But the giant mobile home, known as the Chimera, will be a hub for players both in the campaign as well as when they venture into the War Zone post-game, which will continue the life of Marvel’s Avengers well past its launch with new locations, characters, and more.
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Given how key the helicarrier is to every player’s Avengers experience, and the Marvel’s Avengers beta will only offer a brief introduction to it, Crystal Dynamics’ War Zone director Phil Therien dove into the inner workings of the helicarrier with us, offering us more detail on how players can expect it to progress, the role factions play in the Chimera, and more.
Reassembling the Avengers, Rebuilding the Helicarrier
Showcases for Marvel’s Avengers so far, including the A-Day demonstration from E3 2019 and the Thor gameplay from the recent War Table presentations, have shown plenty of helicarrier action in the upcoming adventure. And Therien offered a bit of context for how the Chimera’s journey fits into the campaign.
“You see how things go poorly for the helicarrier early on in the story. You spend a good chunk of the campaign rebuilding it, and part of rebuilding the helicarrier is also rebuilding the Avengers,” he said. “As you’re getting them back together and as you’re finding technology that maybe Tony needs to do modifications, the helicarrier starts to get more functional. It will literally go from a broken husk that’s missing its windshield and everything to having people on there, having the Faction members that rejoin, having services that get opened up.
“The helicarrier really represents how the Avengers and the factions start to reglue together, with, obviously, Kamala being the principal catalyst for making all that happen.”
Kamala is certainly the unexpected but clear hero of Marvel’s Avengers in a number of ways, as she endeavors across the campaign to reunite Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, and Hulk. That unification can uniquely be shown in tandem with the Chimera’s repairs, and it’s a progression Therien thinks players should experience, even if they’re primarily interested in playing multiplayer.
As Therien explained to me, jumping into the War Zone content essentially puts you in a “post-game” state of Marvel’s Avengers world, which might rob you of some of the character context and connections you’ll form from playing the campaign.
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“I would encourage people to play through the campaign, even if they’re still interested in just playing multiplayer,” he said, noting that “seeing all that get put together is such a great context for all the events that happen post-campaign.
“Currently, all the changes that you’ll see on the helicarrier are based off of campaign progression,” he noted. “You’ll get the helicarrier in its fully functional state if you went straight to multiplayer, because all the facilities need to be open for it to be functional.”
A Full Crew
And as Therien alluded to, it won’t just be the Avengers calling the Chimera home. As demonstrated in the War Table, new Factions will set up shop and seek assistance from players, including S.H.I.E.L.D., Inhumans, and more.
“[For example], you encounter some S.H.I.E.L.D. people. You’ll help them out with a mission, and then you’ll see those people show up on a helicarrier. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a vendor that’s available, and they’re like, ‘Hey, we’re rebuilding, and we’ve got all this gear that we’re making for the Avengers.’”
These new additions are where a lot of that added functionality comes from, and the way it’s all integrated speaks to Crystal Dynamics’ ethos of making the campaign and War Zone missions all part of one larger world.
“You’re helping them rebuild, and there’s some story built around that, so you’ll understand, ‘Oh, what was Maria Hill up to when all this happened, and what is she trying to do now?’” We’re starting that story, and in Warzones and post-campaign, we’re going to keep building onto it, because the threats are going to keep escalating and the factions are going to have to step it up,” he said.
And, naturally, there are some key gameplay incentives to invest in these various factions and their stories.
“You’re getting faction experience when you help them out. The factions give you access to some really good gear, and these vendors relocate in part on the helicarrier and in another space that we haven’t talked about too much,” he noted.
But more than anything, the Chimera HQ speaks to Crystal Dynamics’ ongoing storytelling approach. As Marvel’s Avengers plans to bring new characters, locations and more to its world post-launch, players will get quite familiar with their superhero home.
“It’s an exciting thing for us because it gives us this huge canvas that tells stories, which is such an unprecedented opportunity,” Therien said. “The idea that we can make a game that is made for telling Marvel stories that is ready to accommodate all these extras is just super cool. The factions will keep growing, and as the threats keep escalating, they’ll keep getting more and more involved.”
For more on Marvel’s Avengers ahead of its beta launch, learn about what to expect from upcoming post-launch characters, including Hawkeye and the PlayStation-exclusive Spider-Man. And be sure to check out our combat breakdown to learn how each of Marvel’s Avengers’ heroes plays.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor and host of Podcast Beyond! Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.