Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order mines the same ground that Marvel Studios did with the Infinity Saga. Marvel's films pulled from the classic Infinity Gauntlet crossover event and subsequent events like Jonathan Hickman's Infinity, twisting and changing them to fit the movie versions of Marvel heroes. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 did the same, focusing on the Infinity Gems, Thanos, and his Black Order, but forging its own version of the Marvel Universe. Marvel Ultimate Alliance has always relied heavily on a wide cast of characters, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 has been a fantastic start in that respect.
As part of the Expansion Pass, developer Team Ninja is adding more story content alongside new characters and potential gameplay modes. This Expansion Pass will have a total of three DLC packs, and previously it was unknown how big these packs would be. During San Diego Comic-Con, Nintendo of America announced that Blade, Moon Knight, Punisher, and Morbius would be a part of the first DLC pack. According to an official tweet, these four are only "a few characters from the first DLC pack," meaning we can likely expect more. And these packs are supposed to include characters from Marvel Knights, Fantastic Four, and X-Men lines.
With this in mind, we'll look at the Marvel Comics storylines and characters that Nintendo, Koei Tecmo, and Team Ninja could add to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.
Marvel Knights: War of the Vampires
With Blade and Morbius at least, I get the feeling that we might see the first Marvel Knights pack focusing on magic. This should be in a more grounded sense compared to Dormammu's Dark Dimension, a more outlandish magical world that allows the story to focus on the roster's mystical heroes: Dr. Strange, Scarlet Witch, Elsa Bloodstone, and Ghost Rider. So, I'd expect a mystical invasion in the real-world.
Moon Knight and Punisher aren't directly related to vampires, but Moon Knight is mystically-based depending on how you feel about his origins. The Punisher is currently on the Savage Avengers, a team tackling magic-based problems alongside Conan, Wolverine, Venom, Elektra and Doctor Voodoo. (Yes, that Conan.) Three of those characters are already in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.
There's a story that was only recently published that fits the bill here. Over in Jason Aaron's Avengers, the third story arc was War of the Vampires. This arc pitted the Avengers against the Shadow Colonel and his Legion of the Unliving, in the midst of a vast vampire civil war. Everyone's looking for Dracula, and fighting with each other during the search. With this in mind, it's easy to expect a level that takes place in Transylvania with Dracula or the Shadow Colonel as a boss character.
Character-wise, there's still room for more Marvel Knights heroes. Jessica Jones should be added as a playable character, but given this magic focus Shang-Chi fits more. Doctor Voodoo could work, depending on how they differentiate him from Dr. Strange and Scarlet Witch. The X-Men's Magik is a mutant steeped in magic, and that big sword she swings around would be a cool powerset. Another character that leans in two directions is Adam Warlock, who is technically a cosmic hero, but whose quantum magic is still counted as Marvel mysticism. I'd also use this DLC pack to tease a scientist and magic-user who rules over his own Eastern European nation, which would tie into the last DLC pack.
X-Men: Mutant Massacre and Fall of the Mutants
Part of me wants to say, "Do Age of Apocalypse!" but let's pull back on that a bit. I think Apocalypse should be the focus of the X-Men DLC pack, but I doubt Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 can go that far out for a mere story expansion. So I'd like to recommend some older crossovers: "Mutant Massacre" and "Fall of the Mutants" from the late '80s. Mutant Massacre is the first X-Men crossover event, followed two years later by Fall of the Mutants, which was a banner event involving various deaths across the X-Men line.
The point here would be to bring in some X-Men favorites and lead up to Apocalypse. Levels in this could be a combination of the Hellfire Club and the Morlock Tunnels, starting in the former and ending in the latter. I'd have Mr. Sinister as a boss, and show the X-Men Angel losing his wings for the second part of the DLC. This half would probably move to Apocalypse's Ship or Pyramid, and pit the united heroes against the threat of Apocalypse himself.
The latter is tailor made for the addition of Archangel to the playable cast, considering both storylines offered major changes to his character. Beast already appeared in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 so he could be playable here, but I think better additions from the original X-Men squad are Iceman and Jean Grey. With all four coming in this DLC, you'd have the entire original X-Men squad.
I'd fill out the rest of the X-Men focused DLC with characters who were in the X-Men during both crossovers: Rogue and Dazzler. Given that villains like Magneto and Venom are already in Ultimate Alliance 3, putting Sabretooth in there as one of the primary antagonists of the Mutant Massacre. He's a big, beefier Wolverine; Sabretooth would sit between Wolverine and the Hulk in terms of capabilities, and his inclusion means more Marvel vs. Capcom callbacks. And though both storylines precede his introduction in the comics, having Deadpool around means it's be a great idea to pull in his straight man, the soldier from the future, Cable.
Fantastic Four: Foundation
Given that Jonathan Hickman's Infinity fed heavily into the main storyline of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, it feels right to draw on his great Fantastic Four run for the next DLC story pack. The run itself is a sprawling one, crossing Fantastic Four, its FF sister title, and even the Secret Wars event. Suffice it to say, it's a somewhat cosmic tale overall, so I could see the story-based part of this DLC pack going from the iconic Baxter Building, to the Negative Zone, and perhaps to a tiny chunk of Secret Wars' amalgamated Battleworld. Doctor Doom should loom large over the entire storyline here, but villains like Annihilus, the Maker, and even the cosmic Beyonders could make appearances as bosses.
Character-wise, the entire Fantastic Four should be along for the ride: Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, The Thing, and The Human Torch. Outside of the First Family, Namor should be around sparring with Black Panther, trying to tease the Invisible Woman, and shouting "Imperious Rex" whenever possible.
Where Annihulus goes, I think it should follow a few hooks to the Annihilation crossover should be present. This event saw Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning define the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them, and it also saw Nova rise in prominence. Nova appears briefly towards the end of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, but he could get a bigger spot in a Fantastic Four DLC pack. And if we're bringing cosmic Marvel, then the Silver Surfer also deserves a slot. Finally, since Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 tends to pull from every era of the Marvel Universe, bring in current Guardian of the Galaxy Quasar. This version being Phyla-Vell, daughter of the Kree Mar-Vell.
And yes, that's eight characters, but at the end of it all, after being beaten himself and potentially helping out heroes face the Beyonders, Doctor Doom should join the Alliance.
That's three potential DLC packs full of story content, with eight characters per pack. With the 36 characters in the base game, the free addition of Cyclops and Colossus in August, and all of these characters, that'd bring the overall roster to 63 characters, which is more than enough for any Marvel game. Plus Team Ninja should think about implementing some costumes to turn these heroes into their alternate counterparts—a Beta Ray Bill costume for Thor is calling me. With a huge roster and alternate costumes doing more legwork, I think Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 could be the best and broadest Marvel game ever.