INTERVIEW: Disney talks to MCV about its new Marvel Facebook game

With the hugely anticipated The Avengers almost here, Disney has released Marvel: Avengers Alliance for Facebook today.

The game is an incredibly deep and expansive look into the Marvel universe, and has the potential to be a major player in the current cavalcade of Facebook games coming from top tier companies. MCV took the opportunity to discuss today’s launch of the game with Scott Bagshaw,Senior National Manager, Disney Interactive Media Group AU/NZ.

Facebook games range from token efforts to full-scale games. What is the scale of this Marvel: Avengers Alliance?

It’s been in development for more than a year. It’s difficult to measure exactly how many people have been involved because it’s been supported by so many teams across the company, including teams across Playdom and Marvel.

Companies have been trying for years to figure out how to get fans to share their content on Facebook. It seems the offering of premium content in the form of genuinely fun and playable games is the solution working for most companies who can afford it.

Does Disney consider this an exercise in further branding Marvel, or is there a campaign in place to promote this game specifically as being worthy of praise in and of itself?

Good question, I think first and foremost, it’s important to talk about the history of the development of the game. Playdom acquired the license to produce a Marvel title in 2010, and when Disney purchased Playdom, the synergistic opportunities seem to just fall into place. The theatrical timing is definitely fortuitous but Marvel as a brand on a whole is something that lives beyond just one movie release. This game also features a unique artistic style, as well as its own storyline and fiction.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance, besides being the first Disney-branded title from Playdom is an outstanding stand-alone game—regardless of platform. We’ve seen tremendous results in our early tests, from both hard-core gamers to casual gaming fans.

The beauty of Marvel: Avengers Alliance is obviously after the big awareness at launch, hopefully a surge in interest around the movie, is that we have plenty more new stories and characters for months and hopefully years to come. This game, like the franchise, extends beyond just the film tentpoles.

With a brand extension such as this, does Disney choose to unleash it well in advance to build hype slowly over time, or do they make a lot of noise around the release of the app itself as an additional way to keep The Avengers in the forefront of people’s minds?

Marvel: Avengers Alliance was developed as a deep, stand-alone game experience with more than 60 hours of gameplay at launch. Obviously this year is big news for Marvel but I think that the awareness and love for the brand has always been around and will continue to grow. It’s a timeless franchise that gets better with time- we are so fortunate to have such a rich library of stories and characters that we can continue to bring to new audiences.

We have not seen anything like this on Facebook and hope to welcome an entirely new audience to Facebook gaming.

What will make it stand out from that crowd?

Our hope was to building a game accessible enough for the casual audience, butauthentic enough for long-time Marvel fans, much in the same way the movies have done with the Marvel franchise. There is nothing like Marvel: Avengers Alliance on the market- I think everything from the characters, to the game play to the creative and graphics. Casual games right up to hard-core gamers are going to really enjoying playing it.

Thank you for your time.

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