Marvel Games Creative Director Bill Rosemann tells you what's new for 2016!
Additional reporting by Patrick Cavanaugh
Marvel.com’s got a man inside Marvel Games.
For nearly two decades, Bill Rosemann has been part of the Marvel family, working in Publishing, Marketing and even as a comic book writer. Now he’s the Creative Director of Marvel Games, where he uses his knowledge and love for the House of Ideas and its illustrious history to collaborate with partners on hits like “Marvel Contest of Champions,” “LEGO: Marvel’s Avengers,” “Disney Infinity,” and much more.
Every few weeks, Bill and the talented members of the Marvel Games team will join us to exclusively share their stories as well as the latest news and scoops on what’s happening in the world of gaming!
This time around, Bill talks about updates to your favorite games and some brand-new games to check out!
Marvel.com: We’re starting our first Your Man @ Marvel Games for 2016! Bill Rosemann, welcome back to the stage.
Bill Rosemann: Thank you for having me, Ben. And I want to say thank you to all the True Believers out there who supported our games in 2015…and this year is going to be bigger and better than ever, and we’re starting with a bang with a ton of new content in January. So, hey, should we talk about it?
Marvel.com: Let’s get to it.
Bill Rosemann: Alright!
Marvel.com: Let’s first talk about “Marvel Future Fight,” which has already had a cinematic update with Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” a television update with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and now they’re hitting the publishing world with their latest update, which focuses on All-New, All-Different Marvel. Do you wanna talk about it?
Bill Rosemann: This latest update is the second half of a one-two punch that brings All-New, All-Different Marvel to “Marvel Future Fight” in a huge way. The last update focused on the Spider-Verse and introduced the Miles Morales Spider-Man, the All-New, All-Different Peter Parker Spider-Man, along with rising stars Silk and Spider-Gwen. This update focuses now on the Hulk’s world, and leading the way is the Totally Awesome Hulk, a.k.a. Korean-American genius, Amadeus Cho.
Joining Amadeus are the Uncanny Inhumans version of Black Bolt, the Queen of Hel look for Angela, and the All-New, All-Different looks for Gamora, Drax and Rocket Raccoon. Oh…and continuing the gamma group is Red Hulk and World War Hulk!
What Amadeus’ intro shows is how rapidly our friends at Netmarble can respond to what’s happening in other Marvel divisions and work with us in a smart and fun way to deliver in-game characters that fans are just seeing for the first time in other mediums. In this case it’s in comics and now — Bam! – you can play the characters in the game.
Marvel.com: Let me ask you a question, a little bit about the nuts and bolts of “Marvel Future Fight” that you may or may not know the answer to, Bill. Like you said, we just got completely new characters like Miles Morales and Totally Awesome Hulk, and at the same time we’ve also got a lot of new cool All-New, All-Different costumes. So how difficult is it to create a new character as opposed to just creating a new costume?
Bill Rosemann: It’s a totally different amount of resources, from budget to talent to time. As you can imagine, creating a character, you have to start from scratch and build the character based upon the body types that are available in the game and then design the costume fitted upon the rigging, if you will, of the character and then, of course, we have to design the skills and body language of the character.
Each game has a Senior Producer – Tim Hernandez or Christian Arretche or Danny Koo – who works with each partner on each character to look at what they do and how they act, whether it’s in the comics, TV or movies, and come up with the move set, design those moves, and then test them in the game, making sure they’re cool and accurate, while also making sure this new character and their moves brings something different to the game and fills the need that the players want. So that’s a large amount of time, usually a few months.
When it comes to creating a costume, 80% of the work has been done. The character has been designed, most of the powers are there, all the moves are there, so now it’s what they call “skinning” the character. In most cases, we keep the same body type, the frame, and you lay upon that the new costume. Now sometimes, new costumes bring with them new powers, especially if it’s a character like Iron Man, for example, where new armors deliver new abilities. But in most cases, it’s just a matter of adding a costume, which still means we need to work quickly if we want the character to debut in the same window as the launch of their first appearance. Luckily, we have awesome relationships and wide open pipelines between Games and Publishing, so my friends in editorial send me artwork months in advance, which results in you seeing a character in a comic and a game simultaneously.
Marvel.com: Very cool. If you could add one classic costume to the game that doesn’t exist now, what would you add?
Bill Rosemann: I have to go with my man, Rich Rider Nova!
Marvel.com: Oh, there it is!
Bill Rosemann: And in publishing, with all the great cosmic books they have going, it would be awesome to see Darkhawk rise again.
Marvel.com: Oh, you are always all about that Darkhawk.
Bill Rosemann: I love his look, how he scratches that itch of “young Earth person in space”, a great point-of-view character, and visually a nice counter balance to all the bright cosmic characters.
Marvel.com: So we need a Rich Rider Nova and Darkhawk in “Marvel Future Fight.”
Bill Rosemann: It’s time to for them to fly again!
Marvel.com: “Marvel Future Fight” is not the only game with new content. “Marvel Contest of Champions” by our friends at Kabam has been updating very regularly. Do you want to cover the last couple updates they’ve made?
Bill Rosemann: Sure, what’s really fun about “Marvel Contest of Champions” is it also has a rich mix of new stars and classic characters. Leaping from Secret Wars, they just introduced Miles Morales Spider-Man and I think Miles is the 5th–
Marvel.com: The 5th Spider in the game?
Bill Rosemann: Oh, you mean the number of Spider-Man related characters in the game?
Marvel.com: Yeah, because they announced how you can have a complete Spider line up of characters.
Bill Rosemann: Definitely! There’s Peter Parker Spider-Man, there’s Spider-Gwen, there’s Venom, and now we have Miles. And in addition to that, I believe it’s the 5th different Marvel Game that features Miles.
Marvel.com: That’s awesome!
Bill Rosemann: We think that’s important. The Marvel Games team believes in the power of diversity. We take steps to make sure characters like Miles and Jane Foster Thor and Luke Cage and Carol Danvers Captain Marvel and Squirrel Girl and Kamala Khan and the deep bench of characters that reflect the diversity that the Marvel Universe has embraced for decades, we want to make sure that these amazing characters are in as many games as possible so as many Marvel fans get introduced to, or are able to finally play, these characters that they love.
Marvel.com: And in addition to the new characters, an update also introduced a classic look for Cyclops?
Bill Rosemann: That’s right. Debuting on January 21st was the ‘90s version of Cyclops taken right from X-MEN #1 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. It’s the Cyclops with his brown hair waving in the wind–
Marvel.com: Hair flowing…
Bill Rosemann: And ‘90s Cyclops needs a place to store all of his different visors, so he’s chock full of pouches.
Marvel.com: Of course…
Bill Rosemann: And God bless “Marvel Contest of Champions” writer Dom O’Grady. He’s come up with a story here where it’s not just Cyclops wearing a new costume, it’s actually Scott Summers from the ‘90s—he’s been plucked by the Collector and frozen in his crystal, so when he breaks out he’s running around saying, “Where’s Jean? And who is this Deadpool guy?”
Marvel.com: Love it, love it. Alright, let’s hop over to “Marvel Puzzle Quest.” Talk about their latest update.
Bill Rosemann: Talk about classic costumes from the ‘90s, “Marvel Puzzle Quest” just introduced the black suit Spider-Man. This is Peter Parker when he was wearing the cloth version of the symbiote suit, which he also busted out in the “Back in Black” storyline. This is a more serious Spider-Man who’s showing his darker side, sticking to the shadows and then leaping out and punching the baddies right in the face.
Marvel.com: And the last game we have to touch base on, that’s making a big update, is “Marvel Heroes 2015.”
Bill Rosemann: That’s right, on January 28th, “Marvel Heroes 2015” became “Marvel Heroes 2016.”
Marvel.com: Yes, only 28 days late!
Bill Rosemann: We wanted to make sure that 2016 was going to stick, that we as a society weren’t going back in time…like, 2016, okay let’s do this. So “Marvel Heroes 2016” is a revamp with enhanced visuals, controller support, leaderboards, and a big Secret Invasion story chapter. You’ll also see new key art that reflects the All-New, All-Different characters that have and will hit the game. Over the last few months, I really have to applaud the “Marvel Heroes 2015” team’s new efforts to bring a ton of new characters taken right from the forefront of Marvel publishing, so you have everyone from Sam Wilson Captain America, to Carol Danvers Captain Marvel, to Magik’s new look, to Spider Gwen. They’re looking at what’s happening right here right now and bringing that in a big way to “Marvel Heroes 2016.”
Marvel.com: And with all the great stuff we already have out, we added another huge title this week. Like people have been demanding, it’s a console title, do you want to talk about “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers”?
Bill Rosemann: That’s right! Finally! After months and months of build up, it finally hit on January 26. We couldn’t be more proud of our friends at Tt Games, who have outdone themselves, as they always do. This celebrates everything about Avengers, and thanks to their decades of history, there are so many characters to spotlight. “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers” will not only have the greatest amount of characters from any LEGO Marvel game, this has the greatest amount of playable characters from any LEGO video game period.
Marvel.com: Wow, that’s no small task.
Bill Rosemann: And what’s really fun about this is we were able to have an unlimited playing field when it comes to the Avengers, and by that I mean not only are we featuring all the characters from “Marvel’s The Avengers” and all the movies between that and Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” but we also just announced DLCs for “Ant-Man” and Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War”!
Marvel.com: There you go! What more could you want?
Bill Rosemann: Well, you might want additional characters from the comic books, and by golly they’re in there!
Marvel.com: That’s true, we’ve been rolling out a deep list on Marvel.com…
Bill Rosemann: Yes! Firebird and Ares and Quasar…and I hope this delivers on the promise that we made to the Quasar fan club years ago when they sent a 10 pound cake to the offices asking for the return of Quasar.
Marvel.com: It’s finally happening!
Bill Rosemann: Finally! Wendell Vaughan is here as Protector of the Universe in “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers,” complete with his Quantum Bands and awesome hair.
Marvel.com: And to wrap things up, by the time this column goes live, you will have attended no doubt a legendary historical bash to commemorate the launch of “Marvel Avengers Academy.”
Bill Rosemann: Yeah, on January 27 we are rocking Hollywood with a homecoming event that is celebrating the February launch of “Marvel Avengers Academy.” Now, you may ask why are we having a homecoming event in Hollywood? Well, I’m glad you asked, Ben…
Marvel.com: Yes, I’m glad I asked…
Bill Rosemann: By the time the column hits you will hear about all the awesome celebrities who will be providing voices for the characters in the game.
Marvel.com: Oh, cool!
Bill Rosemann: Yeah, I don’t want to spoil who they are, but, uh…after all the announcements are made, we will geek out together.
Marvel.com: Yeah, we’ll get back here and talk all about it.
Bill Rosemann: The talent that TinyCo has reached out to are not only celebrities who you know and love, but they’re awesome voice actors who perfectly matched with the right characters. The level of talent TinyCo has assembled shows how invested they and Marvel Games are in this game.
Marvel.com: You got me excited! Thank you as always for your time, Bill. Any final words of wisdom?
Bill Rosemann: I’ll say this: the new character announcements — not just for “Marvel Avengers Academy,” but for “LEGO Marvel’s Avengers” and “Marvel Heroes 2016” and “Marvel Future Fight” and “Marvel Contest of Champions” – have only just begun.
Bill Rosemann: Each week we will announce new characters for all these games taken from our films, TV shows and the comics that are the birthplace of it all. We’re bringing you the latest and the greatest in 2016!