Creative Director Bill Rosemann gets you caught up on all the updates about the Doctor Strange and Halloween events!
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, can you share with us the exciting new events going on in Games right now?
Bill Rosemann: I would love to. Last week, Marvel games team was lucky enough to get invited to the Hollywood red carpet premiere of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange.” The team was so excited to attend that and see all the great actors and actresses there. And part of the reason we were so excited is because we’ve been working months and months and months on delivering our next big Marvel games event, which is focused on Doctor Strange. We announced at New York Comic Con this would be happening and showed some art, but now that the event’s here we can talk about it more – Doctor Strange content started rolling out throughout Marvel games last week.
Marvel.com: This is great for fans just to get their hands on it before the film comes out November 4th.
Bill Rosemann: That’s right. This event is like past events we’ve done. We’ve done events inspired by the different Marvel movies. The first one we did was Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Then we did one for Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” one for Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” and we’ve even done events inspired by comic events in publishing, such as Marvel’s Women of Power. In July, we joined the celebration of Captain America’s 75th anniversary by introducing new versions of Captain America across our portfolio in games. So here we are and it’s time to do something very similar. We reached out to all of our partners and said, “Hey, if we gave you reference from the film would you be interested in introducing characters, costumes, and missions in your game that your players would really love?” Our partners were all very excited to participate.
Marvel.com: That’s awesome. What can our fans expect?
Bill Rosemann: What’s fun is we no longer try to do direct game adaptations of films, which can be very difficult to do because you’re creating the content at the same time that they’re making the film. As a result, reference can be limited and you never get the same experience in a game that you might get when watching a film. Instead of trying to cram that in, we offer all of our partners the freedom to create the content that has the most meaning for their game and for their players because each game is different and each game’s players want something different.
Marvel.com: Right, so most of the games will have some of the same key players but they will tell a different story depending on how it fits inside their universe?
Bill Rosemann: Exactly! Our games have their own story. All of our games are based on and inspired by existing Marvel continuity—whether that’s from Publishing, from TV, or from Marvel Studios. We work with them to tell their own story.
What’s happening in Marvel Contest of Champions – you know, with the Collector and the Grandmaster – is very different than, for example, what’s happening in Marvel Puzzle Quest. Or when you think about Marvel Avengers Academy, they have a very different set up with the school and the younger versions of the heroes. So, again, we really allow all of our partners to tell their own stories but we focused on a lot of the same characters and then let them decide who they thought would have the greatest impact in their game.
Marvel.com: Across the games, can we find Stephen Strange at different points in his life? For example, he’s probably a student on Avengers Academy?
Bill Rosemann: Exactly. We can go through them one by one, but we really worked with each team to think about where Stephen Strange would be in his journey in each game. We also thought about what he would look like, what his powers would be, and what would have the most meaning for each game’s story and situation.
Marvel.com: Let’s start with Marvel Contest of Champions.
Bill Rosemann: Created by our friends at Kabam, Contest of Champions is our big mobile fighting game. We’ve revealed that we’re introducing not one, but two new characters. Doctor Strange is gathering together all the game’s mystical characters in a new quest called the Sorcerer’s Conclave. He’s bringing together Scarlet Witch, Guillotine, and Magik from the X-Men. As for the two new characters, we’re introducing Mordo, largely inspired by how he looks in “Doctor Strange,” and Brother Voodoo, inspired from his current comic look UNCANNY AVENGERS. Be on the lookout for them. There’s new key art, and an awesome new app icon as well.
Marvel.com: Will they be allies with Stephen in Marvel Contest of Champions?
Bill Rosemann: We shall see, we shall see. Anytime you get people with immense power in a group you can hope that they will go along with the fight but you never know when you have people like Mordo, and even Guillotine or Magik, they may have their own motivation and goals. You’ll have to play the game to see where the characters’ quest will take them.
Marvel.com: Up next, Marvel Future Fight.
Bill Rosemann: Marvel Future Fight is our action RPG mobile game created with Netmarble. We revealed at New York Comic Con that we are adding some all-new characters and new costumes as well. Some are inspired by the film, and some you’ll see inspired by their classic comic book version. Five of the all-new characters include Doctor Strange, Mordo, The Ancient One, Kaecilius, and Wong, who all have looks inspired by how they appear in the film.
Marvel.com: Can you tell us about some of the different costume styles?
Bill Rosemann: As far as costumes, Strange, Mordo, The Ancient One, Kaecilius, and Wong will also be getting comic book-inspired costumes. We’re also introducing comic book versions of Clea, who was a long-time student and partner of Doctor Strange, Daimon Hellstrom and Satana in the game. Again, they have a great mission quest cooked up and you’ll see these amazing characters all combined together. With Marvel Future Fight, it’s just so impressive – all the effort that they put into what they introduce. There will be a new app icon, new key art and all these new characters and costumes, it should be an amazing new addition for the game.
Marvel.com: What can you share about Marvel Puzzle Quest?
Bill Rosemann: For our match-3 puzzle game made with our friends D3Go, Marvel Puzzle Quest, we’ve revealed that that there will be a movie-inspired Doctor Strange introduced to the game. At NYCC, they were celebrating their 3rd anniversary and had a booth with a big banner showcasing the new Doctor Strange. There are additional things that I can’t mention right now, but all will be made clear as we get closer to the release date of their content.
Marvel.com: What can we talk about next?
Bill Rosemann: Jumping over to PC, we have Marvel Heroes 2016, made along with our friends at Gazillion. We revealed at NYCC that there will be movie-inspired Doctor Strange content added to the game. Like our other games, there will be some additional features that I can’t quite mention now. Word will be coming out soon, but again, I’m really impressed with Marvel Heroes 2016. Recently, we’ve been able to work very closely with them and release content related to their inspiration’s release date. For example, we released the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider and Quake on the very same day that “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 4 debuted. We also introduced Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, inspired by their Netflix shows, on the very same day that “Marvel’s Luke Cage” hit.
It’s pretty cool that you can turn on your TV and watch the characters, and then you can say, “You know what, now I want to play them,” and then you can go play them. You want to actually be them or play them, and you can do that on Marvel Heroes; that’s the same thing we expect to happen here with “Doctor Strange.”
Marvel.com: What do you have cooking for the world of Avengers Academy?
Bill Rosemann: Marvel Avengers Academy is doing something really fun – they are our simulation builder that we make with our friends at TinyCo – they will be doing a whole Doctor Strange event. We’ve revealed the Avengers Academy version of Doctor Strange; as with the rest of the characters in the game, he is a younger version. He appears to be a student, so maybe he’s not quite the Master of Mystic Arts just yet. Maybe he’s studying.
Avengers Academy is great with their ability to release multiple amounts of characters and buildings, and of course, a great story. I always give a tip of the Cloak of Levitation to writer Allen Warner and artist David Nakayama – they do just an awesome job of rethinking and reinterpreting our characters in a new and younger setting. You can bet they’ll deliver plenty of surprises with their Doctor Strange event.
Bill Rosemann: And last but certainly not least, let’s talk about Marvel Tsum Tsum. This is another match-3 game that we made with our friends at Disney Japan, mixi, and NHN. Together they created this awesome game that has really surprised people with the amount of characters and how deep we’re going in the bench – the Marvel bench.
What’s really fun is part of the need for the game and what the players want, which sometimes are characters based on color. You’re doing matches – match and erase and so sometimes they’ll need specific colors. This allows us to go really deep and deliver characters that you wouldn’t expect in the game yet. They’re able to introduce characters to the game that have only recently been introduced in Publishing. We were able to release Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” characters. You’ll see the Tsum version of Doctor Strange in-game right now during their Doctor Strange event. A lot more characters are jumping to mind, but I can’t reveal them yet. A lot more characters are jumping to mind, but I can’t reveal them yet.
Marvel.com: What new challenges are we going to see that’s not in the regular game play?
Bill Rosemann: The story in Marvel Tsum Tsum is that all the Tsums are in this room in a toy store that’s decorated like New York City, and all the Tsums think it is the real New York City. The heroes think that they are the actual heroes and the villains think they’re the actual villains. Hanging above them are these mobiles of these different worlds; that’s how you’re able to go to all of these different worlds in the Marvel Universe. I could imagine perhaps that there will be some sort of Doctor Strange-inspired world hanging over them that you’ll be able to travel to with magic.
It’s great how all of our partners go all out. They don’t want to introduce just one character – they want to introduce multiple characters, multiple costumes, worlds, mission, and events. They redo their app icon, and they even create new art. It’s a lot of fun; they get very excited and they love seeing all the great Doctor Strange stuff before the movie comes out. It’s a case of “with great power comes great responsibility” – the power is they get to see all this great stuff and the responsibility then is to create all this great content for their games. We’re excited once again to have a big Marvel event so you as a Marvel games fan, whatever kind of game you want, whether it’s a match-3, a simulation builder, a RPG, or a fighting game across our whole portfolio of mobile and PC, we have something for you. If you’re a Doctor Strange fan, you can just play one, or if you want to experience it all, there are all these different games to play.
Marvel.com: You get to see the whole universe, not only the theatrical, but also the comics.
Bill Rosemann: You get to learn! I think people who are seeing the film are then going online and reading a lot of articles that Marvel.com puts up explaining, well, who is the Ancient One, and where did she or he come from? What inspired them? Who is Mordo? Through the games, we introduce these characters. Fans may wonder who’s Clea, who’s Mordo, or who’s Brother Voodoo. Hopefully this will be a gateway for them to go to Marvel.com, or go to Marvel Unlimited and read all the adventures that have inspired these characters.
Marvel.com: That’s awesome. Doctor Strange is not the only event we have going on right now?
Bill Rosemann: That’s right! It is the season of Halloween here – we are deep in the month of October. You have all this Doctor Strange content hitting Games last week, all of which are very supernatural and spooky in nature, so we wanted to keep the fun going! We’ve worked closely again across our portfolio of partners to have some additional Halloween content.
Let’s see, Blade the Vampire Hunter will be coming to Marvel Puzzle Quest. He’s already in the game, but this is going to be an updated version of him based on his most recent appearance in comics. Marvel Puzzle Quest wants to show the fans that the content and characters in their game are closely inspired by what’s happening in Publishing. Also, the classic Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze is coming to Contest of Champions. I mentioned earlier that the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider is appearing in Marvel Heroes 2016, and he’s also appearing in Avengers Academy.
Marvel.com: A burning skeleton head is perfect for Halloween.
Bill Rosemann: You know you can’t beat it. They don’t have a Ghost Rider yet in the game so Marvel Contest of Champions wanted to start with Johnny – he’s going to come roaring in on his demonic motorcycle and bring the vengeance. Hopefully one day we will see Robbie Reyes speed into the game as well. But for right now, we’re going to start with Johnny Blaze.
We also have a big event happening right now in Marvel Avengers Academy for Halloween. And our friends at TinyCo are going all out. They’re not content just to introduce one character – they’re introducing many characters! The Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider has been introduced to the game. We’ve also revealed that Misty Knight, who has appeared recently in “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” is in Avengers Academy. Moon Knight, who guards travelers in the dark of night, I can see him out there protecting trick or treaters. He will also be in the game. Satana, the daughter of the devil, who we talked about earlier appearing in Marvel Future Fight, will also be in Marvel Avengers Academy. There will be additional characters and costumes appearing in the game. A lot of the Marvel characters will also be dressing up in…
Marvel.com: As each other?!
Bill Rosemann: Loki is wearing a Thor costume, Wasp is dressed as a pirate, Hulk is kind of going as Bruce Banner – he’s going as a mad scientist – and there’s a zombie version of Taskmaster… and oh! Ms. Marvel is dressed as Little Red Riding Hood! Given how powerful Kamala is, any wolves out there better watch out. In fact, Cap Wolf is in the game, Cap Wolf better watch out because this Little Red Riding Hood is going to knock him out.
So there we go! From Doctor Strange to Halloween… all of our partners in Marvel Games and the Marvel Games team itself are all rallying together to release all this great content. I want to give a shout out to all the Marvel Games people that made it happen: you have Isabel Hsu, our Creative Assistant who makes sure all of our partners have the reference that they need, and she helps review all the content that’s created. Becka McIntosh makes sure everything happens on time and she works behind the scenes just making sure all the T’s are crossed and it all happens when it should happen. And then you have our two producers: Danny Koo, who is the senior producer of Marvel Future Fight, Marvel Tsum Tsum and Marvel Heroes 2016, and then you have Tim Hernandez, who is the senior producer of Avengers Academy, Marvel Puzzle Quest and Marvel Contest of Champions. They work with these partners every day making sure that all the content is as authentically Marvel it can be, and that the content, stories, and gameplay are awesome. They’re the people who are behind-the-scenes making this all happen because the want to make sure that all of our players and gamers have awesome content every single day.
Marvel.com: You’re all doing incredible work! Any last things you want to share?
Bill Rosemann: The games are happening right now! All these games that I mentioned are free-to-download and free-to-play but of course you can make in-game purchases if you wish. It’s great that everyone can experience these games; and if you see the “Doctor Strange” movie and have a good time, and want to experience it more and expand upon that, you can fire up one of these games and have a great time.
Marvel.com: Perfect, well, thank you.
Bill Rosemann: Thank you! And thank you all the Marvel games fans out there – you’re magic.