Last year’s Marvel’s Avengers seemed like a slam dunk. Not only was it a big budget title from a major publisher, it had a pair of solid development studios behind it with Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal, and just happened to be based on one of the biggest and most popular IPs in the world. Ultimately, however, it wasn’t the home run you’d expect. While the game has gotten continued support, by all accounts, the game underperformed significantly with reports that it drove huge losses for Square Enix and the game hadn’t recouped development costs this time last year. What lead to that disappointment? Well, Square’s President has his take.
Speaking via the company’s annual report and documented by VGC, Yosuke Matsuda spoke extensively about what went wrong with the project. He pointed to the GaaS (Games as a Service) model, specifically its use here and the mismatch with that model with the studios that developed the game (Crystal Dynamics were the main developer on the title, with Eidos Montreal being a major support studio, neither of which had worked on a GaaS product in the past). He said that while they think the GaaS model can still be effective, but the key will be matching studios to their reflective strengths in the future.
“We overcame a variety of unexpected difficulties in the final phase of the game’s development, including needing to transition to work-from-home due to the pandemic. We were able to surmount these challenges and release the game, but it has unfortunately not proven as successful as we would have liked.
“Nonetheless, taking on the GaaS model highlighted issues that we are likely to face in future game development efforts such as the need to select game designs that mesh with the unique attributes and tastes of our studios and development teams.
“While the new challenge that we tackled with this title produced a disappointing outcome, we are certain that the GaaS approach will grow in importance as gaming becomes more service oriented. How we go about creating new experiences by incorporating this trend into our game design is a key question that we will need to answer going forward.”
Marvel’s Avengers is available now for most major platforms with more DLC planned for later in the year.