Marvel’s Avengers, the much-anticipated action RPG from Crystal Dynamics, finally releases next month, although players have already begun to experience the game for themselves thanks to an ongoing series of weekend beta periods that will continue right up until the title’s full launch. While the game’s primary roster of characters includes all of the core Avengers heroes we’ve come to know and love, including Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America, the story itself is focused on a relatively new hero – Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan, better known as Ms. Marvel. As a young superfan of heroes herself, the team behind Marvel’s Avengers felt Kamala was the perfect character to act as the “bedrock” of the game.
“She has her own internal struggles. She’s a fan of superheroes, particularly a fan of the Avengers. She’s trying to figure out who she is,” Crystal Dynamics Head of Studio Scott Amos said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “We were like, ‘That sounds a lot like a gamer.’ Somebody who’s now in a world of change where they’re becoming a superhero, they are looking for mentors. She really did meet her heroes.”
The story begins with Kamala attending A-Day, a big event in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Avengers West Coast headquarters. Predictably, things do not go as planned, and the day is interrupted by a massive attack apparently led by Taskmaster (the chief villain from the upcoming Black Widow film). The attack results in the widespread release of a substance known as Terrigen, which mutates Kamala into a metahuman with the ability to manipulate her body’s shape and size at will. (This is different from her origin in the comics, in which she is an Inhuman.) The Avengers are disbanded as a result, but the rise of the sinister A.I.M. sends Kamala on a mission to reunite the team and save the world. The decision to center the story on Kamala was an “exciting moment” for the team.
“If you go back to that first video [shown in January 2017], there was a voiceover that talks about what’s happening,” Amos said. “That’s actually Kamala Khan. The very first thing we ever said to the world [about this game] was actually Kamala talking about her heroes and talking about this world and how it was going to be.”
Having played the beta pretty extensively last week, I’ve experienced a piece of the game’s story, and putting Kamala at the center is such a natural decision for the team to have made. She’s a fun, interesting character with a ton of heart, and I’m already more concerned with finding out how she’s going to cope with her new place in the world as a superhero than whether or not the Avengers will come together to defeat M.O.D.O.K., the game’s chief villain (because of course they will). It’s also refreshing to see a superhero videogame with a main character representing a voice that is typically overlooked by comics and gaming. Furthermore, from a pure gameplay standpoint Kamala kicks a whole lot of ass, in case you’re still trying to decide which character you’re going to main when the game releases.
Marvel’s Avengers drops September 4, and it’s shaping up to be a pretty exciting package with a long life of post-release support, including additional missions and characters such as the already-announced Hawkeye and Spider-Man. “This game isn’t just one and done,” Amos said. “It’s launching and then supported for years to come.” For more Marvel gaming news, read some new details about Miles Morales’ arc in the upcoming Spider-Man spin-off Spider-Man: Miles Morales.