We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the FoxNext dev team and chat about a wide range of topics on Marvel Strike Force.
MMORPG.com: For those unfamiliar: Can you give us an overview of what MARVEL Strike Force is and tell us what sets it apart from similar games that can be found on mobile right now?
FoxNext: MARVEL Strike Force is a squad based strategic role-playing game set in the MARVEL universe. You assemble five-member squads of MARVEL Super Heroes and Super Villains to defend the earth from world-ending threats like Ultimus and his Kree armada. You recruit your dream teams and battle your way through an extensive campaign mode, fight other players’ teams for a place on the global PvP leaderboard, join up with an Alliance and take on challenging group raids, all the while powering up your teams and collecting more of your favorite MARVEL heroes and villains along the way.
We love MARVEL Super Heroes and Super Villains, from their iconic character designs to their compelling stories and relationships, and we consider the IP to be one of Strike Force’s biggest strengths. We’re especially proud of the quality of the moment-to-moment experience – the fun and strategically deep gameplay mechanics, the cinematic animations, VFX, models, and the breadth of experiences and features every type of player can connect with. Lastly, we think we bring something special to the table in the form of our commitment to the game and its future. We’re serving players more content and features every month, aggressively growing our dev team to do so, and we’re investing in building a real relationship with the player community. We’re in this for the long haul.
MMORPG.com: It’s no secret that despite the fun and gorgeous game that MSF is, things have been a bit bumpy for players over the last few months. Can you weigh in on the last few months and offer some insight on the steps you guys are taking going forward to address some of the pain points raised by the community and improve communication?
FoxNext: It’s true that we’ve made a few missteps over the last few months. We posted a few longer form blogs outlining what we’ve heard from the community and where we feel we can improve, and some of the points are pretty nuanced, so I won’t try to hit them all here. A few big learnings I walked away with are that players felt we’d been making changes to the game without providing enough context or warning, and some of the changes we made to in-game events and rewards along the way felt bad. We’ve since committed to weekly developer posts (at a minimum), rolled back a few of the reward and event changes we’d made, and we’ve delayed some big updates and features to make sure players are ready and excited for their arrival. It will be a learning process, but we’re pushing ourselves every day to live up to the commitments we’ve made.
MMORPG.com: Speaking of pain points, the biggest QoL feature we’ve been waiting for is the ability to save multiple teams for Blitz. Do you have any new information on when players can expect to see this feature?
FoxNext: Saved Squads is a feature that our team has been chomping at the bit to implement for a while now. Not only the ability to save squads, but other quality of life improvements like knowing what tier you are on before a fight begins. These are coming soon.
MMORPG.com: Do you have any details to share at this time on Alliance War? The mode has been sitting there greyed out for some time now. Can you tell us anything about the mode or when players can expect to see it go live?
FoxNext: Yeah, it’s understandable that people would be curious about the latest news of Alliance Wars after essentially teasing the mode since we launched the game back in March. This was a feature that we were working on during the development of the game, and were fully intending to have ready by the time that MARVEL Strike Force launched. Ultimately, we felt that it needed more development and iteration time before it was ready for the public, and a couple of months before the launch of Strike Force, we made the tough decision to put development on Wars on hold in order to focus on the game’s release. With the launch of the game now behind us, we’ve shifted our attention back to Alliance Wars, and are aiming to get it out around the new year. We’re hopeful that later this year we can get an early version of the feature into the hands of some of our most dedicated alliances as a beta test of sorts, and we’ll have more details about the actual gameplay of Alliance Wars as that beta date approaches.
MMORPG.com: What can you tell us about the new Dark Dimension mode? What sorts of rewards can players tough enough to tackle this content expect to find?
FoxNext: Dark Dimension is a new game mode in the v.2.0 release, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it’s hard as hell. It’s effectively end-game content, and should prove to be an extreme challenge for the highest level squads for the foreseeable future. It’s comprised of two difficulty levels: Enter the Darkness and Fear the Darkness, and your goal in both modes is to fight through a series of tough battles over an extended period of time, measured over the course of weeks and months. Enemy HP is persistent in Dark Dimension, so players can return to their fights after they’ve inevitably been knocked out for the day. We’re not sure when players will beat these modes – in fact, Fear the Darkness is gated by a gear level that’s currently not available – so we want to offer a cool reward as a light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t want to reveal TOO much at this point, but I can say that the first person to complete Fear the Darkness will have their name enshrined in one of the game’s combat arenas.
MMORPG.com: A number of other new features were announced in a recent blog post, including Alliance leveling and some sort of star based advancement system for characters. Can you go into any more detail on these features?
FoxNext: As you mention, we just launched Stark Tech upgrades and Alliance Donations in our v.2.0 release this week. You can now unlock Stark Tech upgrades, which are permanent stat increases to the characters of an Origin of your choice. By donating Gold or Power Cores to your alliance, you earn Alliance Credits, the currency with which you buy Stark Tech upgrades. You also unlock additional benefits in Stark Tech by earning Alliance XP and increasing your alliance’s level. Alliance levels will play an important role in the upcoming Alliance Wars as well.
MMORPG.com: The MARVEL universe is deep and many of its characters have had all sorts of different looks over the years. Having costumes in MARVEL Strike Force would be, at the very least, a great way for players to customize their characters visually, but it could also offer opportunities to customize the way characters play. What are your plans (if any) for featuring costumes in MARVEL Strike Force?
FoxNext: Absolutely agree – MARVEL’s characters have all had storied pasts accompanied with an ever-evolving style over the years, and celebrating some of the different variants of those characters is an obvious feature that we can add to Strike Force. It’s something we’d love to do, and fully intend to do at some point. We even did a trial run of sorts when we swapped out Deadpool’s usual red and black outfit for his gray X-Force uniform as a nod to the home theater release of Deadpool 2 recently. As I mention above, however, we’re laser-focused on Alliance Wars right now, and want to make sure we get that feature right before we move on to new functionality like skins. Soon-ish, though!
MMORPG.com: We’ve been really excited to see Mutants added to MARVEL Strike Force over the past couple of months. So far, we’ve got Deadpool, Cable, Wolverine, and Storm. Can you shed any light on which Mutant characters may be joining the MARVEL Strike Force roster soon?
FoxNext: If you follow the Strike Force subreddit, you’ll know that we’ve made no secret about the number of villains we plan on releasing through the end of the year. In fact, barring one hero we have in the works, every character coming out through the rest of 2018 will be a villain, including a handful of mutants. One of them is Mystique, who will be available in the very near future, as well as a certain colleague of hers with a particularly magnetic personality.
MMORPG.com: How are you feeling about the state of Storm right now? In our view, she’s really fun to play, but she takes a bit too long to ramp up. Is there any chance you might add a % chance proc to gain additional stacks of Charged when her basic attack strikes adjacent targets? Or for Ice Storm to either not consume stacks or only consume some percentage of Charged stacks when used?
FoxNext: It’s unlikely we’ll be revamping Storm soon, as we have other new and existing characters that need attention right now. That said, we probably won’t have characters that have multiple abilities that consume Charged in the future. For now, we want to see how people use Storm over time. With more mutants on the way, we have a lot of opportunities in the future to boost her through team synergies or do some additional tuning that amplifies what's fun about the character.
MMORPG.com: Finally, what are some of the more exciting things you’re looking forward to adding to MARVEL Strike Force by the end of 2018? What can players look forward to?
FoxNext: If you haven’t been able to tell by now, the one feature I care most deeply about is Alliance Wars. It’s the thing that’s consuming most of our attention, as it’s effectively a game within a game, and the one generating the most excitement among the team. I really want to get the feature in a state where we can put it into the hands of some of our most dedicated alliances and start getting actual feedback from real players.