What Crystal Dynamics Learned From Marvel’s Avengers’ Rough Launch

At launch, Marvel’s Avengers was praised for its fun and compelling narrative moments, however it rapidly grew to become obvious that the post-game content material was not on par with the cinematic and curated moments delivered by the extra linear missions. Following launch, Crystal Dynamics went largely quiet because the new-gen variations and post-launch heroes have been delayed, and the repetition of enjoying via the identical content material time and again impacted the concurrent participant counts. With yesterday’s announcement of Marvel’s Avengers 2021 content roadmap, we sat down with Crystal Dynamics studio head Scot Amos to speak about what the group has discovered from the launch and the way it will have an effect on improvement and the sport shifting ahead.

While Amos asserts that he and the group are happy with what it has achieved, he is underneath no phantasm that it was an ideal launch. The studio appeared on the variety of fixes that wanted to enter the sport shortly after launch and made the choice to tug everybody away from what they have been engaged on, delaying new content material and options. The resolution was made to deal with fixing the sport first, then specializing in options in order that the group, when it was able to develop and ship new content material, was doing so on prime of a sturdier basis.

Marvel's Avengers

“We were humbled at launch,” Amos says. “We are absolutely dedicated to delivering the game that fans want and deserve. We believe in this and we believe in what this game could be, so we’re committed to making it right.”

Crystal Dynamics monitored its group, in addition to the media that covers the sport and labored to parse via what wanted to be prioritized. “We listen – we really do,” Amos says. “We hear what you guys are saying. We hear what the press is saying, what the media is saying. It’s our job to take all of that, process that – good and bad – and we’re going to say, ‘How do we use that to help adjust our philosophy?'”

The preliminary patches of Marvel’s Avengers have been hefty, with a number of titles updates in some weeks early on, with some delivering more than a thousand fixes. Unfortunately, communication with the group fell out fairly considerably within the time following launch because the group centered on fixing the issues with the prevailing sport within the instant time period as an alternative of delivering new options and content material.

Marvel's Avengers

This delay in content material brought on the group to really feel “gun shy” on delivering a long-term roadmap like the one we saw this week, however the group is conscious that its lack of communication did not do the sport or its group any favors. “We have not been exactly state of the art with our communications and talking to fans and [the media] and really being as transparent as we could have been,” Amos says. “This is that pivot-point for us of changing where we’re at and where we’re going.”

These learnings Crystal Dynamics has had within the lead as much as launch and within the time since will assist form not solely the event of the sport, however in how the communications function going ahead. “Learning about all these little things that need to be much clearer, that need to be really crystal in the communication, that is a big step for us,” Amos says. “Painful learnings. And being able to say now we can apply that to our future.”

While Crystal Dynamics discovered quite a bit from placing out and supporting an formidable dwelling sport like Marvel’s Avengers, it additionally follows within the footsteps of different dwelling video games that suffered underneath lackluster launches. Destiny and Anthem are two good, divergent examples of how video games can reply to lukewarm launches, with Destiny nonetheless going robust to today, whereas Anthem’s announced rework was recently completely shut down by developer BioWare.

Marvel's Avengers

“We studied those games before we even launched, while we were building this one, and certainly you can see the hallmarks of certain things they do, that we may have, shall we say, coopted the ideas of,” Amos says. “Looking at it, we thought we were ready. We thought we were prepared because we had a plan, we had a roadmap, and then what happened at launch, where there were so many things that we weren’t ready for that we hadn’t expected that we were fixing. […] We looked down the path at some of these folks have had the exact same rough launch, got some criticism for what they did or didn’t deliver, and what people expected versus what actually got delivered. We really have done a lot of homework.”

Crystal Dynamics additionally is not the one studio to should cope with excessive circumstances over the past 12 months, because the world was turned upside-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some developers made smoother transitions due to already-in-place initiatives, Crystal Dynamics was affected by the short transfer to working from residence. “We had all the challenges that everybody had to suffer with this last year of working from home when we’ve never done that; we’ve certainly never launched a game that way before, and then realized how much harder it is not just to launch, but then to support that,” Amos says. “Everything takes three or four times longer. Like, get a build made, get a build distributed to our QA guys, get the bugs back, fix those bugs, get it retested… just the time impact, the deploying of it, it has been something that has taken us a few months to get our sea legs under us to understand what we can do.” 

Marvel's Avengers

So because the group strikes ahead, Crystal Dynamics is shifting how and what it makes, and the way it delivers these options and that content material shifting ahead. “It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take investment,” Amos says. “It’s going to take looking at this in a new way of saying what are the things we need to change to be able to get the people who are already in to stay in, to get people who looked at us and kind of said, ‘Oh that was fun, but I’m gonna go do something else,’ and people who haven’t looked at us yet, and say, ‘How do you get all those folks back when they all have a slightly different need that they want out of this game?'”

Looking forward, Amos is optimistic about the way forward for Marvel’s Avengers. “We love what we’ve done with this game and we’re desperate to get everybody else to see that cool stuff and scrape away anything that was either blocking or obscuring all the fun bits,” he says. “There’s just so much game that people just haven’t seen or we haven’t done a great job of communicating. For our part, we’re disappointed with what we didn’t correctly message to people, that we didn’t get them hooked at the beginning as big as we wanted to. […] We know we let some fans down from where we want it to be, but what we’ve gotten to and what I believe is in that game is why, top down, we’re committed to it because we know what’s in here.”

Marvel's Avengers

Only time will inform if Crystal Dynamics can proper the ship fully, however with a transparent roadmap laid out for gamers, it is already making nice strides within the communication division, whereas that roadmap appears to point the studio has returned to the state it wished to be in, the place it is engaged on delivering new options and content material to gamers frequently. For extra on Marvel’s Avengers and its current and upcoming content material, learn different interviews with Crystal Dynamics surrounding matters like Hawkeye, Black Panther, and the game’s 2021 roadmap.

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