Sunday, October 21, 2012

Project Better Dolphin Presents: Marvel Heroes MMO Interview

Hey viewers,

So it's time for that surprise Peter mentioned in his Walking Dead post! During New York Comic Con, we had the chance to interview Nino Navarra and Josh Book from Marvel Heroes. We cannot stress how awesome it was of Navarra and Book to give us this off the cuff interview and how awesome they were as people in general, so we'd like to personally thank the two for giving us the opportunity to chat with them. Originally, the interview was taped, but because of all the extra background noise we've transcribed the video for you. Enjoy!

Project: Better Dolphin: So what work did you two do on Marvel Heroes?

Book: I'm Josh Book and I'm the Art Director here at Marvel Heroes, so I oversee all of the art of the game.

Navarra: I'm Nino Navarra, and I'm a Concept Artist for Marvel Heroes Online. I work with Josh to do the visual design for the game.

PBD: Dealing more with the game industry, what advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a part of the gaming industry when they graduate college?

 Book: Definitely having traditional art skills is a great thing to have. It's all about developing your eye and developing your drawing skills. We obviously work in the field as well, so if you want to be character artist for a game, we work with ZBrush and [Autodesk] Maya, so get familiar with the different tools we use. But underneath understanding the tools, you need to understand the underlying core principles on drawing and understanding the basics like color, lighting, and all the other stuff we're responsible for.

Navarra:  Yeah, along the lines of what he [Book] is saying, work on your art, and pay attention to what the industry's current, up-to-date needs are. And just going to all the fans and asking them the right questions; just paying attention basically. The issue is constantly changing. Just going to these events--just keep your eye open. Keep your relevance in the modern market of today.

PBD: Ok so when you were drawing these characters, obviously there were other people who had a part in this project, but what did you personally want the fans to take away from this game?

Navarra: We [at the company] are all big Marvel fans, so we just want to do the game justice in that making sure we pay homage to the old school heroes, but also making them up to date for the newer fans who are just getting into Marvel. So we try to keep that in mind so we can kick ass when making the game.

Book: Yeah, we're always looking for a way to outfit all the heroes. We look at the large range of outfits that have been out there [and] drawn by different artists, [so] we do a lot of small variations. I work with Marvel and we go back and forth on the different details that we have for coming up with each, unique look for each costume variation of a character. The big aspect of Marvel Heroes is that we have a bunch of different costume variations for the characters. We just announced at our panel yesterday here at NYCC Mr. Fix It Hulk which is a variation of Hulk where he's wearing pin stripes and a hat and the crowd went wild, and it's just a great look for Hulk! We want basically distinct costumes, so we go through all of the reference material of the giant history of comics; we take it and then we look at them individually, and we decide on all of the subtle variations of what choices we should make.

Navarra: We do a lot of research! We actually work very closely with Marvel to make sure that what we're doing is accurate to what they designed for the heroes. So everything you see here has been shown to so many eyes for approvals.

PBD: Nice! One more question: What's your favorite part about going to events like New York Comic Con or San Diego Comic Con?

Navarra:  Meeting the fans, definitely. I think it's great to always get the feedback from our community. To see what they like and what we should change, because we're always just like, focused and kind of isolated. Going to the events ... we get your guy's feedback. It's great validation for us.

Book: Definitely meeting the fans is awesome, and the overall energy of the con is so great. Like I'm just walking around and it's like, so great to work in the middle of the energy with all these good people. The good thing also is we meet some of our friends who are artists that work in the industry, and pros that work with all that type of stuff. For our motion comics ... we're working with a ton of Marvel Comics artists and since we're in New York a lot of them are local too, so we got to meet a ton of them.

PBD: If you can say, will we be seeing any costumes from the Marvel Now relaunch in the game?

Book: Actually, that's a great question. Yesterday, at our game's panel, we announced the Marvel Now Jean Grey's costume. So yeah, we revealed that, [and] everybody went nuts and it turned  out really great. That was the first of what will be many. Marvel Now's obviously got a lot of great things going on, and we want to get as many varieties and looks for characters in the game as we can.

Navarra: We're big fans of the IP so we're always constantly trying to get as many costumes--our personal favorites--into the game.

Book: We work very closely with Marvel so we like to get a really good idea of what coming up ahead of time and stuff like that, so we can try to bring it in and try to work to get things as possible as we can, including character costumes and whatnot.

That concludes the interview. Hope you guys had fun reading, and stay tuned for more PBD coverage!

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