In the United States, the Fourth of July is a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate the country's independence, watch some fireworks, and, well, to eat as many hot dogs and hamburgers as possible.
This year, Marvel Games is getting in on the celebratory action, with the arrival of ex-Falcon Sam Wilson as Captain America in "Marvel Heroes" and "Marvel: Future Fight." Meanwhile, Iron Patriot and a World War II version of Captain America find themselves added to the "Marvel Contest of Champions" mix. "Marvel Puzzle Quest" will hold three player-vs-player tournament from July 3-9 that star Captain Marvel, Falcon and Captain America, and give players the opportunity to pull from the newly announced Vault where they can receive curated prizes each time they draw from the large pool of shown items offered to them, while "Spider-Man Unlimited" will feature a fireworks display on the Fourth.
CBR News spoke with Bill Rosemann, the Creative Director for Marvel Games, about how these patriotic celebrations came about, the logistics behind crafting an event across several games and whether there are plans for similar endeavors in the future.
CBR News: What prompted your decision to add the Sam Wilson version of Captain America to "Marvel Heroes" and "Marvel: Future Fight," and Iron Patriot and WWII Captain America to "Marvel Contest of Champions"?
For us, bringing Sam Wilson as Captain America to "Marvel Heroes" and "Marvel: Future Fight" is a continuation of how we synchronize the comics and the games. There is a direct pipeline from everyone on the publishing side to everyone on the games side, and we are constantly sharing updates. Everything from new character designs to story outlines. The goal is to bring all the new stuff from the comics to the games. Like when we announced that Spider-Woman would have a new look, we then said, "... and you can play her right now in 'Spider-Man Unlimited.'" How cool was that?
But we also let the developers of these games decide what would be best for their games. We do protect our characters, and will say, "Sorry, you can't have them doing that, it's not true to the character," but we never dictate what has to happen. So with Iron Patriot and WWII Captain America, we suggested it to the "Marvel Contest of Champions" team as a July 4th promo, and they ran with it.
Is that why all three characters aren't being added to all three games? Or why Zen Studios didn't make Sam Wilson Captain America, Iron Patriot or WWII Captain America pinball tables for "Zen Pinball 2" and "Pinball FX 2"?
Right. We open up these opportunities to everyone. It's like with the comics. When we're doing a big event, like "Secret Wars," we don't tell the writers of some comics that they can tie in to it but others can't.
Though I'll also say that sometimes things just don't align. Some games take longer to do things than others, and some games already have things in the pipeline.
Now, the Sam Wilson version of Captain America looks similar in "Marvel Heroes" and "Marvel: Future Fight." I assume this was intentional.
It was. We always start with the source material, and we want to make sure that when you see the character in the game, they look like they do in the comics. Of course, the challenge -- given the art style of each game, and how they can be different from each other -- is how close can they get to the comics.
When it came to the World War II version of Captain America, was his design based on how he looked in the original comics from that era, how he looked in modern comics that were set during WWII, or the movie "Captain America: The First Avenger"?
With a character who's been drawn by different artists in different ways and in different mediums, we try to figure out what would work best for the different games, as well as being the most recognizable. In this case, we let Kabam, the developers of "Marvel Contest of Champions," create an original design, and then we workshopped it back and forth.
In addition to all the characters you're adding, there's also going to be three player-vs-player tournaments in "Marvel Puzzle Quest."
Right. Because when it comes to representing the red, white and blue, who better than the US Air Force's own Captain Marvel and America's number one tag-team, Falcon and Captain America?
Well, there's Flag-Man, but I think he retired to Boca a few years ago. Anyway, there's also going to be a fireworks display in the game "Spider-Man Unlimited." How is that going to work? Will it be video of real fireworks, computerized fireworks?
Well, they won't burst off your screen and into your living room.
What's cool about all of the Marvel games is that each one has its own look. "Spider-Man Unlimited" has a really cool, hand-drawn look. It really looks like a comic book come to life, so [the fireworks] will be executed in that style.
Was a real fireworks company hired to design them?
Their team is so talented that I'm sure they have someone who is a fireworks expert. It's like when they added Doctor Octopus' underground headquarters -- I doubt they hired an architect who's an expert in designing underground lairs.
Given that it's a Spider-Man game where these fireworks are happening, it seems rather likely that the fireworks will start a fire, and that Spidey will have to rescue some people, which will make him late for a BBQ at Mary Jane's house. Or is that the point?
Well, you know the old Parker luck. But in this case, I think it will be more of a positive celebration. I don't think it will go wrong. But you never know.
If this all goes according to plan, are you considering other holiday-related events? Because adding Spider-Ham to games during Passover or Chanukah might be a bad idea.
Yeah, that wouldn't work. Ben Grimm would not be able to partake.
We're thinking of this as a continuation of what we did when "Avengers: Age of Ultron" was coming out, and we had those characters added to our different games. So we're going to keep doing this, whether it connects to our movies or events in the comics or something else.
Finally, is there a character you'd love to add to all three games, but you know no one would ever let you because nobody else would care?
It's actually the opposite. All of the developers have, on their teams, fanboys and fangirls, so they're always surprising me by suggesting characters that I never thought anyone would suggest. But there really are no limits to what we can do.
"Marvel Heroes" is out now on PC, and is coming soon to Mac.
"Marvel: Future Fight" is out now for iOS and Android devices.
"Marvel Contest of Champions" is out now for iOS and Android.
"Marvel Puzzle Quest" is out now for iOS, Android, and PC.
"Spider-Man Unlimited" is out now for iOS and PC.