We had questions, and he was kind enough to answer
David Brevik, COO of Gazillion Entertainment, had a roundtable with several journalists Friday, and I was fortunate enough to sit in on it and get a few questions in about the upcoming superhero brawler Marvel Heroes. Brevik has had a lot of experience working as Lead Designer on Diablo and Diablo II, so I was very eager to get a chance to talk to him about his title.
One of the first questions was about character swapping, such as flipping between Hulk and Iron Man, and he stated that it was not an in-combat ability, since it's channeled, and damage in combat interrupts it. Spinning from that, he also explained that each character generally 'fits' into an archetype, such as Iron Man being a long-range blaster or Hulk being a tanky damage-dealer, but each character has attributes that makes it stand out.
David put a lot of emphasis on the fact that Marvel Heroes did away with generic filler quests, “like kill seven wolves, pick four apples.” They were more a story-driven, focused on the overall plot and storyline of taking down Dr. Doom. Additionally, there are Discoveries, which add surprise twists into the regular grind of the event-by-event fights.
This is not an open world, he said, like EverQuest or World of Warcraft. Instead, it was very similar to Diablo (which makes sense), with hub areas and randomly generated combat zones.
Given it's the Marvel franchise, I asked if it was a labor of love for the team, and he said it most definitely was – he was already a big fan of Marvel, and they had many people on the team who were long-standing fans, and several who sought out the project specifically for that. They also had people on the team who were encyclopedias of Marvel knowledge.
He stated the team had access to everything Marvel it needed. Art was done by artists who worked on X-Men and Avengers comics, and voices were all done by the animated series voice actors. When I asked about music and audio, he said they indeed had the entire archives of music, including shows and films, to spin theme songs from.
It was asked what Emma Frost was like, and David said it was “very similar to the druid,” in that she has two separate kits, one with her psychic abilities and one with her diamond form. If you played Nidalee from League of Legends, it's kind of like that too.
I couldn't help but ask where the decision came from to put Rocket Raccoon into the game, and David started laughing. He explained that he was a big fan of the Cosmic series, and he wanted Marvel Heroes to be an even split between big movie-title names, like Iron Man and Spider-Man, and the underrated heroes like Luke Cage, Nova, or Squirrel Girl. You can really tell the team loves the Marvel franchise – this will not go the same path as X-Men Destiny and fall completely apart.
I also asked what the items system was like, but added I wasn't sure if I missed something, and Brevik said I did not. “This was so difficult to solve, we're actually at our seventh item system, but I'm very happy with how it's turned out.” Items are purely stats, not cosmetic, and the loot that is dropped is for only you, ie is not shared. Other than that, it's very similar to other superhero games in that it's tech and magic-themed gear that augments stats.
One request made during the course of the Q&A was “Please, please put a PvP system into the game at some point.” Brevik laughed and said it was a post-launch consideration. There was no confirmed release date, but as always they welcomed more beta invitations from all players.
And, lastly, he said that they just got confirmation that the new Deadpool skin, Pirate Deadpool, will in fact make it into the game. Having seen it, I can safely say it makes me happier than I can put into words.
Are you looking forward to more dungeon-crawler, bad-guy brawling, superhero romps? Marvel Heroes looks to fill the action-RPG slot.