Almost exactly 15 months after it was revealed Spider-Man would be heading to Marvel's Avengers as a PlayStation-exclusive playable character, developer Crystal Dynamics has announced a release date for the much-delayed hero; he'll be swinging into action on 30th November as part of a relatively beefy update for the beleaguered live service game.
Spider-Man was originally due to arrive "early" 2021, but players began to wonder if something was seriously amiss when the character, having failed to materialise in that initial launch window, was conspicuously absent from a development roadmap stretching all the way into "summer and beyond". Crystal Dynamics eventually moved to reassure fans that Spidey was still coming but his exact arrival date remained unclear - until now.
Spider-Man will join the game as a playable hero on 30th November - for those on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, at least - and his arrival will be bolstered by character-specific story elements as part of the With Great Power hero event.
"Peter Parker uncovers AIM's new plan to acquire technology that could make their Synthoid army unstoppable and total domination inevitable," explains Crystal Dynamics in its announcement post. "He must partner with the Avengers to stop this looming threat, and forms a tentative friendship with Ms. Marvel and Black Widow while keeping his identity hidden. As a Hero accustomed to working solo, he struggles with the new dynamics of working with a team. Will he join up full time with the Avengers, or stay independent in his fight against AIM?".
Alongside Spider-Man, Marvel's Avengers' 30th November update will also feature some notable additions for players on all platforms, including the game's first raid, Discordant Sound, which will pit squads of four heroes against Wakanda villain Klaw in the Vibranium Mound for a chance at claiming some "highest-end" gear.
There's also a level cap increase from 150 to 175, changes to the weekly objective system so that objectives can now be completed once per eligible hero, a new gear upgrade system - enabling players to increase the power of their current gear by recycling gear of a higher power level - plus Shipments. These are essentially loot boxes containing cosmetics, resources, and other items that can be purchased using in-game currency earned through gameplay, with each Shipment costing 500 Units. Player will be able to see the contents of each Shipment before handing over their units.
All in all, it's a sizeable update for a game desperately in need of some player goodwill following a year of missteps, including publisher Square Enix's decision to increase the XP grind for each hero before adding paid XP boosters to the in-game store, despite pre-launch promises there would be no micro-transactions beyond cosmetics. After significant player backlash and a lengthy period of silence, Crystal Dynamics eventually announced it would be removing XP boosters from the store, but it remains to be seen if the move will be enough to restore trust among players.
In an earnings call earlier this week, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda admitted Marvel's Avengers "has unfortunately not proven as successful as we would have liked".
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