Two years ago, all we had was a teaser — a 50-second video announcing “The Avengers Project” as the next big console videogame from the folks at Marvel Games, Square Enix, and Crystal Dynamics (makers of the most recent Tomb Raider videogame series). Now, at the E3 Expo, these gatekeepers unveiled Marvel’s Avengers in the first trailer.
Details leaked early that teased an action-adventure game with cinematic storytelling, continuous single-player and co-operative gameplay, teams up to four players, and customizable heroes. Official intel of the highly anticipated event came by way of the Square Enix press briefing at E3 on Monday night with confirmation.
This is an all-new original story that has narrative echoes of the Civil War comic book arc. During what is referred to as “A-Day,” a day to mark the opening of the West Coast Avengers headquarters in San Francisco, there’s an attempt to steal a “strange elemental energy source” in the possession of the Avengers that’s powering the team’s new helicarrier, as cohost Bill Rosemann, head of Marvel Games, put it. (Marvel confirmed after the presentation that the villain attempting to steal this energy source is Taskmaster.)
A later clip sees Bruce Banner (a.k.a. Hulk) referring to something called a “terrigen reactor,” which has implications for the Inhumans. (The terrigen mist is the substance that awakens the abilities lying dormant in the Inhumans race of super-beings.)
The heroic attempt to thwart such a heist ends in catastrophe. “Some say they were set up, others called them murderers,” says a voice in the trailer. After that, the Avengers were outlawed. The main story campaign picks up years after this moment when a “horrific evil” descends upon Earth, and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are needed once more.
“It’s about losing what matters to you most and fighting to get it back,” Rosemann said of the game.
The announced playable characters include Captain America (voiced by Jeff Schine), Black Widow (Laura Bailey), Iron Man (Nolan North), Thor (Travis Willingham), and Hulk (Troy Baker), but an extra clip shown for the E3 crowd revealed Hank Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man). Meagan Marie of Crystal Dynamics says the game will play out over “multiple years” with new content that will be rolled out after launch. This includes, said Scot Amos of Square Enix, a “growing roster of heroes.”
“Every new superhero and every new region will be delivered at no additional cost,” Amos further promised.
“We won’t have random loot boxes or pay-to-win scenarios,” Marie added.
With the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man, the PlayStation-exclusive console game opened up a new lucrative and addictive franchise for Marvel Games. The title, featuring an original story about a more experienced wall-crawler facing the Sinister Six rogues gallery, quickly became a moneymaker for the Marvel and Sony gaming divisions.
The new Avengers feels like the next stage in a new era for Marvel console games. It will be released May 15, 2020, on PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC. The PlayStation version, however, will include early beta access and unique benefits that will be revealed at a future date.
This article has been updated with additional video released online by Marvel from the E3 presentation.