By Phil Barker
Edited by Phil Barker, Daniel Paiz
PhutureCast: Ideas for the Future of Marvel’s Avengers is a host of ideas Phil has devised with reference to the new Marvel game. After a bit of polishing and editing, this thing is ready for you all to enjoy. I’m really just here to preface the guest appearance, and then step aside for the show; Enjoy!
Marvel’s Avengers game launched with plenty of fanfare earlier this Fall. Players were introduced to a solid single player campaign, online looter style endgame, and developer Crystal Dynamics’ vision for their unique Marvel universe. Since launch, the development (dev) team has been in bug squashing mode working to alleviate a myriad of bugs and issues that have impacted players. After hours of leveling and gearing my Avengers, I will admit the game is fun despite its issues. I feel optimistic the game will improve over the next several months and years.
Games as a Service
Titles tend to be long term projects that continually change and adapt, so what you get at launch will be dramatically different from what you get in year two, year three, etc. (see: Destiny, The Division) The core gameplay loop of the Avengers is great with each character feeling unique and fun. What hurts this game is the lack of variety in many aspects and lackluster gear-based reward system. Looter type games need exciting gear that makes all the grinding worth it. The gear so far in the Avengers is not great, but it is something the devs have mentioned they will address.
The lack of variety gives me some ideas on how to alleviate this problem. Mission types, enemy types, boss battles, and level environments have left Avengers fans wishing more was included in the game at launch. With only two factions (AIM & Watchdogs) and four named bosses (M.O.D.O.K., Monica Rappacinni, Abomination, Taskmaster) at launch, the game seems to be taking a slow drip feed approach to introducing content and variety into their vision of the Marvel universe. The game could benefit from having more locations, level environments, bosses, mission types, and factions. With over 80 years of Marvel history to choose from, here’s a few ideas to keep players coming back for years to come.
Dynamic War Table Encounters
Shadow of Mordor Nemesis System Overview – Image credits: expansivedlc.com
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor released in 2014 with a new and exciting concept called the nemesis system. In this system, certain enemies would continually attack and invade your progress while playing. Enemies would gain new abilities and levels based on your tactics when battling them. Their appearance would be random and they would often attack other points of interest while you were off doing other things.
All of these touches made every playthrough different and exciting. XCOM 2 released in 2016 and added onto this concept in several interesting ways. Sub-bosses in this game could attack various points of interest on the world map and invade the missions in progress that players selected. They also acquired new perks and attributes based on what choices and missions the player chose. All of these gameplay components made each in game day feel dynamic and interesting.
Marvel’s Avengers should take this concept and tweak it to be a fantastic addition to their core gameplay loop. Crystal Dynamics has 80+ years of solid villains that can be introduced in a similar nemesis type system. The current gameplay loop has you select a mission from your war table, matchmake if playing online, and then play.
Now imagine in the middle of said mission, Batroc the Leaper attacked your strike team with an assortment of mercenaries to try and capture the objective before you. Another scenario while selecting your mission on the war table might be: you see a new time sensitive mission that has the Crimson Dynamo attacking an AIM base, and must decide if you want to intervene for the chance at special gear. There are plenty of possibilities that the dev team can utilize to make this system add depth and variety.
Events and Seasons
Image Credits: Avengers Launch War Table
While it was mentioned in Marvel’s Avengers launch War Table stream, events and seasonal activities would add spice and variety to the day to day gameplay. Events could be themed around real world holidays, upcoming content updates, important Marvel anniversaries, and future upcoming Marvel content such as film and TV series releases.
Providing new items, modifiers, rewards, and cosmetics would bring a bit of much needed excitement and variety to the endgame chase. Having a cycle of events to look forward to would help bridge the gap between content updates. Similar games in the genre have events and seasons that run in between major updates. This game could take advantage of a similar system while also tapping into the huge legacy of Marvel comics for ideas.
Image Credits: Marvel.com
Ultron is seemingly confirmed to be coming to the game at some point in its lifespan. The foundation of the character in universe has been set up with Hank Pym’s reclaimed Roy robots and only needs a few more story beats to come to fruition. SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT! A fantastic moment of the single player campaign is when AIM attacks the Avengers newly refurbished Helicarrier with a mass of robots and adaptoids.
Imagine taking that mission and upping the scale with Ultron. He could attack various Avengers bases and locations to create interesting multi-wave defense missions that would also tie into my first point with a more dynamic war table. You also then have Ultron hack the HARM room missions, increasing the waves of enemies while offering new environments and better rewards for completion.
Hydra Island Raid
Image Credits: marvel.fandom.com
Raids in Marvel’s Avengers are rumored to be on the way soon. AIM’s Secret Lab dungeon and a Wakanda themed raid against AIM are all supposedly future content. Hydra is a very important faction in the Marvel universe that has already been name dropped in the game’s single player story. It then makes sense to pull one of their most famous bases into this game as a raid type mission for several players.
You could have multiple checkpoints that include the different sectors of the island such as the beach head, armory, laboratory, and command center. Each section could have its own themed puzzles, side objectives, and mini bosses such as Grim Reaper, Madame Hydra, and Baron Strucker. All these encounters could end with a fight against Baron Zemo. This raid would introduce Hydra in a memorable and unique way.
Stealth, Solo, or Duo Missions
Image Credits: marvel.com
Mixing up the mission format with solo, duo, and stealth missions could be an easy way to add variety to the existing mission structure. You and a friend could infiltrate a covert AIM facility as Black Widow, Captain America, or Ms. Marvel with any number of objectives required to complete the mission. Free allied prisoners, hack files from AIM’s server, and other examples could really make a fun game mode for you and a friend.
Actually, take this concept a step further. Imagine starting a villain sector or raid with your Black Widow and Captain America teammates having to infiltrate an area to open a door without being caught. Depending on their success or failure could introduce new mechanics such as stronger enemies if you get caught which raises the alarm. Another possibility might be successfully infiltrating opens up a hidden room with extra loot or an easier boss battle. The possibilities to create unique missions with plenty of variables are endless.
Tournament of the Nine Realms
Image Credits: marvel.com
Asgard brings a potential wealth of new environments, enemy types, and other details that could push the game through all the Nine Realms. It will undoubtedly bring the typical new content such as war zones, new gear, and villain sectors when it arrives. But there are more possibilities that Asgard and the NineRealms bring.
A potential seasonal tournament type event where players could pick a ‘team’ faction, such as the Asgardians or Frost Giants, to compete in challenges against the entire player base. Such tasks as the first faction to reach X amount of kills, total number of villain sectors completed in a week, etc. would all be great targets to get gamers competing for glory and valor. The winning team could be awarded exclusive faction gear, loot, nameplates, and costumes.
Inter Dimensional Madness
Image credits: cnet.com
Doctor Strange is a rumored future character that I’d love to see join the game roster. His inclusion would open up plenty of mystic options for missions, enemies, and locations. One way to introduce magic in this game would be to alter existing mechanics in new ways. Imagine working on a vault mission and finding a random artifact in the game landscape which opens a portal.
When you enter the portal, it would transport you to the mirror dimension of that game level where stronger unique enemies inhabit the map. The loot drops could also have a chance of dropping loot for any character in your roster instead of just the one you are currently playing. Doctor Strange spends much of his time fixing realities in the comics (and soon the films!) and it would be fun to see Crystal Dynamics shake up the game with magical themed elements.
Off World Adventures
Image credits: marvel.fandom.com
There are plenty of direct references and easter eggs to several alien species in the single player campaign of Marvel’s Avengers. Crystal Dynamics hopefully brings in cosmic races such as the Kree, Skrulls, Badoon, Shi’ar, and many more that have battled the Avengers throughout history. Imagine being able to explore the stars and visit their respective homeworlds and other planets for missions, war zones, and raids.
An example mission chain would be repelling a Kree invasion of Earth. The next mission would bring the Avengers to the Kree homeworld of Hala for a battle with Starforce and the Supreme Intelligence. These fights would reward special cosmetics, exotic gear, new perks, and more rewards to show off your intergalactic skills. Other notable Cosmic beings like Galactus, the Celestials, Annihilus, Michael Korvac, and many others might bring new content and epic space encounters to the evolving Avengers story.
A Genre Staple Game Mode
Image credits: newsweek.com
If you visit the game’s reddit or official discord, you will see plenty of topics asking for a Destiny like Patrol mode. For those unaware, Destiny has large open area maps with random enemy and boss spawns for multiple players to take on whenever they want. Another classic Marvel game, Marvel Heroes, had Midtown Manhattan mode. In this mode, enemies and iconic villains would spawn in random places on a giant map of New York City for players to attack and defeat together.
These encounters were almost like a social sandbox space where players could meet up with anyone in the zone. They could team up and get to work knocking out villains and completing objectives. Such an area in Marvel’s Avengers could become a great place to pop in and play, show off earned cosmetics, gain new rewards, and make new friends.
An Eye on the Streets
Image credits: marvel.com
The single player campaign focuses on the core Avengers organization and tells the compelling story of Ms. Marvel kick starting their reassembly. But a major piece of the Marvel universe teased but never shown is the impact their disbanding had on the street level. Many heroes and villains are referenced in the game that would no doubt add a bit of ground level perspective.
It would especially be interesting to see what organizations like the Hand and the Maggia, as well as iconic villains like the Kingpin, were able to build with the Avengers out of action. **Playstation owners may get a slice of that when Spider-man comes exclusively to the console in 2021.** Having more urban and open outdoor maps would also be a welcome addition to the game. As a majority of the levels at launch start in outdoor areas but quickly descend into elevators and underground bases.
Dark Avengers Operation Siege
Image Credits: cbr.com
AIM has a foothold currently in the story with plenty of clones and robots to throw at the Avengers. As the game’s narrative advances, plenty of other factions will emerge to challenge our favorite heroes. Norman Osborne and his Dark Avengers would provide an excellent challenge that could be adapted into several different game modes. The Dark Avengers are famous for their time in the comics after Secret Invasion where Osborne assembled villains to impersonate the Avengers and fool the general public.
Using the Dark Avengers in the context of my dynamic war table section would be great. Having the Dark Avengers lay siege to Avengers Tower or invade priority missions would add even more layers to those encounters. Making this content a seasonal or limited time event could also incentivize rewards such as Dark Avengers exotic gear, skins, nameplates, and other cosmetics.
The Infinity Gauntlet
Image credits: businessinsider.com
This feels like an inevitable addition, but Thanos and the Infinity Stones have to come to this game as a massive galaxy spanning raid. If guild or clan systems are implemented in the future, making Thanos a Guild Raid event seems like a great way to balance the scale and threat of his quest for the stones. Your guild would have to split up into teams and complete several mini raid type missions across the galaxy to secure the stones before Thanos. He would send his armies and Black Order lieutenants to battle at first before wading into the conflict himself.
Being able to fight Thanos in a massive Guild wide battle would be awesome to see. The rewards could go even further to making the Thanos raid must play content. Being rewarded with each Infinity stone as a major artifact to make the ultimate build. Or you could use an Infinity stone and the gauntlet to supercharge your items with stone based perks or extra stat rolls. Thanos is also an intergalactic warrior, so having his army drop special gear from several cosmic races he conquered would also add a new wrinkle to the loot chase.
Battle Through Time
Image credits: marvel.com
Time Travel seems to be a topic that will be addressed soon in Marvel’s Avengers with the upcoming Kate Bishop and Clint Barton Hawkeye operations. A major rule of time travel in Marvel is that messing with time has consequences. This would make it plausible to guess that Kang the Conqueror might be in the back of Crystal Dynamics mind as a future content update and a big bad. Kang would bring the potential for all sorts of new (and old) locations, characters, gear, and time travel shenanigans.
Kang could disrupt the Avengers missions by scrambling the war table and sending your team to the prehistoric past or far future. His villain sectors could be full of past or future versions of classic foes. Special futuristic and retro exotic gear, artifacts, costumes, and other rewards could all be part of Kang’s grand plan in Marvel’s Avengers.
The Future is Potentially Bright for Marvel’s Avengers
Marvel’s Avengers has a potentially exciting future ahead of itself with many possibilities for content, storylines, and new characters to introduce. It will take plenty of work to implement new features, keep the community engaged with current content, and hopefully attract new players to experience their take on the Marvel universe. Hopefully this list can help spark ideas to create new content and bring more flavor into a game built on the rich 80+ year history of Marvel comics.
Have any ideas on missions and content you would like to see? Please let us know in the comments. Also hit me up on Twitter and Instagram @PhuturePhil so I can hear your take!