Marvel's Avengers on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia will be a single-player, narrative-driven game meets four-player co-op live-service title. On one hand, there's a single-player campaign that can be played by yourself, offline. However, there's also side missions, some of which are co-op only, and this is where the game's live-service-esq gameplay loop comes into play. And according to Crystal Dynamics, the game is a bit different when you play it in co-op because of things like hero synergy.
"We've got a cool mix of melee and ranged combat going on, some characters that only work one type or the other," said lead designer Philippe Therien while speaking to Eurogamer. "Because we have both multiplayer and campaign you'll see cases where sometimes the experience is more directed, or some places you'll just be left to your own devices and left to work out what to do. The Avengers go to many different places in this game, it varies where you're at."
Of course, given how co-op heavy the game is in places, players wanted to know if you could play as the same character as other players in your party. And, unfortunately, no you can't, meaning don't expect to go to town on enemies with a quartet of Hulks.
"You have to play as different characters while online," said Therien. "The Avengers all have different skills and talents and we want people to have a fully-fleshed out team. It wouldn't be the Avengers otherwise."
Crystal Dynamics notes that you don't have to engage with these side missions, but you'll want to, as they feature certain "benefits."
"There are missions that you definitely want to go through because there are certain — how should I put it? — benefits you get only if you go through that particular arc, but it's completely optional," said Amos while speaking to VentureBeat. "You can say no, I'm going to go through the main campaign, I'm going to get the story done, I'm going to go through these areas. And then you can go back and replay any of that stuff whenever you want to."
As you can see, Marvel's Avengers is really trying to appease two crowds: the single-player gamer and the gamer who likes to play online, grind out missions, and earn skins. These are two very different crowds, so it will be interesting to see if it can manage to appease both. Not many games have been able to.