Behind the scenes of the Marvel Heroes machine


With Marvel movies and television shows coming out left and right (and the comics, of course), hitching your game to this hot property is a good way to ensure a prosperous future. And prosperous Marvel Heroes has been doing just that, throwing new heroes, costumes, events, and promotions at players even as more gamers throng to the action RPG.

We got in touch with Gazillion, the folks behind Marvel Heroes, to ask a few burning questions about what goes on behind the scenes of this active MMO. From the process of creating a superhero from scratch to hints of the game’s future content, we’ve got the skinny on how this studio machine churns out the geeky goods!

Massively Overpowered: Are there any numbers that Gazillion can share in regards to the size of Marvel Heroes’ playerbase, revenue, or fun metrics statistics?

Senior PR and Social Media Manager Chris Baker: Like many publishers, we generally keep those numbers confidential. But rest assured — they’re quite good! Especially after Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, as you might suspect. Our playerbase is only growing larger, and we’re already thinking well into 2016 and beyond.

How long does it take to make a new superhero start to finish? Is the process quicker now than it was a year ago? What does that process look like?

Creative Designer and Community Manager Ryan Collins: It’s two to three months from concept to release, give or take. Sometimes things are faster if everything works perfectly — about six weeks — and sometimes it takes longer if we want to take additional time for iteration! I┬áthink that it’s actually become a bit longer as we’ve released new heroes. Our iteration process is more intense now as we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. And due the sheer number of heroes, we have to be more creative with each new one!

How does the team pick which new characters and costumes to make out of the thousands available?

Collins: For heroes, we look at our community first and foremost. Whom they’re asking for definitely dictates a solid percentage of whom we end up including, something that is planned at least a year ahead (though the lineup has had a few surprises). From there, we look at what’s happening with Marvel in a given year — events, movies, what’s been happening in comics. That dictates our costumes as well. We also look at which hero hasn’t received a costume in some time or who might be receiving a new costume in a film or comic series.

But of course, the first step is always the community; there are a ton of great forum threads requesting every costume you can think of for each of our now-47 playable heroes. That’s how we end up with some of the great costumes of yesteryear: Fans rally behind a classic costume they really want and — bam! — it gets made!

Does Gazillion come up with ideas for the movie and TV show tie-ins, or is it Marvel? Or is it a collaborative exercise?

Collins: It’s a collaborative effort, to be sure. If we know that Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out, we’ll ask, “Hey, we want to do something for this; what can we do?” [Marvel will] send us a list of suggestions and reference, and we go for there. They’re always looking out for cool new things for us to add to the game… and so are we, of course.

It’s been a while since Asgard made up the last new world zone in the game. Will we be seeing any new zones this year, and if so, what can you tell us about them?

Collins: I can’t say too much about it, but we do have some new zones coming this year, of course. We have a large piece of story content coming up that features entirely new versions of old locales — you’ll have to wait and see, unfortunately.

We’re also planning our next raid that will take our players somewhere they might be familiar with but has never appeared in Marvel Heroes!

Thanks for sharing with us!

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