We live in a post-Marvel Cinematic Universe world, with the media ecosystem forever changed by Marvel’s titanic projects, productions that impact way more than just the movie business as the tidal wave created by the MCU expands far beyond movie theaters, and ends up sending ripples towards other industries. Of course, aside from the merchandising business where you can find superhero clothes, collectibles & toys, the videogame industry is the obvious target for expansion when it comes to multimedia juggernauts like The Avengers franchise, even online casinos have included superhero themed games in recent years, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marvel has decided to partner up with Square Enix for an multi-year collaboration that is said to include several games (akin to Bungie‘s Destiny deal).
That collaboration was announced back in January 2017, though aside from the studios working on this epic enterprise, we only know that the first product of this partnership will be an Avengers game, featuring an all new story and a cast of well known Marvel heroes. So, with this information (or lack thereof) in mind, we’ve decided to come up with a list of four things we’d like to see in Square Enix’ massive The Avengers Project (probably a codename, though it’d be an excellent name for this multimedia team-up), as well as four things we wouldn’t want to be part of this titanic project.
FOUR THINGS WE’D LIKE TO SEE IN THE AVENGERS PROJECT
- A believable world that feels realistic and lived-in. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided managed to present a believable representation of Prague that was not only beautiful to behold, but also hid its artificial aspects under a facade of real-world limitations that would bend to our will should we approach them with an open mind. Considering that the same team that worked on the latest Deus Ex titles is toiling away at The Avengers Project, we believe that our wish has a high probability of being fulfilled.
- Real choice, not just a few conveniently labeled options that lead to obviously “good”, “neutral” or “bad” endings. This is harder to achieve, since the development team in charge of The Avengers Project is working with an already established license, but it would add a lot of replayability to the game. The Deus Ex reboots weren’t exactly great at presenting us with multiple endings though, so I wouldn’t hold a lot of hope for this particular wish becoming true.
- A campaign mode with actual stakes, and gameplay to back them up. Yes, this might sound like a no-brainer, but most big budget RPGs seem to ignore this in order to send our hero (who is usually painted as the savior of the universe) in meaningless errands that only serve as padding so we can look at the clock after finishing the game and marvel at the amount of time we’ve spent running around these pretty (but ultimately empty) virtual worlds. The Witcher 3 and Kingdom Come: Deliverance have managed to avoid these pitfalls, so hopefully the good people working at Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal have been taking notes.
- A meaningful mix of single-player storytelling and online experiences. According to information uncovered by IGN last year, The Avengers Project will feature online interactions (and may even be an online-only title). Other games released by Square Enix in the past few years haven’t fared very well on the multiplayer department (for instance, Crystal Dynamics‘ Tomb Raider reboot launched with a PvP component that didn’t add a lot to the overall experience), so we hope that for this monumental production, the publisher will come up with an idea that honors the source material without dumbing it down in favor of tacked on competitive scenarios that no one will be playing a few weeks after release (hint, a cooperative campaign could be a great idea).
FOUR THINGS WE WOULDN’T LIKE TO SEE IN THE AVENGERS PROJECT
- A tacked on multiplayer component that only serves as a time-waster, both for the player and the developers. If you’ve just read our list of things we’d like to see in The Avengers Project, this was a no-brainer. We here at Gaming on PC enjoy multiplayer adventures as much as anyone else, but given the choice between a fully featured singleplayer title and one that’s a bit rough around the edges in order to accommodate for an extra online mode that will be dead in a week, we’d choose the former in a heartbeat.
- Loot-boxes (and intrusive micro-transactions). Another no-brainer, as loot-boxes have been heavily featured in the media following the scandal surrounding Battlefront II (2017). A property as important and visible as The Avengers should not be tarnished by controversial monetization schemes that might end up affecting its gameplay in order to get a little more cash out of the players’ pockets. While it might be true that big budget productions require alternate monetization methods aside from the initial US$60 investment most players will make, forcing loot-boxes and intrusive micro-transactions down players’ throats is definitely not the way to go. Maybe other publishers should take a look at the work done by Epic on Fortnite‘s Battle Pass, as it has avoided the most common Free to Play pitfalls so far.
- Far-fetched pre-order campaigns. This has been an issue with many Square Enix releases, as the publisher seems to love courting controversy with crazy pre-order bonuses that often feel like they should have been part of the main game in the first place. Things seemed to have calmed down a little after the pre-order campaign for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided spectacularly backfired on the publisher’s face, but now Shadow of the Tomb Raider is again making waves with a number of different editions and retailer exclusive bonuses that once again are tied to pre-purchases.
- A rushed release. We get it, making videogames is expensive and publishers can’t afford to keep multiple studios working on the same title for long periods of time. That doesn’t mean that they should rush big projects like this one though, as Ubisoft learned with Assassin’s Creed: Unity and other high profile disappointments. The world is high on an adrenaline rush after watching Avengers: Infinity War so this year looks like a perfect time-frame for the release of The Avengers Project, but let’s not forget that Infinity War will continue in 2019, so if Square Enix’ latest interactive behemoth isn’t ready for this year, the next will do just fine. As the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto once said, a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.
And that’s it, those are our four things we’d like to see in The Avengers Project, plus four other things we’d rather not see in Square Enix’ highly anticipated superhero team-up. If you’d like to add anything, remember that our comments section is always open.