Square Enix shook up the gaming world earlier this week by announcing that the publisher was pushing back two of its most anticipated titles in Marvel’s Avengers and Final Fantasy 7 Remake. While the Marvel’s Avengers delay is certainly disappointing for fans since it was moved four months back from May 15 to September 4, 2020, it should be viewed as a good move overall. After all, games only get one shot at a first impression and getting an unpolished title filled with bugs and gameplay issues wouldn’t be what fans want out of the superhero action game.
May wasn’t the most packed month of the year for gaming releases, but the move to September should be a positive side effect of the Marvel’s Avengers delay. It was released less than a month after the behemoth and sure to be a time sink that is Cyberpunk 2077, and was going to be smack dab in the middle of Fast & Furious Crossroads and The Last of Us Part 2. While the release calendar for September will eventually get filled up, Marvel’s Avengers is now the only major release set to release in that month and it isn’t a typical release date for blockbusters. Any game that releases around it will be doing so under the shadow of Avengers rather than vice-versa.
The delay also gives Square Enix an opportunity to give the action-adventure title some much-needed buzz as there is nearly none surrounding the Ps4, Xbox One, and PC release at the moment. Perhaps it wasn’t being heavily advertised because Square Enix knew that a delay was likely, but it doesn’t feel nearly as hyped up as a game featuring the top Marvel superheroes by Crystal Dynamics should. Getting the talented team behind Tomb Raider to create a high-budget superhero game is a huge move by Square Enix and with the delay, the company will have another shot at making fans excited for the September release.
Marvel’s Avengers delay allows the game to make a great impression
When announcing the Marvel’s Avengers delay, Crystal Dynamics co-heads Scot Amos and Ron Rosenberg said that they want to make sure that the studio delivers a highly polished game that will be the “ultimate Avengers gaming experience.” There is no better reason for pushing back a game release than to improve it and this shows that the studio doesn’t want to compromise on its initial vision for the game. Crystal Dynamics wants to deliver the cooperative experience that the co-heads have been hyping up in interviews without bugs and gameplay issues taking players out of the superhero fantasy that it provides.
To borrow a line from Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” And Marvel’s Avengers has higher stakes than the average release and even most triple-A games. Crystal Dynamics is dealing with one of the biggest intellectual properties in the entire world and it has been designed to be a game as a service that will deliver “compelling content for years to come.” Amos and Rosenberg want to continue to work on Marvel’s Avengers for the foreseeable future and make it a hub for all things Marvel. That will only happen if the game is a success and can constantly retain players by keeping them within its ecosystem for months rather than the few days it will take to complete its story-driven campaign.
It’s safe to say that Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix can’t afford for Marvel’s Avengers to be an undercooked and bad game experience. One just has to look towards how Electronic Arts and BioWare’s Anthem was handled last year to see what happens when you release a game as a service title in a half-baked state filled with technical issues and lacking content. Despite all of the hype surrounding the action role-playing game, it is now available in bargain bins and a complete overhaul is reportedly being worked on rather than just adding content to a solid core that pleased players upon release. A rushed release could throw all of Marvel’s Avengers‘ potential away and ruin what could be a major cash cow for Square Enix for years to come.
Marvel’s Avengers hasn’t wowed prior to release
Early previews (including GameRevolution’s own) for Marvel’s Avengers haven’t been the most promising and are probably one of the main reasons why there isn’t much hype surrounding the upcoming release at the moment alongside its lackluster E3 reveal. This four-month delay gives the team at Crystal Dynamics a better chance at fleshing out some gameplay ideas and polishing the combat to where it provides a more satisfying experience for players. If every playable character can be as interesting to play as Captain America and his shield was in the PAX West demo then Square Enix could have something that resonates with fans and keeps them coming back for more.
One thing that is also likely to change is how the characters look. The superhero designs received a divisive reception upon the reveal. It was a bit of a no-win situation since the game doesn’t feature any likenesses from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as one might expect, so it was always going to be compared to it by fans. At Gamescom 2019 last year, a Square Enix representative explained to PCGamesN that the development team was “continuing to add detail to their character models, we’re improving the lighting, we’re improving the skin shading” in an effort to improve the character models. This will give the studio four extra months to bridge the uncanny valley that the characters are currently in.
While it’s always going to be disappointing when a potentially great game gets pushed back, the positives far outweigh any negatives for the Marvel’s Avengers delay. This looks to be a great move for Square Enix and gamers will get a better gameplay experience due to the extra months of polish as a result. Sometimes it pays off to be patient, and Crystal Dynamics has far too much weighing on the success of this title to rush out a middling title.