It’s shaping up to be a pretty exciting weekend for Marvel Comics fans, avid gamers, and Marvel Comics fans who happen to be avid gamers.
While the launch of the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order has given Nintendo Switch owners something new to play, gamers who play on other platforms are abuzz about the new footage from Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics’ upcoming Avengers title.
Granted, they’ll have to wait until May 2020 for the hype to pay off.
First revealed at E3 2019, the 3-minute trailer for Marvel’s Avengers was met with mixed reactions — excitement for an original Avengers video game, to complaints about how the in-game characters looked like cheap knockoffs of their movie counterparts.
Thankfully, the 2019 San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) set the perfect stage for hot, new updates about the game.
A 20-minute gameplay demo was shown exclusively to event attendees. It confirmed some of the early plot points hinted at in the trailer, while also shedding light on single-player and co-op game modes.
Here are our five main takeaways from the new preview footage:
The trailer’s narrator may be none other than Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.
The new SDCC footage briefly highlights a young girl running amidst the chaos, looking for her “Ammi and Abu”. The girl eventually stumbles and inhales a mysterious gas…
For those who are not familiar with the comics, this is a pretty on-the-nose reference to Kamala Khan’s origins as the contemporary Ms. Marvel. Many suspect that it’s her voice that we hear at the start and end of the game trailer.
This new detail seems to suggest that the Terrigen Mists and the Inhumans will play an important role in the game’s overarching story. Only time will tell whether this is where the entire narrative will focus, or if it’s simply a small piece in a greater puzzle.
The initial campaign might be a tutorial on how to use the Avengers’ individual skills and powers.
The 20-minute demo, an extended look at the action we first saw in the E3 trailer, was described as a prologue. Here’s what we can expect from this stage of the game:
The action kicks off in San Francisco. The villain known as the Taskmaster disrupts an otherwise festive (possibly Avengers: West Coast-related) event with an attack at the Golden Gate Bridge.
The ensuing battle, players will fight thugs in separate stages as Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk.
The action will cut to Captain America aboard a hijacked Helicarrier, before focusing back on the Black Widow facing off against the Taskmaster on the bridge. This appears to be the first boss fight in the game’s story mode.
Throughout this sequence, each Avenger will showcase his and her familiar, yet distinctive abilities:
- Thor is handy with his hammer, Mjolnir, and is masterful with the use of lightning to electrocute baddies.
- Iron Man stars in a fun, airborne shoot-em-up that challenges players’ ranged attack and dodging skills.
- Hulk does a lot of, well, smashing. He can use both opponents and objects in the environment as weapons and projectiles.
- Black Widow’s fighting style features kicks, flips, and her signature gauntlet-powered “sting”. She also has the ability to turn invisible using cloaking tech.
Captain America really dies at the start of the game.
There’s no need for a spoiler alert here. The trailer already shows that Cap goes down with the hijacked Helicarrier. There is even a monument and memorial commemorating Steve Rogers, along with hundreds of civilians caught in the crossfire during “A-Day”.
Cap’s demise appears to be the game’s emotional anchor. Not only does it plant the seeds of conflict that divides the Avengers over the next five years, it also causes the general public to lose faith in the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — even going as far as calling them “murderers”.
This being a superhero story though, we have serious doubts about how permanent this “shocking development” is.
The “real” story takes place five years into a bleak, hopeless future.
The SDCC footage pretty much confirms that all of us are still in the dark about the entire story behind this game.
In the trailer, Black Widow mutters that the Avengers were “played” at the Golden Gate Bridge, hinting that the battle was no more than a distraction that allowed a larger, more dangerous threat to unravel.
On one hand, it’s frustrating that we know so little. On the other, we have lots more to get excited about. From Iron Man crashing into a wayward satellite, to the Hulk butting heads with the Abomination, to a reunited team facing off against a mysterious, gigantic opponent, there’s plenty more story to discover.
Multiplayer mode features include extensive character customizations.
The SDCC demo also shed light on particular co-op game mode features. We now know that players can tweak their favorite Avengers’ appearances and abilities for multiplayer missions.
The preview revealed options to play the Hulk, for example, as either the “Green Scar/Worldbreaker” from the Planet Hulk story arc or as his gray-skinned, suit and fedora-wearing “Joe Fixit” persona.
Thor can appear in the game as a Viking, true to his Norse Mythology roots.
Iron Man, as many might expect, has an entire arsenal of suits to choose from.
The ability tweaks are arguably the more interesting feature. Players can adjust their chosen character’s powers and tendencies based on their respective skill trees. This will probably come in handy when you’re fine-tuning and complementing skills across your multiplayer team.
Unfortunately, we still have to wait for specific details about the co-op missions. We at least know that we can look forward to Crystal Dynamics rolling out new heroes, maps, and missions years after the game launches.
Want to see the SDCC demo for yourself? Leaked footage is going around the interwebs right now if you look hard (and fast) enough for it. But either way, expect to see the real deal released officially in late August, shortly after Germany’s Gamescom 2019 festivities.
Marvel’s Avengers is scheduled for a May 15, 2020 release. It will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will also work on the Google Stadia platform.