, IGN sat down with Crystal Dynamics creative director and writer Shaun Escayg and lead combat designer Vincent Napoli to learn more about the game.Here are all the Marvel’s Avengers topics we learned more about at E3 2019.
- What Kind of Game Is Marvel’s Avengers?
- How Multiplayer Works in Marvel’s Avengers
- Can You Play Offline in Marvel’s Avengers?
- Marvel’s Avengers MCU Lineup Is… A Total Coincidence?
- Will Marvel’s Avengers Have Crossplay?
- How Character Customization Works in Marvel’s Avengers
- Marvel’s Avengers Will Have Microtransactions
- Captain America’s Death in Marvel’s Avengers May Lead to… WHAT?!
What Kind of Game Is Marvel’s Avengers?
After watching the E3 2019 presentation for Marvel’s Avengers, it wasn’t exactly clear what type of game it will be. As it turns out, the developers weren’t entirely sure either, preferring to speak to the many elements of the game rather than putting a definitive label on it.
“I think it’s something new,” said Escayg. “So, it is an epic action-adventure. It is narrative driven. There is a single player campaign that sets up the world, set up the state of the Avengers. So, it’s very story driven. But where it gets a bit of a hybrid is during the, say, set up of the campaign. Once you go through the campaign, you will have options in this linear story where you can then go off and do missions. And by doing those missions, unlock players, your favorite superhero. Unlock different powers. Master different abilities. Then come back to the main thread if you wanted to.
“You could then just take the set up and go straight into co-op. If you just want to play with your friends, right, in a multiplayer world. You could go, ‘Hey, I want to play straight down, only story. I want to just go straight from start to finish and just go right through the story in a very linear fashion.’ So, you have a lot of options as a player. So, that’s why I say it’s a new thing. But it’s player driven. It’s story driven. And it’s the best way we can capture, at least in our minds, what it’s like to be an Avenger.”
“From a gameplay perspective, it’s hard to also give it a single definition. I would say it’s gameplay is… It’s Avengers gameplay,” Napoli added. “We look at each of the characters and we’re like, ‘These characters can’t be slotted into one category or another.’ We look at each of the characters and say, ‘What do we need to do to build the character the way you would expect to play them? The way we want to see them played.’ Wrap the mechanics around that. So, it’s a hybrid ranged melee, action, RPG. Everything combined. The goal is you need to feel like you’re playing the Avengers. These characters need to come to life and everything else is built around that.”
How Multiplayer Works in Marvel’s Avengers
During the Square Enix presentation it was said the game will feature gameplay with one to four players, but they left it at that. It turns out that the entire story campaign is single player only and has no multiplayer option.
In the private gameplay demo at Square Enix’s booth, it was very much a single player experience. The demo was essentially the entire trailer you’ve already seen but they actually showed the gameplay parts where you respond to the attack on the Golden Gate Bridge. As the level progresses, you’re put in control of each Avenger for a different segment and then it ends with a boss fight against Taskmaster with you as Black Widow. It was heavily scripted, kind of like Uncharted Tomb Raider, and had you switching from one Avenger to another for key story beats, so you can see why that wouldn’t really work with two or more players.
The devs told me that as you progress through the campaign, extra side missions will open up, and that’s where you can play with your friends. And you can choose to be whichever Avenger you want. If you want to do all of the missions as Thor and level him up a bit, you can do that, and then go back to the main story.
Can You Play Offline in Marvel’s Avengers?
The single player content can all be played offline, which includes both the campaign and the side missions.
If you’d like to do the missions with multiplayer, then you’ll need to be online.
Marvel’s Avengers MCU Lineup Is… A Total Coincidence?
The game features the main MCU Avengers lineup (minus Hawkeye) and even bears a striking resemblance to those on-screen heroes, but Escayg insisted that they didn’t choose Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Captain America because they were the most iconic, recognizable, and popular Avengers.
“Actually, I don’t even think we thought of it that way,” said Escayg. “When we came at this, we’re just like, ‘What’s the most original story we can tell?’ Literally. West Coast Avengers… is a comic that we started with. Just getting a premise of how can we tell this, how we can pull out our favorite parts of the Avengers and see where we can create one, the most conflict; two, give us the creative canvas we need to make this the most exciting game possible. So, we didn’t really approach it from the movies. We didn’t. We actually approached it more from the comics.”
We then asked if it was a total coincidence that the game’s line-up is the same as the MCU’s, to which Escayg replied: “Yeah.”
Will Marvel’s Avengers Have Crossplay?
Unfortunately, the developers declined to comment on this question, so we’ll have to wait and see if crossplay will be a part of Marvel’s Avengers. With crossplay becoming more and more common as companies are more willing to collaborate with each other, and with Marvel’s Avengers touting its online multiplayer features, this is a potential feature we’re especially interested to hear more about.
How Character Customization Works in Marvel’s Avengers
There will be three main categories of customization: skills, gear, and cosmetics. At this point, we don’t know if those are the official names of each category, but those are the player’s primary pathways for customization.
On the subject of skills, Napoli said, “There’s a pretty in-depth skill tree that lets you customize abilities, upgrade abilities, gain new moves. It’s a pretty robust moveset for each of the characters. The tree layout is very distinct because the characters don’t really fit the similar mold. So while one character has alternate combos, another character might have weaponization stuff, like we did with Hulk.”
During IGN’s private gameplay demo, Black Widow had martial arts moves, guns, a stealth mode, and a pair of those electrified batons. The full skill tree hasn’t been shown yet, but this left us thinking about how her playstyle could develop over the course of the game. One can imagine how her skill tree might allow her to learn new fighting combos, enhanced her gadgets, or get new weapons.
Gear “provides active abilities, passive abilities, attributes,” but has nothing to do with a character’s appearance.
Changing a character’s appearance falls under the third “cosmetic” category that’s all about aesthetics, and essentially boils down to getting new character skins, although ones that have some customization options.
Napoli explained, “There’s so many Captain Americas that they want to show. Even within that, there is the customization within those costumes as well. Some customization color schemes and things like that, within those costumes. But one of the cool things is that we’re even collaborating on our unique versions of those as well. So, we’re pulling from fan favorites and these ones. From all corners of the Marvel universe. We’re also able to create a Crystal original version of Thor and a Crystal original version of Captain America as well.”
The glimpse of Iron Man out in space wearing what appears to be the white-and-gold Starboost armor in the E3 trailer is likely an example of this.
Marvel’s Avengers Will Have Microtransactions
During the E3 2019 presentation, it was said the game won’t have loot boxes or ways to pay to win, but the game developers confirmed to IGN that Marvel’s Avengers will still have microtransactions.
As for what those microtransactions will entail, they only shared a few things, while hinting there may be more.
Crystal Dynamics lead creative director Shaun Escayg said, “There will be custom outfits that you can purchase in microtransactions.”
Lead combat designer Vincent Napoli added, “There are other aesthetic ways to customize your player card and your player experience, but there is nothing that affects the gameplay.”
They didn’t go into what exactly you’ll be able to customize, but seeing how other games use this same microtranscation model, it could be anything from voice lines to emotes to dances, and who doesn’t want to see Thor do the floss dance?
Captain America’s Death in Marvel’s Avengers May Lead to… The Multiverse?!
To the shock of many, the reveal trailer for Marvel’s Avengers shows the death of Captain America and what appears to be a flash forward in time to when a monument has been built in his honor. That’s a pretty heavy reveal to include in the trailer because it essentially gives away a huge early plot point, but when IGN spoke to Crystal Dynamics lead creative director and writer Shaun Escayg at E3 2019, he said the traumatic reveal was all by design.
“Well, Cap went down with the ship. The Avengers’ leader is Cap. The guy who always is logical, who always is able to bring this dysfunctional family together. Without him, how do they cope? … This is part of the set up, part of the conflict. It’s, to me, the most exciting part of the story. What do the Avengers do without their beloved Captain?” Escayg said.
Anyone who has even glanced at a superhero comic knows that superheroes never stay dead for long. And given that we know Cap is a main playable character in the game, it’s easy to be skeptical of his “death” lasting for long. It seems obvious that it’s only a matter of time before Captain America comes back from the grave, but when I posed that dilemma to Escayg, he played coy.
“You’ll understand more once you play the game,” Escayg teased. “The Marvel universe is huge. Will it resolve in this game? Who knows. Is this something else? Who knows. The things that we draw from, it’s so big. We can pull from multiverses at this point. It’s a great question. You’re going to have to play it to see it.”
The multiverse? That would be big, indeed. If the multiverse is a part of this game then that would open up an infinite number of parallel realities where alternate universe versions of Captain America (and pretty much every other Marvel character) could come into play. Some other versions of Captain America include cowboy Sheriff Steve Rogers from the year 1872, the Earth X Captain America who is a resurrected angel with blue skin, and the anthropomorphic cartoon cat named Captain Americat from the same universe as Spider-Ham. As you can see, there are numerous directions the story could go — and numerous versions who could replace the fallen Captain America.
For more on the game, check out how the Avengers game devs offered hope to Hawkeye fans and what they had to say on a possible Avengers/Spider-Man game crossover.
And if you want to see our reaction to 25 minutes of Marvel’s Avengers gameplay seen during a private E3 2019 demo, watch the video below:
Joshua is Senior Features Editor at IGN. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.