Producer Justin Woods talks about introducing Crystal, the duplicity of Maximus, new Inhuman tech, and much more!
From the pages of INHUMAN to the winter of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the Inhumans have been making their presence felt everywhere—and now they’re taking over “Marvel: Avengers Alliance.”
With Black Bolt, Medusa, Gorgon, and Karnak already entrenched in the game, the latest “Avengers Alliance” Spec Op ramps up the Inhuman adventure and introduces the elemental Crystal as well as the villainous Maximus the Mad. The return of the Black Order will press the entire Royal Family into action and throw loyalties into question.
We spoke to Producer Justin Woods about the new characters, how this story plays out, what players can ear, and why the Inhumans stand out even among the Marvel pantheon.
Marvel.com: So what is the plot of this new Spec Op featuring the Inhumans, Justin?
Justin Woods: Thanos has been kind of absent from our story for a little while, and he comes back in a pretty big way in this Spec Op. He comes down to Earth with the Black Order, and Maximus the Mad, one of the very famous Inhuman villains but also a member of the royal family, steps in to help S.H.I.E.L.D. fight [them] off. Little do they know that Maximus has brokered a deal with Thanos behind the scenes, and there’s a little bit of him playing both sides right now that is really, really interesting. And how it ends up working out in the end is pretty remarkable, so I think that people are gonna be really happy with the story, especially people who read the Infinity storyline. There were some of the things about the Infinity storyline in the comic books that we did not do with Spec Op 13, where we introduced Black Bolt. We’re taking other elements of the Infinity storyline and working them into a greater Inhumans story, where we’re introducing Maximus the Mad and reward hero Crystal; so, a very exciting time for Inhumans fans.
Marvel.com: That’s very different, having someone who’s kind of both on your side and not on your side; that’s a bit unprecedented. Because usually by the time a character comes over as like a lock box hero or something, they are redeemed. You’re telling me Maximus is a little bit more ambiguous, but we do get to have him as an ally?
Justin Woods: Well you don’t actually play as him, but he is actually helping S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s helping you guys out and giving you hints and clues on how to defeat Thanos, but like I said, there’s more to it than meets the eye, as there always is with Maximus. So it’s going to be really interesting. It’s hard for me to say too much about the story without spoiling it, because it has several different twists along the way. But I think that, like I said, people who that are fans of the Inhumans, people who enjoyed the Infinity story line, and people that just enjoy stories that have some unpredictable angles are really gonna like this one.
Marvel.com: Crystal is the reward hero; what are we looking at from her as far as abilities?
Justin Woods: Crystal is sort of your somewhat prototypical elemental mage. She’s got a lot of elemental, fire and ice type attacks. Things like that.
Marvel.com: It’s cool that Thanos sends out the Black Order, because at this point they feel special in terms of your game. In terms of the Marvel Universe, they’ve really only been in Infinity and now they’re showing up for Time Runs Out. But in “Avengers Alliance,” I feel like they showed up once in the chapters. I could be wrong, but they’re primarily Spec Ops.
Maximus in Avengers Alliance
Justin Woods: Yeah, so this will be the third primary use of them for Spec Ops, but they’re really a focus in this particular storyline. And we really like those characters, even though they don’t have a ton of lore dating back to the 70’s or whatever. You know, Marvel creates really amazing characters, and these are characters that we’re excited about. We really enjoy using them in the game because their power sets are very interesting. So I think that people are really going to enjoy playing with them again. They’re just really cool characters.
Marvel.com: So in terms of who’s stepping to the forefront of this campaign, aside from Crystal? Are there other heroes pitching in as well?
Justin Woods: They really are. Black Bolt is front and center in this story line, actually, and Tony Stark, although we see him all the time and he’s always running his mouth, he had some pretty central character development in this Spec Op. So if you love Iron Man, this will also be a really great time for Iron Fans. It’s awesome. There are so many exciting things that I just really want to talk about! Like the twists and turns. But like I said, Maximus is a really sneaky, smart dude, and like I hinted at, he’s playing both sides pretty well to his own end.
Marvel.com: So, are there any other villain characters that are going to be introduced here?
Justin Woods: Well, Maximus; you may or may not fight Maximus eventually.
Marvel.com: And then location-wise, kind of sticking to the ones we’ve seen? You guys just dropped in the Savage Land and it takes a little while to create new environments.
Justin Woods: Yeah, there [are] no new ones here, but we’re definitely going back and hitting Wakanda again. I mean, we want to get good leverage out of all of our amazing environments that we’ve dropped so far. There are more environments in the mix for later on, down the road, but we’re not quite there yet.
Marvel.com: What sort of weapons and tech people can pick up for this Spec Op?
Justin Woods: In War of Kings, they harness Black Bolt’s energy signature from his sonic [powers], and they weaponize it. And [the Inhumans] take over the Kree Empire with it. We loved that idea a lot and we may be are doing some stuff with that.
Marvel.com: We just announced “Inhumans” as a film property coming up in a few years. INHUMAN is big in the comics right now and the characters are coming to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” so this is definitely very timely. What’s it like for you guys to kind of be able to tap into a character group that is so big across platforms right now?
Justin Woods: We do know that the Inhumans are really central to what they’re doing in the comic book space right now, and that was a big part of our decision to do a storyline around these characters. For a long time we wanted to introduce the entire royal family and slowly they’ve been making their way into the game. Now that we have so many of those characters, as you outlined before, we wanted to kind of centralize them and bring them together and give them a story that is their own. It would be almost as if we were doing a comic book that’s an Inhumans one shot, double-sized, or something like that. We’ve been wanting to do an Inhumans thing for a long time, and we’re finally getting a chance. This is the same thing we do with other teams. We try and trickle in the characters over time and then we’re like, “Okay. Now we have enough of them. Now we can do a Spec Op around them.” It’s tough to put a bunch of heroes in the game all at once.
Crystal in Avengers Alliance
Marvel.com: Finally, I always like to ask you this, Justin, because you’re such a fan. What do you think’s cool about the Inhumans and who’s you’re favorite Inhuman?
Justin Woods: I think the Inhumans are cool because they are both alien but they’re not. And so they’re relatable in that way. I also think that they’re somewhat tragic. Like, if you look at them, in a lot of ways, they’re similar to guys like the Morlocks in the X-Men universe. They have the powers, but for some of those guys, the powers are both a burden and a blessing. And you look at Black Bolt as the king, nobody has it both better and worse than him, right? He’s as powerful as can be, but he can’t talk! That’s just kind of the sort of horrible burden that he has. So I think they’re a somewhat relatable group of characters. They have a unique and interesting power set. I love the city of Attilan and the idea that their [home] moves and floats around to wherever they need it to be. They were everywhere from the Himalayas to the moon. And as far as my favorite Inhuman character? I think it’s Black Bolt. I think Black Bolt is cool because, again, the idea that he is so incredibly powerful, but in having all of that power, he doesn’t have one of the basic things that we take for granted as human beings, which is the ability to speak to one another. He relies on telepathy and a number of other things to be able to communicate with the members of his own family. That’s something that I find really interesting.
Marvel.com: And your feelings on Lockjaw?
Justin Woods: I think Lockjaw’s amazing. We are trying to find a way to work Lockjaw into the game that makes sense and is a good service to Lockjaw and Lockjaw’s fans that would make sense. So he may or may not be a playable character in the game, but we’re finding a way to make sure that he gets in the game someday. So no announcements as of right now, but we’re working on something.
Join “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” and play the Inhumans Lands Spec Op today!