A new interview from GamesIndustry.biz explains that the Square Enix-helmed Marvel’s The Avengers project is actually being worked on by not just Crystal Dynamics, but four other development teams as well. Part of this isn’t exactly new, as we’ve long been aware that Eidos Montreal has been working alongside Crystal Dynamics for this project, but it seems they’ve also built an entirely new studio in addition to getting help from their partners with Nixxes and even from Square Enix proper.
“From our side, it’s the biggest thing that we’ve ever done,” head of studio Scott Amos tells GamesIndustry.biz. “We now have five studios working together to pull this off. Crystal Dynamics at Redwood Shores, we opened a new studio in Bellevue called Crystal North West. We have our partners in the Netherlands, Nixxes, which has a big team of people who we’ve worked with for 20 years. Eidos Montreal was our sister studio for all of Tomb Raider, so they’re working on this. And even Square Enix Japan has folks from the tech group working with us.”
They’ve also gathered several specialists for the sake of getting everything from story to combat right, including creative director Shaun Escayg (formerly of Naughty Dog) and combat director Vince Napoli (from Sony’s 2018 God of War):
“We’ve had to change how we work, how we are organised as a team, the number of people we need to do this, the number of external partners… We’ve had to go hire experts like Shaun Escayg, who is our creative director. He told stories for Uncharted and The Last of Us [at Naughty Dog], we needed him to help tell this story. Dave Fifield was a game director who worked on Halo and Call of Duty, we needed him to help us with multiplayer. We go around and look at what we need. Who are the experts? Vince Napoli, he’s our lead combat designer, he just did God of War, come help us with the combat. We cherry-picked the best of the best and said: ‘Let’s put this together in a new way for something bigger than we’ve ever done’.”
Despite Square-Enix devoting a large amount of time at the end of their E3 press conference to Marvel’s The Avengers, the game hasn’t had the best reception online, with many on enthusiast forums like Resetera or even on Twitter deriding the game for its overall lack of gameplay shown and the facial models which seem to go out of their way to look realistic while not resembling the MCU Avengers as we know them, despite using most of the original roster from the 2012 movie. (Hawkeye for whatever reason remains ignored.)
However, it certainly seems like they’re taking this product seriously. I think my biggest concern for a game like this has always been if it was even possible to manage the scale necessary for Avengers while also making all the heroes look and play differently instead of slight clones of one another. Even now, the way they explain the story sounds like a game that would require hundreds of developers if not more–constantly adding new heroes and areas, giving decent five to ten hour story chunks to the main characters in the base game? And that’s to say nothing of their promise of being able to customize each individual hero to a player’s liking. It sounds like incredibly time-intensive work, but learning that Crystal Dynamics and Marvel Games were both well aware and have taken the steps to ensure they’ve got the manpower to get it done is encouraging.
Marvel’s The Avengers releases on May 15th, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia.