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The Avengers game creators hint at how they’ll make Black Widow fun

Marvel’s Avengers has an opportunity to fix one of the MCU’s biggest problems

Black Widow in Marvel’s Avengers Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix
Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 and is now editor-in-chief. He co-hosts The Besties, is a board member of the Frida Cinema, and created NYU’s first games journalism course.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe never got Black Widow quite right. The character is only now getting her own film. When she appeared in other superhero movies over the past decade, her relatively human skills felt weak alongside characters that could fly, crash through skyscrapers, and read minds. Marvel’s Avengers feels like another opportunity to give Black Widow that moment she deserves.

At E3 2019, we spoke with Crystal Dynamics’ senior brand director Rich Briggs about the game’s behind-closed-doors demo. In the intro to the game’s story, we see Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor brutalize bad dudes on the Golden Gate Bridge. Black Widow dives into the action towards the end, but mostly features into a lengthy, cinematic quick-time event. We asked Briggs what the team at Crystal Dynamics is doing to make sure folks want to play as Black Widow as much as any other ultra-powerful superhero.

“So I’m not going to spoil [it] because we haven’t shown it just yet,” says Briggs, “but she does have some very interesting traversal mechanics. You may have seen that she’s the only one that can go stealth completely with the camouflage.

“We want to make sure that she feels like the ultimate tactical spy. And you know, just like in the regular Avengers, they all have strengths and weaknesses. So Black Widow is all about gathering intel, using your enemy’s weaknesses against them, using stealth at times when she needs to do some really cool traversal mechanics. [She has] tons and tons of high tech gadgetry and lots of acrobatic skills and traversal. We use all that to try and make sure that she feels true to her character, but also very, very heroic when you first get on the six with her. And we have a very, very nice progression tree for her. So you’ll continue to add diverse skills.”

In the comics, Black Widow isn’t known for a unique traversal mechanic. Theories from the Polygon Slack room include: jetpack, hoverbike, hovershoes, she scuttles like a crab, jetpack, she drives a Mini Cooper, electric scooter, and JETPACKJETPACKJETPACK.

We will likely learn more about Black Widow and Marvel’s Avengers ahead of its release on PlayStation 4, Stadia, Windows PC, and Xbox One on May 15, 2020.

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