The company can’t keep its own lies straight.
One of the major issues I’ve had with Crystal Dynamics since the launch of Marvel’s Avengers is that the company can’t keep its own bullcrap stories straight. Now if you’ve been paying attention to the situation as I have, it’s very obvious that Marvel’s Avengers is persistently on its way to a free to play rebrand, one that is only delayed by the fact that Crystal Dynamics would need two months to cook minute rice. I don’t blame them for this, since Avengers was clearly a financial failure right out of the gate and it presumably hasn’t quite recovered to keep up with CD’s promise of never charging for content drops.
I expect that promise to be broken at some point in the future, by the way. This isn’t a prediction, just an assumption based on the facts.
But the company lost its ability to juggle its own lies earlier this year when they completely “rebalanced” the leveling process to make it longer and then introduced hundreds of alternate levels per character. Now most of the active community saw through this charade; it was very clear that Crystal Dynamics would be introducing paid boosters at some point in the future. This is where the inability to juggle comes in. Now the folks at Crystal Dynamics claimed that they did this because players found the opening hours of the game overwhelming. However, they also confirmed that the first 25 levels are faster with the slowed down progression on the back end. They also hosted several double exp events since then alongside demo events, negating any illusion of caring about new players being overwhelmed.
Do you see what happens when you have a system of garbage in, garbage out? Do they think we’re stupid?
Fast forward to today and Crystal Dynamics admitted that, yea, they lied in the advertising for Marvel’s Avengers. Multiple times we were told that the crap sold in the store would be cosmetic only, yet CD took a baseball bat to hinder character progression so they could turn around and sell it back to us at a later date for real cash. The timing of the drop was clearly also to milk the new Xbox Game Pass players coming in to the game’s ecosystem.
Regardless of your thoughts on the existence of pay to win in a purely PvE environment, the truth still stands that Crystal Dynamics went back on its word and introduced artificial throttles to their gameplay systems in order to sell the solution at a later date. They just blew the landing on explaining why experience had to be nerfed.
And there’s an obvious argument to make for the game doing what it can to survive. Marvel’s Avengers was a disappointment critically and financially when it launched, and it’s obvious that the game hasn’t been pulling in sales since. Game stores can barely give copies away and CD has resorted to putting the game on Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now in order to pull in some extra dosh.
I have reiterated numerous times on this website that promises from the games industry are completely worthless. Developers will speak in a way to give themselves wiggle room, or they’ll just straight up lie because what are you going to do about it? There’s a lot of comments saying that the barn door is open and the horses are out in terms of Crystal Dynamics breaking even more promises, but the truth of the matter is that the barn door never existed, it was just an open field and the horses left ages ago. If Crystal Dynamics is going to renege on more promises, nothing was ever stopping them.