Hey all! Thanks for joining us on the Demiurge Blog. Check out the incredible process our artist Jae Tsai went through to create the poses for Thor, Goddess of Thunder in Marvel Puzzle Quest:
I'm Casey Malone, a Game Designer here at Demiurge Studios, and I was lucky enough to drive the character design for this new version of Thor. As a huge Marvel fan, there are a lot of special treats that come with getting to help make Marvel Puzzle Quest, and getting to bring a brand-new Thor to life in our game definitely counts. Mjolnir being passed to a woman for the first time ever is an exciting new direction for this character that we were proud to showcase, but timing the character's release with her arrival in the comics presented a couple interesting challenges.
The first challenge came from the newness of the character - who is Thor? When we start designing a character for Marvel Puzzle Quest, we often go back and find specific amazing feats of heroism (or villainy!) from the comics, or find a story that captures an important facet of their character. With Thor, we had to capture her powers and personality without having read a single issue!
The second challenge was that this was the third version of Thor in Marvel Puzzle Quest so far. Odinson's abilities - Mjolnir's Might, Thunder Strike, and Call The Storm - do a tremendous job telling the story of the God of Thunder, and are powerful enough to make him a staple of competitive play at both 2 and 3-Star levels. This Thor is a new character, but she has all the same powers, so how do we make three abilities that feel new but still revolve around thunder, lightning, and hitting something with a big dang hammer?
Luckily, this is where having a direct line to Marvel came in handy. They were able to paint a picture of Thor that was brave and direct as the old Thor, but a little less cocky and furious. And while just as powerful, Thor isn’t as experienced as her predecessor, having just picked Mjolnir up off the Moon (you all went out and read Thor #1, right?). She's going to have to rely on the magic of Mjolnir more than her own hard-won skills.
With these characteristics in mind, we set to work trying to find a mechanic to build Thor’s abilities around. With most characters, we set out looking to build something fresh from existing game elements - Strike, Protect, Attack and Countdown tiles are our bread and butter - but since Thor was a 4-Star character and a big deal, we wanted to find something new and exciting to showcase her powers. Enter Charged Tiles.
When someone brings down lightning in Marvel Puzzle Quest, it usually helps them gain AP (the Action Points that power characters’ abilities). We’ve blown tiles up for AP (all of Storm’s Green Abilities), and we’ve converted them to a useful color (Odinson chain-lightnings one ability into the next) but I kept thinking about the Thor Vs. Iron Man scene in The Avengers. Thor decides to throw a bolt at Tony Stark and suddenly the Iron Man armor is sitting on a mountain of energy. What if hitting tiles with lightning did that?
Charged Tiles are practically bursting with power - when players match them, they do three times as much damage as a normal tile and generate three times as much AP in that color for the player. Suddenly your Match-3 is worth 5 AP (or more if you can get more than one Charged tile). If you played in our special Thor Lightning Rounds, you got to see how a handful of Charged tiles change the tempo of a match dramatically.
With Charged tiles in place, we went to work telling the coolest Thor stories we could - lightning striking Mjolnir as she brings it down on her quarry, Thor throwing her mighty hammer and sending minions scattering, and Thor filling the battlefield with lightning and hitting her enemy. We knew we wanted one ability that got more powerful with more Charged tiles on the board - the tension of “do I match these tiles to get AP or leave them on the board for a bonus” provides a lot of fun - so that became Smite, Thor’s Red ability. Thor’s Blue ability Power Surge is the most efficient way to put those tiles down, and stuns a foe to boot. Finally, throwing her hammer and sending minions running is represented by changing their Special tiles into Charged tiles using Striking Distance.
Each of these abilities tells a story and provides players a few different strategies to play with when building out their Thor, Goddess of Thunder. Paired with some of my favorite character art in Marvel Puzzle Quest (check out the process videos and free wallpapers in our earlier post), I hope you’ll agree we found a fun way to bring this exciting new character from the comic page to your screen in a way that’s Worthy of the Power of Thor.