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How Marvel Heroes 2016 draws its own line in the 'Civil War' conflict

As Captain America: Civil War hits theaters tonight, Marvel Heroes 2016 has its own plans to celebrate the movie's release with weeks of in-game tie-in content. To learn more, Shacknews spoke to designer Brian Waggoner.


Marvel's superhero pantheon is at war. Starting late tonight in movie theaters across the United States, Marvel Studios will release Captain America: Civil War. Loosely based on the comic book event from ten years ago, the main story sees Captain America and Iron Man each leading their own willing coalition of heroes and both sides clashing over distinctly different ideas and philosophies. The comic event was a big hit when it released and Marvel is expecting similar success for the film, which is a big part of why Civil War is reaching across other Marvel properties.

That does include video games, such as Gazillion's free-to-play MMORPG, Marvel Heroes 2016. The game recently made the jump to 2016 with a new storyline, improved visuals, and heroes honoring the comic line's recent leap to the "All-New, All-Different" line. But like many others, Gazillion's own developers have been anxiously awaiting the cinematic release of Civil War, which is why the game will feature some major tie-ins to the event. To find out more, Shacknews spoke to designer Brian Waggoner.


Shacknews: It's a huge week for Marvel with Civil War hitting theaters. Marvel Heroes has featured original stories and plots based on classic comics, but has also celebrated Marvel in other media. So with that said, how does Marvel Heroes plan to celebrate Civil War?

Brian Waggoner, Game Designer: Players are going to see some new types of storytelling from us. We have been teasing our content with in-game newspaper drops over the past few weeks that talk about the different events that happen in the Marvel Heroes story and how those impact the people that live in the world.

The great thing about Civil War is that it can be a very personal and emotional story. We really wanted that to be a part of what we have been doing. Our event will officially kick off this week with the villain Crossbones showing up and causing problems for our heroes, which culminates in a pretty intense showdown. The week after, the fallout from that encounter will resonate through the game, where players can choose sides in the conflict, perform missions to raise their influence with their chosen side and gain some exciting rewards. As you would expect, the story line concludes with a very exciting battle between both sides of the Civil War.

Shacknews: Can you share any details about Marvel Heroes' Civil War story? Will it contain elements from both the movie and the comic event from ten years ago?

Waggoner: Much like we did with our last story chapter where we told our version of Secret Invasion, we will be telling our own version of Civil War. Our story is inspired by elements from both the comic story line and Marvel's Captain America: Civil War. The great thing about having so much source material available to us is that we can use it to weave a familiar, yet different narrative for our story. Both comic readers and film fans will feel very connected to our Civil War story.

Shacknews: You're eventually planning to have players choose sides in the superhero conflict. Will you be keeping track of how many players are on each side? And how is the PvE game going to be affected by the fact that there are two distinct factions of heroes running about?

Waggoner: Not only will we be keeping track of how many choose sides, but there will be a competition between the two sides! Players will receive points for completing the new Civil War game modes, new daily missions as well as other aspects of our game. As the week goes on, the leaderboard will maintain a running total of the overall score for each team, and at the end of the week, a winner will be crowned and rewards will be awarded. The PvE game will function the way it currently does, choosing a side wont separate players from interacting with others.

Oh, and here's one other way that players can choose a side. This weekend, from Friday through Sunday, we'll be giving away free unlocks for Captain America or Iron Man – but you can only select one. You decide which you want by entering the code TEAMCAP or TEAMIRONMAN at

Shacknews: Where will the game's villains side in this conflict?

Waggoner: The villains will be doing what they do best, trying to gain power or profit off from the crisis. It will still be very important for our heroes to go out and battle these villains during the event, and there will be new incentives to do so that will help out the side that you have chosen to join.

Shacknews: One of the items on the agenda appears to be a PvP team tournament, with rewards based on team performance. How did this idea come about?

Waggoner: The tournament we have in game is only PvE-related. We wanted to make an event that is open to all levels of players and all types of players. By making the tournament PvE, we make it much more accessible for not only new players to Marvel Heroes, but returning veterans as well. A new player who is trying out Marvel Heroes for the first time will be able to go through our brand new "new player experience" that is launching at the same time as Civil War and then jump right in to our Civil War story line without having to level all the way to max level or do the previous story content.

Shacknews: Your Twitter account has been active with a number of the game's developers divided between Team Cap and Team Iron Man. How have those differences helped in planning the Marvel Heroes tie-in content?

Waggoner: We are at each other's throats! We are all very passionate people here at Gazillion and many of us have very deep connections to characters on one side or the other. Nothing better to get the development juices flowing than some constant conflict rooted in hashtags!

OK, so maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. We actually all get along together really well. It's crazy how much team chemistry there is here at Gazillion.

Shacknews: Moving away from Civil War briefly, you've also shown love to Marvel's efforts on Netflix, releasing skins from Daredevil. Can you talk about what went into the creation of these skins? And has any consideration been given to basing a future line of missions on the Netflix shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage?

Waggoner: It was a fantastic experience working with Marvel to ensure creation of the best assets possible. Basically, they would send us reference material early, and our extremely talented artists would take it from there. That simple.

We don't have anything to announce regarding future Netflix-related content, but we're looking forward to the shows as much as anyone out there.

Shacknews: Civil War also happens to fall one month before the Marvel Heroes anniversary. Can you provide any hints as to what's coming next month for the game's anniversary?

Waggoner: We are in the process of finalizing our anniversary plans right now, so we don't have anything to officially announce. We always love to go a little wild for our anniversary events, so you can expect some fun giveaways, sales, in-game events and more. Look for more information on what we will be doing as we get closer to the beginning of June!

Marvel Heroes 2016 is available now on both the game's website and on Steam.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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