Marvel’s Avengers now has the first of its post-launch characters, Kate Bishop. The sassy archer is another hero in the Marvel universe who uses the Hawkeye codename–Clint Barton, who’s also Hawkeye, is her mentor and will be the second post-launch character for Marvel’s Avengers. Yup, Marvel’s Avengers is getting two playable Hawkeyes back-to-back.
“Yeah I mean, I’ll be honest, from a gameplay standpoint, it would probably have been easier to not have to do two very similar characters,” Marvel’s Avengers lead combat designer Vince Napoli told me. “But, as with everything in the game, I think it’s a decision driven by story and narrative. [The team] sort of fell in love with the idea of telling a story we only could by having Hawkeye as the first character. And then when they were looking at the storyline, they were like, ‘Hey, it’d be awesome to also throw Kate in there.'”
As Napoli tells it, developer Crystal Dynamics wanted to use the two Hawkeyes to tell the next chapter of Marvel’s Avengers story, but the team didn’t want Kate to just be thrown in solely for story purposes. If she mattered to the overall narrative of the game then she deserved to be playable too, not just Clint. “At least it gives us a couple of playable characters right away, one after the other, which is really cool,” Napoli said. “And I know you’re excited to have a quick two-part introduction and kickoff to this whole post-release story stuff. So that’s kind of nice, the fact that there’s a nice, a quick turnaround.”
Same Name But Different Heroes
There are a lot of similarities between Kate and Clint. Both heroes rock purple outfits, wield a bow and arrow as their primary weapon, and–as said before–utilize the same hero codename. However, as comic fans will tell you, the two characters couldn’t be more different in how they fight, and that’s reflected in their gameplay mechanics. You don’t have to worry that Crystal Dynamics is feeding us the same character twice.
From gameplay trailers, we can see that Kate wields trick arrows like her mentor, but she accentuates her combat style with a sword for close-ranged combat and stolen AIM tech that allows her to teleport both herself and teammates throughout the battlefield. I was told that Clint would also be an archer, though he would ultimately play differently.
Both Kate and Clint’s stories take place after the events of Reassemble, the main single-player campaign of Marvel’s Avengers. As of right now, you can jump into Kate’s story, Operation Taking AIM, which sees Kate go on a mission to rescue her mentor, an adventure that ties into Nick Fury’s disappearance following A-Day and time travel. Scheduled to be released in early 2021, Clint’s story continues where Kate’s leaves off, taking place in the far future where Clint meets an old, bearded Hulk.
Despite these missions taking place after Reassemble, you don’t actually have to have completed Marvel’s Avengers’ campaign to access them. “In order to get the full story, it’s always–like I would prefer that you play the campaign to get all of the story, but you don’t have to,” Marvel’s Avengers senior narrative designer Nicole Martinez told me.
All You Need Is Family
Kicking off Season 1 with a two-part story about the Hawkeyes doesn’t mean Marvel’s Avengers is abandoning what folks loved about Reassemble. Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, is still central to the overall story of the game. If anything, Operation Taking AIM showcases how Kate becomes another surrogate family member for Kamala, much like Bruce becomes a second father-like figure for her in the main campaign.
“Kamala’s still definitely the heart of the Avengers, it’s just that as part of moving forward, we always look at the new heroes personality-wise and how they fit into this family in relation to Kamala,” Martinez said. “Basically, like how in Reassemble we focus on Kamala but we also get those small, almost vignettes of how each Avenger comes back into the fold. That’s kind of how I’m viewing all of the Operations for introducing the new heroes because Kamala is still very much a part of it, but this time we’re looking at how Kate comes back and then we’ll look at how Clint comes back. And in that way I think it continues the pattern of the Reassemble campaign.”
Martinez continued: “I mean the writers, we always have a good time working on the banter whenever we add a new hero and looking at how Kamala interacts with each of them since she’s heard of all of them and is a very big fan. And Kate and Kamala kind of develop this sister relationship where Kamala’s like her little sister, and Kate sees a bit of her former self in Kamala–in how she once was working her way up to being an Avenger and trying so hard to prove herself to Hawkeye and the rest of the team. And so I think they get along really well and we think that their relationship is cute.”
Kate Bishop and Operation Taking AIM are now both live in Marvel’s Avengers as part of a free update. The game is available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Stadia with both Xbox Series X|S and PS5 versions scheduled for release in early 2021. Those who own the Xbox One or PS4 versions of the game will be able to upgrade to next-gen for free.
Now Playing: Marvel’s Avengers War Table: Kate Bishop DLC Gameplay Deep Dive Trailer