Some Assembly Required

Everything we know about Marvel's Avengers


Marvel Entertainment/YouTube.

After deep dives at E3 2019 and New York Comic-Con 2019, Square Enix made the decision in January 2020 to delay Marvel's Avengers from May to September 2020. Not much was heard about the game for a long time after that, but War Table presentations in June and July 2020 have revealed a lot of enticing new information about the game. And there's plenty more to come.

Marvel's Avengers is a result of the deal struck between Marvel and Square Enix back in 2017 — and it will likely be the first of many games to result from this partnership. Reactions to the game's first trailer were mixed, with fans thrown by the voice performances and character design of the Avengers (likely because the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s take on the characters is so ingrained in our minds) and other fans picking apart the art design of the game. 

There are many reservations about Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers, but a lot has been cleaned up since the game's initial reveal. Here's everything we now know about the game.

The Avengers prepare to fight a mysterious enemy in San FranciscoMarvel Entertainment/YouTube.

When is the Marvel’s Avengers release date?

Marvel's Avengers will be released for on September 4, 2020, on current generation hardware and sometime this holiday season for next-generation consoles. This wasn't the original release date though. The game was supposed to come out on May 15, but Square Enix delayed the game.

"At Crystal Dynamics, our ambition has always been to deliver the ultimate Avengers gaming experience. 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," a post regarding the delay explained. "We will spend this additional development time focusing on fine-tuning and polishing the game to the high standards our fans expect and deserve."

Square Enix has also confirmed that versions of Marvel's Avengers for PS5 and Xbox Series X are also in the works. These ports will be available on both next-generation consoles when they launch during "Holiday 2020." The game also supports smart delivery, so you'll be able to upgrade to the next-gen version of the game if you already own it.

When is the Marvel's Avengers beta?

On July 15, Square Enix revealed the Marvel's Avengers beta date to IGN. PS4 players that pre-ordered will be the first to get access to the game on August 7. Next, those who pre-ordered the game on PC and Xbox One on August 14, the same day the PS4 version goes into Open Beta for the first time. Then, even if you didn't pre-order, everyone across PC, PS4, and Xbox One will gain access to the open beta on August 21.

Creative Director Shaun Escayg says that this beta will let players "experience most of things that you’ll be doing in the full game." July's War Table stream gave some insight into what exactly he meant by this. After easing players into the game with a few single-player story missions, the Marvel's Avengers beta will let players try Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, Hulk, and Iron Man in a variety of multiplayer modes.

These include HARM room horde challenges missions, large scale War Zone missions where players have to work together to complete a variety of objectives, and Drop Zone, which are bite-sized War Zones with one objective that can be completed in about 10 minutes. It's a lot of content and should give you a good idea of what to expect from the full game.

What is the plot of Marvel’s Avengers?

Marvel’s Avengers lays out a new Avengers-focused story for players. In the near future, an Avengers celebration called “Avengers Day” (A-Day) takes place in San Francisco, allowing the public to connect with the Avengers. A sudden attack on the Golden Gate Bridge forces the heroes to ditch the event and spring into action.

While Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Black Widow go to work saving civilians on the bridge, Captain America returns to the Avengers Helicarrier to fight off baddies trying to gain possession of an experimental energy source in the Avengers’ possession. The Avengers watch as the Helicarrier explodes and sinks into the water after Cap tries to get to the reactor powering the airship.

Taking a cue from Captain America: Civil War, it turns out the Avengers have been set up to look like the ones who staged the attack on the bridge and the Helicarrier. This leads to Avengers being outlawed, stripped of any official standing, and shunted off into the shadows, forbidden to use their powers.

Years later, Ms. Marvel is inspired to get them back together in order to stop a nefarious plot by AIM and M.O.D.O.K. to control the world under the guise of curing the Inhumans that the A-Day event spawned. The game will see players saving Inhumans, restoring their honor, and taking down M.O.D.O.K.

The stage is set for Avengers Day in San Francisco.Marvel Entertainment/YouTube.

How does Marvel's Avengers play?

Marvel's Avengers finds a unique balance between third-person action games like Batman: Arkham Knight and live service titles like Destiny. Despite their varied powers, controls appear homogenized between all the playable characters, though each has special powers. They also have an in-depth skill tree with a variety of skills for players to customize their characters. Perks will also add various buffs and debuffs to heroes and enemies.

The game is loot- and gear-focused, with menus reminiscent of Destiny. There are a ton of outfits and emotes, many of which are based on classic comics. While there will be linear single-player Hero story, there are also more open-ended War Zone missions that can be played in co-op. When playing in co-op, two heroes can do a special finisher together when enemies are stunned.

What platforms will Marvel's Avengers on?

When the game was first revealed, Square Enix confirmed it would simultaneously be released for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and even Google Stadia. No Nintendo Switch version appears to be planned. On June 22, the publisher also confirmed that the enhanced next-gen version of the game will be released during the 2020 holiday season for those who wait a couple of extra months. Even better, the next-gen versions are free to those that bought it on a current-gen system.

Which heroes and villains are featured in Marvel’s Avengers?

At launch, six playable characters have been front and center: Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, The Hulk, Thor, and Ms. Marvel. With the exception of Ms. Marvel, it's a fairly straightforward team setup that MCU fans will recognize. That said, some other characters have been teased in the game's leaks and marketing.

This includes Hank Pym, Abomination, Taskmaster, Captain Marvel, Dum Dum Dugan, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury. There will no doubt be more villains and other characters than these in the game, but right now these are the characters you should expect.

The Hulk faces off against AbominationMarvel Entertainment

Does Marvel’s Avengers tie into Marvel's Spider-Man?

Fans quickly picked up on the possibility of Marvel’s Avengers and PS4’s Spider-Man existing within the same universe thanks to a bit of key dialogue spoken in the Spider-Man game. During the game, players have the opportunity to take a picture of Stark Tower in Manhattan, prompting Spider-Man to remark, “Avengers Tower, so cool! Too bad they’re never around to use it. They’re on the west coast or something. Probably surfing.”

The fact that the “A-Day” trailer shows all of the Avengers based out of San Francisco suggests this could be a shared video game universe. There has been no official confirmation the games exist in a shared universe and it’s hard to imagine they would if only because the games are created and distributed by different companies. Marvel’s Avengers is the result of a collaboration between Crystal Dynamics, Marvel Entertainment, and Square Enix. Meanwhile, Spider-Man was developed by Insomniac Games and Sony Entertainment.

Even if there’s no official tie-in, it’s certainly interesting to think about, right?

Will Marvel's Avengers get post-launch DLC?

Yes. Post-launch, more story content will be added for free alongside new characters. During July's War Table stream, the first DLC character for the game was revealed. It was Hawkeye, a highly requested character for the game. He will be added to the game for free at an undisclosed time after it launches.

"In an original story-arc inspired by some of the best-known Hawkeye moments in the comics, players wield Clint’s iconic high-tech bow and trick arrows in missions either solo or co-op online with friends," a press release revealing Hawkeye explains. "Hawkeye’s story will continue to move the entire Marvel’s Avengers narrative world forward, and all-new missions are accessible with the entire roster of playable heroes."

Hawkeye also appears to be deaf like he was in Matt Fraction's run, as a hearing aid can be seen in his ear during his reveal trailer. Hawkeye's story is only one part of this post-launch content, which will apparently introduce a "new villain" to the game. Sadly, Square Enix said that it won't be sharing more about that until a later date.

Marvel’s Avengers will be released on Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia, and PC September 4, 2020.