Marvel’s Avengers Game Fails to Recoup Its Production Costs

 

 

Forbes is telling that the Avengers video game developed by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics has been such a fiasco, it hasn’t even gained back much of the money it took to design it in the first place:

 

The fate of Marvel’s Avengers remains somewhat uncertain as Square Enix is being rather forthright with how disappointing the game has been from a sales perspective so far.

In a recently translated investor briefing (via IGN), Square Enix president Yosuke Matsude makes no bones about it, and says that had Avengers not been released in the quarter, the company would have made a profit. And past that, he confirms that in addition to being responsible for a loss for the company, the game has not even made back its development costs:

“In addition to the amortization of that game’s development costs,” Matsuda said, “another significant factor associated with the title was the fact that we undertook a major advertising campaign at the time of its launch to make up for delays in our marketing efforts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a certain amount of development costs still to be amortized in 3Q, but we want to recoup it by growing our sales going forward.”


The idea now, Matsude says, is to essentially pull a No Man’s Sky by releasing “ample additional content” for free. That begins with a new hero, Kate Bishop, who arrives December 8 along with new missions and a new villain. There are announced plans for Hawkeye to arrive in early 2021 along with Maestro, and unannounced plans for many, many more heroes including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, Winter Soldier, War Machine and more, according to datamines.

 

Umm, if that’s alluding to Carol Danvers in her editorially mandated role previously assumed by Mar-Vell of the Kree, I still wouldn’t go for this game, even if they hadn’t stuffed the Muslim Ms. Marvel into the proceedings so forcibly. That aside, what’s the use of releasing more content for a game riddled with bugs, as noted previously?

 

Even Winter Soldier sounds more like an attempt to pay lip service to the Capt. America story penned by Ed Brubaker in the past decade bringing back Bucky Barnes, much too late, at a time when Joe Quesada overshadowed the proceedings. If they’re thinking of drawing from items like that, rather researching Golden/Silver/Bronze Age stories for inspiration, it just shows how modern storytelling has come to serve more as a wellspring for merchandise than for real storytelling purposes. No wonder these computer games don’t age any better than the source material.

 

When the Sixth Axis commented on the news:

 

Personally, I think a part of the reason is simply a lack of understanding over what Marvel’s Avengers actually is, and a little confusion when you get into the game in how it’s all put together. The game was revealed with the bombastic ‘A-Day’ events that set the game’s story in motion, but this whole sequence is purely a tutorial for the game’s basic controls. We were left asking what kind of game it wanted to be for almost a year after the E3 2019 gameplay reveal.

 

I think it’s more a case of video game writers not understanding squat about the comics originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. I’m somebody who owns a lot of Avengers comics from the better years, and I find the action and adventure of those old tales far more engaging than some 3D game clearly made for people who don’t give a damn about the zygote. IMO, what business does a game reviewer with no interest in the source material have commenting on this when they’re so uninterested in a comic that, most unfortunately, collapsed entirely in quality after 2002? I just don’t see the use.

 

Not only that, but it focusses so heavily on the core Avengers characters, when the lead character through much of the story is actually Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. While a Games as a Service title with many narrative drops, a lot of the game is focused around solo play as opposed to co-op multiplayer like Destiny and The Division. Oh, and then there was the fuss caused by Spider-Man being made a PlayStation exclusive character.

 

The above is a little confusing, but is still indicative of a leading problem: a character built on political propaganda is shoehorned into the proceedings, and we’re immediately expected to overlook everything she was written to stand for just to play some bungling 3D program? Alas, not so simple, and anybody who’s a realist and discovers what the comic Khan starred in was built on is like, which is quite reprehensible in hindsight from a political perspective, could feel embarrassed to play such a clinker. I certainly would be. I’m betting the site writer’s unaware the real Ms. Marvel to many more informed people is Carol Danvers, nor is he concerned about the social justice quagmire Carol fell victim to in the past decade.

 

In the end, if the game’s been such a financial catastrophe, adding more DLC is unlikely to boost the game’s prospects, or lead to better box sales. I’d strongly suggest Square Enix just let it go and not trouble themselves any further to develop a game that’s been damaged by sloppy programming and subtle political propaganda.

 

 

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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