New Marvel game lets you guide superheroes through college-like experience

Forget epic battles. In a new mobile game from Marvel, our young superheroes and villains will need to navigate the trials of dating, socializing and training at their academy.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

There are lots of superhero games out there on many platforms, but most of them focus on villains and heroes as adults, with all their powers fully developed. Marvel just announced a new game that will take a different approach.

Called Marvel Avengers Academy, the mobile game will let players create their own superhero campus and then guide a cast of young heroes around it as they develop their skills through training courses and other activities.

From the video promo (below), it looks like the game will have a nice dose of humor, evident from Thor using his hammer to tack up a poster urging other campus members to "Vote Cap for Class President." There are other posters announcing a party at Stark Tower and a study abroad program in Thor and Loki's homeland of Asgard.


Sure, the Avengers can deliver a smackdown to Ultron, but how well can they handle peer pressure at their academy?


In addition to Thor, we catch a glimpse of Wasp in the trailer and Marvel says the game will also feature other Avengers team members like Black Widow and Iron Man as well as Thor's stepbrother and consummate troublemaker, Loki.

The game represents an interesting strategy for Marvel. Instead of devolve into an "Avengers kids"-style game that would only appeal to a younger audience, it places its characters in a setting familiar to many: college. It also moves the action away from strict combat and helps develop the actual characters more, increasing the odds that even more people will become attached to them which, in turn, can help with future box-office success.

Along those lines, the game doesn't only focus on developing skills, it also has a good dose of that element that's at the heart of all education academies: socializing. "Players will experience dramatic campus life by going on dates, confronting rival cliques and navigating the social ups and downs of their character's lives, all with a special superhero twist," said Marvel in a statement.

Also, the game won't be a simple backstory. It sounds more like the Avengers were somehow sent back in time.

"There's a mystery for you to uncover -- a shocking truth that lies beneath the very campus you're exploring," said Bill Rosemann, Marvel Games creative director, in a statement. "You see, these are the real deal Earth's mightiest heroes (and villains), complete with their distinct personalities, powers and personal struggles that we've all grown to know and love. What has transformed them into students, and what chain of events have assembled them at the ultimate superhuman university?"

Marvel Avengers Academy is being produced by TinyCo, a mobile game developer who created the "Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff" app, in conjunction with the writers of that TV show.

The game is expected to be released in early 2016. It will be free to download with in-app purchases and will be available on both iOS and Android platforms.