Marvel.com’s got a man inside Marvel Games.
For over two decades Bill Rosemann has a part of the Marvel family, from his time as a freelance writer for Marvel Age magazine, to marketing copywriter, to “Your Man @ Marvel” blogger, to writer of the Deadline limited series, to editor of dozens of comic series including Nova, Black Panther, Thunderbolts and Avengers Academy. Bill also helped launch the Disney Kingdom imprint and was part of the team that co-created the modern day Guardians of the Galaxy. Bill is now Creative Director for Marvel Games, where he uses his knowledge and passion for the House of Ideas to collaborate with partners around the world on hit titles for console, PC and mobile devices.
Every few weeks, Bill and talented members of the Marvel Games team join us to share their stories as well as exclusive news and scoops on what’s happening in the world of gaming!
Marvel.com: In a very competitive environment, Marvel and Netmarble are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the blockbuster mobile RPG, Marvel Future Fight. How does it feel seeing this game embraced by players for this long?
Bill Rosemann: It’s awesome. Marvel Future Fight holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first games I was lucky enough to work on from launch. When I joined the Marvel Games team two and half years ago, on my first day here it was, “Okay, this game is going to launch in five months. Get to it!”
We hit the ground running and were instantly impressed with the amount of effort, imagination and passion that the Netmarble team poured into it. From the number of characters to the rich detailing of the costumes to the depth of the story and gameplay, Netmarble roared out of the gate and hasn’t taken their foot off the gas for 24 months.
Marvel.com: That’s awesome! One of the great things about Marvel Future Fight is that it’s widely available on iOS and Android. And now it’s hit 50 million downloads.
Bill Rosemann: Yeah, it’s amazing, 50 million players worldwide! As our handy infographic points out, that’s approximately six times bigger than the population of New York. It’s so cool to see True Believers around the globe having so much fun with it.
Marvel.com: Another of the cool things about it is that it’s really easy for new players and casual gamers to pick up, but there’s also so many features and layers for anyone who is a long-time player to dig into. Was accessibility a key factor in developing this game?
Bill Rosemann: Definitely. Marvel creates our games in the same way we do our comic books, TV shows and films, and that’s with an eye on accessibility. We want to share these characters with the world.
Part of achieving that is making the stories of the adventures and the characters easy to understand, relate to and jump into. You need to have a clear entry point and know who the characters are and what their goals and motivations are. In this case, we quickly laid out the mission of the heroes and what they were facing. In the beginning, it was M.O.D.O.K. and his evil alliance who were creating dimensional rifts that were causing realties and alternate versions of characters to collide. And as with all good games, on the surface it’s quick and easy to learn, but the more you play, you see how deep it can get. It’s really about learning to master the strategy and complexities. You can jump in right away, and over time, you can spend a lot of time digging deeper and then experiencing all of the new content that arrives on almost a monthly basis.
Marvel.com: Speaking of that new content, you’ve done a lot of alignments with publishing, TV and film. Currently, there’s the event inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Bill Rosemann: Part of our goal with all of our games is to keep players happy with cool new content that’s introduced in a thoughtful and impactful way. Instead of just releasing characters when we feel like it, we strategically align with our friends in Publishing, TV and Studios. We look ahead where the characters are heading in the next six to twelve months, and when we know something is going to hit – for example one of our upcoming Netflix shows like Defenders — instead of having Daredevil or Jessica Jones appear at a random time with TV-inspired costumes, we wait until when the show is going to hit and then we’ll introduce the content at the same time. As a Marvel fan, that’s really fun because you can go read a comic, watch a TV show or movie, and then in Marvel Future Fight, you can play as the characters or go on a mission that’s inspired by what you just saw. It’s more of what you love, but experienced in an awesome new way.
Marvel.com: For the second year anniversary, what else do you lined up for fans?
Bill Rosemann: In true Marvel Future Fight fashion, the gang at Netmarble is going all out to throw a huge party for all the players. To start, they’re introducing two new characters – Mantis and Agent Venom – as well as uniforms inspired by GOTG Vol 2 for Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. To top it off they’re unleashing the World Boss Ultimate and Alliance Quest modes.
What I also like about the second year anniversary is that it’s a chance to take a step back and look at what the team has done in the past 24 months and what players have responded to. If you look at our infographic, it’s a bit surprising to see who the most popular characters are and see which characters have meaning and impact for the game. We were really happy that our most popular female character is our all-new hero, Sharon Rogers, the Captain America we created together during our Captain America 75th Anniversary.
For those who haven’t played it yet, in our game we introduced a reality in which Steve Rogers was not frozen in ice during WW2. Instead, after he helped the Allies win the war, he and Agent Peggy Carter got married and had a daughter that they named Sharon. On her world, she has inherited her parents’ training and has inherited the mantle of her reality’s Captain America.
Another thing we’re doing with Sharon for the second year anniversary is all-new and FREE digital comic book you can read right here at Marvel.com. It’s written by Marc Sumerak, who is now the new writer of the game, and it’s drawn by artist Andrea Di Vito, who I’ve worked with for years in Publishing on titles like Nova. It tells the story of the first meeting between Captain America Sharon Rogers and the Guardians of the Galaxy…and features a two-page sneak peek at some surprises coming your way in the game over the next year!
Marvel.com: We’ve talked about what the fans responded well to, but what are your personal favorite characters and events you guys have had in the past two years?
Bill Rosemann: Wow, it’s hard to pick just one. In fact, what I like is the variety and range of the characters introduced. From Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Spider-Verse to Marvel NOW! to Monsters Unleashed, it’s great when we can work very closely with Marvel Publishing or TV and have new characters and costumes hit in our game in the same month or even same week when they’re appearing elsewhere.
Marvel.com: You guys have what, over 120 characters to choose from? It’s a huge roster!
Bill Rosemann: That’s right! Marvel Future Fight holds the record out of all our mobile-only games for the greatest number of characters. We’re only able to do with the hard work of the Netmarble team and the cooperation of everyone in all the different divisions at Marvel. For example, my friends in editorial know that when they’re introducing a new costume or character, they will email me — even if it’s a black-and-white sketch – so we can immediately reach out to all our partners for all our games and say, “Hey! Here is this new hotness, and it’s going to hit in this month, and if we get started now, maybe we can get it in the game. Netmarble has been amazing at embracing the new content and putting it in the game month after month.
And I have to mention that the inclusion of all the new content – and the fact that the game has been a hit for two years – is also the result of the efforts of the entire Marvel Games team, especially our assistant creative manager Isabel Hsu and producers Mike Jones, Tim Hernandez and Danny Koo. It truly takes a village, and I’m proud of the efforts of everyone on the Netmarble and Marvel teams who have helped to make Marvel Future Fight the success that it is.
Marvel.com: That’s awesome! Now, as we look ahead, what can you share with us that we can expect from Marvel Future Fight?
Bill Rosemann: Hmmm…what can I reveal? I can say that we will continue to work with all our friends at Marvel to make sure that if there’s a big event — whether that’s in TV, film or the comics – we’ll bring gamers the excitement right here in our game as well. We also have the freedom to do our own themes and introduce characters that players have been asking for. I also hope to work with Netmarble again and create all-new costumes characters. When we listen to players and then do our best to deliver a character we think they will like and get behind, we’ll have more success! So look forward to that as well!
Marvel.com: That’s amazing! Happy anniversary and here’s to the next 50 million players!
Bill Rosemann: 50 million more players! And hey, two more years, why not? Say it with me: Future Fight!