Earlier right this moment, Marvel Strike Force developer Boundless Entertainment gave us a look at its first all-original character created in collaboration with Marvel. With Kestrel becoming a member of the Marvel Strike Force roster tomorrow, we sat down with inventive director Jason Bender to speak about her backstory, her talents, her design, and her place within the recreation.
To this level, Marvel Strike Force has centered solely on present heroes and villains, delivering Avengers, X-Men, Symbiotes, and plenty more. However, following three profitable years of the cellular title, Marvel got here to Boundless Entertainment with the supply to collaborate on an all-original hero. “We knew that other games had introduced original characters, so we were always excited about the opportunity to do so,” Bender says. “In fact, for Strike Force, we had the opportunity to create an original bad guy. What we decided to do was actually get Ultimus out of the archives and reinvigorate him as an existing character because when we went to create a new villain, everything that I drew out, Ultimus already did, so we used Ultimus. This time, I really wanted to lean into something really original and I didn’t want to dig into the back catalog.”
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The introduction of a brand new character into official Marvel lore is one thing Bender had been dreaming of for a lot of his life. “I spent my childhood creating Marvel characters,” he says. “I played the Marvel role-playing game a lot, and I have stacks and stacks of original characters that I drew up their costumes, I named them, I gave them all these powers … so the opportunity to add one to the Marvel pantheon is incredibly welcomed and I’m just so excited about it.”
Bender has labored with Marvel continually throughout the lifespan of Marvel Strike Force, however the course of of making and collaborating on an all new character gave him a unique approach with which to view the connection. “Marvel is just a wonderful partner,” he says. “They said, ‘You have this opportunity to create. We would welcome it. No limits. Come with whatever you got!’ Marvel is always trying to grow and connect with what people are feeling now, in the current moment, and their characters may be timeless, but they’re human, so everything they do really connects to us in this moment; you can see that with Falcon and The Winter Soldier that just concluded. One thing we leaned into in creating this character was we wanted to create someone who gave us a chance to represent people who were not represented as well as they could be in our world. This led me to create an optimistic scientist character in Kestrel. She originally hails from Malaysia, and she is, as far as I know, the only Malaysian Marvel character – I’m not entirely sure, but she’s definitely the only Malaysian character in our game. It’s important for us that players see themselves in the worlds we create. That was something that Marvel encouraged. They want to make sure that people really are able to see themselves represented in the Marvel Universe, and we love that.”
As we revealed earlier today, Kestrel’s actual identify is Sybil Tan and she or he’s a physicist, engineer, pilot, and astronaut. During her time at NASA, she earned the callsign “Kestral” and gained a status for her brilliance and drive, main Nick Fury to recruit her to hitch STRIKE, the division of SHIELD centered on interdimensional emergencies. After changing into the lead architect of STRIKE’s interdimensional expertise, a failed take a look at of a portal generator despatched her floating by a number of realities and dimensions. She used this expertise to raised perceive the best way to manipulate and create new timelines, which she brings again to her dwelling timeline within the struggle in opposition to Ultimus’ invasion.
“What we wanted to do was bring STRIKE more to life,” Bender says. “Marvel Strike Force is based on STRIKE, so we thought, can we dig more into that? Can we bring it to life more? What kind of person would really represent STRIKE? Kestrel comes from that spirit. What we feel that’s about is the spirit of exploration of the unknown, of connecting with what’s out there. And then, of course, protecting people from the scary things that are out there.”
Her exo-suit, which protected her as she traversed the size, attracts from expertise of different beloved characters like Iron Man and Blue Marvel, notably Blue Marvel’s exo-space fits from the Ultimates. This mixture of expertise gave Kestrel the safety she wanted to leap by dimensions with out concern of harsh environments ripping her to items. The swimsuit has wings that enable her to fly wherever she must go, whereas additionally possessing claws on the toes that permit her to seize onto issues in case she winds up someplace in zero gravity. The group additionally took inspiration from the STRIKE emblem itself, which is a variation of the SHIELD emblem, however with a swooping eagle, giving her claws, wings, and bird-like helmet design that means.
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However, the principle attraction of her talents is her portal generator, which permits her to create hyperlinks between dimensions or may be centered like an power weapon. The energy of the portal generator combines together with her understanding of the best way to manipulate timelines and dimensions stemming from her failed take a look at. This makes her a particularly highly effective character able to creating everlasting timelines and understanding how numerous realities match collectively.
She’s not solely a strong character within the Marvel lore, although. Marvel Strike Force gamers will not wish to miss out on her, as Bender even compares her to the present consensus greatest character within the recreation. “We wanted her to be in the ballpark of Silver Surfer,” he says. “So, you’re getting some back-to-back heavy hitters in Silver Surfer and Kestrel. They’re both going to be pretty crazy.”
While Silver Surfer is a universally well-regarded character within the Marvel Strike Force participant base, the way in which he was launched was much less common. Those who had been prepared to drop a ton of money on the highly effective Herald of Galactus had been in a position to collect a ton of character shards by the at present concluding first iteration of the STRIKE Pass and different unrelated microtransactions. With Kestrel almost rivaling Surfer’s energy in response to Bender, the group wished to ensure the way in which you acquired her is extra pleasant to gamers of every type.
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His greatest advice for the best way to purchase Kestrel throughout her occasion, which runs from May 8 to May 23 is to, “engage aggressively with the event campaign.” “The event campaign is where the action is,” he says. “If you engage with that, you’re going to be able to get Kestrel relatively easily. We really wanted to make sure that Kestrel was not exclusive to just a subset of players, so we set her up so that anyone who really wants her can get her. The more you engage, of course, the stronger she’ll be.”
While Bender would not wish to communicate to any further ways in which she’ll be made obtainable or fountainable simply but, he says that the occasion marketing campaign serves because the spine of her launch and the way in which to amass her proper now. As with all new characters to Marvel Strike Force, it is all however a certainty which you can anticipate some microtransaction provides if you wish to give her an added enhance.
Boundless hopes it has created a strong, versatile equipment that may be plugged into any group and instantly assist out. “We didn’t want to introduce Kestrel to the game and then have her really limited to a specific subset of game modes,” Bender says. “That led us to create her more like how we created Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel is a character that is useful virtually everywhere. Depending on where you are in the meta, you can plug Captain Marvel into almost any team; she’s really powerful. Kestrel comes from that tradition of versatility. She does have, due to her background, some synergies with, for example, Nick Fury. We want Kestrel to be able to help provide firepower on any team where you need some more.”
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Despite her energy, she doesn’t have any mode-specific boosts, which supplies gamers extra choices on the best way to use her. “She’s especially good in modes where versatility is important, like arena-style modes; that’s a place where she’s able to augment non-meta teams,” Bender says. “A lot of times in the game, you’re unable to create the perfect team of five characters that you know are going to work together for one reason or another. You need some heavy hitters to fill in those gaps, and she’s perfect for that.”
If you are something like me, the very first thing you considered if you noticed Kestrel was Overwatch. In addition to the apparent comparability of the wings with Mercy, you possibly can draw comparisons to Pharah’s swimsuit and even Tracer’s silhouette. When I ask Bender if any inspiration was pulled from Blizzard’s common hero shooter, he offers me a little bit of a shock reply. “There kind of had to be, right?” he says with a chuckle. “Inspiration comes from all over and I played a lot of Overwatch since launch; I had the pleasure of, because I was at Blizzard at the time, playing it even pre-launch, so I know that stuff seeped into my brain, but this was also a team effort, so other people on the team also contributed.”
However, Kestrel’s design attracts from excess of simply Overwatch. “I think we drew inspiration from a lot of different places,” Bender says. “I really like the freedom that comes from the Falcon and Tony Stark kind of world of the Marvel Universe where it makes you feel like you can go anywhere and do anything. Another thing that inspired me a lot was just space – space travel, both in science fiction and reality. We’re in a great moment of space exploration and rocket development; we’re finally going back to Mars, so I really wanted to honor the tradition of astronauts and how they have to always push their technology. […] And also, we’re in a great moment of sci-fi with things like Star Trek: Discovery and The Expanse where we’re getting new glimpses of what science fiction can look like. I want Kestrel to be in that tradition.”
While Kestrel solely exists in Marvel Strike Force for now, Bender hopes that can change sooner or later. “We do hope to see Kestrel spread her wings so to speak and fly off into the Marvel Universe,” he says. “I’d love to see her in comics and future games. That’s my great hope for this character. As someone who was a child creating these characters and now has the opportunity to bring her to life in a game, I want to see her in the future in other parts of the Marvel Universe.”
Kestrel joins the Marvel Strike Force roster tomorrow as a part of its new title replace, together with her occasion operating by the center May.