Marvel Snap developer was inspired by a friend’s bathroom game mishap

Marvel Snap developer was inspired by a friend's bathroom game mishap
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Ben Brode, co-founder of game development studio Second Dinner, recalls a moment that led him to create a fun Marvel card game: At least six years ago, his friend was playing the mobile game “Hearthstone” on the toilet with a control. warrior mallet. He was up against another control warrior deck user and the match lasted 40 minutes.

“At the end of the game, he stood up and his legs had gone numb. And he fell and broke his leg in the bathroom,” Brode said during an interview with The Washington Post in Los Angeles as his Second Dinner co-founder Hamilton Chu cracked up. “And I felt somewhat responsible for this.”

Brode, who was a lead designer on “Hearthstone,” said that while games are supposed to last more than seven minutes, they occasionally go on. And that’s why he and Chu wanted to explore even shorter card games and eventually decided to make “Marvel Snap”. His friend, the control warrior, screamed for help on the bathroom floor and ended up in a cast, Brode said.

Last week, “Marvel Snap” won Best Mobile Game at the annual Game Awards, beating out popular titles like “Genshin Impact” and “Apex Legends.” The developers, formerly a senior lead at “Hearthstone” developer Activision Blizzard, started their own studio Second Dinner in 2018. “Marvel Snap” is their first game.

The developers’ first idea for ‘Marvel Snap’ was so good they refused to believe it

Chu said the Marvel name lends credibility to a start-up like Second Dinner, and makes the card game more exciting for players since the characters are instantly recognizable. A former Blizzard coworker who is now an executive at Marvel Games helped make the collaboration happen.

“Marvel Snap” is easy for beginners, taking them through a tutorial in which players strike cards from a 12-card deck featuring characters like Iron Man, Hulk, and Hawkeye.

The developers hope to add the ability to play against friends to the mobile app next month.

“It’s the biggest thing we’re working on right now,” Brode said. “But you know how things go sometimes, last minute mistakes, things slip.”

When it comes to taking the lead with Marvel IP, Chu talked about being able to skip through the layers of red tape that are standard when working for a large company like Blizzard.

“That game couldn’t have been made if we were still inside Blizzard. Blizzard, why would they work with someone else’s intellectual property? That’s not strategically the right thing to do for Blizzard,” Chu said. “But we can do it because we don’t have to worry about things like that, and it makes sense to us.”

Chu said that if he had tried to pitch “Marvel Snap” to Blizzard, he would have had to get the approval of many people, including a business pitch and months of convincing.

When to fit into ‘Marvel Snap’

Brode and Chu left Blizzard in 2018, years before the company was hit. with various judgments over allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and before Microsoft proposed to acquire it for $68.7 billion. When asked how Second Dinner can avoid the same corporate culture issues facing Blizzard, Brode said, “It’s a really complicated answer.”

“Recruitment is a really important piece. Doing really well and making sure that we have opportunities to hire people from a lot of diverse backgrounds to help make sure that we’re not homogeneous,” Brode said. “Making sure that people feel very empowered to come up and raise their hands when things go wrong. And then create policies and a company culture where there are no opportunities for things to go wrong in the first place.”

Second Dinner is one of several game studios started by former Blizzard employees. There’s also notorious studies, started by former “World of Warcraft” developers, creating an untitled fantasy game. And Frost Giant, created by former StarCraft developers, plans to open a new game “Stormgate” in a test phase next year.

For Brode and Chu, starting their own company was risky and scary, but having a Blizzard pedigree helped them gain brand recognition. Choosing a new name for the studio also turned out to be a fun task.

“I have a really weird sleep schedule and I’m basically a vampire,” Chu said. “So I have a second dinner every night. It’s my favorite food that I have around 3am by myself.

“And also, as we were thinking about what would become Second Dinner, what we would do is work all day at Blizzard, and then we’d go home, take care of our families, and say, ‘Okay, see ya. up at 10.’ And we would have a second dinner and dream of the future.”

Since “Marvel Snap” came out in mid-October, players have been asking a lot of questions about the game on social media. Some have tweeted that after rank 80, it seems that “Marvel Snap” gives more advantages to players who spent real money.

“If it was pay-to-win, then anyone should be able to win. And that’s not the case, you have to be very good at the game,” Brode said.

He added that competition heats up after rank 80, and that’s “just the nature of competition.”

The odds of getting a card from a collector’s cache are one in four, he said, and other variants and cosmetics that fit in the cache are meant to “surprise and delight” the player. On the back-end, players are matched up in duels based on the size of their collection, and as they play and progress, they’ll be matched up with players of similar skill.

Finally, the developers of “Marvel Snap” reacted to a recent article in The Post about avoiding bathroom rails when playing games like “Marvel Snap” on the toilet.

“’Snap’ saves you from hemorrhoids,” Chu said. “The Washington Post said so.”

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