By Alejandro Ambriz
2018 is proving to be a year where Marvel tests the limits of their whole Avengers experiment as a media brand. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has developed into truly a wonderful thing. The Initial release of Iron Man sparked a decade and more of blockbuster movies that are all the rage. Along with Avengers: Infinity War bringing together all the disparate parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for an epic showdown with Thanos, there’s also The Avengers Project, a game in collaboration between Marvel and Rise of the Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics.
While Avengers Project likely won’t arrive until 2019 at the earliest, there’s sure to be some information on the game before 2018 ends, and it’s hard to think about it outside of Infinity War’s orbit. Whatever one’s feelings are on the MCU, there’s an undeniably tremendous effort being made here, and one has to wonder – can that scope or feeling ever be transferred to the games of the future?
Instinctually, the answer would be “yes, Infinity War’s scope and efforts can happen in games,” but it’s not quite as simple as that. The trend of turning games into a service for years on end rather than outright sequels has only grown more and more, and it seems probable Square Enix and Marvel would decide to turn this into one of those types of games rather than jumping into a sequel. But turning games into a service that people want to come back to is tricky.
Take a look at the Call of Duty Black Ops saga alone. When the first Black Ops came out in 2010, it was a continuation to Call of Duty: World at War. In 24 hours alone, Black Ops sold 5.6 million units and earned 650$ million in five days. The Black Ops franchise has made money breaking records and has attracted hundreds of thousands of fans. Each game surpassed the other in terms of revenue. The reason why it works is because this series started as a video game. For marvel, comics have been out since 1961, there is already a rich history established and I doubt video game creators would put all the different timelines the multiverse has.
Superhero games at their best deliver the power and experience of being the hero we all grew up watching as children. And it’s easy to understand what makes the MCU and its potential to have a larger game universe built around it so enticing. But Infinity War was a once in a lifetime event that took a lot of preparation that games can’t afford these days. There’s too many moving parts at play, and it will take more than finger snapping to perfectly balance everything for the task ahead. The avengers have so much potential to be more than movies, and video games are a great direction.