Creative Director Bill Rosemann gets you caught up on all the updates straight from SDCC!
Marvel.com’s got a man inside Marvel Games.
For over two decades Bill Rosemann has a part of the Marvel family, from his time as a freelance writer for Marvel Age magazine, to marketing copywriter, to “Your Man @ Marvel” blogger, to writer of the Deadline limited series, to editor of dozens of comic series including Nova, Black Panther, Thunderbolts and Avengers Academy. Bill also helped launch the Disney Kingdom imprint and was part of the team that co-created the modern day Guardians of the Galaxy. Bill is now Creative Director for Marvel Games, where he uses his knowledge and passion for the House of Ideas to collaborate with partners around the world on hit titles for console, PC and mobile devices.
Every few weeks, Bill and talented members of the Marvel Games team join us to share their stories as well as exclusive news and scoops on what’s happening in the world of gaming!
Marvel.com: Bill! I gotta say, I’m glad you finally woke up because I know you have been asleep since returning from San Diego Comic-Con 2016.
Bill Rosemann: I tell you Wolfman, San Diego is unlike any other event. I’ll say it’s comparable to New York Comic-Con, but it’s a different coast, and since we’re on the West Coast, there is an increased presence of television and studios and that brings a whole different type of special guests and crowds.
Marvel.com: Also more In-N-Out.
Bill Rosemann: Also more In-N-Out burgers.
Marvel.com: Also more surf boards and…
Bill Rosemann: All the good stuff Cali has.
Bill Rosemann: It is its own unique experience and I just wanna say to all the listeners out there, all the True Believers, who may have been following all the coverage on Marvel.com and watching all the videos, reading all the articles and that we love that. You’re probably wondering, “Okay, I’ve seen all the videos, I’ve seen the panel videos and the live streaming, I’ve read all the articles, but what’s it really like to be there?” Let me tell you, it is amazing. It’s everything you grew up loving. All the comics, TV shows, cartoons, movies, video games, books, it’s everything you love all mixed up in a blender and it’s just the biggest fandom party. I’ve been going for almost twenty years, back when I used to be Your Man at Marvel and do the marketing and I used to go–
Marvel.com: So you went to your first one when you were nine years old.
Bill Rosemann: Now here I am, almost thirty! I’ve been going for many, many years and I used to help run the booth and run the panels, and to see the growth of Marvel is fantastic and to see how much energy and muscle and effort that Marvel puts into it and to see now, coming out of the event, just the impact that Marvel had. From the huge Marvel TV panel, I was just expecting news of “Marvel’s Luke Cage”. It was like ‘“Marvel’s Luke Cage’ and hey, ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ Season 3, ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’ and hey, here’s a teaser for ‘Marvel’s The Defenders”’. Everyone was like, ‘Whoa! Marvel TV brought it!’ so that was huge and awesome to see. Then, all day, all the different comic panels from the “Civil War II”, the “X-Men vs. Inhumans” panels, Joe’s huge “Cup O’ Joe” panels. And then [the] Marvel Games part in the “Marvel Download” panel, which is great that Ryan Penagos hosted. We’re really happy to be a part of that and we choose to be a part of that at San Diego to make some announcements because we know the eyes of fandom are upon us.
Marvel.com: And before we get into the plethora of announcements from San Diego, there can be many frustrations and anxiety-inducing events when surrounded by thousands–
Bill Rosemann: Yeah, thousands of people and there’s all this cool stuff to see and you’re trying to negotiate the floor, it’s–
Marvel.com: What you said is it’s a celebration of every pop culture, nerd subculture, comic—anything you love…
Bill Rosemann: It’s there.
Marvel.com: You can find another fan there for whatever you love.
Bill Rosemann: Yeah.
Marvel.com: The day-to-day maneuvering of all these people can cause you stress, but it’s such a joyous expression of so many people coming together for things that they love and that concept is not limited to San Diego Comic-Con. If you live in New York, if you live in Chicago, if you live in Austin.
Bill Rosemann: That’s why I loved going to all the conventions. I remember going to the Wizard World convention in Philadelphia, Wizard World in Chicago, I love the Charlotte Comic-Con down in North Carolina, that’s a great show. I’ve been to Mega-Con down in Orlando, that’s a really fun show. Every show is different and awesome in its own way and I never dreamed that there would be conventions across the nation, if not across the world. The first show I went to, I was probably eleven and I lived down in Tennessee and it was at a Holiday Inn and it was one room. And I’ll never forget, the special guest, was [Jackson] Butch Guice, an awesome artist who did some great work on our Micronauts comic and before that had done awesome work on Doctor Strange. I walked up to him, eleven-year-old Bill Rosemann, and for some reason I asked him about the Dazzler graphic novel. I don’t know why, just because he was someone from Marvel.
And I remember other people around me started laughing and I remember he took my question seriously and said, “Hey, I don’t work on it, but I hear it’s gonna be great!” and I never forgot that and I actually worked with Butch years later.
Bill Rosemann: At CrossGen when I was down there, I let him know, “Hey man, when I was a kid I came up to talk to you and you were really nice to me,” and I don’t think he liked that it happened when I was a kid, it made him feel old. But I said, “No, dude, you’re a legend and you were nice to me, you took the time out to talk to me,” and that’s the magic of the conventions, you’re able to meet your creative heroes and see that they’re just like you. They’re fans like you and it’s always a delight when you find out how nice they are.
Marvel.com: And especially in this digital environment, when it’s so easy for fans to sling mud at either one another or a game or creator or book. It’s easy to do that, but at conventions, you’re making an active choice of “I’m spending money to go to this thing to support a culture that I love.”
Bill Rosemann: That’s right.
Marvel.com: Even though it’s easy to get down on how negative the fan culture can be, if you’re looking for the antithesis of that, you go to a convention.
Bill Rosemann: Exactly. I try in my life to focus on the positive and that’s again why I like conventions. As you said, people are making a choice. The people who work there, the fans, the creators–they’re choosing to journey there, take time out, spend money, spend the time and it’s really all because a lot of us are so thankful to be in the industry that we loved growing up and we’re very thankful to the people that care about what we’re working on and it’s just. It’s fun to meet other fans and to see that, yeah, I suppose there can be a downside of technology, that people can be anonymous and people’s worst sides can come out, but on the flip side, it also leads to awesome interactions. People can use technology to let their best sides come out so speaking of all that and speaking of all things cool and digital let’s talk about the “Marvel Download” panel!
Marvel.com: I’m glad you said, “Speaking of the reason why we’re here to talk,” because that spared me from having to do it.
Bill Rosemann: First we started talking about how great it is to celebrate Captain America’s 75th anniversary and how we reached out to all of our partners and how seven of them responded. Instead of just spotlighting Captain America in their games we said, “Hey let’s work together and introduce all new Captain Americas to debut in your games,” and it was just amazing to see how partners reacted and how they made these Captain Americas. They invested in them and I think the reaction to say, you know, the Peggy Carter Captain America in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” or the Sharon Rogers Captain America in “Marvel Future Fight” or the Civil Warrior Captain America in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” It got a great response from the fans and just yesterday I saw a final design for our seventh and final all-new Captain America.
We are working with our friends at “Marvel Heroes 2016,” that’s Gazillion, and we are creating what I’m calling a modern military Captain America that we previously talked about and the intention is the Captain America is inspired by today’s men and women in the armed forces. When you see this Captain America and when you hear the additional story wrapped around him that we will announce soon, you’ll see why he’s so special. But for all of us who have service members in our family or know of them or are just very thankful for their service this is sort of our tribute to them to say that, “Hey, Captain America is a super solider, but the real super soldiers are those, past and present, who have served,” so stay tuned to see the seventh Captain America. He is awesome.
Marvel.com: We’re so familiar with the iconic World War Two Captain America and it’s easy to look to our past and think of a time where the lines between good and evil were more clearly defined, but there are still people today acting just as heroically in today’s military service.
Bill Rosemann: And I always remind people and remind myself that for Steve Rogers, it isn’t the past for him. He was frozen in ice right when he was in the thick of it and unfrozen—we say in the Marvel Universe there’s a sliding scale of ten years ago that he was re-thawed, but really when you think of things that happened ten years ago they’re pretty fresh in your mind. For him, it’s not something in the past, it’s something he recently experienced and so we want to make that connection between soldiers who served in the past and soldiers who are serving now. It’s a very current thing and I think that Captain America continues to have that current connection to people and I’m really excited about this Captain America and we’ll have more details on this Captain America soon so stay tuned, True Believers.
Marvel.com: And speaking of current and different interpretations of characters, we’ve had success “Marvel Avengers Academy.”
Bill Rosemann: Right!
Marvel.com: Which reimagines characters in a high school setting.
Bill Rosemann: We talked about the Spider-Man special event that’s happening in “Marvel Avengers Academy,” that’s made by our friends at TinyCo. The Avengers Academy is the ultimate Marvel super hero school, a simulation game where you build a school and then manage the careers of Marvel characters who have been reinterpreted as students and we like to have special events. It’s like in publishing, we have an event like Civil War II, and right now we’re having a special Spider-Man event where writer Allen Warren and artist David Nakayama have this awesome story where the students of Empire State University have come to Avengers Academy.
Marvel.com: Oh no!
Bill Rosemann: Yeah! So you’re seeing Spider-Man and he’s younger, but you’re also seeing Spider-Man 2099 and Mary Jane and Spider-Gwen, but on the evil side you’re also seeing younger versions of Venom and Doctor Octopus and Green Goblin and Black Cat.
Marvel.com: When Doctor Octopus was pre-med.
Bill Rosemann: Yeah, this was when he was still studying science.
Marvel.com: Still an unpaid intern.
Bill Rosemann: And feeling that his genius was not being realized so all that’s baked in there and you’re really getting an authentic Spider-Man experience at Avengers Academy. And here’s the cool thing: There’s a “Spider-Man: Homecoming” premiere contest! All you have to do is download “Marvel Avengers Academy,” it’s free to play and download on your mobile device. You just have to download the game and play in the Spider-Man event and you’ll be automatically entered to win an all-expenses paid trip to the premiere of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” when it comes out next year.
Speaking of cool things, we also revealed at San Diego that more characters are coming to “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Right now there’s an event going on called “X-Men Terrigenocide,” so as you can guess by that name, it’s all about the Terrigen Mist and how it’s affecting mutants. What I love is this is another example of how closely Marvel Games works with other divisions, in this case, Marvel Publishing. For the past few months there’s been this brewing conflict between mutants and Inhumans and at San Diego, we just announced the “Death of X” event and the upcoming “Inhumans vs. X-Men” event and this event in “Contest of Champions” is very much a reflection of that. We just introduced Beast to the game and in the game Hank McCoy has analyzed how the Terrigen Mist is affecting mutant DNA and there’s this brewing collision in the game happening between the X-Men and the Inhumans. And as part of that we’ve been introducing new characters, so we’ve introduced Nightcrawler, we’ve introduced Beast and we just announced at the Comic-Con that in the month of August Gambit is coming to the game!
Marvel.com: Ho! Ho! Ho! Mon ami!
Bill Rosemann: Mon ami! Oh, Rogue, why won’t you kiss me? Ho! Ho! Ho! That’s my bad Pepé Le Pew imitation.
Marvel.com: We’re both French, we’re both just doing French people.
Bill Rosemann: But if that’s not enough bad boys for you, also joining him in August is Loki. So how will the Lord of Lies affect–
Marvel.com: The Lord of Love, if you will?
Bill Rosemann: Will he bring love to the war? We don’t know. Will mutants and Inhumans hug it out?
Marvel.com: Let’s hope so.
Bill Rosemann: Let’s hope so. Our friends at Kabam, who makes “Contest of Champions,” had a pop-up shop at a place called Bait that was a few blocks from the convention and the convention-goers who went there were able to actually play Gambit and Loki so that was a fun interaction for the fans, let them have a hands on interacting with the game on new characters.
And speaking of new characters, we also announced at Comic-Con that coming to “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” which is our match-three game by our friends at D3 GO!, coming on July 28th is The Wasp, Janet van Dyne. That’s a character that’s been receiving a lot of attention, thanks to the Wasp’s inclusion in Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” so we’re happy to see that Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp, will be appearing in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” and she’s not alone.
Following soon will be the Inhumans we were speaking of earlier, Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans! He’ll be coming to the game and also the modern version of Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman. She’s wearing her all-new, all different cool costume. I love that series that Dennis Hopeless is writing and Javier Rodriguez is drawing and we love that costume. This is another example of how we are working with other divisions to bring the latest and greatest to all of our games. And speaking of latest and greatest, also revealed at San Diego is a new character to “Marvel Future Fight,” which is another free-to-download mobile game. This one’s made by our friends at Netmarble in Korea and coming to that game on August 17th is Gwenpool!
Marvel.com: Oh boy!
Bill Rosemann: Yes, the unbelievable Gwenpool. This is her first appearance in any Marvel game. For the month of August, she will be exclusive to “Marvel Future Fight” and I wanna give a shout out to on Marvel Editorial Jordan White and Heather Antos. We shared the art with them to make sure we got the details right and they pointed out a couple things to adjust to get her perfect. I love working with my friends at Editorial, to show them what we’re working on and I always want to make sure we’re reflecting the characters properly and since this is her first appearance in a game, we wanted to get her totally right. I’ve seen footage of her in the game and she’s awesome. If you love Gwenpool and you love the idea of this fellow fangirl who loves comics and wakes up one day in the Marvel Universe, we’re trying to capture that sense of fun in the game and she kicks butt.
Bill Rosemann: Oh! Related to Gwenpool is in an upcoming release to Marvel Pinball made by our friend Zen. On September 27th, we are releasing a Marvel’s Women of Power two-pack. I’ve noticed in all my announcements that I’ve mentioned a lot of female characters and that’s because we really believe in them here at Marvel Games. From the Peggy Carter Captain America and the Sharon Rogers Captain America to Black Cat, Mary Jane and Spider-Gwen in “Avengers Academy” to a lot of the female characters appearing in “Contest of Champions” and more to come to Spider-Woman and Wasp in “Marvel Puzzle Quest” and Gwenpool in “Future Fight,” you see we’re announcing all these female characters. In this two-pack coming to “Marvel Pinball,” the reason it’s a two-pack is because we have so many awesome female characters. We hatched the idea of “Hey, what if we split it up? What if we do one that we’re gonna call ‘Marvel’s Women of Power A-Force,'” which features the adult female characters like Black Widow and you will fight against Madam Mask? You’ll team with other adult female heroes such as Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Jane Foster Thor, Spider-Woman and The Wasp; they’re all in the game.
Marvel.com: But is there gonna be an Aunt May?
Bill Rosemann: Wow. I mean, anything can happen! I don’t exactly remember, but man, can you imagine playing pinball and suddenly some wheat cakes come flying at you? That’d be perfect.
Marvel.com: We can pitch that to the partners at Zen.
Bill Rosemann: Let’s get on that. Marvel’s Women on Power, Aunt May: The Game. The other pack is “Marvel’s Women of Power: Champions” and that’s the name of the new team that Marvel Publishing recently announced that focuses on the un-adult characters. This one focuses on Ms. Marvel and she fights Bombshell, who we really liked; we took her from the Ultimate Universe; we thought she was great character so you’re Ms. Marvel in the game and when you play it, you’ll see the story and why it happens, but you end up fighting Bombshell in Jersey City, but you get to team with your fellow young adult female heroes including America Chavez, Kate Bishop Hawkeye, Nico a.k.a. Sister Grimm, Squirrel Girl and Spider-Gwen. They’re all in the game and both of those are gonna be available on September 27th.
Marvel.com: I’m just wondering—you’re mentioning all these games that already exist for most players.
Bill Rosemann: Right. This is true.
Marvel.com: Are there any new games coming “tsum”?
Bill Rosemann: I’m glad you are so smart to phrase it in that way, Wolfman, because YES! At San Diego we made the worldwide exclusive announcement because we wanted to reward everyone who came to San Diego and came to the panel. We made the exclusive announcement that the “Marvel Tsum Tsum” game, which is the free-to-play mobile game that launched earlier this year in Japan only. That game is going global in 2016. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Tsum Tsums, they debuted in 2013 as these stackable plushies. And that’s what Tsum Tsum means in Japanese, it means stack, stack stack. They’re these little, small, stackable versions of our heroes and they just caught on like crazy and they came out of the Disney Tsum Tsum line.
We’ve really “Marvelized” it and brought all the detailing you would want to the characters. It began as plushies and then it became the game in Japan. Even though it’s only been in Japan, it’s been downloaded four million times there. Let me tell you, I was involved with it from day one, working on it. We really re-thought the game; we want it to feel completely and authentically Marvel so we re-thought everything from the UI to the gameplay experience to the features to the—there’s all-new things like missions and there’s special powers that the characters have and we really looked at what characters people would want so you have all of our big families that we love: The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, the Defenders, the Inhumans.
We also looked at the latest and the greatest, what’s happening now, so you will see the roster goes deep and characters like Squirrel Girl and Spider-Gwen and—well, I can’t reveal them all, but just to let everyone know that from the characters who debuted back in the ’60s through the ’70s, ’80s to today, they will be in the game. Our roster goes wide and deep and it’s gonna be so much fun and we can’t announce when exactly it’s gonna hit, but just know before the calendar year is up, you will be able to finally play “Marvel Tsum Tsum” on your smart device.
Another new thing we talked about at the con was the Spider-Man game that we are creating with our friends at Insomniac for PS4. Brian Intihar, who is a Creative Director at Insomniac, was there so we called him up on stage! We weren’t able to really reveal anything new, but we watched the trailer and we just asked Brian what it was like to be working on the game and he really showed everyone that, just like us, he’s a huge Marvel fan and he was a lifelong Spider-Man fan. He told us about how when he was a little kid, when he’d go to his mom to stores, he’d always bring his Spider-Man action figure and have Spider-Man jumping shelf-to-shelf, causing chaos and now he’s grown up and he gets the opportunity to work on the game. For all of us, we’re living the Spider-Man mantra “With great power there must come great responsibility,” this has to the best Spider-Man experience in game form and it will be.
Marvel.com: We’ve had updates to existing games and we’ve talked about new games coming soon. Sometimes fans are in the mood to play a game that’s familiar to them.
Bill Rosemann: That’s right.
Marvel.com: They just go back to their old catalogue of Marvel games—is there anything you can offer us fans who like revisiting classic Marvel games?
Bill Rosemann: We can indeed! It was our last announcement of our panel at San Diego and sometimes there’s no school like old school and so we’re going back to class! We worked with our friends at Activision and—in fact, you can get them right now, you can get “Marvel Ultimate Alliance,” available for digital download on PS4 and Xbox One and PC. They’re available to get now, and you can get ’em separately or you can get ’em as a bundle.
What’s cool is for the first time ever, fans can play online co-op with their friends! You can play by yourself, you can invite your friends over to sit on the couch next to you or you can go online and play co-op. A lot of people have a lot of fond memories of playing these games and teaming up with their friends and going on these missions and both are available now. I just want to send out a special message to all of our Ultimate Alliance fans and I just wanna say that we hear you and we’ve been hearing your concerns for those who have downloaded the games. You have some concerns about how they’re playing and what’s available and what’s not available and we are passing on your concerns and your message to our friends at Activision. I can’t promise anything, I can’t promise what will happen, but just know we hear you and we are like you, we are game fans. We want your voice to be heard and we’re sharing that with Activision so please stay tuned.
Marvel.com: Well, Bill, I’d say that’s a succinct roundup of the massive experience we both shared at San Diego Comic-Con.
Bill Rosemann: It was awesome and I think if you look below our transcript you’ll see links to coverage of things we announced at San Diego Comic-Con. I believe there’s a story on “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” there is a story on “Marvel Contest of Champions,” there is a story on “Marvel Tsum Tsum” and on “Marvel Ultimate Alliance,” all written by our friends at Marvel.com and you can click on those links and read more. And I just wanna say thanks to all the fans who came to the show, who came to the panel, and who watched all the live streams, who read all the articles. I wanna say thank you, thanks for playing, thanks for caring, thanks for being part of the Marvel Games family.
I also wanna give a big shout out to everyone on the Marvel staff who traveled to the con and worked day-after-day for long hours to hand out all the freebies and organize all the signings, and I’m someone who is speaking from experience. I did it and it’s tough. It’s fun, but it’s tough, and then you gotta fly back, often on a red eye Sunday night back to New York and go back to work on Monday. But everyone at Marvel does it because they love the fans and they love Marvel and so for all of us to all of you out there, thank you and we will see you next year at San Diego.
Marvel.com: And now, we’re both gonna go back to sleep.
Bill Rosemann: Good night!