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Despite backlash, Marvel’s Avengers character designs won’t change

Fan criticism can’t change everything, folks.

The cast of superheroes in Marvel’s Avengers includes Iron Man and Captain America Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Somewhere, an animator on the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie is flipping their desk over in a fit as they start to reanimate and redesign Sonic. Fans wield more power now thanks in no small part to internet-fueled backlash and a preponderance of platforms by which fans can petition creators. In the case of the Sonic movie, it was enough power to get a principal character redesigned in a feature film just six months before the release.

However, fan opinion can’t change everything. This week at E3, lead creative director Shaun Escayg at Crystal Dynamics stated in an interview that the iconic Marvel characters from the Marvel’s Avengers video game would not be getting a redesign. The statement comes after people reacted negatively to the character designs. “We are always listening to, and welcome feedback from our community,” Escayg told IGN. “There are currently no plans to change our character designs.”

If you haven’t seen the them, the video game characters are not based on the likeliness of the actors. As our own Patricia Hernandez wrote,

The character designs definitely take after the depictions in Marvels’ cinematic universe, which makes comparisons inevitable, except these iterations are tweaked in bizarre ways. Some suits look bulkier than they need to, for no apparent reason. There’s not enough color for some of the suits, which makes characters look monotone and drab. In terms of faces, some of the men look like what you expect buff-and-gruff video game characters to look like, a design decision that strips away the rich character that many of these heroes normally carry.

Fans felt let down and frustrated. This makes sense given that Avengers maintains an intense fanbase. Endgame is arguably one of the most successful movies ever made. It made history with a $1.2 billion opening weekend. While, the game designers have not commented on why they did or did not use the likeliness of the film’s cast, cost and complexity likely had something to do with it.

Black Widow in Marvel’s Avengers Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix

It feels like an inevitable fact at this point that any long-running franchise will bump into problems with character design. After years of movies, television, and comics behind it, not every character will be loved by everyone.

Escayg did state that the designs shown at E3 were not final. The characters will undergo some more edits and polishing before the release of the game, but there will be no major, Sonic-scale reworks of any of the characters.

Marvel’s Avengers will be released for Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 15, 2020.

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