Two years ago, we were introduced to the marvelous LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. With over 150 playable characters, an original story and loads of inside jokes, it gave fans of all ages something to smile about – even if they never experienced a single film or comic. So when we learned earlier this year that the next LEGO Marvel collaboration was to be titled LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, many fans were perplexed.
On one hand, it made sense since this was announced during the Age of Ultron era where everything from shaving cream to lunch boxes was trying to jump on board with The Avengers sequel. Though on the other hand, making a LEGO adaptation of the film seemed rather uneventful compared to the grandeur that was LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. Even if this game did include Age of Ultron AND the original Avengers film, where was the WOW factor? Where was all the stuff we loved from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes?
Well after attending the LEGO Avengers panel at this month’s New York Comic Con and chatting with Game Director Arthur Parsons himself, I’ve learned that we have seriously underestimated this game. Between its attention to detail and larger than life scope, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers isn’t just the worthy successor to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes; but is truly “burdened with glorious purpose!”
Don’t believe me? Well, here is EVERYTHING you need to know about Lego Marvel’s Avengers and why it’s going to be a marvelous hit when it hits shelves January 2016.
A Commitment To Authenticity & Fun:
Before we address the game itself, let’s first take a quick look at the team and the mentality behind making the game. The Game Director Arthur Parsons and his team made it a point to place “authenticity and fun” above all else in this game. With everyone on the team huge Marvel fans and long time LEGO game players themselves, they wanted to make sure they did these characters justice while also making a game that they themselves would want to play. They took the time to listen to EVERY criticism of LEGO Marvel Superheroes – good, bad, indifferent – and made sure each was amply addressed – but I’ll get to those later.
As far as “authenticity” goes, would you believe that ever piece in the game HAS to be built in real life? This isn’t just putting LEGO characters into a film; but actually recreating the films and Avengers history with LEGOs. Additionally, since a large part of the game is based on the films, the actual soundtracks from the films are used in the game as well as various movie stems so the characters even sound like their film counterparts. Even Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders and Hayley Atwell showed up to do the voice acting for all their own lines. In the end, this results in there being at least three times more dialogue than the last game.
All in all, Parsons and his team have done everything to make this game a “celebration of Avengers history”. From reviving some classic Marvel Comicbook covers LEGO form to meeting with Executive Producer Mike Jones and Creative Director Bill Rosemann at Marvel Games twice a week to make sure everything even down to costumes were on point. So as you read through everything on this game remember, that all of these incredible steps forward are being accomplished by a team with the best intentions and experience possible!
Looking Through Avengers Goggles – Story Progression & Included Content:
First off we should talk about this game’s focus as a whole. As you might remember, LEGO Marvel Superheroes took a lot of the Marvel heroes and villains and combined them in an original new story. LEGO Avengers on the other hand will deal primarily with the films, but you shouldn’t think that it’s JUST the two Avengers films. As Arthur Parsons told us:
[It’s] more than just Avengers and Age Of Ultron… we’ve got content from Thor: The Dark World, [Captain America] The Winter Soldier, Ironman 3, Agent Carter … Comic Book Stuff and pretty much everything else
So how will the game incorporate all these different story veins and still seem like a cohesive experience? Are we just going to have to play through the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order? The short answer is ‘No’; but the full answer is actually very exciting.
The game actually opens with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. In fact, the sequence of the game is an exact shot-for-shot LEGO-ization of the film’s opening moments. Once you and your fellow Avengers reclaim Loki’s Scepter, the game will then use the plot device of the Scepter to flashback to story content from The Avengers. As you progress further in the game there will be various moments where you can diverge into side-story quests and adventures taken from the films.
Whereas the Avengers portions of the game will incorporate some version of almost every scene into the game, these ‘side quests’ based on other movies will only detail the biggest moments. For example, rather than sitting through all the “talky talk” parts of Ironman 3, you will receive a comicbook story primer, which will be narrated by Pepper Potts. In this way you can focus on the big battles scenes, while still getting the full story – but not having to actually sit through all of it.
Another exciting aspect of this game is that they’ll actually be story content from Agent Carter – not just a playable character. Throughout New York you can sometimes bump into Peggy Carter and then once you accept her mission, the world will get a noir-style makeover. Not only will the world turn black and white; but the cars and benches will also change as well as you help Peggy on her quests. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will also have some incredible teases and Easter Eggs. The Defenders (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage & Iron First) will appear in this game as well; but NOT their Netflix versions for obvious ‘family friendly’ reasons.
At its core though, it’s important to remember that this game is “the Marvel Universe through Avengers goggles, NOT cinematic goggles”. So you won’t just get content from the movies and films, but also some new adventures as well. Whether it’s extending moments from Battle of New York or adding content from comics or their own imagination, this game will extend far beyond the limits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though the story range and content isn’t the only thing getting an upgrade in this game.
Upgrading LEGO Marvel Superheroes – Abilities, Transformations & More:
As great as LEGO Marvel Superheroes was it wasn’t perfect. So a large part of working on LEGO Avengers was making sure that everything people liked and didn’t like in LEGO Marvel Superheroes returned and was vastly improved for this game. If you found flying and driving a little complicated – especially when it came to races – those controls have all been fixed and the races are now more doable. Additionally, they recognized that players loved the Transformation ability some characters had, so they added even more in this game.
The best example of this is Ironman who has access to all his armors via a HUD (Heads Up Display) rather than waiting for the character to cycle to the armor you wanted. In fact, each armor actually has its own suit up animation that references the film and use of that armor. For example, the Mk5 is the suitcase armor and the Mk43 flies in and taps Tony on the shoulder, which references it as the autonomous sentry mode suit. Then again, others are just funny, such as how Stan Lee bolts Tony into his Mk1 armor. But transformations and controls weren’t the only things that were added and fixed to this new game.
Whereas LEGO Marvel Superheroes did give characters their respective powers, it was still fairly straightforward. So this time around, characters have multiple new abilities to add complexity and versatility to play style. For example, Hulk doesn’t just smash anymore but also has super charge jumps – similar to the abilities he’s displayed in both The Avengers & Age Of Ultron. Similarly, Black Widow will have costume changes that will reflect her differing styles and tactics from film to film. Although all things considered, the biggest addition to this game is the power and speed of Speedsters.
Speedsters might be new to the game, but they aren’t new to the comics! And considering one of the core members of the Age of Ultron team is a Speedster (Quicksilver), you knew this game would have to incorporate that particular play-style. Speedsters are very important in this game as as you control one you’ll actually see the world around you slow down. Additionally, you’ll be able to target multiple enemies and make multiple copies of yourself, similar to the Speed Mirage used by the Reverse Flash in The Flash TV Show (yes I just crossed Marvel and DC, deal with it). Though one of the biggest changes is the Speedsters’ ability to run up the sides of buildings, which completely changes how you’ll interact and navigate the Open World – which is a good thing considering how much bigger that Open World just got.
Expanding The Open World – Added Detailing & New Locales:
I already mentioned how New York City will get a 40s/50s Film Noir makeover for Agent Carter missions; but that’s not the only thing changing about open world New York. As impressively realistic LEGO Marvel Superheroes’ New York was, LEGO Marvel Avengers’ New York will be even better. There will be plenty of more landmarks and pieces of the city to make sightseeing that much more fun. Although the biggest change to the “Open World” segments of this game won’t be New York; but rather all the new Open World locations being added.
New York City might remain the largest ‘Open World’ area of LEGO Avengers; but there will also be approximately 8 other locations that are available for free ‘Open World’ roaming. Malibu, the dockyard from Ironman 3, DC, South Africa, Barton Farm and even Asgard will all be explorable in an Open World context. I even heard talk that Greenwich, Svartalfheim and the original S.H.I.E.L.D. base from The Avengers will be in the game; but I’m not certain if these will be level or additional Open World options. One way or another, this game has every location you could potentially want and then some! As for how you can navigate between all these different locations, fast travel will be available via Quinjet and atmospheric reentry. In fact, considering their importance to Avengers history, Quinjets actually have a lot of new uses in LEGO Avengers.
Improved Co-Op – Tag-Team Finishing Moves & Fighting On Two Fronts:
Multiplayer has come a long way with video games. You used to have to be in the same room with someone you wanted to trade Pokemon with or battle in SmashBros; but now most of that can be accomplished over Wireless connections with anyone around the world. This has certainly opened up countless new options; but it still makes us miss the more social days where you could game with someone sitting right next to you. This is called “Couch Co-Op” and it’s something the LEGO team takes very seriously! And thankfully it return in LEGO Avengers.
“There are so few games that you can play on a console with two people in the same room… Couch Co-Op is so important that we cannot let that go” – Arthur Parsons
You of course can play through the entire game on your own; but the Avengers is all about working as a team. So why not try playing that way as well? LEGO Avengers offers numerous new ways to take advantage of Co-Op battles. The most noticeable of which is the new Tag-Team Take Downs feature. As I mentioned early, characters will have a wider variety of attacks to choose from and as you battle villains you’ll fill up a Hero Meter. This Hero Meter can then be used to activate finishing moves that can be used in combination with your teammate.
Obviously the main Avengers will have more elaborate and a wider selection of combo finishers. In fact, the combos aren’t as simple as a Hulk and Vision finisher; but actually will give different attacks based on who initiates it. Meaning the Tag Team Finisher for Hulk with Vision is different than the Tag Team Finisher for Vision with Hulk. Every day more and more finishing animations are being added, which makes sense considering the massive roster of heroes – but I’ll get to that a little later.
One of the coolest new features that Co-Op can take advantage of is the ability to battle on two completely different fronts. Earlier I spoke of how vehicles will now be more responsive and easier to control. This was an extremely important aspect to fix since you’ll be able to have one character fighting on the ground while another fights in a Quinjet. This mechanic can best be seen in the extended Thor vs Loki battle I mentioned earlier. While Black Widow and Hawkeye pilot the Quinjet to fight the Chitauri, you can still see Thor down below ready for combat. Again, this can all still be achieved in Single-Player style; but it feels much more rewarding when your teammate literally has your back… or side.
Returning Humor – More Laughs & Inside Jokes Than ever Before:
One thing about LEGO games that stands out above the rest usually is their marvelous sense of humor. Let’s face it, even though the packaging says 6-12, most people playing this game are adults. So how does LEGO manage to balance this older audience while still making it fun for the whole family? The answer is of course different layers of humor. Arthur Parsons equates their style to Pixar films which have a level of humor that kids will enjoy; but also a thinly veiled layer that adults will secretly understand immediately. And all of these jokes of course return for LEGO Avengers.
From Hulk having a meddling chicken to help keep him angry to Ironman needing a plunger to get out of his suit while Loki has a BBQ, the jokes come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, there’s so many jokes, gags and pop culture references in this game that no one in the office has a full list. These are just waiting to be discovered by players – and then most likely written about in an article such as this. Though with LEGO being known for funny cross-subject Post Credit scenes and Marvel films being notorious for their Post Credit scenes, you’ll be happy to know that LEGO Avengers WILL have multiple Post Credit scenes – some of which will be parodies of existing Post-Credits and others will be completely different. These ‘others’ are still being kept super secret, but you can expect one to tease the next LEGO game – much like how LEGO Marvel Superheroes teased LEGO Batman 3, LEGO Batman 3 teased LEGO Avengers and LEGO Jurassic World teased LEGO Dimensions.
Additional Technical Details – Characters, Gold Bricks & The Collector:
- Beyond the returning characters from LEGO Marvel Superheroes, there are over 100 NEW playable characters, including but not limited to: Agent Sitwell, Fing Fang Foom, Devil Dinosaur, Stanbuster, Harley Keener (and his potato gun), Gorilla Girl, Hulkling, Amadeus Cho, Moon Boy, and Egghead
- The final tally of game character is still unknown since they’ve actually been accepting character suggestions on Twitter, which leads to others (ie: simply adding Jessica Jones means you have to add her husband Luke Cage, which means you also have to add his best friend Iron Fist).
- Stan Lee will of course return to the game because as Arthur Parsons said “without him, none of this would be here”. And as such, this time he’ll have a much larger role and will even appear in some KEY Avengers moments. I’d say more, but I don’t want to spoil those surprises. So keep you eyes peeled True Believers!
- New vehicles have also been confirmed for this game including *drumroll* the infamous and short lived – for obvious reasons – Thanos Copter.
- As you can imagine, Speedsters are the fastest characters in the game and are able to run faster than Ironman flies.
- The Gold Brick count for the game will most likely be 250
- This time around instead of Deadpool Red Bricks – to keep with the AVENGERS theme – Red bricks will be obtained through finding The Collector and completing a quest for him. Like last time, these Red Bricks will then unlock cheats such as multipliers, unlimited Hero Charge and the ability to beat up your ally… because apparently people liked that.
- As of the moment, Spiderman will not be a part of the game. Although this isn’t due to licensing issues; but rather because the Avengers-centric stories in the game haven’t called for him.
- Nothing specific has been announced yet; but there WILL be DLC!
So there you have it: EVERYTHING you need to know about LEGO Avengers, which comes out January 26th. Some people might have been worried that with the onset of Dimensions, games such as these would slowly fade out. This of course isn’t true; but jumping to this conclusion does make sense considering most of the press this year has been about Dimensions – and LEGO Jurassic World a bit. Although now it’s LEGO Avengers’s time to shine and it looks to be the greatest installment yet!
Before we close, I would just like to thank Arthur Parsons for chatting with us at New York Comic Con. When you talk to someone like him who has such a love for what he does and the contented associated, it’s really incredible. And hopefully this article was able to display his excitement properly.