'Avengers 4' Spoilers Already Influencing 'Marvel: Contest of Champions'
Plenty of fans and leakers may claim to know what happens in Avengers 4, but the video game developers at Kabam have an inside track. The company behind the Marvel fighting game Contest of Champions works directly with Marvel to integrate the latest updates from the MCU directly into the game.
Inverse caught up with Gabriel Frizzera, the creative and art director for Contest of Champions, at New York Comic Con 2018 earlier this month, where he teased the events of Avengers 4 and laid out his plans for the game through Marvel’s “Phase 3” and beyond.
The video game developers at Kabam, the company behind the mobile Marvel fighting game Contest of Champions, will know tons of Avengers 4 secrets before the rest of us — and they might even know some already.
Avengers 4 is “going to change the status quo forever,” Frizzera says. “The Marvel Universe will be a bit different after that, so we’re going to change with them.”
To celebrate Avengers: Infinity War earlier this year, Contest of Champions added Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight as playable Champions in April. Then in May, the game introduced Infinity War versions of Captain America and Iron Man in his Mk. 50 armor. Frizzera couldn’t go into detail about Avengers 4 plans, but we can safely expect a handful of new characters that directly tie into the events of that film — and all that’s after the game introduces tie-ins to Captain Marvel in March.
“I’ve seen some really cool stuff about the movie,” Frizzera says. “We’re preparing to be right there with them, releasing characters and connecting to the story. Then, who knows?”
Contest of Champions was released in 2014 with a mere 26 characters, but since then it has blossomed into a sprawling, epic storyline and reached 120 playable champions, with two new additions this October. The game has over 156 million downloads and millions of players each day.
“We just released Symbiote characters for this month’s event: Symbiote-Supreme, a mixture of Doctor Strange and the Symbiote,” Frizzera says. “And then Venom the Duck is just the most outrageous character we ever created.” (Imagine if the Venom Symbiote infected Howard the Duck…)
Whereas many Marvel shows or movies are bound by the laws of contracts and legal ownership that prevent the X-Men and Avengers from crossing over just yet, Contest of Champions is free to explore all manner of tie-ins with new movies, shows, and comics.
“Of course, we don’t follow only the MCU,” Frizzera says. “We have our own story too.”
Domino from Deadpool 2 (albeit in a comics-accurate costume) was added to the game shortly after Infinity War. Other more recent additions include Korg from Thor: Ragnarok, followed by mutants Omega Red and Emma Frost. Frizzera also acknowledges that Contest of Champions could tie in with the Netflix Marvel shows or even the likes of Cloak and Dagger and Runaways.
“Next month, we’re going to release AEGon, which is the next original character we created with Marvel,” Frizzera says. AEGon was the first-ever winner of the titular Contest of Champions, giving him a championship belt that comes with some pretty extreme cosmic powers.
The future of Contest of Champions looks exciting with the upcoming onslaught of Marvel-related movies and TV shows. Not only can we look forward to tie-ins to Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, but the Kabam team also has its sights set on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
“They shared some stuff with us and some of the art,” Frizzera says. “Maybe we want to do some of the heroes from that movie because they have really good twists on the characters.”
Despite branching out and dabbling in every possible universe, cinematic or otherwise, that includes Marvel characters, Frizzera and the rest of the Champions team is focused on telling a focused, ongoing story.
“We’ve been telling the same epic from 2014,” Frizzera says. “We also have monthly story quests, but everything kind of builds towards this one story, right? We’re going to have Act 6 of the story beginning next year that’s going to wrap up this first arc and then start a new one.”
That’s a story four years in the making that’ll end sometime in 2019, launching an entirely new plot for years to come. Frizzera also teased a new event starting early next year that’ll last around a year and a half.
“We like to have long arcs and plant the seeds early and harvest everything a big apocalyptic event, kind of like the comics do,” Frizzera says, adding that the team wants the game to last at least 10 or even 15 years.
At this rate, Contest of Champions shows no signs of slowing down, and piggy-backing off of huge cinematic events like Avengers 4 is bound to only grow its fan base.
Marvel: Contest of Champions is available now from the Apple Store or Google Play.
Additional reporting by Eric Francisco.