The long-awaited reveal of Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics’ game, now titled Marvel’s Avengers, was confusing to say the least. We got to watch some rather unremarkable-looking people in Avengers costumes punch some unremarkable uniformed enemies (and a third-rate villain called Taskmaster). It was clear that there was a multiplayer element, but is the whole game a Destiny-style online game; and what about microtransactions? Some of those questions are finally being answered in the days and weeks following the presentation.
The biggest and, for many of us, most important part is that the game’s campaign – the bespoke story and series of missions and play spaces – can be played entirely on your own and offline.
“We want somebody to be able to go buy a disc and never have to go online,” said Crystal Dynamics head Scott Amos in an interview with GI.biz. “You don’t have to. You can have a complete experience and have fun.”
There will be missions devoted to the different heroes, such as sidequests and the like, and areas with those multiplayer cooperative missions. Even those will be playable one-player, with Amos saying that “99% of the stuff we are adding is playable single-player.” Whether it’ll be fun in single-player is the part Crystal Dynamics has to tackle.
Other details have come out as well. Crystal Dynamics said during the initial presentation that Avengers won’t include any pay-to-win or lootbox mechanics. It will, however, offer up cosmetic microtransactions. You can put a special hat or whatever on Iron Man (it probably won’t be a hat), but the hat (again, probably not) won’t imbue him with any special powers.
Those will be meted out through the game’s single-player campaign and, possibly, as part of the game’s post-launch, totally-free additional characters and cooperative multiplayer spaces, but won’t be linked to cosmetics. This worked really well in Spider-Man on PlayStation 4, so I’m optimistic about it working well here, too.
Crystal Dynamics has also clarified that the game will not be a big, open-world game. And that makes sense for a couple of reasons. One is that the Avengers have never been constrained to New York or any other city.
The other is that Crystal Dynamics has never really made an open-world game. The Tomb Raider games (the company developed Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, but not 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider) have had huge spaces to explore, but these are discrete places that are often connected but are sometimes set in very different environments, allowing the team to both give the player room to explore and the ability to have, say, rainforests and Siberian wastes in the same game. I.e., the Avengers wouldn’t make sense constrained to just New York City the same way Spider-Man does, and that’s not the kind of game Crystal Dynamics makes.
Marvel’s Avengers hits PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 15, 2020.