Black Panther had always been part of the plan for Marvel's Avengers, but then last year tragedy struck: actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed the character in the MCU's lauded Black Panther film, died in August 2020 at the age of 43. As a mark of respect, Crystal Dynamics delayed the arrival of their own take on Black Panther in Marvel's Avengers.
Today at the Square Enix showcase, the first trailer for the upcoming expansion was shown. Called Black Panther: War for Wakanda, it features a voiceover by the character's arch-nemesis Klaw, finalising arrangements for invading Black Panther's kingdom with an army. We see the lush new Wakanda biome (Avengers' nomenclature for its open environments), before a look at Black Panther himself.
The blurb also mentions that this expansion will introduce a new enemy faction, presumably Klaw's army, and a power level cap increase which will make it "the biggest content drop since launch."
Early concepts for this character did leak, and didn't look too great, but this is a fantastic-looking character model. It certainly bears similarities to Boseman's MCU look, but the suit's missing elements like the necklace and has a distinctive texture to it.
The news came alongside a roadmap for the game's future content:
Crystal Dynamics says this doesn't include everything, and is subject to change, but most of it seems like an attempt to perform some sort of triage on an endgame that, to be brutal about it, doesn't keep many players around. There are some interesting ideas to be fair: the Temporal Assault events will allow players to be the same character for the first time, so if you wanted to go in with four Hulks then here's the mode for you. A new villain's coming at some point, and a 'patrol mode' that lets you cruise around the game's locations beating things up without having to be in a mission.
"Our focus moving forward is to deliver new content that is compelling to play and replay again while offering better rewards," writes Crystal Dynamics. It then ends with a fairly decent tease: "we’re also working on post-level-50 progression, outfits inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and multiplayer Megahives."
This news all comes alongside today's launch of Hawkeye: Future Imperfect, the game's latest expansion and one that also changes a bunch of other stuff about how it works, including making the levelling grindier. Is this game slowly turning towards free-to-play, and would that even be enough to save it? Who knows but, if generating a bit of excitement can help, Black Panther and the introduction of more MCU flavour may well do it.