At this year's E3, Square Enix finally showed the world the Avengers video game adaptation it's been working on, titled, Marvel's Avengers. With the announcement came a slew of information, a trailer and some extra in-game footage packed full of references to the core comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While the reception to the game overall hasn't been ideal for Square Enix, these nods give us glimpses of the potential the full game might hold. Still, one glaring omission from the trailer -- and even the game itself it seems -- remains: Everyone's favorite Avengers marksman, Hawkeye. Sadly, no trace of the purple archer is present, and believe us, we looked really hard for some indication as to where Clint may be.
Despite the unfortunate lack of Hawkeye, there's still plenty in there to tide over hardcore Marvel fans.
"NO, YOU MOVE..."
In the trailer, Captain America appears to perish when the reactor of the Avengers' custom helicarrier malfunctions. Later on, we see a memorial statue dedicated to the fallen hero that references a speech from the comics he once gave to Spider-Man: "When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world, 'No, you move.'"
Cap gave the speech to inspire young Peter in Amazing Spider-Man #537. A similar speech is also referenced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War. However, as Sharon Carter reveals, Peggy Carter is its originator, not Steve Rogers.
THE TERRIGEN REACTOR
In footage outside of the trailer that was shared during Square Enix's conference, Tony and Bruce are shown having a heated discussion about the fact that the Avengers' helicarrier is using a volatile and experimental power source. The source in question is referred to as a Terrigen reactor, which uses a substance more readily affiliated with Marvel's Inhumans than it is with the Avengers.
Safe to say, then, that this dangerous crystal is the cause of the calamity shown in the reveal trailer. While Terrigen usually takes the form of mist in the comics, it could still mean Inhumans exist in Square Enix's take on the Marvel Universe. A key element to the genesis of Inhuman heroes, it wouldn't be surprising to find the Terrigen explosion linked to the emergence of other super-powered beings in the game.
IRON MAN'S STARBOOST ARMOR
In one of the sequences in the trailer, we can see Tony Stark in a white and metallic suit in space. He appears to be dealing with a crisis involving a satellite, which could be a hint at the scale of the game's story. In the comics, Tony is no stranger to traveling through space -- he was even a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy for a short stint -- so a lot of his suits have life support systems allowing him to exit Earth's atmosphere.
However, the suit in the trailer looks like his Mark 39 armor, also known as the Starboost or Gemini armor. MCU fans will recognize it from Iron Man 3, created as a result of Tony's brief journey to space at the end of The Avengers. It can be seen called to action in the final confrontation with Aldrich Killian, controlled remotely along with other various prototypes.
TASKMASTER, ABOMINATION (AND ULTRON?)
Villains are a crucial element of any superhero story so Square Enix will need to choose wisely to supplement the high-stakes narrative of the game. The most obviously identifiable villains in the trailer are Taskmaster and Abomination.
Taskmaster appears on the bridge battle, heavily equipped with pulsar weaponry. Next, we see Hulk butting heads with his long-time nemesis, Abomination, though whether this is classic Abomination or A-Bomb remains to be seen. (It certainly looks more like Emil Blonsky's transformation than Rick Jones'.)
Finally, Black Widow is seen in a battle with a robotic opponent near the end of the trailer. Could this be Ultron? It may be Square Enix's approximation of the villain but on closer inspection, it appears to me more cycloptic, which Ultron traditionally isn't.
THE LICENSE PLATE
Observant fans might have spotted that the license plate on the truck that Hulk saves from falling off the bridge reads: AV10963. This could be a reference to several things, the first of which being Avengers, Vol. 1, #9 from 1963 that includes the debut of Wonder Man.
Or, it could simply be a nod to the fact that Earth's Mightiest Heroes made their comics debut in 1963. Corroborating this is the fact that every Avenger apart from Cap is present for this moment. Cap was not part of the team on their debut in the comics, either.
The final reveal of the presentation was another character, outside of the initial Avengers and villains shown. The clip shown by Square Enix had the Avengers facing down what seemed to be a giant spider-like tank of sorts. It turns out that they're waiting on a solution from none other than Hank Pym, who shows up toting a large weapon. He assures the Avengers that he has everything under control and fires at the tank, shrinking it.
This not only confirms that Hank Pym is in the game, but that he is also harnessing the Pym Particles he's famous for inventing. It doesn't appear that Giant-Man will be playable in the story, but Square Enix did mention that their multiplayer mode will feature lots of different heroes, released in free updates.
THE CIVIL WAR DEBATE
While the story appears to be centered around the devastation that claims Captain America's life, as the trailer progresses the theme becomes more about the danger and questionable necessity of the Avengers. The explosion from the Terrigen reactor was a large one, claiming the lives of many civilians, as evidenced by the memorials shown after the event. This positions the story to be in a similar place to the start of 2006's Civil War comics event, and 2016's loose cinematic adaption.
Square Enix stated that Cap is a playable character, so although he appears to perish in the trailer, he may be playable in flashbacks. It may be that the game takes a look at past Avengers missions that also dealt with collateral damage to the heroes vs. menaces theme more.
The stage event shown in the trailer is reminiscent of several events in Avengers comics history. The Avengers have often taken to a public stage to make announcements, including when Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver first joined the team. Norman Osborn even put on a similar stage-mounted announcement for his Dark Avengers team during Dark Reign.
In addition to this, Iron Man can be seen making his trademark three-point landing on stage, similar to the flashy one he did in Iron Man 2. The name A-Day also echoes the infamous M-Day event from Marvel comics canon. During M-Day, the mutant population was devastated almost beyond repair. By drawing a comparison between that storyline and the one in Marvel's Avengers, Square Enix's A-Day is clearly supposed to be a similarly devastating one in Avengers history.
Featuring 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, Marvel's Avengers, developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal and published by Square, will be released May 15, 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.