Moonshark, a startup backed by Qualcomm and talent agency CAA, teams up with big-name creative talent to create mobile games and apps. For its first game, it partnered with Jennifer Lopez. For its second title, it's working with a star of a very different type - Stan Lee, the comic book writer who co-created (with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) most of Marvel's biggest characters, including Spider-Man, and who's now chairman and chief creative officer at POW! Entertainment.
Lee is supposed to take the stage at the Comikaze Expo (or, to use its full title, Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo) this morning, where he's going to announce his partnership with Moonshark and show a brief trailer of the upcoming game, which will be called Verticus. I got on the phone with Moonshark CEO Matt Kozlov yesterday to get some of the details.
Kozlov says the company doesn't expect its partners to be game designers. Instead, Moonshark pairs up the big names with independent game developers (in this case, Dallas-based Controlled Chaos Studios). Lee helped to create and design the characters and plot - Kozlov speaks admiringly of Lee's enthusiasm, and says that when he's 89, he hopes to have “half the wit and energy” that Lee does.
The story concerns a group of evil aliens set on destroying the Earth called the Obliterators. The player takes on the role of the hero Verticus, who has to dive through the Earth's core in order to save the planet. Kozlov says that it's a superheroic spin on the concept of an “endless runner” - he calls it an “infinite faller.” Lee has had cameos in most of Marvel's films, so he also appears as a character in Verticus, namely the commander who gives Verticus his mission.
The game will launch sometime this fall, Kozlov says. He also reports that Moonshark's first game DancePad was a hit, becoming the No. 1 music game on the iPad and the No. 2 on the overall gaming charts.
“It showed that our model works,” Kozlov says. “By putting great Hollywood talent together with great games, we get to the top of the charts.”