Interview: Talking Marvel Heroes with Gazillion Entertainment
Marvel Heroes is the upcoming, free-to-play MMO from Gazillion Entertainment that will allow anyone to step into the shoes of their favorite Marvel super hero and tackle an online adventure with their friends.
We had an opportunity to interview the dev team about Marvel Heroes, what the game entails, what can Marvel and MMO fans look forward to once the game is launched, and that they might have in store for the future of the game.
We were able to get responses from a few members of Gazillion. David Brevik, Gazillion President and CEO, Leo Olebe, Gazillion V.P. of Marketing, Jeff Lind, Marvel Heroes Senior Development Director, Sam Clifford, Marvel Heroes Senior Producer, and Matt Group, Marvel Heroes Assistant Producer
1. Give us a little information and background for Gazillion
Leo Olebe: We (Gazillion Entertainment) are a developer and publisher of free-to-play online games. We’ve partnered with Marvel to bring their universe to life in an MMO setting. In 2011, we launched Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, an MMO for kids and we are now developing Marvel Heroes for the older core gamers out there.
2. What is the overarching story of Marvel Heroes?
Leo Olebe: In the beginning of the Marvel Heroes story line, Doctor Doom has gotten hold of the Cosmic Cube (a.k.a. The Tesseract in the recent The Avengers film), which gives its possessor the power to change reality. As you progress through the game, it is up to you to unravel Dr. Doom’s plan and stop him from unleashing the power of the cube.
3. You have access to tons of material as far as the Marvel universe goes. How frequently do you guys plan to add new content like new characters and storylines?
Matt Group: Marvel has opened the toy box for us as developers, giving us access to all of the iconic Marvel Heroes, Villains, and Locations. Though there is not yet a set cadence as to how frequently we will be adding new content to the game just yet, we do plan to be adding new characters, costumes, and story lines on a fairly regular basis once the game has launched.
4. Tell us a little about the various costumes for each character. Do they serve another purpose besides distinguishing some characters from one another?
Matt Group: Having access to all of the costumes in the Marvel universe means that there will be no shortage of iconic looks available for each of the heroes in game. Marvel has even given us the opportunity to invent new costumes for these well known characters. Though no details have been given just yet, costumes will not be for looks alone but will serve another purpose as well.
More details will be announced as we get closer to launch.
5. How does leveling work in a game with so many super heroes? Will there be specialized skill trees for each?
Sam Clifford: These are the creative minds behind Diablo 2, so indeed skill trees are a part of the design. If you think upon each character as a class, you will understand the vast amount of selection and specialization available.
6. A part of the staff worked on Diablo II. Aside from the gameplay, what other ideas from Diablo II have made their way into Marvel Heroes.
David Brevik: There a lot of concepts from Diablo II that have made their way into Marvel Heroes, but most of it centers on gameplay. We have skill trees, random levels, random loot, unique and champion monsters, waypoints, and many other fundamentals of Diablo II. That said, we also are adding a lot to the Diablo II formula. We have public combat zones, which allow 25+ people to run around and fight together. We have many more character classes (26 announced so far). We have end-game activities that never existed in Diablo II and many other tricks up our sleeves.
7. Loot is absolutely essential for games of this type. Equipping super heroes with various items would normally alter their look. How is loot handled in Marvel Heroes?
Sam Clifford: There are 3 different major types of loot in the reward system: gear, costumes, and components. The armor and weapon slots (i.e. gear) are where one customizes a lot of one’s build. Costumes and components present a truly unique design that affords look alteration and a stat / ability / crafting system we will announce later.
8. As far as the amount of loot, can we expect tons?
Sam Clifford: Hopefully just the right amount to be meaningful with the aforementioned gear, costumes, components, consumables, and even rare character drops
9. Super hero MMOs are tricky, with City of Heroes shutting down and other subscription based MMOs going free-to-play due to low amount of users, how are you guys planning to keep everyone's attention and make sure they keep coming back to Marvel Heroes?
David Brevik: First and foremost, we are creating a very different experience than any other MMO. It is an MMO that plays like and action-RPG. So offering something unique and fresh was the first step. Next, it was important for us to design the game from the ground-up to be free-to-play rather than scrambling to add it after launch. This allowed us to break the rules of MMO design on almost every level. Lastly, it was important for us to make it fun. Superheroes are fun and making a very action-oriented game allowed us the freedom to make them feel like superheroes and experience the fun of that level of power.
10. Marvel Heroes isn't a traditional MMO, most notably due to the fact that there is no character creation. Was the idea to play as iconic Marvel characters there from the start?
Matt Group: We really wanted to make something unique for the super hero MMO space and thought that playing as the “Big Guns” was one way to set ourselves apart from other Super Hero MMOs. Unlike in other Super Hero MMOs, you are not playing as an unknown super hero. Though it may be fun to create an original super hero, we feel that it is more fun to be able to step into the boots of well known heroes such as Spider-Man, Thor, and Captain America, just to name a few.
11. We're always told “You don't have to spend a penny in our Free-to-play MMO to enjoy all the content we offer.” Does the same apply to Marvel Heroes?
David Brevik: That is true with Marvel Heroes. You can play through the entire game for free. Nearly everything that you can buy in the store can be earned through gameplay.
12. Obviously cash-shops are a necessity, what sort of items can we expect to see? Are there also certain items, such as new costumes or characters, only available through the cash-shop?
David Brevik: We have a variety of offerings in the cash-shop. You can buy heroes or costumes along with a few boosts and the like. All of the heroes can be earned through gameplay along with a vast majority of costumes. Boosts will most likely be available only in the cash-shop.
13. I know it's still quite early, but have you began contemplating an Open Beta date?
Jeff Lind: We’ve been contemplating it for a long time. We’ll announce something in the near future.
14. Will there be PVP implemented in the final version?
Jeff Lind: We’re not ready to talk about that yet, but we’ll let you know.
15. Will we ever get to play as any of the super villains such as Venom and Taskmaster?
Jeff Lind: This will not be available in the launch version of the game, but we get this request all the time. Down the road, anything is possible.
16. MMOs are largely a social experience. Will Marvel Heroes require players to group up to complete missions or will they be able to solo them?
Jeff Lind: We want solo player to have a great experience, for sure, so the core of the game is fully solo-able. But we also have a lot of multiplayer activities that are just a ton of fun and easy to jump into. Fighting hordes of Moloids and Giganto in a public zone with 20 other people is an awesome experience and unlike anything you see in other action RPGs.
17. Lastly, here is your chance to sell everyone on Marvel Heroes, go!
Leo Olebe: Marvel Heroes is Ultimate Alliance, Diablo 2, and X-Men Legends all rolled into one tasty sweet action RPGMMO package of awesome. If you’re a fan of Diablo I and II and of the Marvel Universe, then you need to check Marvel Heroes out. Like in the Diablo series, imagine yourself rampaging through the Marvel Universe (Hell’s Kitchen, Avenger’s Tower, etc.) as your favorite hero.
As you progress through the game, you pick up tons of loot and can team up with your friends as you take on the likes of bosses like Electro and Task Master. You’re working to ultimately stop Doctor Doom from wreaking havoc on the world with the Cosmic Cube. Best of all, you can experience all of this for free!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.