‘LEGO Marvel’s Avengers’: Assemble the Bricks, Assemble the Team

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LEGOAvengers

These LEGO games just keep coming. And they keep on being awesome. As long as they continue to be so ridiculously fun to play, I say keep ’em coming.

Marvel Games and TT Games have teamed up again to outdo their previous outing (2013’s LEGO Marvel Super Heroes) in nearly every way. Even though that game had an impressive lineup of playable characters and a captivating original storyline, the developers consciously set out to make LEGO Marvel’s Avengers with more playable characters, more dialogue, a longer storyline, a bigger open world, and more animated cut scenes (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg).

At last weekend’s New York Comic-Con, where the below trailer debuted, I had a chance to sit with some of the creative team and get the inside scoop on the new game (which comes out on January 26 for nearly every platform).

(Click here for an early hands-on look at the game we brought you from Gamescom.)

One of the most requested features of any LEGO game–but particularly those set in a superhero universe where the character list is almost literally endless–is its lineup of playable characters. The team stated that one of their goals was to include at least 100 characters who had not yet been in a game. That means the final roster of playable characters in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers will be north of 200… and probably closer to 250. That’s a lot.

According to Arthur Parsons, Game Director at TT Games, “We haven’t got a final roster because people keep asking us for characters on Twitter, and we keep adding characters.” So what does this mean? Well, in addition to all of the obvious characters, we’re going to see a ton of minor and crazy obscure characters that you can actually play!

We already knew America Chavez (now with better skin shading) was in the game, but try these on for size: Ms. Marvel. Jane Foster Thor. Devil Dinosaur. Moon Boy. Fin Fang Foom. Egghead. Gorilla Girl. Agent Sitwell. Detroit Steel. Stan Lee! With more than 200 characters in the game, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a blast playing through them all.

Stanbuster!

Except Spider-Man or Spider-Gwen. There’s not much love for the Spiderverse in this game. According to Bill Rosemann (Creative Director at Marvel Games), they made a conscious decision to include characters with a strong, legitimate connection to the Avengers. I guess that explains Spider-Gwen, but I think we can still chalk up legal issues to the lack of (any version of) Spidey here.

One of the greatest aspects of this game is the impressive variety of combo attacks. Once you’re powered up, any two characters can pair together for a “finishing move,” and the combo varies depending on the characters used. For example, if you’re playing as Hawkeye and do a combo with Black Widow, Clint launches Natasha into the air, where she unleashes mayhem on the enemies below. However, if you’re playing as Black Widow and do a combo with Captain America, you get a totally different action. That level of attention to detail just pervades the game.

When you’ve got this many characters, though, you can’t have every single combination be unique. The main cast members have more dynamic, unique attacks, but minor characters will have more generic moves. (Sorry, Egghead.)

Arthur Parsons (Game Director, TT Games)

How about the open world? Manhattan is the core, giant open world (which is bigger than it was in the previous game), but there are eight different areas where you can travel rather seamlessly via Quinjet. Want to roam around an open-world Asgard? How about Washington, D.C., Malibu, SHIELD HQ, or the Barton Farm? You got it.

Play as Agent Carter, and her missions are all set in the past. The way the game transitions from modern day to the 1940s is just a joy to behold. And speaking of Agent Carter, Hayley Atwell actually recorded new lines for the character.

The game has about three times as many lines of dialogue as the previous game, and the core characters utilize clips from the films. That means about 23 actors from the films are represented in the game. However, the dialogue isn’t limited to the (mostly) Phase 2 films represented in the gameplay. Some of the supporting cast–including Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, and Ashley Johnson as Beth the Waitress(!)–came in to record new lines. And that’s all without even mentioning the incredibly talented voice actors who gave life to the non-film characters.

Look, Marvel and TT know you guys all love your Iron Man. And they’ve made him a particularly robust character. Play as Iron Man, press and hold the Y button, and you’ll go into Tony’s helmet and see all of the suits that are available. As you progress through the game, more and more suits unlock. After you select a suit, you’ll come back to the game with a unique suit-up animation. For example, select Mark V and the armor comes out of a suitcase. Choose the original Mark I and Tony gets bolted into the suit by Stan Lee. Play as Hulkbuster and the suit drops down from the sky. Pick Mark 43 and the suit activates its sentry mode, sneaks up behind Tony, and taps him on the shoulder.

This isn’t an Iron Man game, but the developers have done a lot of stuff like that for as many characters as possible. Again, the attention to detail here is remarkable.

If you’re a LEGO player, you may very well be a completist. Looking for red bricks? You’ll need to visit The Collector and perform a mission for him. Once you return to The Collector’s room, you can collect a red brick and access various special skills, including the ability to target and fight other playable characters. Looking for gold bricks? Unofficially, there will be 250 of them to be earned.

Finally, this just wouldn’t be Marvel (or LEGO) without a post-credit teaser. There are in fact five such scenes in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. Some are parodies of the films’ post-credit scenes, but a couple will almost definitely hint at a future LEGO game (IP be damned), which has become par for the course.

Mike Jones (Executive Producer, Marvel Games) & Bill Rosemann (Creative Director, Marvel Games)

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