Before “Doctor Strange” descends on theaters next weekend, the Master of the Mystic Arts and other characters from the film will infiltrate a half-dozen Marvel Entertainment games in a carefully choreographed promo stunt.
Starting Wednesday and running through the end of November, “Doctor Strange” content and characters will be appearing throughout six Marvel game titles on PC and mobile: “Marvel Contest of Champions,” “Marvel Future Fight,” “Marvel Heroes 2016,” “Marvel Tsum Tsum,” “Marvel Avengers Academy” and “Marvel Puzzle Quest.”
The goal of Marvel’s film-game integrations is, obviously, to cross-pollinate the Disney-owned studio’s brands to different audiences. Past tie-ins have boosted game users: According to Marvel, the integration of “Captain America: Civil War” content into “Marvel Avengers Academy” earlier this year generated 2.9 million installs — the highest number of installs for single event.
“We have seen that film releases drive significant interest in Marvel games and vice versa,” said Peter Phillips, executive VP and GM of interactive and distribution, Marvel Entertainment. “Our digital portfolio provides an incredible opportunity to help introduce ‘Doctor Strange’ to a wider audience of Marvel fans.”
The company has spent about a year working on bringing “Doctor Strange” to the six titles, according to Marvel Games creative director Bill Rosemann. “Whether you crave a fighting game, a match-three, an action RPG, a simulation builder or even the crazy cuteness of Marvel Tsum Tsum, you can experience the magic of the Master of the Mystic Arts in your favorite Marvel game,” he said.
“Doctor Strange” stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role with Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film opens Friday, Nov. 4.
Here’s a breakdown of the “Doctor Strange” content, characters and events scheduled to appear in the games:
“Marvel Avengers Academy”: On Nov. 4, event content goes live with new Doctor Strange character launches weekly including Baron Mordo, Ancient One, Wong, Nico Minoru, Wiccan and Kaecilius. New environments include Sanctum Sanctorum and Night Nurse’s Hospital (new campus buildings).
“Marvel Contest of Champions”: Rollout includes Nov. 3 event quest “Sorcerer’s Conclave,” featuring Doctor Strange, Mordo, Doctor Vodoo and Guillotine; Nov. 10 character launch of Mordo; and Nov. 24 character launch of Brother Vodoo. Players also will be able to traverse the game map using teleportation portals, or travel to the Mirror Dimension on special missions.
“Marvel Future Fight”: On Oct. 26, eight new characters will debut, including five in film-inspired costumes: Doctor Strange, Baron Mordo, Wong, Kaecilius and Ancient One. In addition, it will add two new gameplay modes: “King of the Hill” player-vs.-player mode (in which players who conquer the last floor of Shadowland will try to claim the title of Master through battles with other players for a seat at the Throne) and “Epic Quest” player-vs.-environment mode (in which players will clear missions with Doctor Strange and recreate his journey from his days as a surgeon to his rise as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme).
“Marvel Heroes 2016”: New Doctor Strange costume pack launches Oct. 26, with new Doctor Strange and Mordo team-ups, including film- and comic-inspired characters. The special event “Invaders from the Dark Dimension” features demon battles in Manhattan leading up to the arrival of Kaecilius the Vengeful.
“Marvel Puzzle Quest”: Launching Nov. 3, Doctor Strange and Kaecilius will join the game. A new event, “Strange Sight,” challenges players as Doctor Strange to teleport to three unique locations and battle different enemies; the order in which the player teleports to the three locations will affect the story and encourage players to try multiple paths.
“Marvel Tsum Tsum”: On Oct. 26, the connect-and-erase puzzle game, which features Marvel’s superheroes and supervillains rendered in the style of tsum tsum plushies, adds characters including Doctor Strange, Ancient One, Mephisto, Baron Mordo, Nightmare and Mindless Ones. The game also will add a new map and level.
Pictured above: Doctor Strange in “Marvel Puzzle Quest”