We’re all familiar with that Avengers game, yes? The one announced back in 2017, that Crystal Dynamics is developing? The one that’s like Destiny kinda and was supposed to come out on May 15 of this year? Well, that last part is different now. Now it comes out on September 4.
“At Crystal Dynamics our ambition has always been to deliver the ultimate Avengers gaming experience,” reads a statement on the developer’s official website. “In order to achieve that goal, we have made the difficult decision to move the release date of Marvel’s Avengers to September 4, 2020.”
The statement goes on to pay some lip-service to the licensing gods at Disney, using words like “honor,” “privilege,” “legendary,” and so on, before eventually returning to the topic at hand. Crystal Dynamics “will spend this additional development time focusing on fine tuning and polishing the game to the high standards our fans expect and deserve.”
So! Simply put, the game ain’t ready yet. Pretty boring, but so is Marvel’s Avengers by most preliminary accounts, so maybe that’s one of the things that Crystal Dynamics is trying to address. Our own merritt k came away from her demo at last year’s PAX West feeling “unsure about the character designs and somewhat basic action gameplay,” but ultimately “optimistic” about the prospect of a superhero loot game.
Other critics were not as kind, with Engadget Senior Editor Jess Conditt calling her Gamescom 2019 preview “basic,” adding that “everything the studio has shown off so far has been stale, derivative and disappointing.” Polygon Senior Editor Patricia Hernandez talked at length about how the game’s characters just straight-up look off, adding that Crystal Dynamics’ not-movie adaptations are “a pale imitation of the real thing.”
The last time the public saw Marvel’s Avengers was last October, when Marvel’s YouTube channel published a brief gameplay overview video (above) that also introduced Kamala Khan as a playable character. The game didn’t look any different then from how it looked at E3 or Gamescom, so there’s no indication that Crystal Dynamics has attempted a major about-face in the wake of tepid media feedback. Even with another four months to iron things out, chances are good that players will still be leveling up individual Avengers by acquiring armor and weapons of various rarities and numerical values, as is the case in Destiny and most other modern loot-based action-RPGs.
When Marvel’s Avengers was first announced several hundred years ago in 2017, it was billed as a Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Montreal co-production, but Eidos Montreal has left the majority of the talking up to Crystal Dynamics. This is the first game outside of the Tomb Raider franchise that Crystal Dynamics has developed since 2005’s Project Snowblind, a first-person shooter featuring a protagonist named “Nathan Frost” that deserves no further discussion for this reason. In the years since, Crystal Dynamics has churned out eight Tomb Raider games, including the first two entries in the modern trilogy, which are generally considered the strongest of the three. Crystal Dynamics also handled the 3DO port of Samurai Shodown, which isn’t relevant, but might help you win a trivia night somewhere.