After E3 2019, I walked away from my hands-off demo of Marvel's Avengers from Crystal Dynamics and had a lot of questions. The reveal was very light on actual details about the game itself: how it plays, how the heroes handle, and more. Today at PAX West 2019, Crystal Dynamics' Head of Studio Scot Amos spent some time giving us all those details, in addition to a hands-on version of the E3 2019 demo.
During the presentation, Amos outlined the customization available to the starting heroes of Marvel's Avengers. Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor all have costumes that reflect their lengthy history in comics, films, and television.
"We have 80 years of history to look through. There are probably more outfits than we could possibly make for these characters," says Amos. "And beyond that, we're being pushed again by that word: originality. What new things can we add? What custom new designs? What do you guys want?"
Outfits are visual only, and not tied to your hero's gear and skills. But how do you pick up all these unique looks for your favorite Marvel heroes? "A lot of these outfits you earn just by playing. You'll actually go through and accomplish hero missions, warzone missions, or some specifically are to go find certain outfits tied to some narrative. There are also outfits you can only purchase from our marketplace," explains Amos. Hero missions are focused on one hero in single player action, while warzone missions are all about cooperative play with up to four heroes.
This is the first mention of additional monetization for Marvel's Avengers. Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have promised new heroes and new missions as free updates to the game. The studio also said there are no random loot boxes or pay-to-win scenarios, leading us to question how Marvel's Avengers would fund ongoing development. It sounds like costumes might be one vector.
Some of the costumes shown include the Hulk as Joe Fixit, his gray-skinned counterpart in snazzy zoot suit. Iron Man has a few armors available, including his smooth gray prototype outfit, while Thor has a more Norse-themed Odinson outfit. And when asked if the costumes will appear in cutscenes, Amos simply says "yes."
One thing you won't see though are outfits that change one hero into another similar one. I specifically asked about, say, a Thor costume that would make the hero look like the alien Beta Ray Bill. Sadly, Thor's costumes are all for Thor, and Crystal Dynamics tries to find a narrative reason for every outfit. "The outfits are for each hero. There's Thor's outfits, and Iron Man's outfits, and so on. They are stuff either pulled from the past or directly created just for that character," he says.
Marvel's Avengers was hit with backlash at E3 2019 for its designs for the familiar Marvel heroes, and the developer is sticking to those designs. Kamala Khan, the future Ms. Marvel, also features heavily in some of the early reveal content, with the five-year gap following the prologue mission giving her plenty of time to take on her heroic persona. Marvel's Avengers is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and PC on May 15, 2020.