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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The Lord of the Dark Dimension lays siege to Battlerealm!

Everyone please join me in welcoming the dark lord of the Dark Dimension, the one and only Dormammu, to “Marvel Contest of Champions”!

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Dormammu’s appearance on Battlerealm and what players can expect from Doctor Strange’s arch nemesis.

Marvel.com: Oh boy what has The Collector done to draw the attention of the one and only Dread Dormammu?

Gabriel Frizzera: This time The Collector has nothing to do it. Without spoiling the story too much, the person responsible for luring the Lord of Darkness to the Battlerealm was our own Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange. I’m not going to say for what purpose, you’ll have to play the quest to see!

Marvel.com: In the “Marvel’s Doctor Strange” film we only really got to see Dormy’s face, but here you have him all fleshed out, pardon the pun. What went into his full body design?

Gabriel Frizzera: We knew that Dormammu, being a god-like creature, would be too powerful—and large—to fit the battle arenas. However, he’s known to assume a material [form] to physically battle earthly heroes so we took cues from a couple of incarnations of Dormammu in the comics: the classic design with the crown of thorns and curved shoulder spikes, and the Dark Reign massive armored version. We kept the elements we felt define Dormammu, and pushed the obsidian armor to make it more aggressive-looking.

Marvel.com: His signature ability is Soul Leech. That sounds crazy ominous. What’s going on there?

Simon Cameron: The Lord of the Dark Dimension is not only a massively powerful entity in terms of more direct power but he can also have a strong, shall we say, corrupting effect on those he wishes to control. To reflect this, his Signature Ability gives him a chance to do damage over time to a target each time one of their Buff effects ends, twisting their own strengths against them.

Marvel.com: His other abilities seem like they’re all about controlling his opponents and making sure they can’t use their most powerful attacks. Is that fair to say?

Simon Cameron: Absolutely. Dormammu is a control character. He Nullifies Buffs, he Power Locks, Power Drains, and Power Burns. He’s all about preventing his opponents from using their most powerful abilities while building his Dark Energy charge to enhance his own attacks.

Marvel.com: If you manage to pick up Dormammu, who should be showing him around Battlerealm? Tell us all about those sweet sweet synergies.

Simon Cameron: The two Sorcerer Supremes—current or past—in The Contest are obviously his Enemies, with Doctor Strange going a step further to be his Nemesis. And while Dormammu doesn’t have friends per say, he also has synergies with two of his pawns on Earth, The Hood and Mordo.

Marvel.com: Anything else we need to know about the ruler of the Dark Dimension? When can we pick him up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: Just that he’s coming soon! Keep your eyes on in-game messages to see exactly when.

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

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Our favorite gaming titles celebrate the most romantic day of the year!

Get your hearts ready, True Believers, because the stellar teams behind some of Marvel’s biggest mobile games have prepared an awesome variety of Valentine’s Day delights to celebrate the holiday! With so many games and so many fun opportunities at your fingertips, we wanted to breakdown everything that’s happening so you don’t miss a thing! Keep reading gang, we’ve got you covered.

Marvel Avengers Academy

Marvel Avengers Academy

First up: “Marvel Avengers Academy,” where love hangs heavy over campus. Want to score more Academy Credits and gaze upon robotic infatuation? Look no further than the Stark Industries Tunnel of Love. An animated swan boat ride not enough for ya? Stay tuned for the Hangouts feature, which will allow players to pair up their characters and send them on fun activities.

Next, “Marvel Contest of Champions” where players can take advantage of some fun Valentine Crystal shards. Grab Cyclops, Phoenix, and Wolverine Crystals in a special Valentine’s bundle, pick up Romance Crystals specifically designed to net Heroes with Romance Synergy, and from now until the end of February players get Dimensional Shards in all Daily Deals. Utilize tons of ways to fill out your roster and take it to the Collector on Battlerealm.

“Marvel Future Fight” kicks off Valentine’s Day with a bang! Prepare for a loot explosion, netting you a host of rewards and a 100% XP boost through the entire event. Also, every four hours players can check out their Golden Gift Box for special items like Rank Up tickets, Upgrade Material, and more!

In “Marvel Puzzle Quest” the team at D3 Go! made some awesome Facebook and Twitter Valentine’s Cards featuring Marvel’s most famous couples. Sharing the cards with the hashtag #FavoriteMarvelCouple contributes to a pool, with more shares unlocking higher tier rewards starting at 100 Hero Points all the way up to 5-Star Phoenix and 4-Star Cyclops. Check out the “Marvel Puzzle Quest” Facebook or Twitter pages to get started!

And to round out the Valentine’s fun, everyone’s favorite runner, “Spider-Man Unlimited,” has bonus score multipliers, combos, Vials, and Iso-8 for players plus a “True Love” Bundle Pack featuring Titan Spider-Man, Titan Mary Jane and 130 ISO-8. Could you ask for more?

Whew…get all that? If you’re a fan of Marvel mobile games there’s a ton of stuff going on for Valentine’s Day. Make sure you take advantage of all the awesome offers and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more Marvel Games news and interviews!

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Parker Robbins brings his wicked wardrobe to Battlerealm!

Something wicked this way comes, and his name is Parker Robbins.

As if the denizens of Battlerealm didn’t have enough to worry about, now The Hood, an emissary of a mysterious evil benefactor, plans to cause even more trouble in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera, Champion Designer Simon Camerson, and Marketing Specialist Vincent Huynh to get the skinny on the Hood’s plans.

Marvel.com: The Hood’s been flying pretty low under the radar since his ILLUMINATI shenanigans. Why’d the Collector want to pick up Parker Robbins?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Collector has nothing to do with the Hood’s presence in the Battlerealm. He kind of came on his own free will. He’s on a mission for his master, a god-like entity with an appetite for multiversal conquest. He’s coming to spoil the Collector’s party, and The Hood is the first wave.

Marvel.com: Ooohhh sounds ominous! By the way I am loving the way Parker’s guns look here! Hellfire infused pistols have never looked cooler.

Gabriel Frizzera: Thanks! We wanted to make those pistols look special. We are familiar, through comics and movies, with what happens to a person when possessed by a demon. But what happens when guns get possessed? What happens when an object originally created to cause harm and destruction becomes infused with even darker powers? So we melted it, twisted it and added pulsing arteries and magma until it looked like an object forged in the depths of hell.

Marvel.com: And the team has overloaded Hood with some serious abilities. Does he have more than the average Champion or am I just seeing things?

Simon Cameron: He certainly has a number of abilities at his disposal, but not an untoward number of them. A number of his abilities have secondary effects, which trigger when abilities expire. He can also trigger Invisibility in a number of ways. All in all, while there may be a fair amount of text on his bio card, he’s far from the most complex character in the game, and we think he’ll be pretty easy to pickup and play.

Marvel.com: And holy—what is this team up with Dormammu? Resurrect non robot Champions?!

Simon Cameron: Dormammu has often worked from behind the scenes. Whether he’s empowering agents to do his bidding because he feels the task isn’t sufficiently important to warrant his attention, or because he’s been bound never to return to Earth; we’re looking at you Doctor Strange. We’re representing this in The Contest by giving him a chance when teamed up with the correct Champions, to resurrect any non-robot villain Champions when they’re knocked out of a fight.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about his play style? How are we fighting with Parker?

Simon Cameron: Well he’s a Mystic, and like most Mystic Champions he’s well equipped to fight opponents who use a lot of buffs with both Stagger and Fate Seal. His special attacks all have various debuffs, and his heavy attack allows him to refresh their timers, so you’ll likely want to land some Heavies to keep them rolling.

Also his Invisibility makes a big difference, both increasing his Critical Damage, and giving his opponents a chance to miss with their attacks, which doubles against ranged attacks. This is great because it doesn’t break his animation the way an Evade does, allowing him to charge through most ranged attacks in relative safety.

Marvel.com: Anything else you can tell us?

Gabriel Frizzera: Our new event, “Dawn of Darkness,” is a direct sequel to the mystic event from last November, “Conclave of Sorcerers.” Doctor Strange is regrouping the Illuminati to create a final solution to stop Thanos from creating an entirely new set of Infinity Stones. He intends to be prepared for when the Mad Titan shows up next. But for that end, Strange has a plan so dangerous in mind, he doesn’t dare tell his closest allies… a plan that will involve a cat-and-mouse game with one of his most dangerous enemies, one of the most powerful mystic beings in existence.

Vincent Huynh: “Dawn of Darkness” has just kicked off and is ready to play now until March 1! Help Doctor Strange take on The Hood and his overlord from spreading evil and destruction across the Battlerealm. Check out our latest Motion Comic here to find out which demonic figure The Hood is bound to serve.

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

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The time-traveling mutant warrior makes his way to Battlerealm!

The son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, Nathan Summers, better known as the time-hopping mutant Cable, was predestined for genetic greatness, making him a perfect combatant for “Marvel Contest of Champions.”

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Champion Designer Simon Cameron about Nathan’s powers and his and Gwenpool’s Event Quest.

Marvel.com: Cable’s brought his gun to a…well you know what he’ll probably fit right in on Battlerealm. What’s Nathan doing fighting with The Collector?

Gabriel Frizzera: Nathan Summers is a premium collectable item for Taneleer Tivan. He has the gun, the Techno-Virus metal arm, the oversized shoulder pads, the pouches… ah, and the time travelling. There are mysteries in the past and future Battlerealm that The Collector doesn’t want to be revealed, so he better keep time-travelers like Cable under check.

Marvel.com: I have to admit, I’m a little underwhelmed by Cable’s pouch game. Was the team worried about heavy load times? Heh.

Gabriel Frizzera: You have no idea…we put hidden pouches all over his costume! Under his shoulder pads, inside his boots—even his gun has some metal pouches. And there are pouches inside his pouches. Some of the pouches are made to store pouches is what I’m saying. Just in case he runs out of pouches in a pouch fight.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about his kit? Does he have any similarities to either of his parents, or is he his own mutant?

Simon Cameron: He’s definitely his own mutant! Cable is an excellent all-rounded fighter. His Regeneration will help keep him in the fight through a full quest, he can Power Gain once his Signature Ability has been unlocked, allowing for more Special Attacks, as well as more chances to trigger his Regeneration.

He also has good utility on his second Special Attack with both Concussion and Incinerate, and acts as an excellent counter to Bleed-centric heroes, as they’ll keep his Degeneration active on themselves for him.

Marvel.com: Getting into his kit, what the heck is Techno Organic Virus Suppression?

Simon Cameron: When Cable was infected with the Techno Organic Virus it nearly killed him, until he learned to use his powers to keep it in check. So to keep himself alive he is forced to continuously exert a portion of his powers against it. As he begins to successfully suppress the virus it takes less effort to hold it at bay. In game terms this means each time he gains a bar of Power, he has a chance to immediately trigger a Power Gain Buff on himself.

Marvel.com: It seems like a lot of his abilities work to offset the hindrance of the Techno Organic Virus. And what exactly is True Strike?

Simon Cameron: The Techno Organic Virus is a big part of who Cable is—pun intended—so we definitely wanted to make sure it featured in his ability set too. True Strike is a powerful Buff. While under its effect, a Champion ignores their Opponent’s Armor, Resistances—both Physical and Energy—and Evade chance.

Marvel.com: Ok so real quick, let’s talk about the Cable/Gwenpool Event Quest? What’s going on there?

Gabriel Frizzera: Gwenpool is sent by Cable—or so she believes—back in time to warn Captain America and his Avengers Unity Team of a looming threat. Obviously she makes a mess of the timelines, causing more trouble than helping…but in the process they stumble into a secret about The Contest; another piece of the puzzle to maybe help the Champions find a way home. It’s a bit of an homage to classic time travel movies, and a good fit to both Gwen and Nathan’s characters.

Marvel.com: When can we pick up Cable for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: Cable is chrono-skimming into the contest on January 19!

Check out the Gwenpool: Agent of C.A.B.L.E. Motion Comic here!

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

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The unlikeliest of candidates gets her shot in The Contest!

Did you have fun wrecking faces with Howard and the Iso-Loader in “Marvel Contest of Champions”? Well now you can take Gwen Poole, comic book trivia queen and all-round ne’er do well, for a spin!

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Simon Cameron about the blonde bomber and the chaos she’s bringing to Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: So the Collector’s picking up comic book nerds now? Who’s he gonna collect next, me?

Gabriel Frizzera: Nobody is safe. The Collector has noticed you’ve been working out, so you could wake up trapped in a crystal at any point!

Marvel.com: Well thanks for noticing! But Gwenpool’s slightly less conventional than a lot of the other Champions in the game and her particular brand of weird is very Deadpool-y. What makes her special?

Gabriel Frizzera: She does have the Deadpool vibe, but there’s a distinction: she’s just a normal person who’s very knowledgeable in story tropes and Marvel lore. Deadpool is part of the Marvel Universe and can’t help being who he is, while Gwenpool is very methodically manipulating in what she thinks is a fictional universe for her own benefit. And she does that in the game too. She has played [“Marvel Contest of Champions”] in her “real” universe, so she knows how the gameplay goes, and how to exploit it.

Marvel.com: And she’s looking fly in that pink and white. Any special “Contest” flare?

Gabriel Frizzera: She’s such a new character, we wanted to keep her really close to what we have seen in the comics. One thing we paid special attention to was not to make her body idealized: she’s a normal teenage girl playing Super Hero, not a muscled athlete. We also gave her some interesting weapons, like the pink bazooka, the football bomb and the Special-Edition Collector Plushie, which she uses as a shield when blocking.

Marvel.com: Plot Armor sounds like a really interesting ability. Essentially this puts a hard cap on the special damage her opponents can dish out right?

Simon Cameron: It’s actually even better than that. It caps based on her current health. This means once her signature ability is unlocked, Gwenpool can’t be killed by a special attack, though she’ll come really close to death! Turns out knowing all your opponent’s powers and abilities is a pretty big advantage!

Marvel.com: Are there good times to use Gwenpool specifically because of this ability? Maybe in a really tough boss fight?

Simon Cameron: Definitely! Tough boss fights are definitely a place where she can shine. This is especially true for bosses with really scary special attacks.

Marvel.com: What about her other abilities? How do they fit into her kit?

Simon Cameron: The rest of her kit is built around Debuffs. The most important of these is Bleed. She has two different Bleeds: one comes from her basic attacks but is relatively short, the other involves landing a heavy attack on an already bleeding target but lasts a long time.

Her other Debuffs come from her Special Attacks, each with their own—Incinerate, Ennervate, and Armor Break respectively. Then when one of these Debuffs expires, she will remove a Bleed to re-apply her Special Debuffs. She definitely needs to play aggressively to keep lots of Bleeds stacked up. With clever timing of when she applies her Debuffs—you don’t want them to all expire at the same time!—she can stack several of them or keep one Debuff alive for as long as possible.

Marvel.com: And when can we break her out of a crystal and recruit her for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: She’ll be available on January 5!

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

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Howard the Duck Brings the Weird to the Battlerealm

Just when you think the Collector couldn’t make “Marvel Contest of Champions” weirder he goes and recruits a cartoon duck to handle his less-than-vital backend operations. As you can probably imagine, Howard the Duck has better things to do than be someone’s lackey. We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Game Designer Justin Ostensen about the Contest’s first feathered fighter and how the short-tempered duck’s leaving his mark on Battlerealm.

Marvel.com: Howard the Duck is an… Interesting character. Unique. Some might even say one of a kind. Would the Collector consider him a special edition waterfowl?

Gabriel Frizzera: I think he considers Howard more of a jack-of-all-trades employee. The Collector put him in charge of endless menial tasks that the Deadpooloids are too stupid to do, like organizing his crystal collection and filing catalysts by class and rank.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask though, how is this guy going to hold his own out there with the Hulks and the Thanos’?

Gabriel Frizzera: I think Howard himself initially doubted his skills as a fighter, until he retrofitted an ISO-Loader Suit into a powerful mecha battle armor. Now he stands 9-feet tall armed to the teeth so he probably could go a few rounds against the best Champions in The Contest…that is if the mech’s arms don’t fall off first, of course.

Marvel.com: How did the team come up with the ISO-Loader? It looks absolutely perfect for Howard.

Gabriel Frizzera: I was trying to come up with the oddest combination of heroes to fight together in our holiday story quest… I already knew we were going to do Hyperion, so I challenged myself to come up with another character that would be weird but strangely fitting as his buddy. So I thought of Howard the Duck. I know there was a lot of resistance in putting what is essentially a cartoon duck in a mostly serious fighting game, so I took that as a challenge. I wanted the lovers of “badass” characters and mecha robots to find Howard the Duck irresistible. The ISO-Loader looks pretty powerful but at the same time has the giant duck bill which can break apart, so it rides that line between serious and ridiculous that makes a character attractive. By the responses we got so far, I think we convinced many haters that Howard can be pretty awesome as a fighting character, without being overly cartoony or breaking the fiction.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about his abilities. Mash All The Buttons! doesn’t sound like the most useful of attacks.

Justin Ostensen: Well, when all of those buttons are all set to cause destruction and fix up the ISO-Loader, it can certainly be a helpful ability. Basically, whenever the ISO-Loader starts to become too badly damaged, Howard will frantically mash the buttons on the console. This can either cause the ISO-Loader to go into its Self-Repair routine and fix up some damage, or let loose a massive Thunderquack to deal a large burst of Energy Damage over time.

Marvel.com: And Howard’s breaking out the Quack-Fu right? How does that help him out in fights?

Justin Ostensen: We wanted to tie Howard’s abilities not only to his legendary Quack-Fu, but also to his infamous temper. Basically, as Howard lands hits on his opponent and he himself gets hit, he builds up his temper gaining boosts to his Attack and Critical Damage stats. But, if the player plays too defensively and doesn’t stay aggressive, Howard will cool off and lose his stacks of Quack-Fu. Gotta stay angry when you’re fighting with Howard!

Marvel.com: I love that Howard gets bonuses when he’s fighting with Rocket. Woodland creatures need to stick together huh?

Justin Ostensen: Well, not to split hairs, but technically Howard is just from another universe. I’d say their friendship in The Contest is more about small Champions wanting to be taken seriously. And with his massive B.F.G. to settle a few scores, Howard is definitely going to accomplish that goal.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else you want to tell us about Howard?

Justin Ostensen: Keep your eyes peeled on in-game messages to see when you can grab Howard and his Mech Suit in Contest of Champions!

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

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The Marvel mobile hit celebrates two years of excellence!

The end of the year looms nigh over “Marvel Contest of Champions” and all of Battlerealm. The Kabam crew’s been hard at work crunching the numbers to pull some awesome data for their two-year anniversary. Wondering how many hours players around the world have been duking it out? Or how many heroes Taneleer Tivan’s collected since the game started? Let’s dig in!

First, how much time do you think you’ve spent playing “Contest of Champions”? One hour? Two? Maybe 10? Well across the globe players put in some serious time cracking skulls, with a whopping 957 million hours logged.  And in that time players opened 7.3 billion—that’s right billion with a “b,”—crystals and unlocked everything from gold to catalysts to Champions.

Speaking of Champions, the Kabam team has released 80 butt-kicking heroes and villains over the past two years, including everyone from the Uncanny X-Men to the Inhumans to the Avengers to cosmic threats like the Mad Titan Thanos. We’ve even seen entirely original Champions hit the battlefield. No doubt somewhere The Collector’s smiling.

Marvel Contest of Champions fun facts

Marvel Contest of Champions fun facts

With 574 thousand alliances containing Summoners from 243 countries, you can bet those Champions get their exercise—24 billion battles-worth to be more precise. Spider-Man’s swung into 1.45 billion different battles on his lonesome, dispensing killer one-liners and web-fisted justice. Captain America slung his shield in 575 million fights, while the feisty Rocket Raccoon blasted bad guys in 309 million melees. Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans, made sonic mincemeat of 547 million offenders while Storm brought the lightning down on just as many.

While you probably haven’t sent your Champions into a million fights, I bet you have a go-to hero, a fighter you can rely on to get the job done even with the chips down. For players getting busy with the 5-Star heavy hitters, Scott Summers, Cyclops, proved the Champion serving up the pain most often. Doctor Strange got called into action most for the 4-Stars, with Colossus, Wolverine, and Spider-Man (Classic) rounding it out for the 3, 2, and 1-Star fighters respectively.

Whew! It’s been an awesome two years in “Marvel Contest of Champions” and I can’t wait to see what Kabam brings us next year! See you on Battlerealm folks!

Check out “Contest of Comments”  the post-game Show where you stay on top of all things “Marvel Contest of Champions!”

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

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