Marvel’s Avengers arrived with great fanfare last year, promising to let gamers take control of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and live out their MCU dreams.
Sadly, however, it didn’t work out like publisher Square Enix hoped. Despite a moderately entertaining single-player campaign starring Ms. Marvel, the meat of the game turned out to be a repetitive online brawler in which you beat up robots for similar cosmetics.
It launched to mixed reviews and players stayed away, resulting in the title being largely responsible for Square posting an estimated loss of around $63 million. And a year after its original release, a glance at the Steam stats indicates it’s practically dead, with the last 30 days seeing an average fewer than 1,000 players online.
But there’s still a faint heartbeat. Prior to release Crystal Dynamics hyped up the PlayStation exclusive Spider-Man DLC. This was billed as being released in 2021, but with the end of the year now in sight, there’s still no sign of the web-slinger. But he is coming, with the studio’s Dan Matlack confirming it on Discord.
“Spider-Man is what we call an ‘event’ so he will have cutscenes and a story for sure.”
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One big problem is that Crystal Dynamics’ take will inevitably live in the shadow of Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man titles. Both the original and Miles Morales are all-time great Spider-Man stories and nail his abilities, fighting style, and personality. As part of an ensemble, Spider-Man won’t be as fleshed out in Marvel’s Avengers, so it runs the risk of being an anticlimax in a game with an already poor reputation.
Right now, it seems that Marvel’s Avengers will go down as a cautionary tale for developers not to assume that players will buy something just because of the license. But whatever the case, I’m sure curious players will log back in purely to see how Spider-Man is handled within the game.