There's always a challenge when redesigning a classic character for a new medium, and Square Enix's upcoming Marvel's Avengers was no exception. Steve Rogers/Captain America, who has a long and storied history, has had a lot of costumes over the years, making designing a new one for him particularly difficult. While it would have been easy to create a carbon copy of the hero's look in the comics or just transplant one of Chris Evans' costumes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that's not route Square Enix took, revealing a new costume for Captain America in a recent teaser.
In a Twitter thread, Square Enix recognized the challenge at hand, saying, "The design is a balancing act that pulls from the past to create a modern adaptation of Jack Kirby's original designs." When the character first debuted in the 1940s, his costume emphasized patriotism over pragmatism. The costume had no neck, wings that sprouted out the side of the mask and a triangular shield.
While the new video game design retains the costume's patriotic elements, it's also updated to give the character a more modern, militaristic feel. The mask is more of a helmet, and the padding around the torso and joints further bulletproof the tactical hero. The wings at the side of the helmet are confined to a decal rather than poking out, contributing to "a contemporary interpretation of the beloved Marvel heroes with an eye towards believability."
Marvel's Avengers sticks with the more classic disc-shape the character is best known for while introducing newer design elements. However, there's a change, with the star at the shield's center reaching outside the field of blue in its backdrop. "As the Avengers expand to the West Coast and beyond, Cap needs a shield that represents their new role," the studio explained.
Not only are the new design choices representative of the video game's fleshed out and storied world, but they also show Cap's integration with the rest of his team. It would only make sense for the Avengers' resident genius billionaire to give everyone's equipment and weaponry a once over, and Square Enix confirmed, "Within our world, Tony Stark often has a hand in the finishing touches of each suit."
The video game incarnation of Captain America favors practicality in his costuming from head-to-toe, quite literally. Even the boots are tightly-knotted military grade, and there are clear design choices tying in with the character's military roots. Balancing all the disparate elements of classicism and modernism is a difficult task, but it seems the video game might just be pulling it off.
Of course, in the modern landscape of video game it's pretty likely this isn't going to be the only costume for Captain America. Fans eager to see the various skins that are all but inevitable began tossing out hopes in the Twitter thread, with some talking about a classic WWII suit, an alternate U.S.Agent look or a Nomad costume. There's still plenty the video game can do as it inches closer to its release.
Developed by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, Marvel's Avengers features Nolan North as Iron Man, Troy Baker as Bruce Banner, Laura Bailey as Black Widow, Jeff Schine as Captain America and Travis Willingham as Thor. The game is scheduled to be released on May 15, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.