We Played "Marvel's Avengers" Again & Learned More At NYCC 2019

Last month, we played the widely spread Marvel's Avengers A-Day demo. From the experience, we learned about the story, how characters play, and a bit more you can read here. After they revealed Ms. Marvel would be added as the main protagonist, we got a second chance to play the upcoming superhero game this year at NYCC 2019. And holy moly, we were told an exponential number of new things.

When Marvel's Avengers was first announced, many were quick to assume it would be a cinematic action-adventure title, likening it to 2018's Marvel's Spider-Man, with perhaps a sprinkle of Co-op. After this experience with the title, it feels like we're just scratching the surface of what Marvel's Avengers will look like upon release.

Square Enix Shows Off "Marvel's Avengers" Gameplay At Gamescom
Credit: Square Enix

Our time with the game at NYCC 2019 began by playing the A-day demo. However, the meat came from a presentation by Scot Amos, Crystal Dynamics' Head of Studio.

From what we saw, players will operate out of a former helicarrier where they'll have access to a mission selection map known as the war table. For the presentation, Crystal Dynamics showcased a single region, but missions are intended to bring players around the globe. We were told of two mission types: Hero and War Zone.

Hero missions are single-player narrative missions focused on a preselected character's storyline. These are intended to showcase Completing Hero missions will unlock more playable Hero missions, thus continuing the story. Internally,  Hero missions are referred to as the game's "campaign mode."

On the other hand, War Zone missions will be the primary place for multiplayer to occur. These missions can be completed with 1-4 players. It was noted that players will be able to drop in and out at any point in a mission. A mission won't be aborted if a player leaves the game. Conversely, anyone who does leave can rejoin at their discretion. It was made clear that these missions will be online-only. The team developing Marvel's Avengers isn't currently planning to include local co-op in any manner.

Square Enix Shows Off "Marvel's Avengers" Gameplay At Gamescom
Credit: Square Enix

Similar to Hero missions, War Zone missions will have a narrative to them and completing Warzone missions will subsequently unlock more. Unlike their single-player counterparts, War Zone missions can be played using any hero the player has unlocked. One caveat being, there can only be one of each hero in a single War Zone mission. For example, you cannot have four or even two Hulks on the same team.

In part, this is due to the dynamic scaling found in War Zone missions. Each mission will change slightly based on the characters players use and what they have equipped.  Presumably, it would be harder to make a playground that could fit a Hulk quartet.

Despite this limitation, Crystal Dynamics intends to make characters as robust as possible. Amos told Bleeding Cool that each character will be unique, featuring "massive" skill trees with versatile playstyles for each one. Amos gave us an anecdote about how his Thor playstyle was significantly different from a colleague's, and yet they're both effective.  No character has one "set" way to play.

Player characters will also be leveled up specifically– meaning players will have to go through levels 1-10 with both your Hulk and Iron Man characters. Characters grow closer to leveling up classes in Destiny, rather than improving an overall roster.

Characters also have four equipment slots filled by gear, which range in rarity from common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, capping out at something a little above legendary. Gear will alter how your character plays, providing different stats and custom perks. Like in certain RPGs, Gear sets will also exist. A player will get an extra boost if they don all pieces of a gear set at once. Each piece of gear will be tailored to a character. Just as Hulk and Iron Man have to be leveled separately, players will have to forage gear for every character on their roster. 

Square Enix Shows Off "Marvel's Avengers" Gameplay At Gamescom
Credit: Square Enix

Each character will have "dozens" of costumes. These alternate costumes will both from the comics and original works from Crystal Dynamics. Players will obtain costumes by either earning them via tasks or obtaining them as a drop. Costumes are strictly cosmetic, they'll never affect gameplay. It was also noted that costumes will never mantle leap. To Amos, Thor Odinson and Jane Foster with Thor's abilities are distinct characters. Were a Jane Foster Thor or Beta Ray Bill to become playable, they'd be new characters, not alternate attires.

Crystal Dynamics intends to continue updating Marvel's Avengers for years to come. Amos told Bleeding Cool, "As long as people love it, they'll happily keep supporting it."

These updates will include new playable characters and extra stories. Each new character will come with their own selection of quirks and unique costumes. As the game grows over time, Amos predicts some sort of meta will arise, where certain characters are favored for War Zone missions. Every character added will be one of quality. Crystal Dynamics doesn't want to add people to simply inflate roster numbers.

Amos also ensured Bleeding Cool that the game will have a complete story at launch. The recently announced Kamala Khan will act as the main protagonist– it's her arc.

Throughout the presentation, one thing was made clear: Amos and Crystal Dynamics have a deep adoration for the 80 years of Marvel history. This world spawned from that adoration– it's not a continuation of the world created in Insomniac's Spider-man or the Marvel Cinematic Universe– this is a world handcrafted by Crystal Dynamics, and it's filled with love for comic books. This is a world exclusive to Marvel's Avengers.

Marvel's Avengers is set to launch on PC, PS4, Stadia, and Xbox One on May 15, 2020. A co-op beta will be available in early 202o, coming first to PS4 then subsequently other consoles.