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SYFY WIRE the Avengers

Gaming: Avengers assemble new trailer, NASA Mars rover taps old-school gaming tricks

By Benjamin Bullard
Iron Man soars in Avengers video game

When developer Crystal Dynamics said last year that character customization would play a big role in its upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game, they weren’t kidding. A new trailer is out for the upcoming action-adventure romp that’ll once again assemble Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and it serves up fresh detailed looks that go beyond just the cool outfits players can switch out.

After you get over the latest sighting of Hulk in a pinstripe suit, check out the way each Avenger’s skill tree allows them to stack new fighting moves as they progress. In the clip, we get a peek at the menu screen that shows off Tony Stark’s Iron Man toybox, as well as glimpses inside the synth production shop where AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), the game’s shadowy corporate threat, creates its expendable robo-baddies.

There’re also a couple of new glimpses at how Kamala Khan enters the story, as well as a quick drop-in at the Helicarrier HQ base — which Crystal Dynamics says will itself become upgradeable as the game advances. The clip also reveals the game’s two mission types: Hero missions, which follow a single character; and War Zone missions, which let you team up in multiplayer while spreading your hard-earned gains across all the characters you left back at HQ.

Publisher Square Enix recently revealed the rollout plan for Marvel’s Avengers, including what the $59.99 Standard Edition will get you (Beta access and a Legacy outfit pack for each character), as well as the $79.99 Deluxe Edition (which adds in a souped-up tier of metallic Obsidian outfits, among other goodies). For the truly devoted, there’s also the SteelBook Earth’s Mightiest Edition, which comes with a 12” Captain America statue, Hulk bobblehead, Mjölnir keychain, and other Avengers mementos. Pre-orders are already live, ahead of the game’s Sept. 4 arrival for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC.


The coronavirus pandemic here on Earth has even NASA scientists working from home to keep the Mars Curiosity rover from collecting space dust. But that’s just an opportunity for engineers to work out some neat low-tech solutions borrowed from the world of video gaming and old-school movie tricks to keep the wheels in motion.

Yep, that means donning old-school 3D movie glasses, the better to view the terrain detail on team members’ home computer screens powered by repurposed PC gaming rigs with the needed horsepower to render the rover’s high-resolution feed.

As NASA explained this week in a fascinating look at how they’re pulling this off from home, the glasses serve as crude-but-functional stand-ins for the 3D goggles that the crew uses on the job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Those peepers are vital for accurately assessing landform details before pointing Curiosity to its next destination, and, while “not as immersive or comfortable as the goggles,” says NASA, “they work just as well for planning drives and arm movements.”

Using NASA’s improvised work-from-home setup, Curiosity successfully completed its first offsite-guided mission on March 22, when the operation the team put together via home-based videoconference went “as expected, resulting in Curiosity drilling a rock sample at a location called ‘Edinburgh.’” Hey, we’ve seen gaming gear prove its usefulness in non-gaming applications before. But now that NASA’s fully on board, we probably haven’t seen anything yet — and definitely not in 3D.


Europe’s biggest annual gaming expo is still more than four months away, but the global coronavirus crisis has planners thinking ahead about whether, and how, to keep the show going.

Gamescom, which surpasses even E3 as the world’s largest gaming event, had been eyeing the possibility of canceling altogether this year’s expo in Cologne, Germany — especially after the German government’s ban on large events through the end of August. But organizers said via Twitter that the show will still go on — it’ll just be virtual this time around.

As you can see, details on what shape Gamescom’s digital-only event will take are still in the early planning stages. But as one of the year’s biggest chances for players to get some of gaming’s biggest news, at least Gamescom won’t leave players thirsting for new console details, game announcements, and, of course, tons of killer new trailers.