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Square Enix and Marvel, avenging in a tree

Yesterday, Square Enix announced that they’d be announcing something today, as that’s how marketing works now. Yesterday, Marvel also announced that they’d be announcing something today, but no-one knew if they meant a film, a comic, a TV series or that Ike Perlmutter had ordered that Captain America was henceforth to be depicted as an outspoken climate change denier.

Different companies announce different stuff on the same day all the time, but there was something even more needlessly vague than usual about these two, and so a few souls put two and two together and speculated that it could be same announcement – Square Enix publishing a Marvel game. Whaddaya know, true believers? They were right. Except it’s games, plural. And both Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal are on the case.

So, what we’ve got here is Crystal Dynamics – the Square Enix studio most renowned at present for the latter-day Tomb Raider games – and Eidos Montreal – they of the Deus Ex sequo-boots – tackling something called only ‘The Avengers project’, and which pointedly uses the word ‘reassembled’ in its hashtaggery.

The short video above shows some Avengers iconography in a state of distress, such as Thor’s abandoned hammer and a trashed-looking Iron Man guantlet, while a lady says broad things about needing heroes and how they need to be reassembled. Could mean anything, it’s anyone’s guess what kind of game(s) they’re talking about and all that. The video footage, though pre-rendered, has a little of the Rise of the Tomb Raider and DX Mankind Divided to it, but again, this is a promotional video for what could turn out to be anything.

While Crystal Dynamics do, broadly, action games and so we can relatively easily picture how that could turn out, it’s the presence of Eidos Montreal in the video which is particularly intriguing here. Those guys do huge, beautiful worlds full of complicated systems and a wide range of potential interactions and outcomes.

Not just in terms of the broad potential of what power sets can do. Rare’s the time that we see a superhero game wander outside the realm of straight action – and given that the Marvel movies of late have been particularly interested in exploring the grey-area morality of its heroes, perhaps that’s something an Eidos Montreal game can explore further. The Hulk, for instance, very much never asked for this.

Or, y’know, it’s just two studios pooling all resources into action games that are likely to have an almost unprecedented amount of money spent on ’em. The only license bigger than Marvel is Star Wars, after all.

For all we know, the ink on this deal has only just dried and almost no-one knows what kind of games will result from it yet. Or we’re going to see something concrete at GDC, E3 or thereabouts. Who knows – but certainly, there haven’t been many solid-gold Marvel games for a while, even though their movies have a box office chokehold. This comes across like concertedly putting big money and big studios onto it, as opposed to the usual churned-out tie-in – but again, marketing.

Note that the tweet says games rather than game, so this is likely to be a long-haul arrangement.

So: what do you want to see from this, anyway?

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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