When Crystal Dynamics took on the reboot of Tomb Raider it got more than it bargained for. After revealing the new look for Lara Croft, Studio Head Scot Amos told me the company received death threats. So when it came time to create new, unique versions of the iconic Marvel characters, Amos and his team were prepared for backlash.
It was a case of simply “ripping off the band-aid” as Amos puts it and getting the designs out there for fans to come to terms with.
Coming up against the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) was always going to be a challenge, as fans have gotten used to the film versions of these characters over the past 10 years. However, Amos believes that he and his team have created characters that players will take ownership of.
The Avengers Game
When talking about Tomb Raider, Amos recalls fans ” thought she was Angela Jolie. People only knew it from the movies and thought she was short shorts, two guns, ponytail and the glasses.” Fans didn’t want Crystal Dynamics new, relatable “young kid who’s all beaten up on an island,” he said but added that fans “Know what they want but don’t want what they know.”
By this, Amos means that fans will always complain about a new direction, new casting or new look for a character. He told me “the burden of proof is on us to get the fans to trust us. These characters are their characters.”
Like the similarities to the Tomb Raider reboot, Amos also mentioned Daniel Craig as James Bond and Christian Bale as Batman as other examples when fans were outraged before seeing what the finished product was.
“We’ve been through this rodeo before,” he joked.
Designing The Avengers game
When he speaks of the MCU, Amos speaks fondly, calling it “a brilliant 10 years that opened an entirely new world” into Marvel and these stories. But, he adds that there have been 80 years of Marvel and the MCU has only been the last 10 years. With that in mind, Crystal Dynamics is comfortable putting its own spin on the characters and trying to do something different.
Creating all-new looks for The Avengers was also important for another reason; customisation.
In Marvel’s Avengers, players can unlock (or buy) costumes for the characters. One that Amos points to specifically is the Joe Fixit costume for The Hulk. If in the game, he looked like Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk from the MCU, Amos says putting him into the Joe Fixit costume just wouldn’t look right.
Your Avengers Game
By putting these characters in costumes, upgrading them and playing with them, Amos and Crystal Dynamics believe that players will take ownership and see these Avengers as ‘their Avengers.’ Amos is hoping people will play Marvel’s Avengers and instead of MCU, they’ll think “MC who?”
As for death threats this time around, Amos says there haven’t been any. He credits the Reddit community in particular with limiting the fan feedback to “just really angry people.” In his words, “it’s been much easier to deal with.”
Amos also remembers that Stan Lee once told him that any comic could be somebody’s first and even Marvel’s Avengers could be the first time someone meets these characters. They have to grab you right away so you can fall in love with them.
So far, so good as Marvel’s Avengers looks incredible at this early stage.
It will be available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on May 15, 2020.