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Square Enix places Avengers’ failure squarely on Crystal Dynamics

GaaS should have worked, Square says.

Square Enix has blamed Crystal Dynamics and its poor implementation of mechanics for the failure of its big budget Avengers game.

As part of its annual report, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda didn’t hold back. In short, it wasn’t the GaaS mechanics that were questionable, but the studio that was implementing them.

Marvel’s Avengers was an ambitious title for us in that we took on the GaaS (Games as a Service) model,” Matsuda said.

“We overcame a variety of unexpected difficulties in the final phase of the game’s development, including needing to transition to work-from-home due to the pandemic. We were able to surmount these challenges and release the game, but it has unfortunately not proven as successful as we would have liked,” Matsuda continued. “Nonetheless, taking on the GaaS model highlighted issues that we are likely to face in future game development efforts such as the need to select game designs that mesh with the unique attributes and tastes of our studios and development teams.

“While the new challenge that we tackled with this title produced a disappointing outcome, we are certain that the GaaS approach will grow in importance as gaming becomes more service oriented. How we go about creating new experiences by incorporating this trend into our game design is a key question that we will need to answer going forward.”

In November 2020, Square Enix confirmed that Avengers had yet to turn a profit; the game launched in September of that same year. Of late, it’s drawn ire for adding in paid XP boosters (which have since been removed).

Square Enix’s latest dive into the Marvel universe was with Eidos Montreal for a single-player Guardians of the Galaxy title, one we were smitten with… and mostly because it wasn’t Avengers.

What do you make of Matsuda’s comments? Would a studio like Bungie have gotten Games as a Service mechanics right inside Avengers, or is the business model itself to blame?

We reviewed Avengers here and Guardians of the Galaxy here.

Guardians of the Galaxy

26 October 2021
PC PS4 PS5 Xbox One Xbox Series S & X

Marvel's Avengers

19 March 2021 (PS5, Xbox Series)
PC PS4 PS5 Switch Xbox One Xbox Series S & X

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for close to fifteen years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.