Coming out of E3 2019, we’ve received a bunch of announcements for new games as well as updates for previously announced titles. Among these is Marvel’s Avengers, Square Enix’s upcoming third-person action game slated to release later next year. During Square Enix’s conference, developer Crystal Dynamics got on stage to show a new trailer highlighting the game’s characters and story, as well as some parts of gameplay.
So far, the reaction online has been mostly negative, with many criticizing the lackluster designs of Crystal’s Avengers; however, recently leaked footage from a playable demo has provided a closer look at the game’s combat, which seems more promising. So we’re here to cover everything you need to know about Marvel’s Avengers and address rumors that fall in line with the developers’ track records. We’ll be updating this story following any new announcements, so make sure to check back.
Marvel’s Avengers Release Date
What was originally referred to as The Avengers Project has been officially titled Marvel’s Avengers. The game is being published by Square Enix and co-developed by Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics in conjunction with Deus Ex developer Eidos Montreal, Crystal Northwest, and Nexxes Software.
The third-person game is scheduled to release on May 15, 2020, and will serve as the first entry in what’s been described as a “multi-year, multi-game partnership” between Square and Marvel. Marvel’s Avengers is currently available for pre-order and will be available for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia at launch.
Marvel’s Avengers Story
Prior to the game’s reveal, many fans had begun speculating that Marvel’s Avengers would see players assembling the second generation of Avengers following the first’s apparent defeat. Other rumors suggested we’d be creating our own unique heroes from scratch, a la City of Heroes, a free-to-play action MMORPG that shut-down in 2012. While both of these theories have been debunked, they stem from consistent wording in Marvel’s Avengers marketing which may still prove useful.
First, there was the E3 panel with members of both Crystal Dynamics and Marvel Games whose description read,
“Embrace your powers and join key members of the development team at Crystal Dynamics and the creative team at Marvel Games as they talk exclusively about the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers. This is the defining Avengers gaming experience: an epic action-adventure that combines cinematic storytelling with continuous single-player and co-operative gameplay. Moderated by Andrea Rene, assemble in teams up to four players, master extraordinary abilities, customize your heroes to fit your playstyle, and combine powers to defend an ever-expanding world under constant threat.”
Then there’s the YouTube description for the game’s 2017 announcement trailer, which outlines Marvel’s Avengers as “being designed for gamers worldwide and packed with all the characters, environments, and iconic moments that have thrilled longtime fans of the franchise. Featuring a completely original story, it will introduce a universe gamers can play in for years to come.”
Since then, we’ve learned that Marvel’s Avengers begins during A-Day, a celebration for the Avengers’ work that coincides with the unveiling of their new headquarters. However, following an attack on the Golden Gate bridge that results in massive destruction and the loss of countless lives, including Captain America’s, the Avengers are placed under severe scrutiny and ultimately disband. We then get the quote, “Five years later, with all Super Heroes outlawed and the world in peril, the only hope is to reassemble Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”
Although Crystal Dynamics has pretty much confirmed Cap’s not actually dead, given he’ll be playable in the game, there are some notable characters missing from the reveal–namely Hawkeye. We also know that while Marvel’s Avengers exists outside of the MCU and depicts a “completely new and original story,” it does appear to be borrowing some plot elements from previous Marvel films, including Avengers: Endgame, Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War.
Lastly, the reveal provided us with our first glimpse of one of the game’s villains, Taskmaster, who we see battling Black Widow. It’s unknown what role he’ll play in the game’s story, however, it doesn’t seem likely for Crystal to cast him as the main villain for Marvel’s Avengers; that title is likely assigned to a much bigger, intergalactic threat. The most promising information we currently have regarding the game’s story is news that both Uncharted director Shaun Escayg and Dead Space producer Stephen Barry have been brought on to help with development.
Marvel’s Avengers Gameplay
The main letdown in the reveal trailer, assuming you don’t take issue with the Avengers’ new designs, is the lack of any solid gameplay; there are a few moments between cutscenes that look like gameplay, however, it’s not made explicit at any point. Assuming we’re right, here’s what we noticed:
- Ironman flying across a bridge before firing a laser from his chest.
- Thor throwing his hammer at some of Taskmaster’s henchmen.
- Hulk leaping across a wide gap and slamming down on a tank before lifting it over his head.
- Captain America fighting some more henchmen.
- Black Widow fighting what appears to be Taskmaster while the two fly through the air.
If this is true, then we can expect Marvel’s Avengers to have some of the smoothest transitions between gameplay and cutscenes we’ve ever seen. Given the footage shown is in-engine and from an early alpha build, we’ll likely see drastic changes between now and release.
It’s been confirmed that the game will feature two modes: a single-player campaign and a multiplayer component that sees players working together on side missions. Taking a look at both Crystal and Eidos Montreal’s previous work, we predict there will be a central hub area like The Avengers tower where players can meet up and take on new assignments.
It’s likely Marvel’s Avengers will follow in the footsteps of games like Destiny and The Division and dish out new story content incrementally, which Crystal has already stated will be free of charge and not include any “pay to win” scenarios. We interpret this to mean Marvel’s Avengers’ hero customization will provide a bulk of the game’s long-term profits. We’ve already gotten word that character customization will be tied to the game’s multiplayer mode, with players being able to alter the appearance of each hero with costumes referencing Marvel Comics’ history.
The Final Word
A squad-based, superhero power fantasy isn’t something we’ve previously seen explored, at least not on the scale that comes with a Marvel-owned property like The Avengers. Therefore, it’ll be interesting to see what direction Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal have decided on. While the new character designs will definitely take some getting used to, we’re confident fans will be able to look past the game’s deviation from the MCU as long as gameplay feels satisfying.
When you factor in the catalog of titles that have come from both studios as well as the quality of Marvel games we’ve recently seen release, you’re left with just as many questions as answers regarding what kind of experience Marvel’s Avengers plans to offer its players. For now, all we can do is stay on the lookout for further updates at a later date.
If you’re excited for Marvel’s Avengers and want to learn about similar titles, check out our list for the Best Upcoming Games of 2019.
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.