characters who are tricky to find the right action for the context of how we’re using them. The trick for us is to move on to something else and come back to it when we have had time to let the ideas ferment. Also seeing the great designs that the Art team creates for the characters or buildings can help inspire a solution.

Marvel.com: Some of Peggy’s animations, such as “Compare Spy Gear” and “Make up for Lost Time” have already become fan favorites. What was the design process like for these animations?

Allen Warner: Yeah, Joe and the animation team did an amazing job with Peggy’s animations. We just wanted to touch on the things that were critical to her character, and things we thought players and fans would like to see.  For the “Compare Spy Gear” animation, we knew we had to do something about Peggy being from the past and being a spy, so we were able to combine the two into one fun animation. Black Widow already had all of the modern high-tech spy gear she uses in some of her own animations, so we thought it would be really fun to watch them compare things like grappling hooks and listening devices. Of course, we exaggerated for comedy. That one is a great example of a time when the animation guided the story because before that I hadn’t really considered Black Widow idolizing Peggy. The animation sparked the quests and dialogue where we learn that Peggy is her one and only hero, and seeing Widow break character and fangirl over her idol turned out to be one of my favorite things about putting Peggy in the game. “Make up for Lost Time” was a given. I think almost every Peggy Carter and Captain America fan has wanted to see them get their long-awaited dance, and the unique world of “Avengers Academy” allowed it to finally happen. The animation itself is amazing, and it made for a really special moment.

Joe Daniels: I hope you don’t mind me going a little bit into the animation process on this one, but I’m sure there are some readers who might appreciate it. From an animation perspective, doing a two-character dance where they’re making contact throughout is much more difficult than blowing something up, or punching a bad-guy in the face; go figure. So when we started on this dance, I collected a bunch of swing dance clips for the animator who tackled this assignment, and had him cut the best clips of choreography down to a nine second edit. Once we had something that felt like it could work together, to start figuring it out in 3D space, we first animated the dance with two cubes to represent the two characters. This was a great way to see the movements quickly and make edits before committing to the days of work it took to put in all the final moves on these two love birds. Overall, I love how this came out and was worth putting a little extra time into Peggy and Cap’s special moment.

Marvel.com: In the Hell’s Kitchen event, you guys got to play with Loki for the first time in a while. What was it like coming back to him and creating his new courtroom animations?

Allen Warner: I knew when we started planning the Daredevil event that I wanted to have him face off with Daredevil in court because it made a lot of sense for a silver-tongued manipulator, but I also loved the idea of him embracing everything about the stereotypical sleaze ball lawyer. Everything he does is done with flair and drama and this flashy sense of pure joy. Loki loves being Loki, and he demands that people notice and appreciate how amazing he is.

Joe Daniels: Loki is always on my mind. [Laughs] His material writes itself so easily that it’s always a thrill to throw him into a situation and see what he brings.

Marvel.com: Who has been your favorite character to work with?

Allen Warner: In terms of planning the animations, I love coming up with ideas for Wasp, Iron Man, and Loki. Their personalities are so extreme, they’re all shameless in their own way, and they all love having fun, so we can really push the limits with them to come up with some hilarious and outlandish ideas.

Joe Daniels: Loki, Squirrel Girl, and M.O.D.O.K. have been a few of my favorites, for the same reasons Allen listed. Loki is my absolute favorite, if I had to choose. I’d also have to throw Wasp in that list. She’s the character with the most range and has a fun energy, so seeing her kick butt and then flit around the campus is always great. For me, probably the most fun thing about this game is getting to work with these awesome characters in such a different light.

Marvel.com: Can you tease any new animations in the next big event that you guys are excited to get out to players?

Allen Warner: We can’t say too much yet, but our next big event revolves around Halloween, so you can expect to see some awesome animations based around Marvel’s greatest supernatural heroes, some really fun animations for the different Halloween costumes that the students will be wearing, and new animations based around a feature that lets players pair up their characters.

Joe Daniels:  Yeah, we’re having a blast working to deliver the best of what the players will expect to see in a Halloween event, as well as hopefully a handful of unexpected surprises. We think you’re gonna love it.

Play “Marvel Avengers Academy” today and stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest news!

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The Kingpin tries to take the Academy for himself!

With the A.I.M. threat dealt with, the students and faculty of Avengers Academy expected some peace and quiet to settle back into campus life…but their enemies have other ideas. Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin himself, sets his sights on the Academy heroes, hoping to capitalize on their abilities for himself.

The students team with some unlikely new friends from Kingpin’s neighborhood in hopes of stopping him, while Headmaster Fury needs to clear his name in court to keep the Academy under his control.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Senior Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get the rundown of what new additions we’ll see in this new “Marvel Avengers Academy” event.

Marvel.com: A.I.M.’s been dispatched, but Avengers Academy now has a new threat to contend with: Kingpin. What is the villainous Wilson Fisk up to?

Allen Warner: This young Kingpin is just starting to build his criminal organization.  He was unwillingly attending a disciplinary school called the “Hell’s Kitchen School for Troubled Youth,” but he quickly took control of the school, kicked out the faculty, and turned it into his personal headquarters/prison. He’s been “cleaning up” his neighborhood, by recruiting local superhumans into his crew, and imprisoning those who refuse to follow along.

Kingpin is using his newfound power and influence to turn public opinion against Nick Fury and Avengers Academy.  He’s using the recent attacks by A.I.M. and the Symbiotes as evidence that the Academy is out of control, and that Fury is too secretive, and unfit to lead.  He demands that Fury face a trial of public opinion, reveal his secrets, and resign from Avengers Academy.  Fury shocks everyone by not only agreeing to the trial, but hiring an inexperienced law student named Matt Murdock to represent him.  Kingpin counters by hiring Loki as his prosecutor, and the trial gets underway, leaving Pepper Potts as Interim Director of Avengers Academy.  Kingpin is trying to oust Fury to not only poach his recruits and make them work for him, but to get at the mysterious hidden power under the Academy with the help of the Hand.  Kingpin and the Hand’s ninjas have taken over Hell’s Kitchen, trafficking crates of weapons and ancient occult magic, and it will be up to the Avengers and the heroes of Hell’s Kitchen to defeat them, and clear Fury’s name.

Marvel.com: What new heroes will be making their way to the campus to help defeat Kingpin and clear Fury’s name?

Allen Warner: So many great heroes.  Jessica Jones (voiced by Michelle Phan), Daredevil, Hellcat, Elektra, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and the Punisher.  In the beginning, Punisher is actually working with Kingpin as his main enforcer.  Punisher is a bully to the bullies, the guy the villains are afraid of, and all he wants to do is stop anyone who might threaten his neighborhood.  He doesn’t care if they’re heroes or villains or just some normal guy, if he thinks they deserve to be punished, he’s more than happy to do the job.  Kingpin has convinced him that the Avengers are the most dangerous threat to their city and are enemy number one, but Punisher might just be laying a trap for Kingpin.  The other heroes are imprisoned in Kingpin’s school, and the player will have to free them on their way to defeating Kingpin and the Hand.  These have always been some of favorite characters since I was a kid, so it’s really fun and exciting to get to write them, and our art and animation teams have outdone themselves with the designs and animations.  I can’t wait for everyone to see what’s coming.

Marvel.com: What new locations outside of the Academy will our heroes be exploring?

Allen Warner: Kingpin’s school is located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, so you’ll find all of the iconic Hell’s Kitchen locations like Josie’s and Alias Investigations.  Heroes will train at Fogwell’s Gym, and study for the trial at the Nelson and Murdock Law Office.  All of the combat will take place in Hell’s Kitchen, and there are some awesome new animations like a “Patrol Hell’s Kitchen” action that sends heroes running across rooftops and diving from the top of buildings.

Marvel.com: Alongside new heroes, what new costumes and buildings will players be unlocking during the event?

Allen Warner: We have some fun new outfits based around the various themes.  The first is Lawyer Loki.  Knowing he’s a renowned liar and manipulator, Kingpin hires Loki to prosecute Nick Fury in the trial.  He dives right into the stereotypical sleazy lawyer role, and has some great animations and interactions with everyone from Kingpin to Daredevil.  We also have Kung Fu Falcon, which is an ode to the great martial arts movies of the 70’s like “Enter the Dragon.”  Falcon sees all of these ninjas and martial artists running around, and this brings out his secret love of everything Kung Fu.  He trains with the martial arts heroes, and has some really fun animations in the style of action icons like Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly.  We also have Mobster Wasp.  She sees Kingpin ordering his crew of thugs and gangsters to hurt and intimidate people, and she counters by forming her own crew, and becoming a mob boss herself.  Of course, she has to choose the coolest, cutest, most fashionable mob attire, so she’s decked out like a 20’s era mobster, and has some really great animations that nod to movies like “Scarface” and “The Godfather.”

Players will also build the Academy Courthouse where Nick Fury’s trial takes place.  Fury will take the stand, and the judge and jury are played by Tony Stark’s helper robots that you see working at other buildings like the Club and the Robo Dojo.  This is where Daredevil and Lawyer Loki will face off for courtroom drama, and other characters like Punisher have some fun animations here related to things they might experience when walking into court.

Marvel.com: What kind of actions will heroes have at the courthouse? How will we see the story play out there?

Allen Warner: This is where Loki will attempt to destroy Fury’s reputation while Daredevil does everything he can to defend Fury and the Academy.  The trial is being broadcast live to the entire universe, so we get some fun interactions with how different types of characters from the game’s past are reacting to the proceedings.  Like any good courtroom drama, there will be a lot of twists and turns as Kingpin and Fury make their moves and countermoves, and other characters try to take advantage of the opportunity.  Pepper is Interim Director of Avengers Academy during the trial, so it’s also fun to see how she handles the pressure and stress that come along with keeping things running smoothly, and dealing with the unruly student body.

Marvel.com: Outside of the courthouse, what will we be doing to stop Kingpin and The Hand?

Allen Warner: Players will battle Hand ninjas and ninja bosses to gain access to the crates and relics that they’re moving through Hell’s Kitchen.  Each one contains goodies and materials to help free and recruit new heroes, as well as furthering the story of what Kingpin and the Hand are truly after.  If players can get through the Hand, they’ll have to battle Punisher, and finally Kingpin himself in the cool new Hell’s Kitchen combat environment.

Marvel.com: We’re excited to dive in and battle it out with Kingpin, but can you clue us into what’s coming next down the line?

Allen Warner: The very next thing that’s really exciting is that we’ll be releasing Peggy Carter as a recruitable hero.  We were initially planning on releasing her with our progression level content, but we’re waiting just a little bit longer to coincide with the “Captain America: Civil War” Digital HD release on September 2.  We’ve been waiting to get her into the game for a long time, and she looks really cool, with some great animations, and fun and heartfelt interactions with various characters who she knew back in her own time, and others who have never met her, but have always idolized her.

After that, we’ll be getting close to Halloween, and as our players and fans on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook know, we’ve reached out to them for suggestions for Halloween outfits and costumes for our characters.  They’ve already submitted some hilarious and awesome ideas, and it will be really exciting to see some of those brought to life in Avengers Academy.

Check out Marvel.com for all the latest on “Marvel Avengers Academy”!

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Squirrel Girl and more help to fend off the hostile invasion!

The leader of Advanced Idea Mechanics can no longer stand competing with Avengers Academy and failing at every turn. So, with his top secret-weapons project M.O.D.O.K. finally complete, Scientist Supreme leads A.I.M. on an all-out offensive against his rivals.

“Marvel Avengers Academy” players will need to battle A.I.M.’s Interns and Scientists while rescuing some prospective new recruits from the clutches of M.O.D.O.K.’s psionic trap. If they can fend off Scientist Supreme and defeat his pet project, there might even be another eager candidate for Avengers Academy awaiting them.

We were able to get Allen Warner, Senior Narrative Designer at TinyCo, out of his new yellow jumpsuit to talk with us about everything this new event will bring to “Avengers Academy.”

Marvel.com: A.I.M. is finally making a run at Avengers Academy. How does the Scientist Supreme end up deciding that now is the time to attack?

Allen Warner: Scientist Supreme and his A.I.M. Institute have been continually humiliated and defeated by the Avengers Academy students since the beginning of the game. They’ve tried to steal recruits away, attack New York City, sabotage a super-science fair, infiltrate Asgard, and hack Nick Fury’s fleet of Helicarriers; and it never works out in their favor. Scientist Supreme is probably the most arrogant character in the game, which is saying a lot, so he won’t rest until he gets revenge against Avengers Academy and forces them to respect the A.I.M. Institute, and recognize his genius. Knowing that his school is faltering, and his power is dwindling, he makes one last desperate attempt to take out the Avengers by sending all of his A.I.M. Interns and Scientists at the Academy, along with his greatest creation, M.O.D.O.K.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen the A.I.M. storyline build since the introduction of Ms. Marvel; has the plan always been to culminate in an event like this one?

Allen Warner: Yeah. I’ve also been teasing M.O.D.O.K. since the game’s first newscast, so the plan has always been to have A.I.M. attack the Academy with M.O.D.O.K. at the forefront. I’ve always liked A.I.M. because they’re so unique and distinctive with the bright yellow everything, and the beekeeper helmets, and the weird, sometimes silly, advanced tech. They also make for such a good metaphor in our reimagined younger school setting as these judgmental, intellectually superior, super-nerds. M.O.D.O.K. is everything A.I.M. represents turned up to 11. He’s so weird and over the top that it’s easy to see him as a joke, but he’s also extremely powerful, and can go toe to toe—head to toe?—with any super-genius in our universe.

Marvel.com: Will any new heroes be assisting the Academy in defeating A.I.M. and M.O.D.O.K.?

Allen Warner: Squirrel Girl and Phil Coulson! The first phase of A.I.M.’s attack on Avengers Academy is to round up some of the Academy’s respective recruits, so Squirrel Girl and Coulson end up trapped in M.O.D.O.K.’s psionic beams. Players will free them from M.O.D.O.K., so that they can join the fight against AIM’s forces alongside other S.H.I.E.L.D. Recruits.

Marvel.com: Squirrel Girl joins the growing list of amazing women at the academy, what motivates her to register?

Allen Warner: She’s already been working solo as an awesome and unbeatable Super Hero, and occasionally teaming with her “all-star-all-girl-all-butt-kicking-squad,” but every Super Hero eventually wants to find their way to Avengers Academy to work with the likes of Black Widow and Captain America, and become an Avenger. I love Squirrel Girl. I’ve always thought that Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s great UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL book is the closest thing in comics to the tone and vibe of our game. I love their quirky, excitable, supportive, positive, confident, self-referential, and always brave and badass take on her character. They fully embrace the absurdity of a half-girl-half-squirrel tangling with gods and cosmic powerhouses while managing to still keep her really relatable. I’m striving to do the same, and as you can imagine, Squirrel Girl and Wasp are quite the combo. She has some of the coolest animations in the game, and yes, they do involve squirrels.

Marvel.com: What was it like bringing Phil Coulson to life in this unique universe?

Allen Warner: It was a lot of fun. There are a bunch of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” fans on the team, and I’m always a fan of any character with a dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery. My favorite aspect of Coulson’s character is that he looks like this stiff, boring guy on the outside, but he’s actually a fun and funny guy who can also be all business when he needs to be. We decided to play off of all of those things while focusing on the Super Hero fanboy aspect of his personality. Coulson unapologetically loves Super Heroes. He studies them. He admires them. He wants to be them, but at the end of the day, he’s just a normal person like the rest of us. He wants to be a part of the Super Hero world, and help protect the world anyway he can, so he decides to pursue a career in S.H.I.E.L.D. like some of his other heroes, including Peggy Carter and Nick Fury. He has some really fun interactions with his idols like Captain America, and it’s great to watch the relationship that develops between him and Nick Fury. He has some really fun animations, including doing his best impersonations of some of his heroes.

Marvel.com: The spirit of Avengers Academy has been a positive and hopeful one, with many villains able to be reasoned with, convinced of the error of their ways, and recruited to join the student body. Will M.O.D.O.K. follow the same path?

Allen Warner: That’s always been one of my goals with the narrative in this game. This is a reimagined world where characters are younger, so their personalities and destinies aren’t set in stone, and they haven’t made the mistakes, and done the sometimes reprehensible things that they’ve done in other continuities. There are very few characters in our world who are so irredeemable that there’s no chance for them to better themselves, and become a positive influence on the world—looking at you, Carnage and Red Skull. There’s still time and opportunities for the others to figure things out, to become better than what they’ve been in the past, and to be heroes instead of villains. I’m really proud of how we’ve managed that with characters like Crossbones and Mysterio, and while characters like Loki and Enchantress’ journeys are being played out in a longer fashion, I think they’ll get there too. Everyone deserves a chance to make up for past mistakes, and make themselves better. M.O.D.O.K. is no different. In fact, players might be surprised to find that M.O.D.O.K. is one of the most sympathetic “villains” of all. He never asked to be what he is. He was created by a cold scientist to be a living weapon, and he’s been abused and isolated from the rest of the world until Scientist Supreme felt he was ready to be unleashed on Avengers Academy. Yes, he’s arrogant, he overcompensates, he’s dangerous, and he’s extremely awkward, but all he’s really looking for is genuine love and acceptance.

Marvel.com: This event comes on the heels of a new story update that players are eager to dig into. But what can you tell us about the next big thing on the horizon?

Allen Warner: Yeah, it’s great to have the main story update out, and to hear from all of the players who are really enjoying it. We still have one more unannounced hero on the way as part of that release, and there will be more news on that in the coming weeks. After the A.I.M. mini-event, we’ll be releasing our next major event, which I still don’t want to say too much about now, except to say that it features some iconic and beloved characters from the comics and TV who will bring their own brand of action, drama, and fun to Avengers Academy.

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Hulk and Tigra emerge from the Timefog as Nick Fury's secrets begin coming to light!

Hulk smashes his way into “Marvel Avengers Academy” this week as the Gamma Zone section of the Timefog finally clears up.

We’ve banished the symbiotes, locked up Carnage, and now our students can focus on mysteries a little closer to home. Still suspicious of Nick Fury, Black Widow wants to use this opportunity to discover more about the Timefog and what he’s hiding. With more of the fog fading, freeing Hulk from its clutches, there’s so much to be explored. With new Academy levels, buildings, heroes, and actions, this story update provides a welcome sight to players who have already discovered all the secrets they could so far.

We got Allen Warner, senior narrative designer at TinyCo, to step away from his Gamma experiments for a few minutes to tell us what it’s like to bring the Hulk to life and expand “Marvel Avengers Academy.”

Marvel.com: The addition of new Academy levels and the unlocking of the Gamma Zone bring a ton of new content into the world of “Marvel Avengers Academy.” What new characters are coming to the campus?

Allen Warner: The first two new recruits are Tigra and Hulk. Tigra is great. She’s already an accomplished young Super Hero, and a burgeoning supermodel, so she brings this uber-confident swagger to the Academy. I feel like she’s immediately the most mature person on campus, so it’s a lot of fun to watch her interact with the more mature students at the school like Black Widow and Captain America, and the more immature students like Enchantress. Of course, she also has awesome feline abilities, and our animation team did a great job as usual showcasing how powerful and graceful she is while also having some fun with the cat angle. She brings a completely unique look to the game, and I think our art team did an amazing job with all three of her visual ranks. She’s voiced by Bella Thorne, and she was one of the first characters we announced for the game, so I’m excited that she’s finally entering Avengers Academy.

Hulk is the strongest there is, but that doesn’t always work out in his favor. He struggles to deal with a world built for “puny” people, and has the tendency to push people away because he’s afraid of what might happen if he loses his temper. He’s just trying to figure out who he is and find his way, but he’s constantly being courted by everyone from the school’s faculty to its rivals since having Hulk on your side immediately makes your goals more attainable. A lot of characters look at him like some out of control monster, but he’s actually one of the kindest and most thoughtful characters in the game. He has some great animations showcasing everything from his extreme power to his anger management techniques, and has what I think is some of the best voiceovers in the game provided by [WWE Superstar] John Cena.

We’ll also be releasing another very notable hero, and featuring new cameos, visuals, and clues from characters we’ve met before, and others who will be introduced for the first time.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little bit about how Hulk comes to the Academy? Are we going to learn more about the Timefog and Fury’s secrets?

Allen Warner: Yeah, if you’ve explored the area outside of the campus, you’ve probably noticed Hulk struggling to escape the Timefog. Unfortunately, even he doesn’t remember how he got there, so a big part of the main story after he’s freed is uncovering how and why he ended up trapped in the Timefog. The big piece of visible debris next to him in the Gamma Zone has always been the first clue. Black Widow leads the charge to free him because she thinks there are more clues to the Timefog’s origin in the Gamma Zone, and because she needs someone with Hulk’s extreme strength to help her break into Nick Fury’s vaults beneath the campus, and uncover his secret. A big portion of the story in this release will be following the heroes as they learn more about the Timefog and Fury’s secrets, and move closer to the big reveal.

Marvel.com: New characters and story galore, will there also be new Academy buildings?

Allen Warner: We’re adding a really cool new building called the Asgardian Gauntlet. Odin designs a new combat training building on campus where students can fight holographic versions of themselves, along with other heroes and villains who they’ve battled in the past. It looks amazing, and one of the coolest aspects of it is that Odin steps out onto the playspace for the first time to observe the new combat actions that take place there.

Marvel.com: In terms of heroes and buildings already in the game, will we see new levels and actions?

Allen Warner: Yes, there will be a lot of visual upgrades for both buildings and heroes. For buildings, players will be able to upgrade Avengers Stadium, The Timeless Archives, The Arena of War, The Blasting Range, and The Power Gym. Each one unlocks new actions, including some great new animations like Cap’s shield toss, and Ares stepping into the Arena to spar with the students firsthand. There will also be a lot of character upgrades, including the ability to unlock Wasp, Black Widow, and Loki’s maximum rank outfits.

Marvel.com: Hulk has been an early access hero since the game’s launch. Now that he’s coming into the story and will be unlockable for everyone, will someone new take his early access status?

Allen Warner: Thor! You’ve probably also noticed him trapped in the Timefog, locked in battle with a Frost Giant, but players will now be given the opportunity to free him early.  I love having him at the school. He’s a jock with a heart of gold who’s always looking for the next challenge while trying to adjust to these strange Midgardian customs. He’s the immediate center of attention, and has some great interactions with everyone from Wasp to Enchantress, and you can probably guess how Loki feels about having his long-lost [brother] at his side once again. He looks awesome, his actions and animations are appropriately spectacular, and Colton Haynes did an amazing job with his voiceover. Everyone will be able to recruit him for free when we unlock the Thunder Zone, but I’m glad we got to add him early because I had a ton of fun writing him, and he adds so much to Avengers Academy.

Marvel.com: I’m sure everyone is excited to dig into this; will there be a longer break before the next big event to give players time to work toward unlocking all the new content?

Allen Warner: There will be some time before our next big event, which was teased pretty heavily during the Spider-Man event, and will introduce classic heroes from the comics and TV. In between now and then, we’ll have a mini-event more similar in scope to our recent British Invasion event, where A.I.M. finally unleashes M.O.D.O.K. on Avengers Academy, and new heroes including Squirrel Girl and Phil Coulson help the Avengers save the day. I’m really excited about this one because Squirrel Girl is one of my favorites, and a perfect fit for our tone and school. We had a lot of fun reimagining a young fanboy Phil Coulson who dreams of being a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent, and I think players will enjoy our new approach to a—mostly—kinder, gentler, fun-loving M.O.D.O.K.

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