One of the most eagerly anticipated games of E3 2019 is Square Enix’s Avengers title. It should come as no surprise that there’s a great deal of excitement surrounding the game; not only has Marvel just wrapped up one of the most exciting movie events of the last decade with Avengers: Endgame, but it also scored a win in the video game space. Marvel’s Spider-Man, which was developed by Insomniac Games and launched as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in 2018, received widespread critical acclaim for its storytelling and gameplay. Things are looking good for Marvel right now, which could bode well for the Avengers game.
The game was originally announced in January 2017 as “The Avengers Project.” Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, the teams behind Tomb Raider and Deus Ex, respectively, were attached as developers. Since then, a new teaser has been released and it indicates that the game is called “Marvel’s Avengers.” Aside from the new name, Square Enix, Marvel, Crystal Dynamics, and Eidos Montreal have played their cards very close to their chests. We’re hoping they go big at E3 and, ahead of the event, we’ve put together a breakdown of everything we know and what we want to see. Take a look below.
What We Know So Far
Marvel’s Avengers is the first chapter in a multi-game partnership between the comic book titan and Square Enix. The initial trailer confirmed that the world it is set in hasn’t been too kind to superheroes–perhaps they’ve even been demonized. “They say the time of heroes is over,” a narrator says in the original teaser trailer. “That if you’re different, you’re dangerous. But I know the truth. The world will always need heroes. We just need to reassemble.”
The use of ‘reassemble” is important, as the original video then shows Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, Captain America’s shield, and Iron Man’s repulsor-equipped hand armor, though they’ve seen much better days. The implication is that the Avengers have been scattered, maybe even defeated. That means the player could play some part in the team’s re-emergence in a time of need.
Square Enix has said Avengers “is being designed for gamers worldwide and will be packed with all the characters, environments, and iconic moments that have thrilled longtime fans of the franchise.”
Square Enix also indicated that Avengers is being developed with long-term play in mind, saying it will feature “a completely original story” and “will introduce a universe gamers can play in for years to come.”
Since the game’s initial reveal, it has come to light that Shaun Escayg, the creative director and writer of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, is serving as the creative director on Avengers. Stephen Barry, who was director of product development at Visceral Games, where he worked on titles like the Dead Space series, joined the development effort as director of production.
What’s Confirmed For E3
Square Enix is hosting its E3 2019 press conference on June 10 at 6 PM PT. As revealed on Twitter, Avengers will be part of its presentation, though it didn’t provide any indication of what we’ll see. Leaks, however, have given us a glimpse into not only what we could see at E3, but what the game is.
Details on the game leaked via the E3 Coliseum website, and although the information has been removed now, the cat is out of the bag. The description for a segment focused on the Avengers game indicated it will feature both solo and co-op play, and offer players the ability to customize their characters.
“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,” the description read. “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.”
What We Hope To See At E3
Given that we’ve seen no gameplay of Avengers thus far, we’d like to see Square Enix go in-depth and show us exactly what playing the game actually involves. There are big questions around whether the game will allow players to take control of one of the core members of the Avengers team or cast them as a newcomer that fights alongside the iconic Marvel squad. If it’s the former, Square Enix will need to delve into how it’s realizing the unique powers and abilities of the superheroes in gameplay, and how the game is designed to make that feel satisfying. If it’s the latter, we want to know how we’ll be able to shape our own hero.
Both Square Enix and Marvel have hinted at aspects of the game’s story, such as the Avengers being in disarray and the world becoming hostile to heroes. The leak also states that it all takes place in an “ever-expanding world under constant threat.” We’re getting a games-as-a-service vibe from this setup, and we’d like to see how the developers plan to keep us coming back time after time. More importantly, how are they achieving this without diluting the hero fantasy experience that many come to superhero games like this for?
Indulging our own fantasies briefly, we’d like to hear about what involvement Marvel has in crafting the experience. All the best superhero games have had key creatives with a proven track record involved to some degree, whether that’s Paul Dini, Jim Lee, and Geoff Johns for Rocksteady’s various Batman Arkham games, or Dan Slott for Insomniac’s Spider-Man. It would be good to know if Marvel’s own talent is being leveraged or at the very least what Square Enix’s developers are drawing influence from. It’d be pretty cool if Jonathan Hickman or Mark Millar walked out on stage and confirmed they’re lending their talents to the project–though perhaps that’s asking a bit too much.