When you hear a new videogame is coming out that is based around Marvel superheroes, specifically the Avengers, there are likely two thoughts to come to your head immediately.
- Oh cool, wonder what it’s going to be like.
- Oh no, I wonder what it’s going to be like…
Back when we heard that Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, and Eidos-Montreal were in the process of delivering an Avengers game, we were super hyped. Then the trailer came out and the graphics and design choices for the heroes really turned us off, but still, we had hope. However, as more and more details about this game came to light, we quickly decided to hold off on pre-ordering. Which turned out to be a really, really good idea.
The game has been out for barely a month now, and it seems that even the mighty Avengers aren’t strong enough to hold up a live-service platform with repetitive gameplay, boring loot, and an unfulfilling experience with abysmal matchmaking that has apparently been broken since launch. All of this comes together to deliver an extremely low concurrent player count, which can be seen, at least for PC players, on the Steam Charts here:
Sure, PC players make up for a probable minority of players as a whole when compared to combined console players, but let’s be real here- PS4 and XBO players arent too thrilled with the experience either. And while the game was the bestselling retail title in its first week in a few different regions of the world, a game that is marketed as a live-service needs to keep players, you know, playing. Of which they aren’t.
The head of the studio, Scot Amos, sat down with Kotaku recently to vaguely address some concerns in a weak public relations attempt to quell the dry spell that we all knew was coming and is surely still on its way.
“We have a great community management team at Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix who funnel all of your concerns, suggestions, and feedback to the development team daily. We are listening. We are making fixes, improvements, and additions as fast as we safely can to make Marvel’s Avengers the game we all aspire it to be.”
Amos went on to state that he and the rest of the teams behind the game are confident that the console and PC players alike will come back to Avengers after they add some new content to the endgame in an attempt to demonstrate how they take-in player feedback and are dedicated to improving the game throughout the foreseeable future.
Again, Avengers, on paper, should be a total smash hit if done right, but players are finding more and more to gripe about, and legitimately so, especially when it comes to weak game designs and extremely low drop rates for rare and superior gear. Of course, those are mere grains of sand among the metaphorical dunes of despair coming from player feedback, or what is left of it. So many poor decisions have brought us once again to this point- to incredibly low player numbers, and it’s starting to remind us of so many GAAS (Games As A Service) blunders of the recent past, most notably Bioware’s Anthem. Unfortunately for Square Enix, E-M, and CD, this launch of Marvel’s Avengers is starting to echo Bioware’s failures all too closely.
Anthem fell into a similar state of limbo at the beginning where there were vague promises, generalized PR speak, and a bunch of gibberish that lead to nowhere and then to the eventual silence from everyone at Bioware, including the community managers for months. After a long hush, they eventually took the game back into development with a promise to rebuild it from the ground up and re-deliver Anthem in an improved state at a much later date. Perhaps Avengers is not quite there yet, but it is starting to feel dangerously close, and this all started with some reports about how low the numbers were for Anthem on PC. Do you see where I am going with this?
The past has repeated itself almost each and every time with nearly every single game that wants to do an ‘as a service’ model. Destiny, for example, is probably furthest ahead of its competitors but even then, with each and every passing season, it certainly feels like Bungie bit off more than they can chew. Then there’s Fallout 76, Sea of Thieves, Anthem, and the list goes on and on. Each one of these games fails because it markets itself as a full game worth $60 (plus more if you get any bonus content, season passes, etc.), and that comes with reasonable consumer expectations that are almost assuredly delivered as mediocre at best and more commonly just plain fails just a few hours into those games. But then you have to pay to keep paying to play when the content is often recycled from previous seasons (see Bungie’s entire development model handbook for details) and then it fails to live up to expectations due to over-hyping and under-delivering. Bungie, Bioware, Bethesda, and now the teams behind Anthem all fall victim to some mysterious curse that anyone who claims their game is an ‘as a service’ game can’t escape from.
Avengers may not quite be in the state of desperation that Anthem fell into, and maybe it won’t with it having a familiar IP and name backing it, but it is getting too close for comfort. And as a Marvel fan myself, this reeks of being a cash grab that I for one will not be touching with a ten-foot pole, at least until they make some serious changes.