8:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Ant-Man' Leaps Into Marvel's 'Contest of Champions' Game (Exclusive)
Marvel's Ant-Man isn't content with having his own movie (opening in nine days) to himself. The former thief- turned-size-changing superhero is also stealing the spotlight in Marvel Contest of Champions, with the mobile game adding the character, his cinematic nemesis Yellowjacket and a new storyline that takes the epic narrative of the game and gets small.
"The designers created a new Microrealm to exist within the current Battlerealm," said Cuz Parry, creative director at game developers Kabam. "Bascially, Ant-Man and your team of champions shrink down to navigate the map. Then when we see Ant-Man in a fight, we get a chance to see the action from his perspective — he shrinks and enlarges in order to fight, just like in the movie."
The action in the Microrealm centers around the discovery of miniature Adaptoids taking fragments of ISO-8 to a mysterious location, which just may be connected to a familiar Marvel villain. But before Ant-Man and the player faces off against that bad guy, there'll be Yellowjacket to deal with. And, yes; despite comic book Yellowjacket being a good guy, the game's version definitely follows the example of the movie.
"When Marvel explained that Yellowjacket was a villain, we had a momentary, 'whaaa … ?'" Parry admitted, "but it's Marvel. These guys rule, and we had no doubt they'd pull it, so we had no doubts casting Yellowjacket as a villain." It helped, of course, to think practically, he explained. "With the massive popularity of the cinematic universe, it's likely that more people will get to know him as a villain than comics fans that recall a heroic Yellowjacket."
Putting Ant-Man into the game might have caused what Parry called "a challenge for our animators" — "they're amazing at what they do, so we're pretty sure the results will get people super stoked on the action," he added — but it was intended to be additive to the game as a whole.
"From the outset we wanted to ensure that Ant-Man and his story made sense in the context of The Contest and the events that have already transpired, such as Age of Ultron," Parry said. "We kicked around ideas with the creative team at Marvel on how to connect the events. And, just as importantly, how they will connect with the future evolution of The Contest's story and events."
For fans wondering, yes, that does mean that Ant-Man's mysterious ultimate foe might turn out to be a familiar face; one of many, with other Marvel characters making their debut in the game as part of the Ant-Man update including Iron Man's War Machine, and Daredevil's Elektra. "We take our cue from Marvel's awesome ability to provide just enough linkage between their various universes to keep people hyped and curious as to what comes next ... and how it all makes sense together," Parry teased.
Marvel Contest of Champions's Ant-Man update launches on July 9.