I’m not saying that it’s impossible to make good comic book hero games. Just look at Spider-Man and Arkham Knight to see great examples of what game designers can do when they’re given some established intellectual property to play with.
But Marvel’s Avengers is definitely not going to be considered a successful comic book/game crossover. At this rate, it’s not clear if Marvel’s Avengers will be remembered for much of anything but as an example of how not to create a blockbuster live game.
Starting with Marvel’s Avengers’ launch, which was just this shy of apocalyptically bad. Stability issues, performance issues, crashes, game-breaking bugs, you name it, Marvel’s Avengers had it. A patch came out after a week that fixed over 1,000 of these issues, but the damage was already done. Player counts steadily began to dwindle after lukewarm reviews did nothing to convince skeptical gamers to give Marvel’s Avengers a try, and then it was the usual tumble down from being a premium live service game to being a discounted free-to-play game with cheap cosmetics.
At Square’s most recent earnings call, the publisher reported that they’d taken a $48 million loss thanks to Marvel’s Avengers. Analysts guess that the game sold less than 60% of what Square Enix expected.
And things aren’t looking any better. As GitGyp reports, Marvel’s Avengers is down to just 96% of its initial player count on Steam, with just 1,190 concurrent players last weekend. November’s average player count so far is just 752, with Steamcharts reporting a 24-hour peak of 717 as of the time of this writing.
Considering Marvel’s Avengers only started with around 28,000 players, this is most likely the moment before the game either gets taken offline for good or the developer announces an Anthem-style retooling.
We might already be there. Crystal Dynamics has delayed the next-gen version of Marvel’s Avengers until sometime in 2021, although they haven’t provided us with a more specific release window. Somehow, it seems highly unlikely we’ll ever get a firm date.
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