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Interview with Marvel Contest of Champions Art Director Gabriel Frizzera

Marvel Contest of Champions Art Director Gabriel Frizzera talks to me about the game and everything behind it.

At New York Comic Con, fans were able to get their hands on Marvel Contest of Champions and preview the two new heroes (Phoenix and Ghost Rider) that are coming to the game later this month.

In addition to checking out the new characters, I got a change to chat with the Art Director of MCOC, Gabriel Frizzera about how they keep striving to improve the game and what they do to make that possible. 

According to Frizzera, a key part of keeping the game fresh for its players is making sure that there are always new faces for them to see.

"The characters are at the core of everything. Every 2 weeks we need to have a cool character so people can check it out and try to get it. But also the story, the events, the quests, we always try to feed new stuff. "

How can they make these sorts of updates so quickly and so often? Frizzera says it all has to do with the ease of updating a mobile game compared to a console game.

"It's lucky that we can always upgrade the game live. For console games its hard because we have to make the game, and then make sure after you put it on disk that that's the game you want to play. Mobile games...you can always re-balance it. If it's too hard or too easy, or there's something that people like better, we can respond to that."

Frizzera emphasizes once again that the characters they are release over time are a key part of what keeps bringing players back. I asked him about how the developers decide which heroes to include in the next update. His answer was pretty simple:

"How cool they are. That's basically it. I have my own favorites (Star Lord). Everyone in the office has their own favorite. The thing is we work with Marvel and see what they are coming out with on the publishing side, the animation side, the movies. So we always know the tent-poles. Oh, Spider-Man is coming. So we need to do something in the Spider-Man universe. Or Doctor Strange. But in between them, we look for the best characters that will fit the fighting game and sometimes its just the small things."

He went on to say that they added lesser known characters like Karnak, simply because they knew those characters would play well within the game.

Superheroes like Jessica Jones however, usually won't get added to the roster because of their limited movesets.

"[Jessica Jones] punches and kicks, and that's it. She's great in the story, she's a very interesting character, but maybe she's not the most flashy character."

Characters can earn themselves a spot on the roster when the development team believes a certain superhero would work perfectly in the game. But don't worry, they are listening to your suggestions too. They are active in the MCOC forums listening to their players and keeping track of who those fans want to see next. 

"We know people love the X-Men, people love Ghost Rider, people love Carnage, people love Nova. We have those characters in the list but we try to space those out so we don't run out of good content. We always try to put our own characters in between there and make people interested in those. Even though people don't know they want it, they see the character and they say 'Oh that's actually pretty cool.'

We always listen. I'm in several forums. I don't say who I am but I hear people talking about it -- what they like, what they don't like. We take note."

If you are a fan of the Marvel Universe -- whether it's the comics, movies, shows, or games -- you know that there are several different uniforms available for your favorite heroes. When asked about possibly selling those different uniforms as skins for the heroes in the game, Frizzera had this to say:

"We tried to field skins, but people didn't seem to like them. Because its the same as a true skin, the same moves. We don't want to sell characters. We prefer to invest our time into having original characters every time. Then to have a new skin.

It would be super easy to do, like several different skins of Spider-Man. They play very similar and we want variety. That's why now we have maybe 5 Wolverines, 5 Iron Man and 5 Spider-Man. That means that maybe we aren't going to release many of those characters now. We will try to look for something different. Cause that's what attracts people. New characters I can put in my team and they have to play uniquely. We don't want to repeat moves anymore."

And about those new characters...

Phoenix will be available to join your team next week. You will have to wait until Halloween to play with Ghost Rider.

I would like to thank Gabriel Frizzera for taking the time to talk to me. I was able to play as both Phoenix and Ghost Rider during my demo, and they are both great additions to this game. Make sure to download Marvel Contest of Champions NOW on iOS and Android, and be sure to look for Phoenix and Ghost Rider when they come out this month.

Published Oct. 11th 2016

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