West Coast Avengers…Sort Of
While The Avengers are primarily associated with New York City, Marvel’s Avengers sees the team expanding to the west coast of the United States, with a new San Francisco HQ. Rather than being a riff on the West Coast Avengers team of the comics, Creative Director Shaun Escayg explained how this new home reflects the current state of this Avengers team.“We wanted to have the Avengers start at their peak. Arrogant. Overzealous. This expansion was a symbol to their commitment to a world protected by heroes. Terrigen was the new energy source that powered the Chimera and an energy source that could change the world for the better,” he explained. “They were even willing to risk displaying this untested technology despite not knowing enough about Terrigen and its source, to reaffirm this commitment. This was their mistake and it cost them everything; their good name, and their Captain.”
And as we’ve seen from the A-Day intro to the game, Captain America seemingly meets his end in a massive explosion that also causes an end to the Avengers, at least for now. Years pass and the team disbands, giving way to a world that George Tarleton, aka MODOK, and the scientists at AIM seek to rule and keep order over using science, rather than a team of heroes.
The Aims of AIM
Those years between A-Day and where the rest of Marvel’s Avengers story picks up allows AIM to proliferate its reach over the world. Crystal Dynamics wanted to offer a unique look to these AIM facilities.
“AIM facilities are based on a brutalist approach to architecture, featuring the contrast of simple material surfaces and intricate mechanical components. We adopted the idea of the AIM hex icon from the idea of a hive mentality, using bees and their uniform honeycomb structures as a jumping off point,” Art Director Brenoch Adams explained.
Marvel’s Avengers Outfits
“The hex pattern, as well as a dominating percentage of the color yellow, is often used as a theme throughout the architecture in terms of layout and identification. Whether in dense forests or sprawling cities, AIM makes a visual statement with their palette and bold presence in the world.”
And that presence is something players will be fighting against, either alone or with friends, across the globe, accessing new missions from the Helicarrier that will serve as a hub both during the main game and in the future.
Around the World
Because the Helicarrier’s mission structure allows for Crystal Dynamics to essentially make any location around the world a possible level, there’s plenty of variety the developers can instill in this adventure.
As Adams explained to us, though, particularly when it comes to authored, campaign missions, the team strived to make sure that every level worked well for the hero or heroes that would be present in those missions.“Each space, interior and exterior, was designed for all heroes to utilize their specific skill sets. With a character as large as Hulk, the sets need to remain open and able to accommodate his larger than life moves, and still let heroes such as Black Widow or Ms Marvel use their combat and traversal mechanics appropriately,” Adams said.
And with War Zone missions, where players can choose whichever hero they want to play as, that both means the team needed to make spaces that allowed for every hero to shine, but were also still fun regardless of what hero a player chooses.
“Having enough open space for the heroes to move comes with its difficulties. Environment sets must have a size and shape that balances plausibility, and character metrics, which was a substantial challenge. We never want to restrict any of the heroes from feeling mighty and powerful, so the environment designs are built for brutal destruction, and lend players the opportunity to fulfill the fantasy of being their favorite hero no matter the location.”The variety of locations also stems from a few opportunities the team seized on — namely, integrating both a host of real-world and fictional Marvel locations, as well as wanting to explore the juxtaposition of rural and urban settings to allow for a host of different levels.
“One of the things we explored in this title was the contrast of rural and urban settings, and how they provide the feeling of variety and global stakes throughout the narrative. There are a number of important Marvel landmarks nested in real world locations that were must-haves,” Adams said.
“Some of these locations have been augmented to fit the world state in our story. In New York, Avengers tower is reclaimed by AIM after the catastrophic events of A-day. In Jersey City, we have a location that Kamala Kahn fans will most certainly recognize. In San Francisco, Avengers West Coast Headquarters dominates the city skyline on Treasure Island. There are many more landmarks to discover and players must keep sharp, because while some of these landmarks are larger than life, many are hidden and require an attention to detail.”
For more on our IGN First Marvel’s Avengers coverage, check out our combat explainer for the playable Avengers, read up on how Marvel and Crystal Dynamics assembled for Marvel’s Avengers, and check out the Avengers beta dates to know when you’ll get to jump into the game’s pre-launch beta.