Final Fantasy publisher is working on a Marvel game

Square Enix sets its sights on The Avengers as part of a multi-year licence to develop video games based on the giant comics company’s superhero roster

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 February, 2017, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 February, 2017, 5:27pm

The publisher behind Final Fantasy and Tomb Raider has a new subject for its next video game: superheroes.

Square Enix recently announced it will partner with Marvel on a video game based on the superhero team The Avengers. No details were provided on when the game will launch or on what platforms.

Two studios have been enlisted to work on the project: Crystal Dynamics, developers of the recent Tomb Raider reboot, and Deus Ex developers Eidos Montreal.

The Avengers project is part of a multi-year licence where Square Enix will develop video games based on Marvel’s superhero roster.

“It’s exciting to bring together Square Enix’s award-winning development studios with Marvel’s extraordinary storytellers to establish a new entertainment powerhouse,” says Phil Rogers, chief executive of Square Enix Americas and Europe, in a statement.

Reaction to the news from the gaming community has been mixed, with one poster on gematsu.com saying: “Finally!!! I’ve always wondered why there hasn’t been any recent Marvel games with as much love put in as [Rocksteady’s Batman] Arkham series. This might finally be what I’m looking for.”

“While I’m incredibly happy to see Marvel getting back into proper game development after sticking with mobile for so long, that they decided to go with Square Enix as publisher isn’t getting me terribly excited,” says another poster on kotaku.com.

“I’m even more hesitant to be excited since the games themselves are coming from Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal. Both studios are great, don’t get me wrong, but they’re also relatively small... which likely means no new Tomb Raider or Deus Ex for a while. I’d much rather they focus their efforts on those series than be tied down making licensed games for the next few years.”

Some gamers ponder if cultural differences might get in the way of the collaboration. “Square Enix is just too engrained in Japanese culture to understand how to pull off a game based on American comics,” one says. Though Kingdom Hearts, a crossover RPG featuring characters from the Final Fantasy and Disney universes published jointly by Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studio, has been both a critical and commercial success. (Marvel Entertainment is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.)

The last memorable RPG title based on the Marvel Universe – which includes superheroes from The X-Men, The Avengers as well as Fantastic Four and Doctor Strange series – was probably the award-winning Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, published by Activision in 2006. In 2012, the title became a Facebook game and was eventually ported to iOS and Android as a free-to-play, turn-based role-playing game. But last September Disney shut down both Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and its 3D sequel Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, citing a strategic shift “towards other online and mobile play experiences, and a growing selection of Disney Mobile apps” as reason.

A teaser for the new game hints at the need for The Avengers to reassemble, showing images of Thor’s hammer, Iron Man’s gauntlets and Captain America’s shield. “The world will always need heroes,” says a narrator in the trailer. “We just need to reassemble.”

The Avengers project from Square Enix is one of several console games in the works based on Marvel properties.

Sony is publishing a Spider-Man video game, developed by Ratchet & Clank creators Insomniac Games. Studio Telltale Games will publish a point-and-click adventure game based on Guardians of the Galaxy. Meanwhile, Japanese publisher Capcom will launch the fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite later this year.

Additional reporting by Kevin Kwong