After Square Enix officially revealed Marvel’s Avengers at E3 2019 earlier this week, the visuals of the game quickly drew negative reactions online. Specifically, the character designs of the Avengers themselves—five of the six original Avengers characters fans have watched on the big screen since the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s debut in 2008—did not impress fans.
Square Enix’s Avengers don’t bear much, if any, resemblance to the movie versions of the characters (or the actors portraying them). They have different faces and voices. Hawkeye appears to be missing, as he wasn’t in any of the E3 footage, leaving people wondering where he is. Both the faces and outfits for Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, and Bruce Banner are new for the game. One Twitter user jokingly called the game a “parody” because of the character design alone. And, of course, people responded in memes.
Given how much backlash Square Enix has received, some may wonder if they’ll take a page from Paramount Pictures’ book—the studio behind the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog live action adaptation, whose release was delayed to allow animators time to redesign Sonic after initial design was poorly received online.
It looks like Marvel’s Avengers won’t be taking that route. Crystal Dynamics—one of the companies behind the upcoming Marvel title—creative director Shaun Escayg stated that the team behind the game is committed to the character designs they’ve created and has no plans to change them, though they’re “always listening to, and welcoming feedback from [their] community.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Escayg revealed that using the likeness of the MCU actors was never considered throughout the game’s development process, as he said, “We wanted to clearly show that this was our spin on the Avengers…It’s creating a new Marvel universe.”
Square Enix offered more than just their character designs this week at E3, as they also announced a release date, more details about its features, and showed a demo for the game. Though it may not be the MCU cast, the game’s voice cast includes Laura Bailey, Troy Baker, Nolan North, Jeff Schine, and Travis Willingham.