While Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hulk are all playable figures in the big, expansive Marvel’s Avengers console game from Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, Kamala has been revealed as the sixth member to join that roster.
The news was made official during a Marvel Games panel at New York Comic Con this week, but press got an early look at the groundbreaking Pakistani-American superhero in action.
In the context of Marvel’s Avengers, Kamala is crucial to the story. Though all six heroes are “main characters,” Hannah MacLeod, the game’s narrative designer, says Kamala is the protagonist. “You’ll experience our original story through her unique perspective,” she explains.
As Kamala herself mentions when we first meet her in the game, she’s just a “weird kid from Jersey who didn’t fit in.” She’s still writing fan-fiction and is still a super fan of Captain Marvel (which also implies Captain Marvel exists in the world of this videogame). She has come out to celebrate A Day, an event marking the opening of a new San Francisco headquarters for the Avengers.
Something, obviously, goes wrong. Taskmaster — a comic book villain also set to appear in live-action form with next year’s Black Widow movie — shows up, attacks civilians, and hijacks the Avengers’ hellicarrier, causing the craft’s terrigen crystal reactor to explode and kill Captain America in the process.
As comics fans know, terrigen crystals produce terrigen mist, which transforms Inhumans and activates their dormant powers. That’s what happens with Kamala, who’s now able to grow, shrink, and manipulate her body to varying degress as a result.
After A Day, the Avengers have been outlawed. Public opinion blames Earth’s Migthiest Heroes for the devastation and a new organization takes hold: A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Another name from Marvel comics, this organization holds science and logic above all else and have replaced superheroes with legions of their robotics, including their cynthoid A.I. bots, lower-level Keepers, and the larger Monotronic XO models.
In the five years since A.I.M. took over, Tony Stark lost his fortune (and most of his robotics), Natasha Romanoff went back to working as an international agent, Thor left Mjolnir on earth to make ammends for A Day as a servant of Asgard, and Bruce Banner went into self-imposed purgatory and lost the ability to transform into Hulk. Kamala is the one who reassembles the team when she finds out that A.I.M. is poised to unleash the greatest threat the planet has ever faced.
“Kamala believes the Avengers were framed and will stop at nothing to prove that people with powers belong in this world, including her,” MacLeod says.
Through story missions — single-player levels that put gamers in control of specific superheroes — the narrative of Marvel’s Avengers will progress, unlocking new gadgets (including rare and epic items), abilities (like Iron Man’s precision laser leg sweep and energy shield), and costumes (like Thor’s King Thor Asgardian armor and Hulk’s Mr. Fixit persona from the comics).
The game also features “warzone” levels, which can be played solo or up to four players at a time through online co-op. (More about co-op will be revealed at a later time.) Gamers can play as any playable hero that has already been unlocked through the progression of the game and involves the Avengers teaming up to take down hostile threats.
Kamala’s polymorph powers offer what MacLeod calls a “dramatic new element” to the game. Like the rest of her teammates, she has “light” and “heavy” attacks, though in her case that involves elongating her arms and whipping them around. In a demo preview from a simulation training sequence within the game, Kamala is able to enlarge her hands to crush enemies against surfaces, stretch her arms to reach high-up platforms, grab enemies from across the playing field, and grow herself into a giant size to take on bigger foes.
Other Marvel characters will be introduced in Marvel’s Avengers. The initial game reveal from back in June showed Hank Pym/Ant-Man assisting the team in fighting A.I.M. bots, while additional footage glimpses a Hulk vs. Abomination sequence. Scot Amos, head of studio for Crystal Dynamics, also teased a rematch between Black Widow and Taskmaster at some point.
It’s unclear if they will all be playable, but Amos promises fans will learn more about what’s in store for launch and post-launch as we get closer to the May 15, 2020 debut date for the game. Marvel’s Avengers will arrive on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Stadium, and PC.