Brandon Van Slyke: Powers Designer
Ms. Marvel was a unique character to design because she embodies a lot of different elements from other heroes. Her strength is one of her biggest assets, and we really tried to play that up throughout the development of her character. We wanted to create a character that can hit enemies from afar, from the air, and would also have the ability to chase down enemies using her inherent speed.
What are your favorite powers or fusions?
As far as Ms. Marvel goes, I really enjoy the moves that show off her speed. And so her dash/charge power and her double ground-pound fusion are my favorite.
Any crazy bugs that happened during development?
There was a weird one for one of her fusions: we’ve got one which has a sort of “clothesline” maneuver, where she and her partner are essentially tied to one another and move in tandem. When this was early in its development, your partner’s "default" distance was fairly undefined… and often your partner would attempt to keep a certain distance from you. We soon found ourselves chasing the Fusion partners around the test map trying to corner them, watching as the CPU-controlled partner fought to get to its correct position. Eventually we were even able to push the fusion partners through the collision and watch them freefall outside of the world. It was pretty funny, but we ended up fixing it for the game. Now the AI is much more cooperative.
Any good anecdotes?
Not during crunch time.
On Ms. Marvel’s look:
Bryan Shutt: Art Director
We gather a lot of comic reference before starting any concept, and as you may know, the comics aren’t always consistent. The exact look of a character can vary from issue to issue and from artist to artist. But that’s a good thing. That’s the beauty of comics. It allows and encourages each artist to create their own interpretation of established characters. Sometimes it’s for story purposes, but many times, it’s just creative whim.
However, these discrepancies sometimes drove us crazy because we were always questioning which was the “right way.” Of course, there is no one right way, but choosing a design that we felt would resonate with our audience was important to us. We found that the challenge for us as game artists was to cull out all of the design elements we liked and try to produce something new that fit our visual style guide. We then ran our initial ideas by Marvel and they either approved it or made change requests. This was one such time where a specific request came in for Ms. Marvel.
Going into it, we knew we wanted to produce a fairly straightforward translation of Ms. Marvel’s costume from page to model. We already liked the design and didn’t think it needed much else other than adding a few details here and there. Concept Artist, Dave Phillips, did add a notch to the sleeves of the gloves and some red trim around her black suit, but we ran into some issues with the mask.
In some cases Ms. Marvel is depicted wearing a closed mask design with blank, white lenses that conform closely to the shape of her eyes. In other cases she’s sporting her baby blues in an open-framed mask with wide holes that extend out to her cheekbones and brow. The closed mask makes her feel more mysterious while the open mask gives her a more natural, human appeal. Both versions appear throughout many of the issues we were referencing for her including Ms. Marvel, Civil War, Avengers: The Initiative and The Mighty Avengers series. So, which to choose?
Originally we went with the closed mask, but Marvel asked us to change it to the open one. They chose this design because it was her most common look in the Civil War era. They also felt that it fit into a more practical, real world realm, as having a lensed mask close to your eyes could presumably inhibit your peripheral vision. We agreed, and made the change.
It may seem like a very minor adjustment, but it helps to set a tone for the character, especially in conversations. In the end, all the little changes end up making a big difference.