Why Marvel’s Avengers needs the multiverse


What now, Avengers?

You’ve finished the campaign and taken a bite out of the Avengers Initiative, and now the only question racing through your mind is: “What’s to keep me coming back to Marvel’s Avengers?” That’s such a valid question. As Crystal Dynamics head Scot Amos announces a 2021 release delay for the next-gen versions, I can’t help but wonder what’s next for the game’s development.

In my review of Marvel’s Avengers, I mentioned there’s a lack of community. Although there are Outposts to visit, they’re populated strictly with NPC’s. You’ll only come in contact with other players when you’re queuing up for matchmaking and playing the mission you’re waiting for. This began to bug me because, at this point, Marvel’s Avengers wants to service the multiplayer minded. That’s when I began to think back to how well Destiny did such a small part of the game.

Bungie understood community

In Destiny, you could travel with your squad to an Outpost rife with real-world players. There were people around every corner, either visiting vendors, picking up available bounties, or showing off their armor and emotes collection. Bungie understood how much difference a truly social space would make in selling that this is a living, breathing world.

By introducing the Multiverse, Crystal Dynamics could change the game drastically. How? Please stick with me!

Also, click here to read my review of Marvel’s Avengers: Marvel’s Avengers Review (Xbox One).

What is the Multiverse?

The Multiverse is an idea that spans many forms of media. Marvel and DC have propelled these concepts to the mainstream through the DCEU and the Arrowverse on CW (I refuse to call it the CW Multiverse), and it will be presented in the MCU through Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Simply put, they are alternate universes.

Either diverging from other realities or timelines where different events transpired, these universes are populated by other versions of the characters we all know and love. The concept is handy when other comic writers want to play with the characters but not necessarily stick to the main Marvel Universe’s continuity. Often, this plot device is used to frame scenarios where our heroes face themselves, leading to conflict.

Marvel’s Avengers should think about developing their own version to fulfill their live-service needs.

Your game is your universe.

Screenshot via Attack of the Fanboy

One draw would be the idea that, within the multiverse, your journey is your own. You built your characters up different than the other players, tackled the content with varying tactics, and operated in your own closed world for the campaign. The outfits you prefer to wear speak to your tastes, as do the abilities and the loot you’ve been diligently collecting. Your game is your universe.

Outposts as a real Social Space

At the moment, visiting an Outpost seems like a necessary evil; I take a moment from the game to return to one, turn in my daily and weekly quests, and then I’m gone. Update 1.3.3 brought a welcomed change in the form of faster movement through Outposts and the ability to pick up your assignments remotely. While this added some much-needed convenience, I’ll rarely explore the Ant Hill.

I envision the Outposts being expanded upon, such as allowing the exploration of the decks of the Helicarrier. Open this space up or create free-roam zones. These would end up being handled like servers due to the sheer amount of players potentially logging in. Either way, social spaces are much needed! Once this social space is in place, players would be able to look for groups to undertake missions with right then and there rather than fall to the mercy of matchmaking. 

This may not seem integral to the gameplay, but once there is a community, the emptiness of the game’s landscape would lessen.

Character Selection

Sure, character selection will be plentiful eventually, but that doesn’t mean friends who game together won’t want to play the same Avenger. “Just pick someone different” isn’t going to be an option for everyone. For instance, say we’re heading to level 150 content, and I’m using Thor. Your Thor is the only character you have with a high enough power level to participate in that content. Right now, the only remedy is grinding out another character. It’s not a hard task, but not everyone is keen on preparing every single character.

Through the Multiverse, you open the chance for duplicate characters. I wonder about the balancing issues this could bring, but is balance necessary without any PvP mode? Even with, I’d say yes. I believe Crystal Dynamics could find a way to balance gameplay out just fine.

Matchmaking Improvements

As for the matchmaking itself, by changing the limitations of character selection, “Quick Play” would be a dream. More players queue up, which equals more time focusing on the fun aspects of the game. There’s already the option to choose which characters you want to search for, so disabling this feature would be too simple. Don’t want duplicate characters? You’d mark which Avengers you wanted in your strike team.

Would the Multiverse conflict with the campaign?

Hulk vs Abomination
Screenshot by Polygon

We’ve taken the fight to A.I.M., and Monica Rappiccini isn’t done tormenting the Avengers. She does mention her plans for A.I.M., so Crystal Dynamics have already given themselves some wiggle room to add any feature they wanted. Tachyon Rifts have been added to the game, so they could be thinking about time-travel leading to alternate universes already.

Say what you will about the launch of the game. The team behind it are fans, and they’re aware of the varying directions they could take us down any time. I don’t want to pretend I’m the only one with these thoughts. Right now, they should home in on the glitches that still plague the game, but it doesn’t hurt for us to imagine where this is going.

Could Marvel’s Avengers become a drastically different game with great replay value if the Multiverse were introduced? Let me know what you think below!