A recent leak about the new Marvel Avengers game has fans speculating about the possibility of a sprawling, shared universe of characters. The official announcement about the game by Crystal Dynamics and Marvel Games will be revealed during the Square Enix press conference scheduled for June 10th, right before the start of E3.
The recent leak says that players will be able to “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.” There is a lot of information to unpack there, as well as many directions that the game could take in the long-term.
In the same way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been grown and cultivated over the past ten years, some are wondering if the same type of long-term planning could go into something similar, perhaps into a Marvel Gaming Universe (MGU). Could the version of Spider-Man developed by Insomniac Games for the Sony PS4 make his way into the new Avengers game?
Thematically, it feels appropriate within a Marvel multiverse to have something like that happen, but there is a slew of complications. First, the very idea of characters and games crossing over from different developers is a minefield to consider. Different standards of quality, vision for characters and gameplay, and platform exclusives are obstacles that are not likely to be overcome.
While the description of the game does sound engaging, it is also rather curious. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is due to release shortly, which could be described in a similar way to the leak of the new Avengers game. With that in mind, what exactly is the Avengers title referring to for its intended gameplay?
One clue lies in the description of an “ever-expanding world” and a “continuous” story. These types of words are used in games like Destiny 2, or The Division 2. Both ask players to invest in their characters, to grow their abilities and improve their gear, all with the goal of overcoming new content that releases over a period of time.
Such a concept would indeed be fitting for something like a MGU, especially since there is already so much source material to work with. Imagine playing a game where the ultimate end is defending Earth against an impending invasion by Thanos and his army. The story has already been told in the recent films, and living it through a character that gamers control would be epic.
Hopefully, the Marvel Avengers project does well enough to satisfy the countless fans of the films and comics. One of the more recent, large-scale attempts at using the Marvel property was Marvel Heroes Omega, which after years of attempting to rebrand itself through new names and overhauling its core gameplay mechanics, shut down operations after being unable to maintain a profitable business model.
June 10th cannot come soon enough to learn more about this mysterious project.