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Off Topic > Video GamesMar 27, 2024 1:00 pm CT

Marvel announces new 6v6 team shooter Marvel Rivals, which is legally distinct from Overwatch, we think?

When Overwatch was initially announced way back when, there were striking similarities between that game and Team Fortress 2. As one of the few FPS games on the market with name recognition which wasn’t purely summarized as “have gun; will shoot,” TF2 had unique characters with outside the box roles. Many devotees of that game were immediately dismissive of the characters in Overwatch which were unique from what we’d see in traditional FPS as pretty much the same, but clearly inspired by, TF2 and their approach to the genre.

So, it’s with a deep sense of irony and nostalgia that I say: am I losing it, or is the newly announced Marvel Rivals just barely legally distinct from Overwatch 2?

Like, no really, am I losing it?

I don’t know the most about the Marvel universe so I’m not sure exactly how much of this is based in existing canon, but there’s a whole lot in this trailer which feels very familiar. The timid scientist Dr. Bruce Banner flying into a rage and transforming to The Hulk, with greatly increased health, the ability to leap far, stomp hard, and throw his enemies around makes sense for a kit for that Marvel character, sure, but it also feels familiar to a gorilla scientist I’ve heard about this one time. I know Iron Man as a millionaire playboy who made a lot of his money via munitions and weapons manufacturing and has a suit that flies, so I’m not at all surprised to see him flying around and shooting guns and lasers. That said, having him pause in midair, say a big flashy voiceline, pulling out random Iron Man things from his back, and shooting a big gun while vigorously shimmying his shoulders like he owes rent? All that was missing was getting the voiceline cut off before the ult completes with a quiet “blugh” because he died.

I don’t really have the space here to break down the trailer in full — and there are a lot of similarities to other team shooters like Valorant so I don’t want to pretend Overwatch 2 is the sole source of inspo — but I’m having a strong deja vu moment.

There are things on the slate that could make Marvel Rivals more interesting than a mere Overwatch clone, of course. A notable standout is that the game boasts destructible terrain, a feature not truly seen in any existing FPS. There are a couple areas in a couple Valorant maps that have destructible areas, but nothing on a large scale, like you might expect from a superhero universe where half of New York City gets destroyed every couple of years. However, considering how meticulously cover is created in FPS games, this could shape up to be a very fun feature, or a snowbally mess. There are also specific character synergies, which we do see a bit of already — like how a Pharah/Mercy combo is so deadly, while a Mei/Mercy combo is alright but not as great — but in the trailer we were treated to Rocket Racoon riding Groot. I’d guess that’s a privilege only granted to those two characters based on narrative, so we may see even stronger peer pressure for some schlub playing randos to just pick the synergistic support.

And of course, like pretty much every other Marvel game, the biggest thing the game has going for it out of the box that no other game has is the draw of the existing IP. I completely understand why playing a game as Spider-Man is a fantasy people would want to explore, and I fully expect people to line up to play Rivals on the strength of that alone, at least initially. Given how troubled Overwatch 2 has been of late — from PVE being all but outright cancelled to the reports that their numbers aren’t going brrrr right now so they’re using that excuse to screw over rank-and-file devs by withholding bonuses — having an alternative that feels so similar on first blush is appealing. Going back to a 6v6 format alone would be a huge perk for the nostalgic vanilla Overwatch player.

But still, am I the only one seeing this? Is it just me?

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