Marvel Rivals could easily Thanos snap troubled Overwatch out of existence

After rumblings and reports of a Marvel take on Overwatch in development surfaced, an official trailer from NetEase debuting Marvel Rivals arrived on our feeds. And by the looks of the trailer, Rivals could very easily be the second greatest threat to Overwatch 2—behind its own leadership.

The Marvel IP is undoubtedly the greatest strength that Marvel Rivals has going for it. While Blizzard has done a great job of creating memorable and unique, original characters and lore for Overwatch, their popularity amongst a general audience pales in comparison to iconic Marvel characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Black Panther.

Marvel Rivals team fight multiple heroes battling each other (UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MARCH 27 10AM CT)
Marvel’s big names give Marvel Rivals a big early advantage. Image via NetEase Games

But Marvel Rivals is looking to capitalize on another advantage, that being a frustrated Overwatch fanbase and the game’s current state of disarray. Over the past few years, there have been few positive headlines regarding Overwatch. The expensive Overwatch League folded, player numbers have dwindled, in-game purchases for OW2 are down, and the PvE content that was intended to be a primary focus of OW2 seems like it’s been completely abandoned. The game finally came to Steam, but is currently sitting at a dismal “Overwhelmingly Negative” review consensus.

There have also been smaller changes that split the Overwatch fanbase, including hero balancing, the switch from 6v6 to 5v5, and the removal of the classic lootbox system in favor of a battle pass. Everything that’s happened has paved the way for a contender to come in and challenge for the throne, and Marvel Rivals looks poised to step up.

Aside from sporting iconic heroes as playable characters, there are several differences featured in Marvel Rivals to help it shed the look of just being an “Overwatch clone.” These include a shift to third person, more destructible environments, and a Marvel favorite in team-up moves.

At time of writing, just roughly 24 hours after the Marvel Rivals trailer debuted, the game’s official Discord has amassed around 60,000 users, and it’s safe to say all or almost all of them have likely signed up for the closed alpha test in May. While Steam numbers just reflect a portion of the game’s total players, Overwatch 2 hasn’t surpassed 50k peak players on Steam since the first week it arrived on the platform.

Sadly for Blizzard, it doesn’t feel like they can do much to really get their fanbase excited about OW2 again. Whether or not Marvel Rivals knocks Overwatch 2 off its perch is likely going to come down to how NetEase approaches the game. NetEase has a bit of a reputation for quickly abandoning titles and getting a little too greedy when it comes to in-game purchases, causing some doubt amongst players interested in the game.

But a game that’s already generated this much excitement hardly seems like one a publisher would let fall to the wayside, and as long as NetEase’s microtransaction practices aren’t too ridiculous, Marvel Rivals players are likely going to open their wallets for iconic hero skins from the comics and films.

NetEase just needs to fit the Marvel Rivals gauntlet with the correct stones: fun and rewarding gameplay that appeals to casuals and competitive players, consistent content updates including new heroes, and non-intrusive microtransactions. Then, all they have to do is snap their fingers.

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