Marvel's Avengers livestream reveals new features and main villain

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Today, we got another deep dive into Marvel’s Avengers. A special War Table livestream rehashed a lot of information that we already know about the game, but it also gave us one tantalizing new bit of information. The main villain in Marvel’s Avengers will be the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing, aka M.O.D.O.K.

If you want to check out the full stream replay, we've embedded it below:

For the most part, the 25-minute livestream reiterated things that we already knew about the game. It’s an action game where you’ll take control of (at least) six different Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Ms. Marvel. You select missions (either single-player story missions or multiplayer challenge missions) from a central hub, then fight off enemies with light, heavy and special attacks as you go. You can customize your characters’ skills and upgrade their gear over time.

We did get to see a new level this time around: a Thor-centric mission called Once An Avenger. In it, Thor faced off against a variety of combat robots on a rooftop, wielding a lightning-imbued Mjolnir to crush his foes. If you’ve played God of War or Spider-Man, you’ve seen something pretty similar to this combat before, although Marvel’s Avengers is level-based rather than open-world.

The interesting news involves M.O.D.O.K., a semi-deep-cut Marvel villain who will take center stage this time around. M.O.D.O.K. starts off as a scientist named George Tarleton who wants to “cure” the condition that creates Inhumans. (Explaining the Inhumans would take its own article, and then some, but basically, some are good, some are bad, they have a variety of superpowers, and Ms. Marvel is one.) Over the course of the game, he mutates into something much more powerful, and much more grotesque.

While Marvel’s Avengers has gotten some flack for trying to split the difference between a single-player action game and an ongoing multiplayer live service game, M.O.D.O.K.’s inclusion demonstrates that Crystal Dynamics is at least trying something creative with the story. Avengers games tend to fall back on the same handful of bad guys (Dr. Doom, Loki, Ultron, Thanos, Galactus), and it’s good to see a B-lister take center stage for once. Granted, we expect some additional villains to turn up in the game as well, but it’s about time that M.O.D.O.K. got his turn in the spotlight.

Otherwise, the game looks very video game-y, for lack of a better term. Based on YouTube and Twitter responses to the live stream, some fans feel that the game looks derivative of other, better superhero games, while others are just pleased to get another Avengers game from a major studio. 

I’m in the later camp myself, but we’ll know for sure on Sept. 4, when the game comes out for PS4, PC and Xbox One. Fans who purchase Marvel’s Avengers on current-gen consoles will get a free update once the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions come out.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.