After two years of secrecy, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are starting to talk about their first Avengers game – or, as we know it, Marvel’s Avengers.
At Square Enix's E3 2019 press event, we finally got our first look at the game in a story trailer that seems to riff on some of the biggest moments from the Avengers comics. You'll play as your favorite Avengers in an all-new story set in the Marvel universe featuring many Avengers throughout the game (with the exception of Hawkeye) as you save the day from an evil force. According to Crystal Dynamics, the game has 'an all-star cast' that includes Laura Bailey, Nolan North and Troy Baker, some of the most preeminent voice actors in the videogame industry.
It was at this year's E3 that we also learned that the game will have a multiplayer component alongside a single-player campaign, though it wasn't shown off during the event - but we did get hands on time with the game at Gamescom 2019.
While we only got hands on time with Avenger's campaign mode, what we've heard from Crystal Dynamics in a closed-door briefing is that you'll assemble into teams of four online, customize your characters and fight online together through new scenarios. Crystal Dynamics says this content will be free and will come at a constant clip. Last, but not least, we got a confirmed release date: May 15, 2020.
Here's everything we know about Square Enix’s big foray into the Marvel universe.
[Update: We found out lots more about Marvel's Avengers at Gamescom 2019. Read on to find out more.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Crystal Dynamic’s first Marvel game in a multi-game deal
- When’s it out? May 15, 2020
- What can I play it on? Xbox One, PS4, PC and Google Stadia. No word yet on Xbox Project Scarlett
We got some hands on time with Marvel's Avengers at Gamescom 2019. Check out our hands on: Marvel's Avengers review for our impressions.
Marvel’s Avengers trailers
The game’s first teaser trailer came out last year. Check it out below:
The big unveiling for the game came at E3 2019, when Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics really let loose a lot of details and clips.
We've embedded the Avengers E3 2019 trailer below:
Marvel’s Avengers news and features
According to the game's official twitter page, Marvel's Avengers will have a beta on PS4 before release. However, Crystal Dynamics hasn't revealed when or how we can access the beta. Check out the tweet below:
Marvel’s Avengers will release simultaneously for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X, Stadia, and PC on May 15, 2020. Play the Beta first on PS4.#EmbraceYourPowers #ReassembleSeptember 10, 2019
Maybe cross generation?
During a Q&A session at Gamescom 2019 we asked Crystal Dynamics about whether Marvel's Avengers will be a cross generation title, considering it's releasing next year and the team plans on supporting it for the long haul. While the devs didn't outright confirm or deny, the smirk and laugh we got suggested this is the case.
Crystal Dynamics has confirmed Avengers is coming to Google Stadia.
As you progress you will unlock skill points and trees which allow you to specify your playstyle. Skills include both classics and new moves, and are categorized under the following: primary, speciality, capability and utility.
Earn and upgrade gear
You can customize your gear to suit your playstyle. Gear has varying rarity and, as you progress, you can unlock perks for pieces of gear.
Players choose either hero missions (single player campaign focusing on one hero) or war zone missions (can be played with any hero in a team of up to four people) from the war table. Hero missions will flesh out the story and allow you to unlock new heroes, while war zone missions expand the narrative.
Who is the bad guy?
Crystal Dynamics has now shared that the Avengers will mainly be battling against a corporation called 'Advanced Idea Mechanics' (aka AIM), who believe science will save the world. With superheroes outlawed following the A-Day incident, AIM has replaced them with AI - who also keep the supers in check.
Avengers will have a marketplace where players can buy cosmetic outfits for their heroes. While some outfits can be unlocked, other must be bought with real-life money. According to Crystal Dynamics, there are outfits spanning the history of Marvel's comics, TV shows, films and more.
San Diego Comic-Con
San Diego Comic-Con has been and gone but not without important happenings for Marvel's Avengers fans. In a panel for the game, hosted by creative director Shaun Escayg explained to attendees that the game would allow players to play through an original Avengers story, with customisable heroes and online multiplayer. There will be the main story campaign where you'll play as the various Avengers, and then the online co-op which is where you'll do your character customisation. This customisation will include skill trees as well as appearance changes.
There was also footage of the game shown. While this footage was supposed to be for attendees only and released around Gamescom to the public, it was leaked and you can see the leaked footage for yourself in our trailer section above.
The footage showed the prologue of the game's main story campaign which sees an A-day event in San Francisco gone wrong following an explosion. Footage of Thor, Iron Man and Hulk in action against the minions of Taskmaster. It shows the different kind of moves and skills each hero brings to the table but also reveals that more than the core group will appear in the game. Ms Marvel makes an appearance in the footage but whether or not she'll be playable is unknown.
Offline and solo gameplay
It's been confirmed that Marvel's Avengers will offer players the chance to play offline and alone, despite its focus on the online multiplayer experience. In an interview with GamesIndustryBiz, Crystal Dynamics boss, Scott Amos, said that players "can have a complete experience and have fun" even if they never go online.
No paywalls or Loot Boxes
It's also been confirmed by Scott Amos that paywalls and Loot Boxes will not be a feature of the game. It seems that monetization will come from entirely optional cosmetic purchases. These will allow players to invest in their favorite heroes and make them look exactly as they want them to.
"The idea, from the beginning, is that we want you to be able to customize your hero; how they look, how they play, the gear they have and how they use it," Amos said.
"Your Black Widow could be different to my Black Widow – just a little, maybe a lot – depending on what you favor and how you unlock things."
Of course, players will also be able to earn customization items as they play as well.
Marvel’s Avengers was finally revealed at the Square Enix E3 2019 press conference on Monday evening, giving us our first real look at the game since it was announced back in January 2017.
A "tribute to Stan"
Crystal Dynamics has revealed that the Marvel's Avengers game is a tribute to Stan Lee, who passed away in 2018. When we asked if Stan would be making in appearance in the game, the developer seemed coy but hinted we will be seeing the legend make a appearance.
The most important thing we saw was the gameplay, which looked to be a third-person adventure in the same vein as Marvel's Spider-Man. We know we'll get the chance to play as almost all of the most famous Avengers at some point, with the exception of Hawkeye who sadly wasn't part of the unveiling.
Marvel’s Avengers will feature “continuous single-player and co-operative gameplay”, and that players can “assemble in teams up to four players, master extraordinary abilities…and combine powers” – i.e. an online multiplayer component that Crystal Dynamics has yet to reveal, but we're hoping we'll hear more about that later.
Focus on story
Marvel’s Spider-Man blew us away last year with a story full of heart, characters we cared about, and some sensational performances to boot. Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics have a wonderful opportunity to deliver a narrative befitting the unbelievable roster of Marvel characters they have inherited.
Thankfully, it looks like they're doing just that with Avengers.
We know the game takes place after A-Day, the day the Avengers get honored for their service to the community. This day of jubilation is quickly ruined, however, and our heroes our ripped apart – which gives us real Disassembled vibes.
Apparently the heroes come back together and will have to face a new threat that wasn't revealed in the trailer.
Crystal Dynamics emphasized the idea of a “continuous” game in an “ever-expanding world”. All this content may come first to PS4 thanks to a deal between Square Enix and Sony, but all of it will be free on every platform. Recent games-as-a-service titles such as Destiny, Anthem, and The Division 2 aren’t exactly lauded for their top-tier narratives, so we’re hoping the reveal will confirm the experience won’t be diluted in favour of ever-lasting revenue.
Fresh, diverse range of playable heroes
Decades of comics, and 22 movies over 11 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ensure fans are well versed on many classic Marvel heroes. While we love Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor, we think it’s time to introduce some fresh, lesser-known faces in Marvel’s Avengers.
Unforunately, for whatever reason, Hawkeye wasn't part of the presentation and Hank Pym – a.k.a Ant Man – only got a supporting role.
We’d love to see Khan take centre stage, perhaps even alongside other more recent Avengers, such as Iron Heart, Miles Morales, and Squirrel Girl. Why not?
It's Crystal Dynamics' biggest game ever
In a recent interview, Crystal Dynamics studio head Scott Amos told GamesIndustry.biz that this is the developer's biggest game to date, requiring five studios from around the globe to make:
"We've had to change how we work, how we are organised as a team, the number of people we need to do this, the number of external partners... We've had to go hire experts like Shaun Escayg, who is our creative director. He told stories for Uncharted and The Last of Us [at Naughty Dog], we needed him to help tell this story. Dave Fifield was a game director who worked on Halo and Call of Duty, we needed him to help us with multiplayer," Amos said.
The five studios working on the title are Crystal Dynamics at Redwood Shores, a new studio in Bellevue called Crystal North West, Crystal Dynamics' partners in the Netherlands, Nixxes, Eidos Montreal and even Square Enix Japan.
Five teams to bring the five Avengers to life? Sounds about right.
- Best upcoming games 2019: most anticipated titles for PS4, Xbox One and Switch