Gazillion Entertainment’s Marvel Heroes has attracted a considerable amount of attention lately, building to a strong release later this year. One of the key bulletpoints that is regularly promoted alongside the videogame is that David Brevik, co-creator of Diablo, is at the helm of the title. While this may not mean much to many people, the fact that the recognised innovator is bringing his expertise to a massively multiplayer online (MMO) videogame most certainly does.
Given the increasing regularity of new reveals for the forthcoming Marvel Heroes, Electronic Theatre was recently given the opportunity to put some questions to Brevik. Below follows the full question and answer session, in which Brevik discusses the use of the Marvel license and he intentions for Marvel Heroes as both a product and a piece of interactive entertainment. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on Marvel Heroes as it approaches release, as well as other titles from Gazillion Entertainment.
Electronic Theatre: How long has your studio been working on Marvel Heroes? How much has it deviated from your original design template in that time?
David Brevik [DB]: We’ve been working on the game for about three years now. We make design changes all the time as we’re trying to make a great game, but on the whole of it the game design is largely similar to what we started out with. I have always wanted to make a Marvel themed, Diablo-style MMO.
Electronic Theatre: It’s common knowledge that Cryptic Studios had previously invested time into developing an MMO in the Marvel universe. How does it feel to step into the shoes of one of the most widely respected studios in the genre?
DB: Though I love and respect Cryptic Studios and their products, our game and the old Marvel Universe game are very different. We took a very unique direction when we set out to make this game. We wanted to create a different type of MMO. Something no one had ever made before by combining the Action-RPG with an MMO. By combining the intense action and button mashing of an Action-RPG with the social and dynamic interactions of an MMO we are creating an original gaming experience that is very different from what may have been envisioned for this product long ago.
Electronic Theatre: Marvel Heroes is widely considered to be a sister title to the popular Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. How closely are the two titles related?
DB: There are things that we’ve learned from Super Hero Squad, but the two games are very different and are intended for very different audiences. First and foremost, Heroes is a much deeper RPG experience. Next, with random zones, random items and an overarching storyline the actual play-pattern of the games is very different. Lastly, the customization of your hero from costume to play-style is fundamentally different than our approach with the younger simpler game of Squad.
Electronic Theatre: The world of Marvel is already a very well established franchise. How much freedom were you given to put your own designs on the characters and the mission objectives set for them?
DB: Marvel has been generous with letting us explore some of our own ideas – but the reason why we partnered with them was so we could bring their incredible legacy to life in a core MMO. So we’re striking a balance between original stuff and leveraging all the Marvel Universe has to offer (which is a lot!)
Electronic Theatre: Which are the development team’s favourite Marvel characters? Where there any that you wanted to include but weren’t able to?
DB: I think each person has a different favourite Marvel character and that has been part of the fun of making this game. So many people on the team are huge Marvel and comics fans that our debates about what characters to include have been epic! There are many characters that I can’t wait to put into the game, but won’t make the release. That’s okay though because it is an MMO and we are going to be adding new heroes all the time.
Electronic Theatre: Was it difficult to decide which abilities would be used as special attacks for any character?
DB: Each hero has many traits that feel very unique to their personality so it wasn’t too hard to find iconic powers to use. A few Hulk abilities include “Hulk Smash” and “Hulk Mad”. These fun powers not only invoke the power and wrath of the Hulk, but the powers make you feel like you are the Hulk as you smash and rage.
Electronic Theatre: Most action role-playing games feature a detailed progression system to keep players involved in developing their character. Does Marvel Heroes adhere to this formula? How are players rewarded for successful missions and defeating enemies?
DB: Absolutely! We have a very detailed system that players will experience as they grown their character over time. We reward players with experience and random loot. They’ll also unlock powers over time.
Electronic Theatre: What measures have you taken to ensure that the characters stay true to their comic book personas?
DB: We study the characters meticulously and then we partner with Marvel to make sure that we have them just right.
Electronic Theatre: What enemies will players face in Marvel Heroes? Will the game feature a traditional level-ending boss fight structure?
DB: We’ve announced enemies like Kingpin, Viper and Magneto and a several more. We’ll have all sorts of bosses in the game and will be adding more as often as we can. The actual gameplay will be very similar to the way Diablo II was created and since the overall story is about Dr. Doom, I would guess you could put it all together.
Electronic Theatre: Marvel Heroes is set to become a free-to-play title. Why did you opt to support your game with microtransactions as opposed to a subscription or other payment based model?
DB: Because we want to make this game as accessible to as many people as possible. I love creating games and sharing them with as many people as possible. My great dream has always been to give a game away for free and here is a chance to do that. I want everyone to give it a try and I am trying to remove as many barriers as possible. I want people to play and enjoy more than anything. In the end, we will haveMTXin the game that will allow people to enhance their overall gaming experience, but it won’t be a requirement. Combining all of these factors makes this a no-brainer to me; lots of people in an MMO, free for everyone, fun things to buy if you want. Seems like a win for everyone.