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Marvel Rivals developer explains how it’s going to beat Overwatch

PCGamesN's talks with multiple minds behind the upcoming Marvel Rivals, a hero shooter using comics to come for Overwatch 2's crown.

Marvel Rivals Summer Game Fest interview: a female Galactus with her pink and purple space armor on

Marvel Rivals has quite a hill to climb. A hero shooter in the most literal sense, NetEase’s upcoming Overwatch 2 rival pits you in 6v6 battles across the comic book universe. Spider-Man swings around Asgard and Hulk Smashes around a future Tokyo, but is this enough to set it apart from the competition? Well, PCGamesN talked with Marvel Rivals’ developers at Summer Game Fest to learn more about NetEase’s approach.

With Overwatch 2 dominating the hero shooter space, we ask NetEase exactly how Marvel Rivals aims to distinguish itself from Blizzard’s competitor. The developer says there are three key factors: superheroes, destruction, and team-ups.

We’ve already talked about how the Marvel Rivals destruction mechanic will work, but team-ups are what really set this superhero game apart. “Different characters have different special powers they can activate together,” game director Thaddeus Sasser explains. “Rocket Racoon can drop infinite ammo for Punisher’s turret, which just lets Punisher lay down a withering field of fire.”

Marvel Rivals Summer Game Fest interview: Rocket Racoon stood on the shoulder of Groot

Rocket can also jump on Groot’s shoulder in their team-up, and Iron Man can channel Hulk’s gamma radiation into an energy beam, giving teams different opportunities during play. That’s not all, though. Over time and across different seasons, the team-up mechanic will change as new characters work together or drift apart. “We might even introduce new game modes that have different narrative elements,” Sasser adds.

Just like Overwatch tells its ongoing story through gameplay and character interactions, Sasser tells us how NetEase is aims to evolve the story of Marvel Rivals over time. “As we release new stories for the upcoming seasons,” the developer says, “we’ll have narrative arcs that inform the gameplay and how the characters interact with each other that comment on the state of the world and the state of the game.”

If you’re wondering what the meta will look like when Marvel Rivals drops, Sasser says we should keep an eye on Scarlet Witch as she’s “very powerful.” Sasser also notes that Magik is one to watch, as “she’s got such great mobility and she can dash in and juggle the enemy with upwards airheads, and pull off some fun moves.” Between Marvel’s Midnight Suns and this, it looks like Magik is having quite the resurgence.

Marvel Rivals Summer Game Fest interview: Magik swinging a sword

These three pillars might be enough to set Marvel Rivals apart at first, but NetEase is acutely aware that what it’s making needs staying power. “We’ve had great positive feedback from the community,” Marvel Games executive producer Danny Koo says. “NetEase has poured its heart into every minor detail from the map creation to character expression. And we engage with the community daily.

“We like to hear feedback and criticism from the community, on how we can make this game for them. At the end of the day they’ll be playing it and we’ll be making it for them.”

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This interview is part of PCGamesN’s ongoing coverage of Summer Game Fest, and while you wait for the Marvel Rivals release date you can check out all the Marvel Rivals characters and how they play in the hero shooter.

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Additional reporting by Lauren Bergin for PCGamesN at Summer Game Fest.