Behind the scenes of the Marvel Heroes machine

    
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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 think 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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Carthoris
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Carthoris

Sorenthaz Gavaevodata MH was also one of the worst games I’ve ever played at release. It’s hard to convince people that yeah, it’s actually *good* now.

DamnDirtyApe
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DamnDirtyApe

Esoteric Coyote BalsBigBrother Deadpool is hilarious and worth playing just for his one-liners.  I lost it the first time I passed Scarlet Witch in a mission.

DamnDirtyApe
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DamnDirtyApe

Esoteric Coyote Unfortunately Nightcrawler is probably one of the handful of ‘bad’ heroes at the moment and can be pretty tough to play.  It’s not that he isn’t fun or can’t do the content, it’s just that he’s been passed up by all of the new releases and reworks of older characters.  Also, currently ‘dodge’ as a defensive mechanic is pretty bad, so heroes based off of it are struggling a little more than they should (back when I originally played dodge was incredibly powerful and NC was one of the best heroes in the game).

The good news is that Gaz is continuously going back and updating older heroes and I believe NC is on the list for a revisit somewhat soon.

deztal
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deztal

Esoteric Coyote I started recently with Cyclops then they had the sale and I had to pick up Iron Man as a long time fan. They are similar in play style too. Love long range blasting everything. But their travel powers are cool. Cyclops has a motorbike for cruising and Iron Mans flight.
But I also picked up Nightcrawler and Psylocke in the sale so I look forward to their melee style later. I think it will be a nice change.
I’ve read very good things about Squirrel Girl. Massive swarms of squirrel attacks!

dorn2
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dorn2

Gavaevodata 
MH was horrible at relea…oh wait.

But seriously it wasn’t well received at release.  I’ve never seen a game turn around this well though.  They have been putting out real content at an insane rate.

MagmaFist
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MagmaFist

There was a podcast with Dave Brevik before the movie release and they said they got the AoU models directly from the designers/animators of the movie. I thought that was some impressive collaboration.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

Esoteric Coyote BalsBigBrother I’d play Deadpool more, but he hasn’t gotten his 52 Review yet. So you have all his powers by level 30, and no Signature power.

Sorenthaz
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Sorenthaz

Gavaevodata  Diablo 3 is better optimized and runs on older computers in comparison to Marvel Heroes. 
Also Blizzard has a huge fanbase and while Marvel does as well, not everyone wants to play an MMOARPG.

xk_tweets
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xk_tweets

Esoteric Coyote Squirrel Girl is amazing. Funny, cute, and ridiculously powerful in game. A lot of people don’t like her voice, but whatever!

Deadpool also has a lot of silly lines (and different voiceover for some of his costumes, like Pirate Deadpool who talks like a, you guessed it, pirate)

Nightcrawler is due for a quality of life review sometime soon, because his gameplay is hurting a little bit, which might be what you’ve noticed.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

BalsBigBrother Esoteric Coyote Saw Deadpool today and he sung the circus tune while shooting people.  He also implied my teleports smell of farts, I think I might have a new love.