It's been a rocky road for Marvel's Avengers. The project became one of the most anticipated games in the past decade following its announcement in 2017. Upon its release in 2020, however, it was met with heavy criticism from players for its glitches, microtransactions and overall lack of content.
Avengers has continued to struggle on two fronts since then; firstly, in living up to the continuous stream of content expected from games-as-a-service experiences; secondly, in attracting and retaining players. Both shortcomings put the game in a difficult situation.
In Square Enix's 2021 annual report, company president Yosuke Matsuda stated Avengers had "produced a disappointing outcome." That, paired with the slow content output since release, put a question mark over the game's longevity. Could Avengers be a sustainable venture for the next few years, or would it be shut down?
Crystal Dynamics, Marvel's Avengers developer, has officially been acquired by the Embracer Group along with other Square Enix assets. While the sale cast further doubt on the future of Avengers, a recent rumor points to the game possibly being in a somewhat stable position—for now, at least. Known Marvel's Avengers leaker Miller stated on Twitter that Embracer Group is interested in more collaborations with Marvel, and Avengers is, according to him, still being worked on without any significant changes:
"From the outside looking in, it seems like Embracer [is] in the middle of working out a deal with Marvel that extends well beyond Avengers (which is understandable, with recent news suggesting both EA and Ubisoft have Marvel content in the pipeline)."
It was reported in July 2022 that EA was working on an open-world Black Panther game, alongside another mystery Marvel project. There was also recent speculation about Ubisoft possibly developing a Blade game (that was ultimately debunked), which is likely what he referred to in his tweet. Miller further stated:
"I suspect Avengers will live and that will be announced when the Embracer/Marvel deal closes. Brass tacks: The Crystal Dynamics acquisition has now officially happened, and I'm hearing work continues on Avengers relatively unabated. Things can change, but that's where we stand."
As any piece of unconfirmed information, this should be taken with a grain of salt, but Miller's comments make sense. Despite its troubled start, Marvel's Avengers is experiencing a resurgence of sorts due to its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus' Premium and Extra tiers—memberships that allow players to try out different games at no extra cost.
Marvel's Avengers' Road To Recovery
Speaking with Forbes, Marvel's Avengers' lead designer Brian Waggoner stated that the game's presence in said subscription services has proven beneficial for the game: "Incredibly significant growth. Those subscription plans have been huge for us, getting the game out in front of players. It's low risk for them to try a new game. It's almost like going free-to-play, but not really."
Forbes also confirmed that there were plans for "2023 content and beyond" for Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Marvel's Avengers still has a lot to look forward to in terms of development, including the upcoming release of the Winter Soldier and the long-rumored addition of She-Hulk.
Admittedly, whether or not the game will manage to find a steady audience is still up in the air. For now, though, there is an effort being made to allow the ambitious superhero venture to thrive. Given its recent boost in players thanks to PlayStation Plus and Game Pass, as well as the content awaiting it, it seems Marvel's Avengers is in a better position than it was at release.