Spider-Man’s most psychotic foe enters the fray of Battlerealm!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The daughter of Thanos comes to Battlerealm, hunting for vengeance!

Thanos always manages to bring out the worst in people, including his adopted daughter Nebula. Forced to fighter her sister Gamora and mechanically enhanced when she lost, this fierce warrior unleashes her fury and combat prowess on Battlerealm, and if she runs into daddy dearest all the better.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Champion Designer Piero Herrera about Nebula and her seriously awesome abilities in “Marvel Contest of Champions.”

Marvel.com: Has Nebula finally found out that Gamora has been hanging out on Battlerealm? Has she entered The Contest looking to take down her sister, or for some more nefarious purpose?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Collector captured both Gamora and Nebula back in 2014, but for some reason preferred to add Gamora to The Contest and keep Nebula in storage—story of her life, really. The Guardians bump into her again when they travel back in time to 2014. All I can say is Nebula might tag along for future adventures, if Gamora and her can make up.

Marvel.com: And what’s going on with the new monthly quest? Can we get some details on that bad boy?

Gabriel Frizzera: This month’s quest, “Guardians Vol. Zero” is a throwback to the distant year of 2014, when The Contest started. Kang the Conqueror—who has a truce with the Avengers—hires the Guardians to salvage the wreck of his ship, the Damocles, where he keeps some important equipment. But Yondu gets there first, and after some shenanigans they’re all accidentally transported two years, four months, and 23 days into the past. Star-Lord sees this as a chance to warn The Collector about releasing Thanos in The Contest, but the time portal is closing; if they don’t find The Collector fast, they might get stuck in the recent past, forever—or I guess they can just wait for two years, four months, and 23 days.

This event is a great chance to look back and fill some of the untold backstory. Like in our new motion comic, where you see into the Collector’s thought process when picking Champions for his brand-new Contest of Champions. His selection process is less than perfect, as you can see here.

Marvel.com: It looks like Nebula is rocking her Ravager outfit from “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” What went into making sure her style stayed true to the movie look?

Gabriel Frizzera: We got lots of cool reference ahead of time from Marvel Studios for both Nebula and Yondu that allowed us to build models that are very similar to the movie characters—but of course we infused our own unique Contest style to them!

Marvel.com: Would you mind breaking down her kit for us? She doesn’t have a sword to swing around, but she’s got cybernetic implants and a mean left hook right?

Gabriel Frizzera: We decided to keep the two electric batons she fights with in the first “Guardians” movie, and that’s what Nebula uses most of the time. I think the animation team came [up] with a very unique fighting style that leverages the double weapons. She can also build up energy in her electric arm and discharge a powerful pulse to disable enemies!

Marvel.com: So what exactly is her style? How are we playing her and what do we need to look out for when relentlessly hunting down our sister?

Piero Herrera: Nebula is able to quickly charge up “Electroshock charges” when holding block. Those charges [enable] Nebula to deal high amounts of damage in a very short period of time and also can be used to lock the opponent’s Power Bar, temporarily disabling their ability to get Power. Hold block to get charges, land a Parry, and use Special 1 for Power Lock, or Special 2 for the high Shock damage burst. On top of it, Nebula also has a pretty good Self-Repair ability.

Marvel.com: How does her self-healing compare to some of the other regenerative characters in the game?

Piero Herrera: The way Nebula activates her Self-Repair is quite unique. Whenever she takes a lot of damage from a single hit, she will be able to heal all of the damage taken from that hit if she has a Self-Repair charge ready to be used. This also means that she is very strong against an opponent’s Special 3, since the damage from a Special 3 is just calculated in one big chunk after the cinematic sequence. Basically, the Self-Repair will activate whenever you need it the most.

Marvel.com: And when can we harness Nebula’s fury for ourselves?

Piero Herrera: Nebula is just about ready to start electrifying opponents with her electric arms and energy pulse discharges; be sure to check her out when she comes to The Contest on May 11!

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

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A different take on the floral colossus hits Battlerealm hard!

Getting psyched for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”? Want to crush some skulls with a Groot from another reality? Look no further than “Marvel Contest of Champions” and King Groot!

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and QA Analyst Gordon Thornton about the big bad new tree on Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: Oh man who is King Groot and why does he look so terrifying? What happened to our cute baby Groot?

Gabriel Frizzera: Sometimes, if you don’t raise your Baby Groot right, give him love, water, and sunlight, they fall in with the wrong crowd and become an angry, spiky, wasp-spewing tyrant tree. It’s sad but true.

But in all seriousness, King Groot is basically an updated version of the original “Groot, King of Planet X,” when he was an evil tree King trying to “branch out” his empire to Earth. We just shortened the name to “King Groot”.

Marvel.com: I have to give props to the team—King Groot looks incredible. What went into crafting this guy?

Gabriel Frizzera: When Marvel approached us to be part of the Monsters Unleashed event, I immediately called dibs on the original Groot, knowing we wanted to do a Guardians-related event featuring Angela. But when I looked at the original 1960s design again, I felt that it needed a bit of an upgrade to be the aggressive fighting boss we needed in the game. We didn’t want his bark to be worse than his bite.

So, inspired by the original [Jack] Kirby design, I bulked him up a bit, enlarged his “crown” and spikes. and added a mace hand. I also looked at the gnarly quality of tree barks and vines drawn by artists like Steve Bissette and John Totleben. Once approved, the design fell into the hands of our capable modeling team—which is getting pretty good at modeling alien trees. Since all our characters are carefully sculpted in Z-Brush, all the cool organic details can be created before they’re baked in the game model.

Marvel.com: If you had to guess, what would happen if King Groot ran into Groot and Rocket Raccoon in the Battlerealm?

Gabriel Frizzera: Hmm… I’ll go out on a limb and say they wouldn’t be friends. If you play our new event quest, “King Groot’s Loot,” you definitely find out more details, but what I can say is King Groot has been giving regular Groot a bad name in the Battlerealm, and Rocket isn’t happy.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s talk about how hard this guy hits! What is Unyielding Might? Is this ability as awesome as it sounds?

Gordon Thornton: King Groot’s Unyielding Might Signature Ability is definitely as awesome as it sounds! This Signature Ability gives King Groot amazing combat resilience by empowering him with regeneration while he’s waiting for his Fury Buffs to begin stacking again. This allows him to stay in the fight longer and focus on offense when he’s got Fury, and defense while he’s Regenerating, offering maximum face mashing time. Hello face, meet my new friend: Club Arm!

Marvel.com: From the looks of it, King Groot seems a little like a regenerating machine, able to bring himself back from the brink and avoid any status ailments along the way.

Gordon Thornton: King Groot has two regeneration abilities he can rely on. One will happen automatically when he switches from his Offensive to his Defensive State; the other is on command, a rarity for Regeneration abilities, when he performs his Level 3 Special Attack. It’s also possible to stack one on top of the other, to really get yourself back in the fight.

Marvel.com: In your opinions, what’s the coolest thing about King Groot?

Gordon Thornton: I think my favorite thing about King Groot is that when in his Offensive State he can instantly remove Debuffs at the cost of one of his Furies. Not only does this make King Groot very hard to shutdown with a Heal Block, it gets him out of fight ending Stuns, and has the added benefit of pushing him into his Regeneration State sooner as his Fury Buffs are removed.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about the hulking brute?

Gordon Thornton: We all expect King Groot to be a strong defender with his tree-like resilience due to Regeneration and Debuff removals; Parry what Parry? Additionally, he has very high Base HP, which helps boost the strength of his Regeneration Buffs. Be sure to check him out when he comes to The Contest on April 27!

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

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Prepare yourself for the big screen sequel with cosmic adventure across five Marvel games!

Before the Guardians of the Galaxy blast into theaters next week, the rag-tag band of cosmic rebels will bring their unique blend of action, laughs, and wild visuals to Marvel games in an out of this world event of galactic proportions!

Starting April 25, content inspired by “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” will be appearing throughout five Marvel games: “Marvel Avengers Academy,” “Marvel Contest of Champions,” “Marvel Future Fight,” “Marvel Heroes Omega,” and “Marvel Puzzle Quest. Players should strap in their jet packs and prepare for a celestial storm of new characters, costumes, battles, and story content influenced by the blockbuster film.

“Just as the Guardians themselves are a family, the Marvel Games team and each of our partners have forged a tightly knit family of True Believers who are obsessed with delivering all the excitement, humor and action of our greatest characters to the gamers that love them,” says Bill Rosemann, Marvel Games Executive Creative Director. “No matter which Guardian, ally or enemy is your favorite – and no matter what type of gameplay experience you crave – our friends at Netmarble, Kabam, Tiny Co, D3Go, and Gazillion are bringing all of their collective firepower to the universe’s coolest crew of galactic misfits.”

“With each new movie inspired Marvel Games event we always aim to top the last one, yet somehow we’re still each blown away each time by the incredible ideas our partners come up with,” adds Tim Hernandez, Director of Game Production. “We know our players are going to dig the unique spin each game has put on their own Guardians event, along with awesome new characters, features and other fun surprises!”

Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” arrives in theaters May 5, 2017.

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The Avenging Angel of Asgard descends upon Battlerealm!

Hark the Asgardian herald Angela appears to kick butt and take names this week in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” Wondering how Odin’s oldest daughter fights compared to the rest of the cast? We got a chance to talk to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about this damsel definitely not in distress and all the pain she’ll be bringing to Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: Has The Grandmaster moved on from mutants and graduated to gods, or is Angela gracing The Contest for some divine intervention?

Gabriel Frizzera: Angela is a perfect fit for The Contest. A consummate warrior with Asgardian might and Angelic moves, she’s entering the game to show how it’s done. She’s such a perfect character to have in “Contest” that we don’t even explain how she got in the Battlerealm. She was already there, waiting for her turn to bash heads. We might know more about the connection between the Elders and new Asgardian Champions later in the year, but for now let’s leave it a mystery.

Marvel.com: Holy gosh she looks great. Her armor and weapons and are all spot on! What went into helping Angela make the jump from comics to Battlerealm?

Gabriel Frizzera: Angela was originally created in the 90s, and I suspect [she] was influenced not only by fantasy literature and RPGs, but also a nascent video game culture. Or maybe they all converged in this over-the-top, almost impractical golden outfit, with weird weapons and backstory. Whatever the case is, she was in our plans for a long time, because it just makes sense for the game. Our character team lead Gene Campbell modelled this one himself, and she’s been in the game files for some time now. We were just waiting for the right time to release her. Turns out the fantasy-style quest loosely tied to the Guardians was the perfect outlet for her.

Marvel.com: I can see she’s rocking a sword and what looks like a double-bladed glaive, but the real question is can she use her ribbons in combat?

Gabriel Frizzera: Unfortunately not. We use it a lot for visual effect and flair, but we decided to concentrate on the other weapons. We have limitations of how many props we can use before memory starts becoming an issue in the slower devices, so we gotta pick and choose. But the good news is we are developing a better system for tentacle-like appendages, since we have plans for future characters that use them.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about her Battle Focus ability. How exactly does that benefit her in combat?

Simon Cameron: Angela is heavily based around her Buffs, but that also leaves her very vulnerable to Nullify abilities. Her Battle Focus Signature Ability gives her some resistance to Nullify, and helps keep her in fighting form.

Marvel.com: And her other abilities—Fury, Armor Up, Precision, and Expertise—make it sound like she just wants to stay in her opponent’s face wailing away.

Simon Cameron: Pretty much! She gains Buffs based on how much Power she has, basically one Buff for each possible power state. She can create an additional copy of each of these Buffs by landing Critical Hits, and another stack by using the appropriate Special Attack. She’s definitely happiest when landing hits on her opponent, however, careful Power Bar management will be needed to keep her at max damage output.

Marvel.com: And her teammates fit well, getting bonuses from her Aesir brethren Thor and Loki, and her Guardians of the Galaxy crew. Nothing flashy here though. What can you tell us about the dev strategy behind those bonuses?

Simon Cameron: Angela’s Synergy Bonuses are more defensive with health and block bonuses. Both synergies work well with her Resilience Regeneration ability, keeping her in the fight for longer.

Marvel.com: And when can we get her into the fight?

Simon Cameron: Angela will be coming to The Contest this Thursday, [April 13]! Make sure to check for in-game messaging and arenas to see how you can get your hands on this mighty warrior!

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

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The X-Men’s coolest original mutant joins the Battlerealm!

Something frigid this way comes, and his name is Bobby Drake! The X-Men’s coolest original mutant joins the “Marvel Contest of Champions” crew as the game’s newest combatant. Ready to freeze your opponents solid? We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Justin Ostensen about how Iceman will be lowering temperatures all across Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: With the Grandmaster sending seriously deadly mutants at the Collector, is Bobby just another of the Elder of the Universe’s incredibly powerful pawns?

Gabriel Frizzera: Iceman is probably the most important piece in his mutant army, with his omega-level mutant powers and all. But he wants to go along in a very surreptitiously way, since he’s still trying to convince Summoners he’s the good guy, and that the Collector is the bad guy. He even hides his connection to the X-Enforcers, and blames it on his unsuspecting brother.

Marvel.com: Iceman’s sporting a more modern look for The Contest. I know people love his smooth ice style, but I really digging the jagged edges and icicles he’s sporting here. Were you guys going for a more mature look?

Gabriel Frizzera: We have fans of all “Icemen” in the studio, even the original snowman-in-boots design! Many reasons led us to pick the “jagged” version. On the visual side, the bumpy surface creates more opportunity for dramatic light/shadow interplay. Russell, one of our very talented rendering engineers, wrote a specific 3D shader for Iceman, with translucency and reflection variation that mimic the way ice looks in real life.

On the story side, we wanted to have a version of Iceman on the verge on unlocking his omega-level capabilities. In the event story, he’s tempted by Psylocke who promises to unleash his true potential in exchange for him joining the X-Enforcers. Bobby is on the run, and his tortured mental state creates blizzards all over the Battlerealm, which people have probably already experienced playing the game.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about Iceman’s abilities? Absolute Zero sounds like a perfect Iceman move.

Justin Ostensen: Definitely. Iceman’s signature ability, Absolute Zero, lets him reform his defenses faster than normal and much more importantly, allows him to start the fight with a Coldsnap active on the opponent. This allows him to deal a large amount of Energy Damage at the start of the fight, and to shut off his opponent’s ability to Evade any attacks while they’re under the Coldsnap. Clever players who find themselves faced with a tough Spider-Man fight might be well advised to bring Iceman to the duel.

Marvel.com: How do Organic Ice, Frostbite, and Coldsnap fit into his fighting style?

Justin Ostensen: Organic Ice is Iceman’s defensive capabilities, while Frostbite and Coldsnap allow him to put the hurt on his opponents. While it’s active, Iceman’s Organic Ice provides him full immunity to any Bleed, Poison, or Incinerate effects, and also grants him a large boost to his Armor Rating. Meanwhile, if Iceman is ever about to get Stunned or take a massive amount of damage, his Ice Armor will absorb the blow and protect him. Frostbite and Coldsnap are how Iceman dishes out the damage. By landing Critical Hits or launching special attacks, Iceman can land these effects on his opponents, which cause them to take both constant damage and large bursts of damage as long as Iceman stays offensive and takes the fight to his opponent.

Marvel.com: If you just had a single sentence to tell players how cool Iceman is, pun intended, what would you say?

Gabriel Frizzera: This is an experienced version Bobby Drake, at the peak of control of his powers, ready to fight whoever crosses his path… so in a sentence, “No More Mr. Ice Guy.” 🙂

Justin Ostensen: On the gameplay side: He can bypass Evade, deal constant Energy Damage and is protected from those powerful Stun and Special 3 attacks; grab him!

Marvel.com: When do we get to take a crack at Bobby and start turning bad guys into popsicles?

Justin Ostensen: The X-Enforcers have been working to recruit Bobby Drake in the new monthly quest, and he’s just about ready to step into The Contest! Keep an eye on in-game messages and arena announcements to know when you can get Iceman for yourself!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


MORE IRON FIST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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