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Avengers Video Game - What We Know So Far

It's hard to remember a time when Marvel wasn't a household name. Sure, the company got its start peddling superhero comics in the late '30s, way back when it was known by the considerably less gripping "Timely Publications." But one could argue that it wasn't until iconic superheroes like The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man leapt onto the silver screen that Marvel Comics' pantheon of do-gooders gained mainstream appeal.


Jump to 2020, and the now-Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment is a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate that's spawned dozens of films, countless TV shows, myriad merchandise, and quite a few well-received video games. The latest in the brand's string of super-powered success stories? Marvel's Avengers, a brawler-looter handled by Square Enix's Crystal Dynamics.

Gamers and superhero fans who just can't wait to sink their teeth into Marvel's Avengers are in luck. From the baddies your heroes will be squaring off against to the familiar voices behind the Avengers themselves, there's plenty to learn about this new adventure. Here is everything you need to know about Marvel's Avengers.

Hands-on impressions of Marvel's Avengers

Marvel's Avengers doesn't start with a bang, but rather a fangirly squeal as players meet the ever-cheerful Kamala Khan. The young Avengers superfan instantly emerges as the heart of the game as she spends the opening moments of A-Day trading comics with a fellow attendee and sampling all of the high tech games the event has to offer.


Sandra Saad's performance as the hopelessly optimistic Khan might steal the show, but the entire cast of Marvel's Avengers really hits their marks — mostly. Performances range from Troy Baker's subdued, against-type take on Bruce Banner to Thomas Willingham's oh-so-close-to-cringy Thor hamfest (at one point, he tells a civilian he rescued from crumbling debris: "Lucky for you, I am mighty!")

Graphically, the game is what you'd expect from a 2020 AAA title. Environments and action set pieces are rich, if a bit repetitive — and animations are fluid for the most part. Thanks to some added polish provided by Crystal Dynamics' artists, the digital Avengers themselves look far less uncanny than they did back when they debuted.


The gameplay, while button-mashy at times, is both frantic and fluid. Black Widow's early scuffle with Taskmaster is a particular highlight. The fight — which combines fast-paced combo-based combat with cinematic quick-time attacks — evoked the best melee moments from Insomniac's Spider-Man.

Marvel's Avengers feels like one of those "more than the sum of its parts" type deals. It does character moments, combat, and cinematic bombast pretty dang well, culminating in a big, sometimes messy, always blustery superhero game with a long lifespan thanks to the promise of free future content.

(Looper received a review code from the publisher. We played Marvel's Avengers on a PlayStation 4 Pro.)

What is the release date for Marvel's Avengers?

As with most modern AAA titles, Marvel's Avengers has had a long and complex development cycle — and its release window has undoubtedly felt the effects of it. While originally slated for a May 15, 2020 release, Crystal Dynamics took to its website in January 2020 to provide an update that surely took fans by surprise. The post, which described the development team's desire to "[deliver] an original story-driven campaign, engaging co-op, and compelling content for years to come," also announced that the title would instead be released on Sept. 4, 2020.


Though a number of video games, television shows, and movies were delayed in early 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic — like the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Black Widow film — it seems as though this was not the case for Crystal Dynamics' new game. Instead, in its update, Crystal Dynamics wrote that the delay was required in order to "[focus] on fine tuning and polishing the game to the high standards our fans expect and deserve."

Are there trailers for Marvel's Avengers?

Crystal Dynamics hasn't been shy about showing off Marvel's Avengers ever since the first "Avengers Project Announcement Trailer" dropped way back in 2017. In the teaseriest of teasers, the trailer gave viewers their first look at, well... not all that much, save for a few shots suggestive of everybody's favorite superheroes, including images like Bruce Banner's broken glasses in front of a Hulk-smashed door and Iron Man's flickering palm repulsor.


The genuine article, which finally showed off the Avengers, didn't crop up until E3 2019. Blending a little bit of the game's story with a dash of gameplay, some ominous foreshadowing, and a hefty helping of patented Banner-Stark bickering, the first full-length trailer held fans over until the next big reveal. 

October 2019 saw a new trailer featuring none other than Kamala Khan — AKA Ms. Marvel. It also introduced Advanced Idea Mechanics, or "AIM," a villainous, anti-Avengers organization (that would get its very own trailer come August 2020). By far, the most interesting trailer dropped in June 2020. In it, viewers were treated to a deeper look at Ms. Marvel's storyline and how it intersects with one of the game's big bads, MODOK ("Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing").


What platforms will Marvel's Avengers be available on?

Thankfully for gamers who have yet to pick a side in the console war, Marvel's Avengers won't force you to choose between Microsoft's Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. And, sure, while the game will be available on the PS4 and Xbox One, gamers who go next-gen will be able to upgrade their games for free. What exactly does that mean? Well, according to Crystal Dynamics' Chief Technology Officer Gary Snethen, the PS5's GPU will allow for a slew of graphical and gameplay improvements including increased texture resolution, enhanced ambient occlusion, and improved frame rate — specifically, "60 FPS with dynamic 4K resolution."


Worried about starting on your Xbox One, upgrading to the Series X, and losing all of that vital progress? Don't be. Crystal Dynamics has confirmed that the game will allow you to transfer saves across console generations. In a Square Enix press release, Crystal Dynamics explained: "Those moving their saves to next-gen will transfer their player profiles and progression so they can pick up right where they left off."

Marvel's Avengers will also be available on PC and Google Stadia.

Who is part of the main cast of Marvel's Avengers?

Crystal Dynamics tapped some of the biggest talent in the video game industry to step into your favorite heroes' supersuits in Marvel's Avengers.

Playing genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark — AKA Iron Man — is Nolan North, a long-time voice actor who boasts hundreds of television and video game credits ranging from Saints Row 4 to the Uncharted series. Fellow Uncharted actor Troy Baker — another super-famous video game veteran — metaphorically dons the green guy's tattered shorts as Bruce Banner/The Hulk. Like North, Baker's voice has graced countless titles including The Last of Us, in which he portrayed Joel, and Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding.


Gears of War 4's Laura Bailey — yet another video game voice acting superstar — plays super spy-turned Avenger Natasha Romanov, AKA Black Widow. Steve Rogers/Captain America is played by Resident Evil 3 actor Jeff Schine, while Thor's IRL counterpart is none other than Laura Bailey's hubby and talent behind Marvel's Spider-Man villain Kingpin, Travis Willingham

Rounding out the main cast is Sandra Saad — a newcomer to video game voice acting — who takes on the role of Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan.

What is the gameplay like in Marvel's Avengers?

The very first legitimate trailer for Marvel's Avengers offered gamers a glimpse at the fast-paced, hero-based combat that would make up the majority of the title's gameplay. Each Avenger boasted their own set of killer moves; action was fast, fluid, and frenetic; and flying around while blasting bad guys as Iron Man looked particularly hype as heck. Then came June 2020's War Table Extended Gameplay reveal — and everything changed.


In the nearly 26-minute video, the folks at Crystal Dynamic showcased the broad range of attack styles which include melee, ranged, aerial, and ground-based combat skills. Players can also upgrade skill trees using skill points gained through experience, which allow players to mix and match advanced moves and unique combat styles for each Avenger. To top it all off, there's also gear and perks which both affect your team's stats. Some even boast nifty status effects, like "shrink," which literally transforms enemies into diminutive versions of themselves.

Considering that Marvel's Avengers is a live-service game — meaning it'll be constantly updated — the devs at Crystal Dynamics will surely add new gameplay elements to keep players invested in its gameplay loop as time goes on.


What is the story of Marvel's Avengers?

Marvel's Avengers doesn't adapt any particular story from the MCU films or its comic book counterpart. Instead, it tells a brand new story centering around a disastrous event dubbed "A-Day," along with the dissolution of the Avengers team and its re-assembly.


A-Day was meant to be a celebration of the Avengers as they unveiled their new San Francisco headquarters — but things take a turn for the deadly when Taskmaster and his goons attack. It turns out that this assault was a distraction meant to allow the bad guys to rig the Avengers' helicarrier to explode by overloading its experimental Terrigen Reactor. Not only does the ensuing explosion (seemingly) kill Captain America, but it also releases a Terrigen mist that transforms regular citizens of San Fran into "Inhumans" with special abilities.

Following the devastation of A-Day and the appearance of AIM — an organization that believes science is responsible for maintaining order, not superheroes — the Avengers go their separate ways. It's up to Kamala Khan, whose ability to "embiggen" resulted from her exposure to the Terrigen mist, to reunite the superhero team and take the fight back to AIM, MODOK, and all the rest of the big bads.


How do you customize your heroes in Marvel's Avengers?

Kicking bad guy booty is fun — but kicking bad guy booty in style is even better, which is why the cosmetic customization options in Marvel's Avengers are so nifty. Feel like letting Thor dress down for the day? No problem! Stick him in his Donald Blake outfit. Is Hulk in the mood for a little morally ambiguous Vegas pizazz? Throw his Joe Fixit skin on and get to smashin'. Just like in many other modern video games, these skins are unlocked both through mission chains and the game's online marketplace.


While each hero has their own sort of "Battle Pass" in the form of Hero Challenge Cards — 40-tier reward trees that can unlock all sort of spiffy stuff by completing various challenges — players can also buy credits using real-world money. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: For better or for worse, Marvel's Avengers will have micro-transactions for skins, emotes, nameplates, and takedowns, which are basically flashy moves that show off your favorite Avenger's style.

Will Marvel's Avengers have free DLC?

Marvel's Avengers will allow players to dish out real dough to score in-game skins, emotes, and the like. And while micro-transactions have become pretty dang common — and stigmatized — in gaming, Crystal Dynamics is doing something a lot less common when it comes to DLC. They're giving it to players for free.


You read that right: As the persistent world of Marvel's Avengers grows, the folks behind the scenes will be distributing free DLC characters — like the upcoming Hawkeye — along with free regions. In other words, co-op squadmates on a budget will never have to suffer from hero envy while they watch their BFFs bash skulls as their favorite paid-DLC-only Avenger. 

That said, there is one caveat, and it's kind of a stinker — at least for Xbox and PC gamers. In early August 2020, Crystal Dynamics announced that Spider-Man would be joining Marvel's Avengers exclusively on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The jury's still out on whether Xbox and PC players will get their own exclusive characters.


Which Marvel's Avengers DLC characters have been confirmed?

While the main cast of Marvel's Avengers is sure to keep players pleased for now, Crystal Dynamics aims to give gamers an even broader roster of heroes to choose from — "aims" being the keyword here.


While the devs teased Clint Barton — AKA Hawkeye —  as a DLC character back in July 2020, the team confirmed the addition of ... another Hawkeye on Sept. 1, 2020. Enter Kate Bishop, Barton's young protégé and fellow archer extraordinaire. Bishop was first introduced during Marvel's Avengers' Launch Week War Table, which also showcased "Operations" — post-campaign, single-player DLC packs that will boast new heroes, villains, regions, and gear. Bishop's Operation is called "Taking Aim," while Barton's Operation is dubbed "Future Imperfect." A PlayStation blog post describes them as a "double feature."

According to the post, Bishop is voiced by Emmy Award-winning writer and celebrated video game voice actress Ashly Burch (Life is Strange, Horizon: Zero Dawn). Barton, on the other hand, will be portrayed by Italian-Canadian actor Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey's Anatomy, Selfie).


While Crystal Dynamics also announced Spider-Man as a PS4/PS5 exclusive hero, the web-slinger's operation (if he has one) has yet to get a formal reveal.

What are War Zones in Marvel's Avengers?

One of Marvel's Avengers' first big selling points was its co-op gameplay, which would allow players to team up with three of their pals to pummel the living daylights out of Marvel's Most Wanted. Although the title's online multiplayer mechanics were mentioned in press releases and trailers, it wouldn't be until June 2020's War Table that prospective players would get a peek at Marvel's Avengers' four-player co-op mode. Its name? War Zones.


Existing outside of the single-player campaign, War Zones allow up to four players to select their favorite Avenger — customized gear and all — and team up to rain hell down on the AIM threat. As described in the June War Table video, War Zones range in both objective and size. While some take place in large environments "designed for exploration and team traversal," others take place in smaller, more cramped — and more chaotic — environments. As the War Table video points out, variety is the name of the game when it comes to War Zones. Their objective-based challenges differ from mission to mission — and so do their rewards.

What is the single-player campaign like in Marvel's Avengers?

Marvel's Avengers has been marketed as a persistent four-player co-op action game — but that's not to say it'll be lacking in the single-player department. On the contrary, its solo campaign will allow players to embody specific Avengers as they each tackle missions respective to their character. These solo experiences are called Hero Missions, and according to June's War Table, they give players the chance to dive deeper into each hero's story. Simultaneously, these missions showcase the game's diverse hero design — a fancy way of saying that each mission is tailored specifically to its respective hero's abilities.


June's War Table shows off one of these experiences, using the Thor-focused Hero Mission "Once an Avenger..." as an example. In the mission, Thor is tasked with eliminating the AIM robots that are attempting to burrow into the hull of the Chimera helicarrier. Action-packed, task-based, and story-driven, Hero Missions allow gamers new to the Avengers to learn about the heroes — and let longtime fans watch familiar stories unfold in new ways.

Who are the villains in Marvel's Avengers?

The bad guys are just as important as the good guys. After all, what's the point of a superhero squad without villains to challenge them? It turns out that there will be plenty of those challenges in Marvel's Avengers — at least, if the game's roster of confirmed baddies has anything to say about it.


Revealed in the aptly named "MODOK Threat Trailer," the grotesque MODOK — also known as George Tarleton — appears to be pulling the strings behind AIM's anti-Inhuman propaganda. A founding member of the organization, Tarleton believes that he could improve the world through science. Unfortunately, he is transformed following the events of A-Day, after which he begins to push the agenda that superheroes are beyond the public's control. This allows him to turn the public — and AIM's technologies — against the Avengers.

But Modok isn't the only big bad butting heads with Earth's Mightiest: A team led by Taskmaster — the photoreflexic dude in the skull mask from the first trailer — is apparently responsible for blowing up the Avengers' Helicarrier on A-Day. And the big, green Abomination — AKA Emil Blonsky — will be throwing down with Hulk at a certain point in the game.


What special editions will be available for Marvel's Avengers?

Though Marvel's Avengers' $59.99 standard and digital versions are complete packages in their own right, gamers willing to dish out big dough are in for equally big bonuses.

At $79.99, the Deluxe Edition of Marvel's Avengers includes the base game plus a handful of cool goodies: namely, the exclusive Obsidian Outfit pack so you can deck your Avengers out in sleek, sci-fi style. It also comes with a handful of Obsidian-themed nameplates along with 72-hour early access for players who pre-ordered this package. 


Deluxe is cool and all, but real fans may want to get a little more bang for their buck. The Earth's Mightiest Edition of Marvel's Avengers boasts the beefy price tag of $199.99. And while that's no chump change, what you'll get for that price is a proverbial treasure trove of Avengers swag. As explained by its listing in the Square Enix store, it contains: "Marvel's Avengers: Deluxe Edition, Exclusive SteelBook®, Black Widow Belt Buckle, Iron Man's Prototype Armor Blueprints, Mjolnir Keychain, 6" Hulk Bobble Head, Honorary Avenger Pin, [and a] 5x7 Avengers Day Group Photo."