Marvel and Square Enix’s Avengers A-Day trailer was followed up with a cast announcement, and surprise, surprise it revealed the same-old voices.
Square Enix finally showed off their Marvel’s Avengers game with an A-Day trailer (might as well have just called it doomsday) at E3 2019, and – as you’d expect – there was a lot of high-pitch squealing from self-proclaimed comic book nerds and geeks. I don’t want to poop on anyone’s parade by prematurely saying the game blows and will be a disaster, but I am disappointed by a number of details such as the uncanny valley appearances and A-list cast.
E3 2019 was a lackluster event somewhat rescued by Keanu Reeves and Nintendo’s magnificent showing, and the biggest disappointment was undoubtedly Marvel’s Avengers.
A-Day trailer seems like a beautiful mask purposefully designed to hide the ugly truth. It’s impossible to say Crystal Dynamics’ adaptation will be as horrible as Anthem, but that’s the feeling I was left with after it was revealed that Avengers is a thin multiplayer package that will be fattened in the years following its 2020 launch.
Coupled with the Avengers coming across as cosplayers with immersion-breaking voices, I was left sorely unimpressed and bemoaning the fact Crystal Dynamics left Lara Croft hanging for this head scratching mess that will no doubt cause a civil war amongst gamers.
Avengers A-Day fails to bring its A-game with same-old cast voices
It’s impossible to criticise the gameplay as Square Enix were very tactful in not showing any, so I will instead focus on why the cast of Troy Baker, Nolan North, and Laura Bailey is underwhelming.
Now I don’t need to check IMDB to know that the three actors have given their voices to Marvel in the past, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t overused (especially in the video games medium).
Baker, North, and Bailey are all great when they put on a voice for the likes of Joel, David, and Catherine, yet most of the time they simply break immersion by speaking normally. And this is what happened with the Avengers A-Day trailer.
Tony Stark sounded like a poor man’s Nathan Drake, Black Widow sounded like Nadine Ross and Spider-Man‘s Mary Jane, and the back-and-forth between Stark and Bruce Banner came across as just North and Baker playacting. You could feel the glossy cinematic fade away to reveal North and Baker in motion capture suits reading their lines.
It would’ve been significantly better if Square Enix went with less iconic and overused voices in the video games industry; no one is going to buy Marvel’s Avengers because of its A-list gaming cast. This isn’t the movies where actors are the biggest selling point, this is a video game where people vote with their wallets based on gameplay and presentation.
Square Enix went the right route with Final Fantasy 7 by hiring mostly Teen Wolf actors that a lot of gamers won’t recognise, but with Avengers they completely dropped the ball as nearly everyone will recognise Baker, North, and Bailey from their assortment of AAA video games.
As if the voices didn’t break immersion enough, the uncanny valley appearances were equally jarring. In addition to coming across as bland and – quite frankly – ugly, Square Enix’s Avengers also came across as poor MCU cosplayers because of how they were outfitted in the garments from the movies.
Seeing as it was impossible for Square Enix to use the likenesses of Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Mark Ruffalo, they should’ve looked to the comic books instead of the movies and gone for something drastically different.
Different armours and outfits coupled with unique weapons and unrecognisable voices would’ve spared Marvel’s Avengers from appearing to be a cheap MCU imitation by the video games industry.
Marvel’s Avengers could still be a fantastic and addictive experience, but my levels of excitement are currently next to none. We’ll see in May 2020 if it’s a lackluster pretence that makes Crystal Dynamics abandoning Tomb Raider all the more upsetting.