The Marvel gaming universe will receive a large update on July 9 to celebrate a small addition.
To hype the July 17 release of "Ant-Man," six Marvel games will receive add-on content dedicated to all things "Ant-Man." New characters, new missions and even new pinball areas will be featured in games such as "Avengers Alliance," "Future Fight," "Puzzle Quest" and more.
It's similar to how the Marvel gaming world promoted the release of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" earlier this year. Rather than, say, focus efforts on a brand new game that served as a cinematic tie-in, Marvel and its partners infused "Ultron"-related content into a bevy of titles.
Marvel Games creative director Bill Rosemann said the approach means the company is not rushing out a game inspired by a film, instead allowing partners to integrate cinematic content as they please. Still, "Ant-Man" presented unique tests for the game makers, most of them related to the character's size.
"A lot of our partners only had human or humanoid characters," Rosemann said. "Then they had to figure out what an ant would be like in their game, how it would be rigged, how it would move. They had to wrap their head around how to use ants. Would they be small? Would you shrink down to ride them? There's all these questions."
For "Marvel Pinball," players will go against Yellowjacket in a multi-ball fight.
In "Puzzle Quest," the centerpiece will be an "Ant-Man" 30-day story event with five new missions.
In Facebook's "Avenger's Alliance," Ant-Man gets a special operation.
"Contest of Champions" will receive a large update, with a new alliance quest, a new story event and player-versus-player tournaments.
"Future Fight," for its part, will host four new characters, five new stages and two costume variants.
In "Marvel Heroes," look for enhanced costumes for Ant-Man, including the theatrical outfit.
Marvel executive Mike Jones said the company didn't want to force partners to echo the story of the film. The games shouldn't be viewed as prologues but as more like companion pieces, he said.
As an example, Jones and Rosemann cited "Future Fight," in which new "Ant-Man" additions will allow players to relive famous Marvel moments such as those seen in the popular "Kree-Skrull War" comics.
The bulk of the updated content will be free. Only "Marvel Heroes" and "Marvel Pinball" will ask users to pay for additional "Ant-Man" content.
Though the game content isn't an add-on or a preview of the film, Rosemann said he hopes the titles will help non-"Ant-Man" devotees become familiar with the character.