'Marvel's Avengers': An E3 2019 Interview with Crystal Dynamics' Studio Head Scot Amos
Embrace your powers on May15, 2020!
Earth's Mightiest Heroes are preparing to assemble for Marvel Entertainment, Square Enix, and Crystal Dynamic's Marvel's Avengers. The ambitious new video game spins an original, character-driven story, while putting players behind the unique powers of Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk. Developed by Crystal Dynamics in collaboration with Eidos-Montréal, Nixxes Software, and Crystal Northwest, Marvel’s Avengers will release simultaneously for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X, Stadia, and PC on May 15, 2020.
But that set-up barely scratches the surface of what Square and Crystal Dynamics—the talented team behind the Tomb Raider series' reboot—have in store for True Believers. Following the project's thrilling pre-alpha gameplay reveal at E3 2019, we got the chance to chat with Crystal Dynamics' Studio Head Scot Amos.
Marvel.com: Scot, for those that might've missed the big unveiling, can you offer a brief rundown of what Marvel's Avengers is all about?
Scot Amos: Marvel’s Avengers is a third-person action-adventure, supporting single-player and co-op, with cinematic storytelling, a character-driven campaign, and an ever-expanding online universe where you and your friends can team-up for 4-player online play.
Marvel.com And the game's telling a brand-new story, not based on any previous story or medium?
Scot Amos: Yes, this is a completely original story and creative take on the Avengers through the Crystal Dynamics lens. It really starts with A-Day, the celebration of the Avengers showing off a new, experimental energy source. But it turns tragic. When a heist strikes, it turns it into this day of tragedy. Picking up five years later, the Super Heroes have been outlawed... the Avengers have disbanded. Now they're at a point of saying, “Where are we now? Where does this world go?” These heroes are now in a place where they need to be pulled back together to save the Earth from a growing threat.
Marvel.com: Can you talk a bit about the collaborative effort that's gone into crafting this new tale?
Scot Amos: It's certainly a collaboration with our Marvel Games' friends, who know Marvel and their franchises better than anybody. That, plus Crystal Dynamics...we’re known for our character-driven, third-person action-adventures. Blend these two powerhouses of storytelling together and then expand that with this 80 years of history from Marvel... with all the characters, all the stories, all those opportunities. So, it's a new, original tale that's crafted from not one piece of the material, but all of that material.
Marvel.com: And its sounds like you've secured some top voice talent as well?
Scot Amos: Looking across the board from Cap to Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Thor, and Iron Man, we have some of the best of the best in the industry. I mean, Jeff Schine, Troy Baker, Nolan North, Laura Bailey... we just have these amazing actors. And it’s one of those things where each of them is like us; they are fans of this franchise, they have seen these characters evolve in all different media throughout the years.
Marvel.com: These characters have obviously been established with great success in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What will these actors bring to these iconic characters that's maybe new or different from their big screen counterparts?
Scot Amos: We get to bring our talent and our ability to this and say, “What can we do with these characters? How do we get to explore the depth of who these characters are?” For us, there’s an exciting opportunity to explore these characters in ways that people haven’t seen them. And because there’s so much out there, we have to be very good at threading that needle.
But that’s what Marvel does; they bring that DNA to us, advise and collaborate, keeping us honest with who these characters are at their core. So we have these great actors who can bring their own personalities and blend them with all the direction that we’re getting between Crystal and Marvel. I’m excited for fans to see what we've done.
Marvel.com: What's the challenge like pleasing fans who might feed their Marvel fandom from different sources, from the films and comics to previous games?
Scot Amos: It is exhilarating and challenging. The beauty of Marvel is that they know what their fans love and want, clearly. For instance, to discuss one medium, Marvel Studios has done a masterful job of assembling those heroes, with this ten-year epic saga across everything they’ve actually done. For us, it is literally living an adventure with them. Being able to say, with Marvel, “How do we bring those Super Hero fantasies to life now that fans get to play as them?”
Then looking again to our role in this original story, our biggest push is to be thinking about it from a fan's perspective. How do we make you fall in love with these heroes again? We look at this as an amazing opportunity.
Marvel.com: In terms of gameplay, the Super Heroes' signature powers will obviously be accounted for, but it also sounds like players will be able to upgrade their characters?
Scot Amos: Yes, the characters have their own set of skills that players can actually customize. They can go and play, say, Black Widow or Hulk, and customize them to how they play. You'll have the ability to go deeper with each character and have those heroics and even gear that you'll find and get to upgrade. It gives players this ability to get into a game, match up with their friends and start thinking not just about visually customizing their game, but also about suiting even their play-style and how they play together.
Marvel.com: You mention playing with friends—can you talk about the single-player versus the co-op online experience?
Scot Amos: Yes, the entire campaign, the core campaign is actually designed to give everybody a chance to get with these heroes. As you unlock these heroes and go through the core campaign, you'll actually experience every one of them. And as you unlock them, they become available to use online. You can also just go straight online after you play that first mission, and play with your friends and start unlocking other heroes. It's imperative to us that people actually have a chance to get to know these characters, get to play with our unique take on them, but then also have this expansive world that can be played single player.
If you want to play by yourself, we let you do that. But there's also content that, when you get together with your friends, you can assemble online. There's things that you get to do that you wouldn’t have been able to do without your friends. I think there’s a beautiful blend. We'll have this world that expands with more and more missions, more and more regions to explore, and new Super Heroes. And the majority of that can be played solo, but there are also things that will scratch that multi-player itch.
Marvel.com: It sounds like a game fans will be able to play for a long time?
Scot Amos: Oh, absolutely. We’ve been talking about it from the very beginning. From our first announcement in January 2017, this has been not only what’s next for the Avengers, but for years to come. The stories that we’re going to add, the heroes we’re going to add...we want people to get into this world and come with us on this journey. And that’s why, to ensure everybody comes with us, we’re going to make sure all of those new Super Heroes and new regions are delivered at no additional cost.
So, once you’re in, you’re in it to win it for as long as you want to play.
Marvel.com: Thanks so much for your time, Scot.
Marvel's Avengers hits like a pavement-buckling Hulk Smash May 15th 2020. Play the Beta first on PS4. Pre-Order for Beta Access!
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