Marvel Strike Force has generated more than $150 million in revenues in its first year of operation, according to publisher FoxNext Games. The result is pretty good for the debut of FoxNext Games, which includes the former Kabam mobile gaming team in Los Angeles.
The free-to-play role-playing game pits a squad of five superheroes against a squad of villains. The side with the bigger punch wins, after you watch the animations play out. It was a high-end visually beautiful game, a lot like Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, except in a Marvel universe.
For the March 28 anniversary, FoxNext Games is releasing a big update with a new Alliance War mode, where groups of players create and fill their own SHIELD Helicarriers. They choose the layout of rooms, heroes and villains, and then raid other alliances. Players have to coordinate their attacks and strategize how to beat other alliances and climb the leaderboards.
To further celebrate the anniversary, FoxNext Games joined with one of the most accomplished players in the game, “Widowmaker,” to help unlock Captain Marvel for the entire player community. Two weeks ago, Widowmaker completed one of the most difficult quests in Marvel Strike Force, the Dark Dimension. It was expected to take over a year for players to complete the Dark Dimension, and it in fact took about five months for Widowmaker to do it.
In choosing his reward, he worked with FoxNext developers to make the popular character available to everyone in the game. Players will be able to add her to their squads for free (because of Widowmaker’s achievement) starting March 14.
Aaron Loeb, head of FoxNext Games Studios, said in an interview that Marvel Strike Force’s success comes from FoxNext’s experience in creating free-to-play games that are deeply immersive and rooted in the rich narrative of their source material.
“Our players love it,” said Loeb. “The game has hundreds of thousands of people playing every day and millions playing every month. Our $150 million in gross revenue comes from people loving the game over time. It’s a fairly constant state, based on long-term relationships with our players. That’s coming to fruition. We see growth of the game every month.”
The game was designed to be played for years. Since the its release, the Fox Next team has added 27 new characters to create a massive roster of 92 legendary characters, with more to come throughout 2019 and beyond. (Marvel has more than 5,000 characters to choose from).
Amir Rahimi, vice president at FoxNext Games, said the goal is to entertain players for many years, starting with live operations that happen daily.
“We put an incredible show for them every single night,” he said. “We’ve done 10 releases, added 27 new characters, and special in-game events.”
FoxNext put up leaderboards for the Dark Dimension quest, and it was a bit like the race in Ready Player One, where the whole community watched. Now, with the Alliance Wars, all players will use their entire collection of characters in fights against other alliances. Such activities have kept the game in the top-grossing games list in the app stores.
“It’s a great way for us to celebrate the community,” Loeb said. “A lot of players have player the game every single day in the past year.”
As new Marvel movies come out, the game will echo the themes of those movies in an effort to inspire the community to stay engaged with the game.
“We see incredible retention from our original cohorts,” Rahimi said.
FoxNext Games has more than 100 employees and is comprised of three studios across California in Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco. The Los Angeles studio oversees Marvel Strike Force and is currently at work on a PC/console game set in the world of Avatar in development with Massive Entertainment, a Ubisoft Studio. FoxNext Games’ studio, Cold Iron Studios in San Jose, is also currently at work on a massively multiplayer online shooter set in the Alien cinematic universe for consoles and PC. FoxNext’s Fogbank Studio in San Francisco is developing Storyscape, a new interactive narrative app that is currently in limited beta.