Marvel's Avengers was first teased way back in January 2017 in a cryptic announcement about The Avengers Project. Three years on and the game still isn't out, but we know an awful lot more about it - and at least we know it's now coming pretty soon.
A sort of third-person, superhero-based take on Destiny, the Square Enix game will let you play as any of the Avengers either solo or in online co-op, across an expansive original story.
It's enough to make it one of our most highly anticipated games of 2020 - read on to find out why.
When is the Marvel's Avengers release date?
So, when will Marvel's Avengers be released? Not until 4 September 2020.
While Marvel fans had hoped for some kind of release in 2017 or 2018, Square Enix kept quiet about the project for years. In fact, no more was said until E3 2019 when Square Enix finally revealed a May 2020 release date, which in January was delayed by four months to September.
Pre-orders for the game have started now, and Square has said that those who pre-order will get beta access to the game before release along with an exclusive nameplate and a Marvel Legacy Outfit pack.
There are also two special editions. The Deluxe Edition of the game includes an exclusive Obsidian outfit pack with six hero costumes, six exclusive Obsidian nameplates, and early access to the game - meaning you get to play 3 days before anyone else.
The Earth's Mightiest Edition includes all that, along with a 12in PVC statue of Captain America designed by Gentle Giant, an exclusive steelbook case, Hulk bobblehead, Mjolnir keychain, Black Widow’s belt buckle (!?), Iron Man’s prototype armour blueprints, Kamala Khan’s Honorary Avenger pin, and an Avengers group photo.
PS4 players will get earlier access to the beta than those on other platforms, and if you pre-order from the PlayStation Store you'll also get additional pre-order bonuses, including a Ms. Marvel “Talk to the Hand” emote and a 'Hex Pattern Logo' dynamic theme for your console. The pricier exclusive digital edition on the PlayStation Store also includes an exclusive Ms. Marvel nameplate and 1,000 in-game credits.
Aside from PC and console, Marvel's Avengers will also be available on Google Stadia when it's released.
Latest Marvel's Avengers trailers
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.
Then at New York Comic-Con we got yet more footage introducing a long-requested new Avenger: Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel.
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 launch 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.
For a quick summary of how gameplay works, watch the dev team's game overview video, which sums up the story setup and the core systems in the game:
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
- Ms. Marvel
One more hero has been teased so far, and we expect to get to step into their spandex too:
In February the game's achievement list leaked, which gives an extra glimpse into what to expect - though didn't reveal any new playable heroes. It *does* reveal a so-far unannounced villain though, so only read the full achievement list if you don't mind being spoiled a little.
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."