Anticipation for Marvel's The Avengers Project can be traced back to January of this year, when the company confirmed its collaboration with Square Enix for a multi-game partnership that will start with the a Crystal Dynamics-developed Avengers game. Very few specifics about the game have been dished up since its official announcement, but a pair of job listings recently posted by Crystal Dynamics have emerged online, dropping hints as to what type of gameplay experience The Avengers Project will deliver.
NeoGAF member Kirolak discovered the postings, which indicate that developer Crystal Dynamics, the creatives behind the Tomb Raider franchise and The Legacy of Kain series, is seeking an individual to fill a Lead Level Designer position on The Avengers Project team. The designer will be a "hands-on individual contributor," and must have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of game balance and tuning to social implications of shared gameplay.
Additionally, the designer will have a hand in building fun and engaging campaigns and game modes. Essential duties include conceptualizing, designing, and implementing levels from the ground up, as well as guiding, mentoring, and leading the design and development of "cutting-edge online experiences." Based on this listing, the forthcoming Avengers game certainly sounds like an MMO, perhaps with the same gall as a game like The Division, which logged 6.4 million players during its beta period.
A separate job listing calls for a Combat Systems Designer, who will report to the Lead Combat Designer, to "plan, prototype and build combat systems," work with designers to specify and anticipate costs for multiplayer features, and "relentlessly improve" the online experience. What's most interesting about this posting in particular is that it states that Marvel's new Avengers title is a third-person, cover-based action adventure game.
Though concrete details are few and far between in regards to the forthcoming game, this summary seems a bit strange, as the "third-person, cover-based action" descriptor usually makes people think of titles like Gears of War and Uncharted. Some fans have pointed out that certain Marvel characters, like Thor and the Hulk, would be awkward and even downright hilarious in such an environment. Others have taken a more open-minded approach, speculating that the players won't be the heroes; rather, the Avengers will be present as non-playable characters to aid users through their missions. Overall, it will be interesting to see how this approach applies to a superhero concept.
A final bit of information reveals that Crystal Dynamics is of the opinion that the "games as a service" model will become the mainstream model moving forward. The developer stated that it will "approach game design with a mind to generate recurring revenue streams" in creating future titles. This could be through downloadable content bundles, paid upgrades, in-game items similar to Overwatch loot boxes that players can purchase to level up, buyable clothing and skin options, and much more.
Whatever type of game the partnership ends up delivering, regardless of what might be bundled within them as a means for its creators to pull in some cash, and beyond the Avengers characters who might appear, The Avengers Project is an undeniably ambitious collaboration that will hopefully pay off.
No release dates for any of the titles in The Avengers Project have been announced.