On a rainy day way back in January 2017, both Marvel and Square Enix both tweeted messages teasing an upcoming announcement. Was the timing a coincidence, or were the two companies going to work together on an upcoming project?
24 hours later, the veil was lifted and Square Enix announced that the two companies would be working together on a multi-game partnership, starting with The Avengers Project. Not much more was said until the project until E3 2019 when Square Enix officially unveiled Marvel's Avengers, which is easily one of our most highly anticipated games.
Fast-forward to August's Gamescom and we got our first look at a playable demo, a tutorial level focused on A-Day (where it all begins) that reveals some of the unique powers of key Avengers.
Here's everything you need to know about Marvel's Avengers, from the release date to the latest gameplay details and trailers.
When is the Marvel's Avengers release date?
So, when will Marvel's Avengers be released? While Marvel fans had hoped for some kind of release in 2017 or 2018, Square Enix kept quiet about the project.
In fact, no more was said until E3 2019 when Square Enix not only officially unveiled Marvel's Avengers with a shiny new trailer, but confirmed the release date, too: 15 May 2020.
Pre-orders aren't live just yet, but Square teased that those who pre-order will get beta access to the game before release. PS4 players will get earlier access to the beta, and other benefits for PlayStation gamers are planned too, but these were not detailed during the show.
Aside from PS4, Marvel's Avengers will be available on Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia when it's released next year.
Latest Marvel's Avengers trailer
Here's the full Marvel's Avengers reveal trailer, complete with snippets of gameplay from the upcoming title.
At Gamescom 2019 we were also treated to footage of the A-Day Prologue, an opening tutorial in which you get to grips with the unique powers of key Avengers as they battle Taskmaster.
What will the gameplay be like?
Following years of teasers, at E3 2019 Square Enix finally revealed Marvel's Avengers, formerly known as The Avengers Project. While the trailer is mostly comprised of cinematics, the company eventually released some gameplay footage from the beginning of the game, and let us play it for ourselves at Gamescom 2019 - read our full preview to find out what we thought and more about how the game will work.
As seen in the reveal trailer, Marvel's Avengers is a third-person action-adventure game set in a world where the Avengers have been set up by an unknown enemy, killing hundreds of innocent civilians in the process. Following a catastrophic event in San Fransisco, the Avengers disbanded, with the game picking up the trail five years later.
The game can be played alone, but there's also online co-op with up to four players on some missions. The whole game will be playable single-player, with every mission driving the narrative forward to some degree, but while some missions let you team up with friends and pick any heroes you please, other 'Hero Missions' are solo-only and lock you into specific heroes to drive the core story forwards.
As stated on the game's Twitter page, Marvel's Avengers will have an "ever-expanding universe" with a growing number of customisable heroes and locations. The key point is that, unlike other service-based games, all future heroes and locations will be free to download, and there won't be any loot crates either - though cosmetics like new costumes will be available to purchase.
In addition to costumes there will be gear drops (with no cosmetic effect), with both rarity and power levels to each piece of gear, in addition to a crafting system for new gear. There are also multiple skill trees for each hero, letting you build them out and optimise them to play the way you prefer - making Thor a tanky melee combatant or a hovering AoE ranged assault platform.
While the full list of heroes is currently unknown, the following characters are confirmed to be playable:
- Black Widow
- Captain America
- Iron Man
Two more heroes have been teased so far, and we expect to get to step into their spandex too:
- Ms. Marvel
What we do know is that it won't tie directly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Marvel Games is run separately from Marvel Studios, which handles the films, and has already announced that its games, including Spider-Man on the PS4 and Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy series, don't exist in the same shared universe.
That theme continues with the characters themselves, who don't share the likenesses and voices of their big-screen counterparts.
What's more interesting than the game itself are the developers working on the project. The partnership consists of Rise of the Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided developer Eidos Montreal. The two developers have created impressive games of late, in terms of both graphics and gameplay, so it seems like the pairing should lead to an impressive roster of Marvel-themed games.
Of course, the list of bad superhero games is much longer than the list of good ones *cough* Green Lantern *cough* but Marvel has, lately, stayed relatively quiet on the game front (apart from a few LEGO games and the phenomenal Spider-Man).
We also know that industry veterans including Naughty Dog's Shaun Escayg and EA/Visceral Games' Stephen Barry are now working on the project, along with fifteen other developers that have worked on titles including Batman: Arkham Origins, Deep Space, Star Wars: Battlefront and more.
Discussing the recent hires, Ron Rosenberg, co-head of Studio at Crystal Dynamics, said that "Their AAA experience adds to an already deep roster, making us well-positioned to deliver on the ambitious goals we’ve set for ourselves with The Avengers project. It’s a stellar addition of many people who fit incredibly well into our wheelhouse of building game experiences we all love."