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E3 2019: Avengers Game's Character Designs Won't Change After Backlash, Dev Says

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Square Enix officially revealed its new Avengers game this week at E3 2019, and the reaction was mixed. Specifically, people on the internet were upset about the new character designs for main characters Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner. The designs are new for the game, with some criticizing them for being bland. Others have taken issue with the fact that they are not based on the actors' likenesses from the MCU films; they also feature different voice actors.

Given the outcry, will Square Enix change the character designs in the wake of the criticism, like what's happening with the Sonic the Hedgehog movie? No. Square Enix is committed to the character designs it's created for the game, lead creative director Shaun Escayg of developer Crystal Dynamics told IGN.

"We are always listening to, and welcome feedback from our community. There are currently no plans to change our character designs," he said.

While the character designs are not going to change for the Avengers game, Escayg reminded fans that the footage shown so far is from a very early, pre-alpha version of the title. As such, the game should look better and better over time.

"The level of detail and overall polish of the character models will absolutely continue to improve as we get closer to launch," he said.

Escayg told The Hollywood Reporter that the development team never considered using the likenesses of the actors from the MCU movies. "We wanted to clearly show that this was our spin on the Avengers," Escayg says.

There was plenty of news included in the Avengers game presentation this week, including an upcoming Avengers beta coming to PS4 first and its release date. The action is cinematic in the game's trailer and Square Enix's announcement included details like cooperative gameplay, free post-release DLC, and the all-star voice cast includes Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, Nolan North, Travis Willingham, and Jeff Schine.

You can read IGN's full story on the new Avengers game here.

More E3 news:

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: This story originally did not credit IGN with the quotes from Escayg. GameSpot regrets the error.

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BarcaAzul

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Edited By BarcaAzul

Personally I don't have an issue with it. The film characters are not like the comics, but a likeness of them

Especially if the game is good

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Marky360

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Edited By Marky360

Well they look friggin fugly as hell lol ? they're like the fake knock off Avengers toys your aunt would buy you from the Dollar store lol ?

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Marky360

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Well they look friggin fugly as hell lol ?

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el_swanno

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Is that Hank Pym or Hank Scorpio?

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wildog2006

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oH nO, mY hErOeS lOoK dIfFeReNt

LeTs BiTcH aBoUt It!

3 • 
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uninspiredcup

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@wildog2006: The problem is they don't look different. They look almost exactly like the movie versions, replaced with different faces.

The Arkham Series (the benchmark) doesn't do this, it creates it own game using many sources. Voice actors and writers from TAS, comics like Arkham Asylum, The KIlling Joke, Knightfall, Year One and The Dark Knight Returns as well as influences from practically all movies. Including Batman Forever.

Yet, it's completely it's own entity.

So, the point isn't that they look different, it's that they look like low rent versions of something we already have.

3 • 
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el_swanno

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@uninspiredcup:

I think the real problem is the design are bland and uninspired. The body armour is completely wrong for starters. It robs the characters of any real body shape which was always one of the key features of the comic art.

I really hope they reconsider these designs.

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aross2004

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Edited By aross2004

People need to stop crying so much over something this insignificant.

3 • 
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ecs33

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Edited By ecs33

Do people know how much they would have to pay in royalties to these actors to use their likeness? I don't blame the decision. Usually when a game does this it's never more than 2 people. This game is not going to make enough money to warrant a giant budget.

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SkyHighGam3r

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I didn't expect or even want the MCU actors... but I didn't expect Steve Rogers to be rocking some weird fat-neck, 50-year old, dad-bod. I didn't expect Bruce Banner to look like an Apt 9 model hahaha, or Tony Stark to look like the lead in a Foo Fighters cover-band XD XD XD. They. Look. Bad.

The absolute worst part though? "Where's Hawkeye!?" hahahaha best part of E3 was the crowd yelling that back at them.

4 • 
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squidracerX

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@skyhighgam3r: agreed. Yeah, I actually am not a huge Scarlett Johansen fan as Black Widow anyway, (I think shes a great actress in other stuff), so i could give 2 hoots if she looks like SJ or not -- i dont even really like the Black Widow as a character that much, (Russian Spy lady - its probably the most cliche bland character in existence). But this character model just looks like trailer park Tammy. Its bad. -- Doesn't have to look like SJH, but it shouldn't look fugly either.

if this was a GI Joe game (Ive never seen the shitty live action movies) and you said she was the character model for Scarlet, Id still say "that looks crappy".

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Bread_or_Decide

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Good. They look fine. It's just shock from being so used to seeing the actors play them all this time.

Don't ever be bullied by online mobs. Trust me, they'll buy it anyway, or not. They get more of a rush from bullying creatives than from actually enjoying the products.

see also, snakes on plane. After catering so much to online demands, the film bombed anyway, despite them doing everything people supposedly wanted.

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Marky360

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@Bread_or_Decide:

We'll see what they have to say once the #Raimiarmy gets wind if this muwhahahaha?

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tharvey252

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Edited By tharvey252

They don’t look great but do you guys really thing Square Enix would have been able to pay the actors? It’s crazy. Not to mention the schedule nightmare. I am pretty sure Disney would not accept a deal like that anyway. Forget it. And if they went all in on the likeliness...people would have complained anyway. They look Uncanny, ah the voice actor is not as good as Downey Junior etc etc.

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tharvey252

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Edited By tharvey252

They don’t look great but do you guys really thing Square Enix would have been able to pay the actors? It’s crazy. A schedule nightmare for sure. I am pretty sure Disney would not accept a deal like that anyway. Forget it. And if they went all in on the likeliness...people would have complained anyway. Uncanny, ah the voice actor is not as good as Downey Junior etc etc.

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lionheartssj1

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If the gameplay is there, I can definitely get past the weirdish looks.

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SMOUCHE_MOLE

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Okay well i get you’re not REALLY listening to player feedback, Square, but this would be far cheaper to implement: just add paper bag mask options for all characters, including for when/if they take off their hero masks

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Brettsky128

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It's not that they don't look like the MCU characters, it's that they look and sound like the MCU stunt doubles wearing the MCU costumes. It's like they kiiiinda went for the MCU look. I don't know, they just look weird. It's not like there was an outcry that the PS4's Spider-Man didn't look like Tom Holland. They created their own version of Peter Parker. These guys just look like they went half-way with their designs, not committing to the MCU look but still basically using the same outfits and styles. Just feels amateurish.

3 • 
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uninspiredcup

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Edited By uninspiredcup

So, to be clear, these designed (that would very clearly be disliked), didn't have any fan input, or they deliberately disregarded it... and now, they're disregarding fans upon the reveal saying " We are always listening to, and welcome feedback from our community"?

Yes.

6 • 
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fraga500

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Dead on arrival

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Sorrow_316

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If it’ll be like Spider man, I’ll gladly play it. Hit it up with some online coop to make a real avenger team to battle scenarios would be a winner for me.

3 • 
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Cassius103

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It makes sense that they'd look off, we're used to either seeing them drawn and coloured in comics or seeing specific actors playing them. I think this is the first time we've seen them properly outside either of those. (Excluding a few other games with more comic-inspied art styles.)

While I don't think the new designs are particularly great, if the game is good I'm still willing to get used to them, just like I do when a new artist takes on a character in the comics. Even if Thor and Cap could stand to shed a few pounds...

4 • 
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UrbanMessiah

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This sounds like a low key "If you don't like it, don't buy it" from Square Enix, but they don't want the fallout EA got when they said that about Battlefield V.

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aross2004

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@UrbanMessiah: Then let me say it for them since I'm not beholden to anyone's money.

If you don't like it, don't buy it.

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Bread_or_Decide

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@UrbanMessiah: And yet BFV sold all right.

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EdwardNygma

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@Bread_or_Decide: BFV TANKED compared to their estimates.

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UrbanMessiah

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This sounds like a low key "If you don't like it, don't buy it" from Square Enix, but they don't want the fallout EA got when they said that about Battlefield V.

2 • 
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Loveblanket

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I don't care that they don't look like the movies. I care that they look terrible. But let's not kid ourselves, not making them look like the film characters and capitalizing on the success of those films is a brainless move.

9 • 
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evagelios

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I am glad they are going to make their product what they want it to be. Art, in all of its forms is from the artist. It's not a vote, it's not ever meant to please every person.

I respect this move.

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SMOUCHE_MOLE

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@evagelios: hmmm

This reminds me of the phrase “starving artist”. . .

Okay. Make your “art” your way and analyze if you would have sold more or less copies if you would have adapted, bc you know this is going to happen (hindsight analysis). “Art” aside, to have so much foresight and not take advantage is a terrible business move. And believe me or not, but this is a fuggin business

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Bread_or_Decide

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@smouche_mole: People don't know what they want until you give it to them. The worst changes made to films often involve test audiences. People have the worst ideas, the worst taste, and should stay away from any and all artistic endeavors unless they are artists themselves.

Even worse, after all the "changes" the product never does any better.

See also, snakes on a plan. Hell, BumblBee brought back old gen transformer designs and performed the worst of all the Transformers movies. Ninja Turtles 2: out of the shadows basically recreated the cartoon with krang, bebop, rockstead. Also bombed.

Seems like listening to "fans" in a sure fire way to make sure your product bombs.

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SMOUCHE_MOLE

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@Bread_or_Decide: That first sentence is reminiscent of Steve Jobs :0 . . .

Ok you’ve said a lot here so I’ll likely not touch on every point you made, but while you’re focusing on what supposed “bad” has happened in filming based on audience feedback, I’d counter with the likelihood that an equal if not greater amount of amazing products - i.e. in filming, games, tangible consumer products, etc. - have come about due to pre-launch market testing, focus groups, targeted consumer feedback, etc. Sure we can find some bad examples, but we can also reference several great ones!

Kudos to SurveyPolice. They have a nice article listing examples of a few big name companies who’ve adapted successfully due to market research which involved consumer feedback: https://www.surveypolice.com/blog/how-5-massive-companies-changed-using-market-research/

Now I understand your focus is more on “art”, which could potentially be a different debate entirely regarding what merits that distinction... Regardless, while one could argue for a support of one’s steadfastness towards outside opinions regarding their “art”, in this case, this is a large publisher literally trying to convince as large an audience as possible to buy their product, and as you and others have said, their “art”. Surely they would want to listen to their targeted demo’s opinions in order to guarantee as many sales as possible, no? If not, then I’ll completely concede to your point. And in truth, it already seems they are leaning towards this based on their recent comments referenced in this article.

However, I cannot truly believe at this point that this is so. Perhaps the developers may feel this way. Most people take it personal when someone critiques their “baby” so-to-speak, and I get that. But at the end of the day, it’s SquareEnix publishing and putting their money on the line. Surely they would want their profit margins as large as possible, and at the end of the day, it likely will come down to a business decision and analysis of the following: how much will it cost us to make these character redesigns, and how many potential customers do we expect to lose if we do NOT change these character designs?

Well if the costs exceed what they expect to gain in sales, then they won’t change them. But if they expect to see a noticeable increase in profits due to the changes, then they’ll do them.

The other part that makes this extremely sticky is the licensing of Marvel properties from Disney. It’s beginning to become a stretch to claim another company’s (Marvel’s/Disney’s) property interpreted slightly differently (though hardly at all tbh) by a 3rd party is “art”. Before the devs ship this, I guarantee Marvel/Disney must give their own seal of approval on said product, which would further discredit the merits of “art” and this dev’s interpretation on character designs, bc they really would not have the final say on their “art”.

Furthermore, the moment Marvel/Disney believes a 3rd party’s product they’ve licensed out may instead tarnish their brand(s), they will insist on changes if not all together cancel it

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Loveblanket

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@evagelios Art? It's an online games as a service action game. It's a really dumb business decision not to make them have the MCU likenesses and even that aside, they just don't look good. The characters in Mass Effect Andromeda looked awful as well and nobody said "don't correct that, for ART!". I agree that not everything should be a vote when it comes to art, but when you're doing art, you're doing art for you. When you're making a product for consumption by an audience, it's not art anymore and not taking feedback is idiotic. I owned a restaurant and was the chef and I always told my staff, I don't want to hear the nice things. That's just me doing my job, I only want to hear the criticisms because that's the only way I would get better. This isn't art and it isn't about art, it's about customer satisfaction and when the people you want money from overwhelmingly tell you they don't like what your doing and you ignore it, that isn't integrity, it's bad business and it's dumb.:

11 • 
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Bread_or_Decide

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@loveblanket: You should really only listen to constructive criticism. Because "it sucks" doesn't help your art. And most normal people don't know how to give constructive criticism.

"The faces suck," is not constructive criticism.

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UrbanMessiah

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@loveblanket: Interesting position. Would your idea that at a certain point a game isn't art but a product for the consumer and criticism leveled at it should be listened to and addressed apply to CDPR and the whole issue with not having a third person option because of artistic vision? Just curious...

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Non-Scorer

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So they love to listen to feedback... but all the feedback was "your character designs sucked"... and their stance is "great, thanks for your input. We aren't changing squat."

Sounds like they don't listen to feedback. Liars.

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Loveblanket

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Edited By Loveblanket

@non-scorer Please let us ignore all your feedback.:

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Non-Scorer

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@loveblanket: That's exactly what they said. Thanks for following.

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Balugha

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I didn't expect them to look like the movie celebs, but why do they all look like their siblings?

7 • 
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BigBlueBUSTN

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@balugha: that was my thing, its just odd

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gamingdevil800

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I think it's funny that people hated on Black Cats design in Spiderman which honestly was fine... then Square Enix comes up with this lol.

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alastor529

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Thank god i have a Switch for Ultimate Alliance 3

the only problem with Ultimate Alliance is the art style but the gameplay has me sold, the banter betweeen characters no matter hwo you pick there is all kinds of banter options thats what i want!

I dont want the game to feel too scripted, Ulaitmate allaince will have alot of replay value

this looks like a playable CGI avengers movie that ic an just watch someone go through on youtube

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drsw36

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@alastor529: Playable CGI avengers movie? We barely saw what the gameplay looks like. Maybe we should wait before judging.

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Loveblanket

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@drsw36 We saw the characters and heard them and they're awful. I don't necessarily care what the gameplay looks like because the game revolved around iconic characters and their version of them is awful.:

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Thanatos2k

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"Cheap and crappy, that's how we do our licensed games"

-Square Enix

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drsw36

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@Thanatos2k: Saying the game looks "cheap" is a bit much. I think it look beautiful. They just need to work on the characters more.

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GusBR

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So they make shitty standard costumes and sell the ones that should be the standard ones, and insist on keeping the plastic faces avengers? I pass.

5 •