With the announcement of DLC for Marvel’s Midnight Suns, the game can hopefully learn from the successes and mistakes of past Marvel expansions.
With the recent announcement of the first DLC installment for Marvel’s Midnight Suns, the superhero tactics game teases several new characters and additional story content. Announcing playable characters like Morbius, Deadpool, Storm, and Venom, Midnight Suns follows the recent Marvel gaming pattern of introducing exciting fan-favorite characters in a title’s post-game.
With these additions, Midnight Suns garners excitement for what’s to come but also generates the burden of expectations based on the games that preceded it. Most recently, Marvel’s Avengers and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 demonstrated the potential and pitfalls found in a Marvel post-game. While these games both differ vastly in their cast of characters, storylines, and play styles, examining these previous games’ approaches to DLC could provide a look at what worked and what was left lacking.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 Found Strength in Thematic Character Bundles
In the year following Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3‘s release, the superhero team brawler received three paid DLC packs containing new characters, challenge modes, and eventually a post-game story. As a game focused on building an ultimate squad of four, it was thematic for each pack to feature four new characters. The first, Curse of the Vampire, introduced a Gauntlet gameplay mode and added Moon Knight, Morbius, Punisher, and Blade. The second, Rise of the Phoenix, provided X-Men characters. While both packs also offered cosmetics for main game characters, little main game interaction with the new characters was available. Players were left with the ability to replay the game with these new characters on their roster, but with no real variance to story or interactions featuring the new heroes.
It wasn’t until Ultimate Alliance 3‘s third DLC that additional story elements were finally added. In Shadow of Doom, the main story continues in a Doctor Doom-related plot while also introducing The Fantastic Four to the game. The DLC provided a suitable epilogue to the experience, but its overall expediency didn’t allow for strong replayability. Regardless of the entertaining experiment of team combinations (with Ultimate Alliance 3‘s final roster count at a whopping 46 characters), the DLC highlighted the desire to see the new characters actually have an impact on the overall story.
Marvel’s Avengers Focuses on Individual Storylines
Marvel’s Avengers took a different approach to DLC. Instead of offering a multitude of characters, each installation of new content mostly focuses on one new hero per DLC. Since its release, a total of six new playable characters have been added, with a few more rumored to still be on the horizon. This focus allows for character-centric stories that explore more isolated incidents parallel to the story, serving as tutorials for these new characters. With Kate Bishop, Clint Barton, Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Mighty Thor, and Winter Soldier being added in their own update, they all have their own unique set of skills and a varied amount of post-game story and missions.
With Avengers‘ main post-game focus on online team play, the DLC emphasis on introducing new characters serves a unique role and adds brief story momentum, each eventually transitioning to repetitive missions and grinding tasks. With all DLC being free post-launch, however, at least testing out an expansion character or post-game story has zero monetary consequences. However, now approaching three years from the game’s initial release, fan criticism of lackluster updates leaves the game’s potential in limbo.
Midnight Suns Has the Potential for Quality DLC
Midnight Suns could offer a unique twist on both of these methods. Since the game focuses so heavily on diverse, but precise character deck building, squad choice based on play style, and a relationship-fostering RPG element, adding just one character could radically change how the game is played. Allowing each DLC character a unique deck and personality would allow for each to truly provide new mechanics as a worthy addition.
The addition to the squad shouldn’t stop at the battlefield but also transfer to the Midnight Suns’ headquarters, The Abbey. A DLC providing a vicious Morbius on the battlefield, but one willing to chat about his favorite type of music could be a post-game worth experiencing. Truly leaning into the dynamic story possibilities and allowing for meaningful interactions with the new characters could allow for memorable DLC that goes beyond just cosmetic changes or repetitive missions.
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