The promotional slogan of Marvel's Avengers game is "Embrace your powers" and is literally everywhere, on billboards, T-shirts and other promotional material. What exactly does Square Enix want to say with that advertising message, the game's creators have tried to explain in a panel held at gamescom 2019.
This game is the next big thing for the Avengers. In the past ten years, Marvel has done a great job with their movies that have introduced millions of people to this franchise. Of course, Marvel has been doing an awesome job for decades with its comic books, TV series, and other media. It's all great, but that was before, and this game, this is an opportunity for Crystal Dynamics to take these familiar characters in a whole new direction.
Rebooting franchises is no strange thing to them, we all remember what they did with Tomb Raider in 2013 when they practically re-invented the well-known heroine Lara Kroft in a new trilogy of games and a whole new adventure. The idea with the Marvel's Avengers is actually pretty similar. The game's creators emphasized how working with Marvel was very easy for them because the themes Marvel uses in its stories, stories of the human spirit and over the top action, are very similar to the focus of their previous games.
Marvel, with its great history of 80 years, certainly knows very well what their fans want, and in collaboration with creators from Crystal Dynamics, they tried to make their version authentic and original. The story in this game is brand new, based on the existing Marvel lore, but passed through the Crystal Dynamics’ filter which shows in every tiny detail starting with the heroes’ appearance, their costumes, etc.
The demo we played at gamescom 2019 is a tutorial level from the beginning of the game, covering an event known as A-Day. During this tutorial, we had the opportunity to get to know the most popular Avengers superheroes and their playstyles. Things didn't go so well at the A-Day celebration, a part of San Francisco was destroyed and the Avengers are blamed for that, with Captain America dying at the beginning of the game!
The authors emphasized that it is only after the tutorial and Golden Gate level that the game’s world opens and many more enemies and secrets are waiting to be discovered. From that point on, the game’s difficulty becomes more serious as there are no more tutorials and quick-time events, and it is up to you to build up your heroes. After the A-Day events from the beginning of the game, the Avengers actually broke up as a group, and their place was taken by an AIM organization which believes the world would be saved by science, not by superheroes. Five years after A-Day, the world has become a completely different place, the law has banned superheroes, and they were replaced by AIM’s robots powered by artificial intelligence.
This attempt to make a technocratic utopia with science as a religion has actually triggered the greatest threat the world has seen so far, and that's where we come into play. The Avengers are scattered and broken, and it is our job to bring them together again and save the world. Unraveling the AIM’s plot is just one part of Crystal Dynamics' all-new look at the Avengers world which continues through their versions of famous superheroes...
Tony Stark has lost most of his power and technology and has withdrawn from the public eye; the Hulk blames himself for the A-Day, so he isolated himself from the world and refused to be Bruce Banner again. There is also Black Widow who also has guilt issues, and in the meantime, she goes back to her espionage activities, as well as Thor who thinks he is no longer worthy to carry his hammer.
Before we even get a chance to save the world, the Avengers need to be saved first, and this is where that humanity part of the story comes to light, where we have characters who are full of guilt and have no will to fight further, out of action and the public eye for five years. It is necessary to reassemble and rebuild them until they become the heroes and the team they once were.
Marvel's Avengers is a game that takes place on the whole planet, many single-player and co-op missions can be selected from the war table at a new base. Hero missions are single-player missions that focus on specific superheroes and their stories, and playing those stories further unlocks other Hero and Warzone missions. Through Hero missions, you actually expand your list of Avengers, and when a character is unlocked, you can use it in Warzone missions as well.
What's great about Hero missions is that they are made explicitly for each hero individually, so if you’re playing with Iron Man, for example, you’ll get to fly a lot, while missions with the Hulk are filled with things to destroy. As for Warzone missions, you can play them alone in single-player mode with any unlocked hero you choose, or in online co-op mode with 2, 3 or 4 players. Warzone missions are scattered all around the world, and as you complete them, you collect hero equipment divided into classes (common, rare, epic, legendary) as well as items similar as in looter shooter games.
There are many different goals, activities, and types of gameplay within the Warzone itself, and completing them will unlock more things on the war table. The creators are hoping that players will find their rhythm in this dynamic game loop and play both Hero and Warzone missions, building up their heroes along the way whose progress will be saved no matter what mode you’re playing in. As far as customization goes, all of the unlockable hero costumes in the game will be only cosmetic, so no matter your level and a load of gear you’re wearing, your hero will always be able to look exactly how you want.
The creators also mentioned that some costumes could be unlocked in Hero and Warzone missions while others would only be available in the marketplace (assuming they were referring to paid DLC). The idea for this game is to evolve as a service years after its release, so more DLCs with all-new heroes with their Hero missions, stories, costumes and gear, as well as new zones and missions, are also in the pipeline.
Although the demo we had the opportunity to play, as well as all of the content that the developers showed us at gamescom 2019, seemed quite smoothed out, there is still a lot to work to be done on this title, primarily because of the enormous amount of content that Crystal Dynamics plans to include in this game. Marvel's Avengers will be released on May 15, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC as well as the Google Stadia platform. The creators have promised that we will find out more about co-op mode at the beginning of next year, presumably at another event, and the beta version will be available primarily on the PlayStation 4 system likely in early 2020 as well.