We finally know when the Avengers are assembling on our gaming consoles. After an eternity of near-silence about its mega-collaboration with Marvel to bring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together in a AAA game with bleeding-edge graphics, Square Enix closed out its hefty E3 2019 press conference with a huge jolt of new information about the (until now) mysterious “Avengers Project.”
Marvel’s Avengers will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia, and PC in May of 2020, and it’ll feature both single-player and co-op gameplay centered around the starting core cast of its big five: Captain America, Iron Man/Tony Stark, Hulk/Bruce Banner, Black Widow, and Thor.
Primary developer Crystal Dynamics says it plans to keep the game fresh for “years” by adding new heroes periodically from Marvel’s sizable comic book stable, and it has zero plans to charge players extra for it. To drive that point home, developers treated the E3 audience to an exclusive preview clip that featured one additional playable character who won’t be ready to go at launch time: Hank Pym, who promptly zapped a menacing giant space-bot down to manageable size.
“Every new superhero in every new region will be delivered at no additional cost,” said studio head Scott Amos, following the main trailer, which showed the team coming together — with very little facial resemblance, it turns out, to any of the MCU stars we’ve grown so accustomed to seeing:
Coming at the tail end of the MCU story cycle for stars like Cap’s Chris Evans and Iron Man’s Robert Downey Jr., the idea behind going for a different look for each of the human characters behind the masks is to recreate a new-yet-familiar group of standalone Marvel heroes that players can bond with in the years to come. “They’re unique to this game, as this is Crystal’s interpretation of these iconic characters,” Marvel Games’ Bill Rosemann explained from the E3 stage.
Further bolstering Square Enix’s commitment to connect with MCU movie fans who enter Marvel’s gaming universe, Crystal Dynamics’ Meagan Marie said all the post-release content heading the Avengers’ way will steer clear of in-game microtransactions altogether: “Our promise to the community,” she said, “is that we won’t have random loot boxes or pay-to-win scenarios.”
As befits an Avengers game arriving right at the height of the MCU’s popularity, there’s a deep and connected new story underpinning the action. Following a tragic A-Day accident near the Avengers’ San Francisco headquarters, all superheroes have been outlawed and the team has disbanded, taking tons of public blame for introducing an advanced helicarrier powered by experimental tech that (perhaps) wasn’t ready for prime time. Flash forward five years, though, and a new threat rises that forces the reluctant five back together — and back into costume.
A demo slice of the game will be playable on the E3 floor this week, with details of an early beta access period to be revealed in the months to come. But the takeaway following Square Enix’s big unveiling is a collective sigh of relief from fans: Marvel’s Avengers is real, and it’s coming on May 15 of next year.