'Marvel's Avengers' game: Why Kamala Khan is the perfect main character
"She's a fangirl," developer Crystal Dynamics tells Inverse. "She loves the Avengers. She idolizes them.”
This week marked the arrival of some major news about the Marvel’s Avengers video game. Not only is Kamala Khan (aka, Ms. Marvel) one of six playable characters in the upcoming action-adventure game, she’s the main character.
The opening chapter of the game — developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montréal, and published by Square Enix — serves as a crash course in the varied combat and traversal styles of the five other playable characters: Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Hulk. An “Avengers Day” celebration takes a sudden and disastrous turn, obliterating a sizable chunk of San Francisco. Cap is blamed for the A-Day incident and presumed dead. (He’s almost certainly not dead, given his prominence in the marketing materials for this game.) It’s during this climactic battle that we get our first, brief glimpse of Kamala, knocked off her feet on the deck of the helicarrier as it roils in the surf.
Dejected and discouraged, the superhero squad parts ways. Five years later, Kamala confronts a scraggly haired Tony Stark with evidence she claims will exonerate Cap. As Kamala, it’s your job to track everyone down and get the band back together.
“You’re not only rebuilding the team, you’re rebuilding the heroes themselves. How you’ll save them, and how you’ll rebuild them is a huge part of what makes our original story so unique,” explained Rich Briggs, senior brand director at Crystal Dynamics. “She’s trying to show that the Avengers could not have done what the world thinks they did, that the world needs the Avengers.”
Kamala’s fangirl tendencies make her a fitting player vehicle at a time when the Marvel fandom has become bigger and broader than ever.
“She loves the Avengers. Idolizes them,” Briggs tells Inverse. “She’s saying the things that you’re thinking as you’re playing the game. She’s reacting how you and I would act if we suddenly realized we had all these powers.”
While a vocal minority of goons will surely cry “Mary Sue” and lament the state of latter-day popular entertainments with all its lady Jedi and female Ghostbusters, Kamala’s central role in the game promises to give fans the chance to see some of the Marvel universe’s most iconic heroes in a fresh new light. She’s the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel comic, which has become massively popular since its 2014 debut. The character will also be the focus of an upcoming Disney+ series.
“The Marvel Universe is so rich and so diverse,” Briggs says. “Fans love that they can see so many different heroes and at find least something of themselves, no matter where they look in-universe.”
Marvel’s Avengers comes to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia on May 15, 2020.