New Characters: Licensing and Requirements and Possible Solution

heybubheybub Posts: 226 Tile Toppler
I am hoping to get some clarity/feedback on how new characters are chosen and D3 decides on variants vs. new characters, and ultimately what needs to happen to get some the characters that many people are requesting.  It would be great if the devs or moderators could chime in.

This thread is not mean to trash D3 or character decisions.  There are some really great variants out there (Hawkguy, Carol being one), and we've gotten some pretty cool new characters lately (Cloak and Dagger, Medusa, Sandman, Gwenpool, Wasp, Coulson, to name a few). It just seems like there are so many cool characters that people are requesting, and we seem to sometimes get ones that less desired.

I read many posts on the forums asking for new characters.  Some of these are Marvel staples or just incredibly popular (X-Men, Red Skull, Mysterio, Kraven, Groo, just to name a few), and one would think they would have been introduced by now.  There are other popular characters that deserve a variant (Doom, Magneto, and many others: see a nice thread here discussing variants for single characters ).  There's also a long list of wanted characters listed in this thread here.  There's also a compilation of the most variants in this thread, and some characters are heavily favored over others (I'm talking to you Hawkeye).

So the main question is: how are new characters decided, and what needs to be done to get the characters we really want?  Here are some more detailed questions to help the players gain some insight to the process.


1) How does the licensing work?
     a.  Are there variable costs depending on character?
     b.  Are variants covered under one license, or does a separate license need to be acquired to produce a variant?
2)  I'm sure cost and Marvel's agenda are a huge factor in which characters are brought to MPQ.  How much are player's        requests weighted into the decision?
3) Are some main characters being saved for future events?  An Example would be Red Skull.  Maybe he's being saved for the possibility of a new Captain America movie, and would be a boss for some new event.

My feeling is that cost is a big factor, and some characters probably cost more than others.  Maybe there is a way to mitigate this cost.

What if we crowdfunded some new characters?


My proposal would be as so:
1) We make a list  ofthe characters we want.  This would be created by the players and ranked based on popularity.
2) D3 would get quotes from Marvel for each of the top 5-10 characters.
3) D3 then makes a poll for characters, along with the cost per player needed to acquire them.  So maybe God Emporer Doom would require, say, every player to contribute $2, where Red Skull would require $1.
4) The winner of the poll would get new package in the store.  This package would provide goodies to the buyer, along with a promise of providing the character once there is enough buyers to cover the cost required for the character.  Perhaps the return of goods is not as high as other packages, but this is offset by the addition of a new character.

Many players would not contribute, but some players would contribute much more.  I'm typically a free player, but I would be inclined to spend money on the game, if I knew it would result in a player that I really wanted.

If this worked and enough money was raised to get the character, then this process could be repeated.  If not, then D3 makes some extra cash, and we never speak of it again.

What about you?  Would you invest?

#D3 #Brigby # Ducky - Any feedback?

Comments

  • KinDMKinDM Age Unconfirmed Posts: 72 Match Maker
    This is all from what I've gathered, much of it second hand from people talking with devs, but from what I can tell a lot of the character content is required by their agreements with Marvel. A concrete example is Peggy, who occurred in a month where ALL marvel games under current license had to release a Captain America and were asked specifically to make them unique. Others are just flat out good marketing synergy. The recently new Guardians of the Galaxy are this. They may have had an obligation to release new characters to tie in, but even if they didn't, it would be a missed opportunity not to. Same with Hobo Fist, and Power Man, who each tied in to their shows on Netflix. They've also expressed in some place or another that Jessica Jones was under consideration, but they didn't get art resources from Marvel in time to include her to coincide with her Netflix show.
    There also likely were or are other limitations, many tied to Marvel's approval. The defunct game Battle of the Atom ran a loooong Age of Apocalypse event, and most characters were eventually included, but there were a few oddities. AoA Sunspot wasn't, despite Sunspot being included in a few cards later on. Likewise AoA Avalanche was created and even released accidentally to a few players, but was rescinded because he for some reason had his license denied even though other characters were allowed. One of their moderators even did some Q&A in the last days, and they had some weird results to rights requests. Multiple minor characters denied. Spidey 2099 was able to be used in the background of other Exiles' cards, but couldn't be a card in his own right. So somewhere in the marvel marketing machine, things aren't as cut and dry as we as fans may think. 

    Those two hitches; contractual obligations and marketing weirdness; probably make up a large portion of releases. Look at the current twelve 4* pulls. Only 6 are not explicitly tied to a multimedia release, and some of those are questionable (I believe Coulson and Gwenpool lined up with launches of seasons or comics). So we can tell that about half of launches (or less if we count 5*s, then it's about a third) are NOT tied to marketing concerns. That leaves relatively few opportunities for the devs to pick and choose characters that interest them for whatever reason to work on. 

    On crowdfunding: I don't think this is realistically feasible, for a couple reasons. One, D3 would need to run it directly, and I don't think the base is keen enough to make it happen. Two, you'd lose everyone whose fav players aren't being made. I wouldn't say it could never work, but with all the internal mechanisms, it's more likely to work like: If ten thousand players sign up for VIP, we'll release XXXXXXX. If twenty thousand, we'll also release YYYYYYY. I've seen games do it. Maybe it would work. But that just means we add more releases and roster slots we have to buy. 

    The last thing to consider is that some characters probably just won't happen for other reasons. I doubt we will see Red Skull just because there's some negative press from "Play really hard and you can win your own Nazi!". Other characters may have similar stigma, and with so many characters and variants to select from, it'd be the easy voice to skip any potentially controversial choices. 

    Wow, that was a novel. Fun!
  • DrDevilDinosaurDrDevilDinosaur Age Unconfirmed Posts: 416 Mover and Shaker
    I'm already not giving them money for the characters they have - I don't forsee that I'll start giving them money to acquire more characters
  • heybubheybub Posts: 226 Tile Toppler
    Thanks for the great post.

     I agree, marketing and Marvel's agenda do seem to have a huge influence on which characters are released. I'd say 60-70% follow this. That would still leave a good amount of characters that could address the wants of the players. This also doesn't clear up the variants. I don't think the marketing is clamoring for 6 Hawkeye's....so what exactly is pushing that?

    KinDM
    said:

    On crowdfunding: I don't think this is realistically feasible, for a couple reasons. One, D3 would need to run it directly, and I don't think the base is keen enough to make it happen. Two, you'd lose everyone whose fav players aren't being made. I wouldn't say it could never work, but with all the internal mechanisms, it's more likely to work like: If ten thousand players sign up for VIP, we'll release XXXXXXX. If twenty thousand, we'll also release YYYYYYY. I've seen games do it. Maybe it would work. But that just means we add more releases and roster slots we have to buy. 

    I think this is also a good idea, as long as XXXXX and YYYYY are characters people want.  Again, let the players make a list, and choose the most popular.  As far as people spending money on specific characters, I mean, people pump money into this game as is.  If they don't like the character, then they wouldn't, but it might also balance out with free/thrifty players who would spend a little to see a really cool character released.



    The last thing to consider is that some characters probably just won't happen for other reasons. I doubt we will see Red Skull just because there's some negative press from "Play really hard and you can win your own Nazi!". Other characters may have similar stigma, and with so many characters and variants to select from, it'd be the easy voice to skip any potentially controversial choices. 

    Wow, that was a novel. Fun!

    Maybe, but people like Red Skull, and they buy the comics, which I think he is still in.  But maybe you are right about him.  Still, there are many other super great characters, both heroes and villains, that should be put in this game at some point.  

  • TPF AlexisTPF Alexis Posts: 3,474 Chairperson of the Boards
    Someone like Red Skull might make sense as an NPC, like how Gorgon is. A fully developed character, but not actually playable, just there to be beaten.
  • dxandersdxanders Posts: 24 Just Dropped In
    edited June 2017
    I'd be inclined to just let the devs do what the devs do. As other people outlined above, it seems like they have a pretty slim amount of leverage when it comes to having full creative control over characters. If ALL the choices are decided either by licensing restrictions or player fiat, that basically boxes out any capacity the designers have to say "I have a great idea for a character. Let's try to implement it".

    I look at a character like Coulson. He's an idiosyncratic choice, but he has a unique and thematically appropriate kit that fills a niche role and is a lot of fun to play. Ditto Cloak and Dagger. I think these are the kinds of characters we wouldn't get if D3 has to be beholden to a chosen list of "player favorites" that might look better in theory than practice.

    Keep in mind the kind of logistics it would take to sort through the list of player picks, implement a crowdfunding system, and then develop out those characters. Think in terms of how much the forum's sensibilities reflect on the sensibilities of the larger player community. And think of what will happen when the character picked is someone the devs can't think of a unique concept for. What sort of blowback will there be when the community pushes for, say, Kraven, and what the developers create doesn't live up to the community's expectations?

    In short, I'd rather see a C-list character or variant dupe based off a fun designer pitch than a crowdsourced character based off what a fraction of the fans think they want. That being said, they could maybe expand out the community engagement by asking fans what types of characters they'd like to see (in terms of editorial families or functional roles) and what kind of events they'd like to see.
  • JarvindJarvind Posts: 1,684 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited June 2017
    Man, aside from my loathing of crowdfunding in general, I just don't care that much about which characters show up in a goofy puzzle game. I'd love to see Rogue and Omega Red, but if they never show up, I'm not losing sleep over it.
  • StraycatStraycat Posts: 962 Critical Contributor
    heybub said:
    Thanks for the great post.

     I agree, marketing and Marvel's agenda do seem to have a huge influence on which characters are released. I'd say 60-70% follow this. That would still leave a good amount of characters that could address the wants of the players. This also doesn't clear up the variants. I don't think the marketing is clamoring for 6 Hawkeye's....so what exactly is pushing that?

    KinDM
    said:

    On crowdfunding: I don't think this is realistically feasible, for a couple reasons. One, D3 would need to run it directly, and I don't think the base is keen enough to make it happen. Two, you'd lose everyone whose fav players aren't being made. I wouldn't say it could never work, but with all the internal mechanisms, it's more likely to work like: If ten thousand players sign up for VIP, we'll release XXXXXXX. If twenty thousand, we'll also release YYYYYYY. I've seen games do it. Maybe it would work. But that just means we add more releases and roster slots we have to buy. 

    I think this is also a good idea, as long as XXXXX and YYYYY are characters people want.  Again, let the players make a list, and choose the most popular.  As far as people spending money on specific characters, I mean, people pump money into this game as is.  If they don't like the character, then they wouldn't, but it might also balance out with free/thrifty players who would spend a little to see a really cool character released.

    I don't have an issue with the amount of Hawkeyes in the game. For one, Kate Bishop is a variant character by design, so I don't really think it counts. I also don't care about 1* and 2* characters duplicates. I'm glad 1-2* Hawkeye didn't turn them off from making 3-5* Hawkeye.

    The timing of the releases is probably what gave us all the Hawkeyes. They started with 1 and 2 stars since he is an Avenger, then they held off on Kate Bishop for when they stopped making 3's. Then they started making 3-5* double releases and wanted the MCU Avengers as 5*s, so he fit in that pattern. If Black Panther was originally a 4*, he probably would have had a 3-5* release, same as Doc Ock. I think the game and the devs goals changed over time. If they were to start it over it would be very different. Doubt they would have made the Dark Avengers a thing, since that storyline isn't happening in any show or movie. And had Age of Ultron come out later, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver probably would have been 4*s.

    Its hard to speak on the crowdfunding idea since I am not sure what the rights issues are. I think movie and game rights are separate, but then again Sony has the movies and a PS4 exclusive. But I think the anti x men stance is because Fox own the movie rights, and featuring them in game would promote the Fox movies. So Marvel doesn't want to promote those characters even tho they own the rights to put them in a game. That's my understanding of why Xmen and Fantastic 4 are not really featured in the comics, not sure how it works for the games tho. But that idea for YYYYY character would feel like the devs were holding them hostage for money, and would probably breed lots of resentment. They would also be releasing characters normally, and ultimately their powerset is what makes or breaks a character. Imagine paying for a trash character and then the next free one was better?
  • KinDMKinDM Age Unconfirmed Posts: 72 Match Maker
    I'd add the "No FF or X-Stuff" is almost a myth by now. We have the entire FF in this game, and tons of X-Men. Now I'm an X-Men freak. I would LOVE more, and would do unmentionable things to get an Uncanny X-force Archangel or Domino or even 4* Psylocke to round out the team, but we do have a lot of X-Men already. Unfortunately they're from an earlier time in the game, and it would be nice to see a few reworked to bring them up to par. They should also be an occasional release just to try to keep a smattering of everything in the latest 12. Oh but my point, FF got ditched for awhile in the comics because they've never sold really well, and nobody had a great pitch. And X-Men just relaunched with a bunch of new titles, so the support is there. I think it goes back to what we've said, slots for releases for characters that aren't tied into other media are few and far between. Even Coulson and C&D, held up as interesting characters by @dxanders , were tied in to Agents of SHIELD and the announcement of the Freeform Cloak and Dagger to show. Best thing we could hope for I think as Mutant fans is either a slowdown in movies, or getting Legion as a tie in for its Season 2. 
  • zodiac339zodiac339 Posts: 1,927 Chairperson of the Boards
    I think the question that needs to be answered is: How big a price does Fox put on the characters under their marketing blanket? Disney-Marvel may have a discount on the characters, so long as Demiurge follows policy, and that discount could potentially be lost if characters are put in that they won't be paid for. The Fox price may also be higer than even the non-discount Marvel price. With such a problem getting anything from the movies, it's likely they would gouge companies elsewhere.
  • heybubheybub Posts: 226 Tile Toppler
    So MPQ just had a poll asking for which new character's people want, and which Variant.  They may not go for the crowdfunding or raise enough get xxxx and even more gets yyyy, but it looks like are going to the players to get feedback on which characters they want.

    I like it, and I feel like the forum has a voice that D3 is listening to.
  • KaeyneKaeyne Age Unconfirmed Posts: 68 Match Maker

    Kinda related: Marvel Heroes Omega - the Marvel MMO - apparently just lost their rights to use Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer.

    Hold onto your FF4 before they are gone!

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