Today, a new content update for Kabam's Marvel Contest of Champions drops pitting players against Ultron, the big bad of the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. In addition to new characters, arenas, in-game events and modes, the free Age of Ultron update also offers an exclusive video clip from the upcoming movie sequel. We talked with creative director Cuz Parry about what to expect from all this content, and what lies ahead for Kabam's Marvel Contest of Champions.

Released back in December, Marvel Contest of Champions is a mobile fighting game that allows players to gather a roster of some of Marvel's best and brightest, or biggest and baddest, to take on the challenge of the Collector. While there's been a steady stream of updates, including new characters to unlock, since the winter, the Age of Ultron expansion offers more than just roster updates. "Ultron has infected the contest," Parry explained. "We have the Iso-Sphere, which is sort of the Holy Grail that eveyrbody is fighting for, and Ultron being Ultron, he definitely wants to get a part of it."


With Ultron comes a host of new assets and art, as well as special events based solely around Ultron's invasion in the contest. Parry related that the idea was to make sure this content felt and looked different than everything that's previously been released. Additionally, the Age of Ultron update will allow the developers to go a little deeper, and provide new ally events, new mastery skills, new arenas and 1-on-1 duels. While some of those aspects are included for longtime players, the Ultron content will be easily accessible by anyone, including newcomers.

"We have a very extensive story quest, but with this [update] you don't have to play through the game to get there," Parry said. "We anticipate we're going to get a lot of attention from new users with the movie, and we didn't want to hide Ultron at the back of the game.

"Of course, the game is called Contest of Champions, and it wouldn't be a proper update without including some new champions to take into battle. In addition to finally adding Black Widow, a movie version of the Vision will be coming, as well as a certain big, metal, monster-mashing mech. "Hulkbuster was a no-brainer," Parry said. "We had Black Widow, but wanted to make sure we had a good Avenger packet to bring her in."

With these characters, we weren't really considering the class as much. It's pretty hard not to call Hulkbuster a Tech class hero. And the same thing with Vision; he is a product of technology. Having said that, as we do pick out characters, Marvel has been a great help. They kind of give us a heads up if a character might be important to spotlight a few months down the road. When we do release characters, we do think of the classes in order to balance things out, but with these characters, it's hard not to call Hulkbuster, Vision and Ultron Tech heroes."


You won't just be limited to enjoying these characters in the solo game modes either, as Kabam is beefing up the social experience to make PvP more fleshed out and enjoyable. "We've improved the social hub, so people can find and message friends much easier," Parry elaborated. "We're going to have special alliance events, where your alliance can take on Ultron. In the future, we're looking to add in alliance arenas, and want to give people a reason to hang out and play the game."

Just like Contest of Champions has continually been updated since launch, Age of Ultron won't be the end of the additions coming this year. There does happen to be another small Marvel movie arriving a bit later this summer, after all. "We have a road map of characters we want to roll out down the line," Parry said. "But we also have to work with out partners at Marvel, who might come up with a great opportunity based on something happening in the publishing world. It's definitely a juggling act, but it's a fun juggling act.

"When there's not a movie out, we are looking at what's happening in publishing with Marvel's guidance. We definitely are influenced by both the publishing and cinematic universes, but nothing is really ever dictated to us about who to include."


Though Parry couldn't offer any concrete hints as to what lies beyond Ant-Man for the rest of the year, he hinted that with the absence of a cinematic adventure in the fall, Contest of Champions could be looking to the publishing realm in that time frame (Secret Wars, anyone?). And you know, with Captain America: Civil War just around the bend, it's not to hard to imagine the possibilities for Contest of Champions in 2016.

Marvel Contest of Champions is available now on iOS and Android. The Age of Ultron update will be available starting today.

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