Marvel Unveils Its Overwatch-Style Hero Shooter, Marvel Rivals

Image: Marvel
Image: Marvel

After some teases and leaks, Marvel and NetEase Games have officially revealed Marvel Rivals. The game is a free-to-play, 6v6 hero shooter in the style of Overwatch, but it’s in third-person and stars superheroes from across Marvel’s various comics. While we’ve only seen one trailer, it looks like it could give Overwatch a run for its money when it comes to PC.

Some of the playable characters shown include staples from the Avengers, such as Iron Man and the Hulk, as well as some X-Men characters, like Storm and Magneto. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy have a decent presence on the roster with Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord, Groot, and Mantis all present and accounted for. At the moment, Marvel Rivals has 18 characters, but NetEase Games plans to release more characters and maps through seasonal updates. The full confirmed roster is as follows:

  • Bruce Banner (Hulk)

  • Black Panther

  • Doctor Strange

  • Groot

  • Iron Man

  • Loki

  • Luna Snow

  • Magik

  • Magneto

  • Mantis

  • Namor

  • Peni Parker

  • Punisher

  • Rocket Raccoon

  • Scarlet Witch

  • Spider-Man

  • Storm

  • Star-Lord

In a post on Marvel’s website, the company confirmed Marvel Rivals will have a story element, which sees Fantastic Four baddie Doctor Doom clashing against his future counterpart in the year 2099, resulting in a multiverse collision that brings different versions of characters from the multiverse into the fray. I suppose that’s a decent enough explanation for why variations of Spider-Man and Iron Man might be fighting against one another in PvP, team-based combat.

One of the interesting riffs Marvel Rivals seems to be bringing to the hero synergy that these types of games are built on is the “Team-Up Skills” mechanic. This allows certain combinations of characters to pair up for new tactics and maneuvers, such as Rocket Raccoon riding on Groot’s back while he fires his weapon, or the Hulk charging up Iron Man’s suit with Gamma energy. It’ll be interesting to see if codifying these combos will make players default to certain team compositions by necessity rather than naturally. Check out the trailer below:

As an Overwatch 2 fan, part of me is reluctant to jump into another hero shooter. But given that game’s fall from grace, I can see why Marvel might no longer view it as an unassailable threat in the genre. The same is true for Gigantic, which is returning after being more or less ousted by Overwatch during its initial run from 2017 to 2018. I don’t know if Marvel Rivals has legs, but it is, at the very least, in a pretty decent position to try and get a foothold in the hero shooter genre when its closed beta test arrives in May.

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