Entering Marvel Contest of Champions: Guillotine

Looking to slice and dice your way through “Marvel Contest of Champions”? Kabam Game Designers Dominic O’Grady and Justin Ostensen and Art Director Gabriel Frizzera stopped by to talk about the blade-wielding Guillotine and what her entrance means for the Collector and his crew.

Marvel.com: Guillotine is a totally new character introduced just recently in the CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #1 comic book. Why did you guys want her for the game?

Gabriel Frizzera: She’s obviously very special to us! It was a unique opportunity to be there at the birth of a new character, collaborate directly with Marvel in creating her visuals and backstory, and see her debut in two media platforms at the same time. Everything we created, from the choice of colors to how she moves in game, was important to help define her voice. It’s like raising a child: you want to make the right decisions early on to make sure a strong foundation is laid, and let her evolve from there.

Dominic O’Grady: And I mean, just look at her! She’s so cool, how could we not want her in the game?!

Marvel.com: Jeannine Sauvage carries a big blade, and she’s in good company alongside Gamora and Magik. What sets her apart from these other sword-wielding combatants?

Dominic O’Grady: While Gamora and Magik simply wield their weapons, Guillotine is intrinsically connected to hers. The blade is sentient and speaks to her mind, communicating its savage thirst for blood to her.

Gabriel Frizzera: The sword is effectively her sidekick, but one that’s always fighting for control. She asks in her motion comic “Do I guide the blade, or does it guide me?” This dynamic is crucial to understand the character, which is why we wanted the sword present in every move, not only in her special attacks. When she finally unleashes her super-special, she relinquishes control and the blade goes off-leash, releasing a fraction of the scary power it contains.

Marvel.com: Her life steal abilities sounds really strong. You guys mentioned that the more souls she has, the more life she siphons from her enemies. How exactly does she go about getting those souls?

Justin Ostensen: Her signature ability allows her a chance to steal life from her foes with each strike. The amount she steals is tied to the amount of souls she fed into her ancestral blade. Guillotine can gain more souls for her blade by striking her opponent and lowering their health. However, the blade won’t abide pacifism, and if it isn’t continually fed, the souls will slowly drain out. It will be up to the player to keep the aggression on if they want to feed the blade and keep up the life-steal amount.

Marvel.com: What’s it been like working on a character that’s so new to the Marvel Universe?

Gabriel Frizzera: Nothing short of a dream come true. Working closely with the Marvel editors, and Al Ewing and Paco Medina, and trying to figure out her role in both universes has been a very stimulating experience. We are treading new territory by releasing her as part of the game and an in-continuity comic, so there are many opportunities to add to her personality and story.

Justin Ostensen: Gameplay wise, it has also been fantastic. Usually when we want to introduce new and powerful gameplay mechanics we have to wait for the right Champion to come along. With Guillotine, we had more creative freedom and were able to experiment with some powerful and very unique effects.

Marvel.com: What are some of the things you’ve enjoyed working on for her visually?

Gabriel Frizzera: I love her subtle color scheme—red on red with black/grey details, avoiding the usual complementary color scheme super heroes have—and the asymmetric details on her sword and cape. Shape-wise, the costume has sharp edges and flows diagonally like a blade moving in space. We gave her a few tech green bits to help the visibility of her shape on a glance, and it also adds some modern touches to her costume.

Her third Special Attack was also a creative high point and a challenge both visually and technically. We wanted to have the ghosts come out of the ground and stab the opponent and we wanted them to look scary and ethereal. Our render team wrote a new shader for the ghosts to make them be more translucent depending on the angle they are in relationship to the camera, and the results are awesome!

Marvel.com: When do we get to summon her for ourselves?

Justin Ostensen: Keep a close eye on in-game messages and on social media. Guillotine should be sneaking her way into the Contest very soon!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!