How Marvel's Avengers Is Approaching Overpowered and Viable Hero Builds

Marvel’s Avengers incorporates some RPG systems into the superhero formula which means players will be able to theorize and put together some innovative builds focusing on different playstyles. With gear perks and scores governing how different pieces of equipment work and how strong they are in players’ builds, players will be on the hunt after the game launches for the most optimal – and sometimes overpowered – creations they can come up with. Crystal Dynamics said it’s actively looking at those sorts of builds during internal playtests to see what stands out and is taking action when necessary to make sure things are balanced and that there are trade-offs and decisions to be made with the gear.

ComicBook.com spoke to Crystal Dynamics during a post-War Table interview and discussed the game’s gear system and how it’ll impact what’s viable and what’s really strong in Marvel’s Avengers. Games with gear scores, power ratings, and perks often amount to a number of builds declared to be optimal by the community with players striving to get only those sets of items. We asked the developers if that was a concern with Marvel’s Avengers, and lead combat designer Vince Napoli said the creators are more concerned with there being too many viable builds.

“It's always a concern when you deal with this kind of complexity and these kind of mechanics, for sure,” Napoli said when asked about the prospect of only a few viable builds existing. “I think in reality, our bigger concern is there being too many viable things.”

Napoli said the team is taking the topic seriously during internal playtests. Builds constantly come to light that weren’t previously anticipated, he said, and they turn out to be quite competitive. Instead of getting rid of them entirely or changing them too much, the team often decides to support those builds.

There are some instances where things need to be balanced. Studio head Scot Amos plays around 20 hours a weekend, for example, and has had his own experiences with questionably strong builds. Amos said he prefers to be overpowered in games and recalled one particular build that the team had to tone down.

“One weekend, I found this particular build between these pieces of gear for Iron Man that had some Pym oscillators in them,” Amos said. “So my lasers, when you're actually in spring flight and you have your lasers out, were actually targeting various enemies, but they have Pym Particles on them. Then I'm flying through the middle of a channel of a big combat. And I am just shrinking things left and right. And you're seeing these giant mechs shrink into these tiny little toys, and then my AI team, and my Hulk is over there and beats the crap out of them, Thor shows up and lightnings them, and it's like this amazing fun for me.”

Amos added that the team has put in “hundreds and hundreds of hours of testing” when looking at these builds and other parts of the game. He said the team’s still finding new builds during the current stage of development and is working to get the balance right.

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The discussion with Crystal Dynamics also included talks of the game’s version of the Hulkbuster and the Captain Marvel tease we saw not long ago.

Marvel’s Avengers is scheduled to release on September 4th.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.