Just in time for the release of Captain Marvel, Marvel's Contest of Champions mobile game has received two new playable characters in the form of Captain Marvel and Nick Fury. While these two Champions are mainly inspired by their cinematic counterparts, the game takes Carol and Nick one step further with moves inspired by their comic book iterations.
While Captain Marvel has already had a Champion in the form of Captain Marvel (Classic), this new iteration is more closely inspired by her cinematic counterpart. In addition to sporting some flashy new moves and poison immunity thanks to her Kree blood, this new Captain sports the Binary Durability signature ability; whenever she successfully blocks a physical attack, uses a special move, or gets hit by an energy attack, she gains Energy Charges that remains between fights. After gaining at least ten Energy Charges, you can activate Carol's Binary Ignition form, which grants Captain Marvel increased damage and even invulnerability, depending on how many Energy Charges have been spent. Since her moves generate Energy Charges, playing as Captain Marvel requires some tactical thinking, rather than button mashing.
Newcomer Nick Fury boasts a surprisingly diverse set of moves, primarily relying on firearms, knives and spy gadgetry. Reflecting his position as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury also has an array of synergy bonuses to strengthen his teammates. Likewise, Fury can call down an airstrike from the Helicarrier for a spectacular special attack. In a nod to his comic incarnation, Fury bears the Life Model Decoy signature move, wherein the first time Fury falls in combat, he regains full health. Destroying this L.M.D., however, causes Nick to lose his Infinity Formula, leaving him with a diminishing health bar; a subtle reference to the Original Sin comics by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato.
Of course, Contest of Champions fans may notice there are now two Captain Marvels in the game. Likewise, you may not remember Nick Fury using a Life Model Decoy within the MCU. We noticed the same things, and so, in addition to letting us try out these cosmically cool Champions ahead of time, Kabam (the developer behind the game) answered some questions for us.
CBR: What differentiates this new Captain Marvel character from the preexisting "Captain Marvel (Classic)" character?
Gabriel Frizzera (Art/Creative Director): Other than the obvious visual differences (the classic is inspired by the comics, the new one by the movie), they are completely different characters. New animation set, new FX, new abilities. We designed her from scratch as a brand new Champion, and she plays very differently from the classic one. I love my classic Captain Marvel, but this new one is a powerhouse.
Kevan Yip (Champion Designer): The biggest difference in game play is definitely the way in which Carol utilizes her powers: super strength, flight, durability and energy projection. Captain Marvel (Classic) is more true to her comic book iteration where her powers are more readily available to her. The new Captain Marvel is a bit more complex because her powers slowly build over the course of a battle. It takes time for Captain Marvel to fully realize her powers and if played correctly will completely surpass her Classic predecessor.
When creating new characters that tie in to a specific Marvel film or event, do you specifically focus more heavily on the cinematic source material or the comics?
Frizzera: Marvel always shares movie character references ahead of time, and we ask many questions about their powers and abilities. We try to be close to the MCU versions as much as we can, but we often downplay or expand on some elements. Visually we always punch the colors more and reduce detail frequency to make the characters really pop on the small screen. Movies usually add details and textures for the big screen, we often have to do the opposite so our characters fit our style and don't get too noisy. In the gameplay side, we sometimes add powers and abilities that we know a character has, even if the movie won't show it. Our first goal is to always create characters that work well in The Contest environment, and sometimes we bend the rules a bit, even with MCU characters, to make sure they have interesting and useful abilities.
Yip: Marvel films always present us with an interesting design challenge. Oftentimes small details that differ between the movies and comics changes how the character will end up playing in-game. When designing film characters, we always try our best to stay true to how they are portrayed on the big screen. If players can play our movie inspired Champions and then have a great experience that meets their expectations after watching the film, we have done our jobs correctly!
Given their presence in the loading screens, we have to and whether there will be any Skrull characters coming to Contest of Champions in the future.
Frizzera: The Skrulls have a long and complex history with The Battlerealm, one that we'll start revealing in this event. Some people think they're simply the archetype of the "green alien"; evil invaders trying to destroy our way of life. But in The Contest, everybody is in the same boat: hero or villain, they have all been kidnapped by capricious cosmic beings for their own entertainment. Whatever is your race, your primary objective is survival, and the Skrulls are not that different from us. So we'll see their story develop some interesting shades of gray.
Could you explain the play styles you have in mind when designing Nick Fury and Captain Marvel? Specifically, could you explain Captain Marvel's "Binary Ignition" buff and how it relates to playing as her?
Yip: Binary Ignition was designed to specifically show off Carol as the spacefaring powerhouse she is in the film. Our intention is to have Binary Ignition feel like a satisfying pay off after fighting to build up her Energy Charges. If activated, Binary Ignition grants extremely potent damage in short skirmishes. Players can expect a large damage boost as well as the ability to deal a large portion of additional Energy Damage with her attacks. When Awakened, Captain Marvel becomes extra durable when activating Bianry Ignition, allowing her to absorb large chunks of damage from Special Attacks which is extremely useful in our high level content. Players will want to play Captain Marvel and fully utilize their time in Binary Ignition while it is active since it does not last forever.
Noah Vejvoda (Game Designer): There were two strong goals when designing Nick Fury's abilities, make him feel tactically focused, and make him feel like a badass! Combining these two goals drove Fury's kit in the direction of building tactical charges to unlock better abilities throughout the fight, allowing him to take on a wide variety of Champions across The Battlerealm so long as players understand their opponent and use Fury's utilities accordingly. Additionally, since Fury isn't exactly known for his frontline fighting skills, a large portion of his value lies within the synergies and boosts he provides to his team, all this making him a solid member on nearly any team!
Every game has to have at least one overpowered character or move. Are we wrong, or is Nick Fury's "Life Model Decoy" special ability the most OP move in Contest of Champions?
Vejvoda: No, Nick Fury's Life Model Decoy is definitely a very strong ability whichi is something we aim to achieve with all Champions in The Contest. Fury's decoy can only trigger once per quest and comes with gameplay penalties making it similar to other Champions with a second chance mechanic such as Hela's "Goddess of Death" or Punisher's "Defy Pain" abilities.
With any strong ability such as Fury's Decoy, it comes with tradeoffs to find the best balance we can achieve, but should not take the spot as "most overpowered move in the Contest."
Captain Marvel and Nick Fury are both available now in Marvel's Contest of Champions, which is available on both iOS and Android devices.