Is Marvel Rivals the final Overwatch Killer?

Published: May 22, 2024

Marvel Rivals has proven to be an exciting new esports prospect, after just a few days of a Closed Alpha testing. With competitive tournaments already confirmed ahead of the official release, could this be the next FPS esport, a potential Overwatch killer?

Marvel Rivals - A Potential Overwatch Killer?
Image Credits: Marvel

What is Marvel Rivals?

Running with the slogan of being the first “Super Hero Team-Based PvP Shooter”, Marvel Rivals has been developed by NetEase with direct support from Marvel Games.

It features 6v6 player-versus-player action, with a 3rd party FOV. Working as a team, and depending on the game mode; winning involves taking down the opponents while achieving the objective.

Packing fun colours, unique maps, destructible environments and “Dynamic Hero Synergy” between characters, the gameplay itself is already quite compelling.

What pushes this title over the edge is the thrilling use of the Marvel lore. At launch, a total of 19 playable characters (a staggering amount) lets players play as the likes of Spider-Man, Hulk and more. Playing across maps such as Asgard and Yggdrasil, the community loved the Closed Alpha across the following game modes:

With the publishers declaring a vested interest in esports, everyone is comparing this title to Overwatch.

Marvel Rivals - A Potential Overwatch Killer?
Image Credits: Marvel

The Overwatch Killer?

If NetEase Games planned on competing with Overwatch, they couldn’t have timed it any better. After the Overwatch League dissolved, the esports scene has returned to a grassroots approach, with reduced prize pools and viewership. Overall, there’s definitely a void which Overwatch has left behind.

Similarities between Marvel Rivals and Overwatch

Firstly, let’s discuss why the two games are being compared. Back when Overwatch burst onto the scene, everyone fell in love with the title which was a breath of fresh air in the PvP scene, using ideas from Team Fortress 2 for Overwatch tournaments.

Offering 6v6 gameplay, with several roles of heroes, Overwatch carved out its lore and created new stories. Nowadays, Overwatch 2 has moved to a 5v5 context.

This idea of contextualizing all of the characters in one story, each interacting with one another, is a core similarity between Marvel Rivals and Overwatch. In addition, the game modes seem to be similar – whether it’s escorting a movable objective from one side of the map to another or dominating time-based objectives.

Marvel Rivals - A Potential Overwatch Killer?
Image Credits: Marvel

Rivals is paving its own way

Despite common themes, Marvel Rivals stands out compared to Overwatch in a few ways:

Then, of course, there are the negatives for the current state of Marvel Rivals. At this early stage of the title, some members of the community have commented on a rough feel, clunky mechanics and very large hitboxes. Naturally, as the game progresses, these should be ironed out.

Overall, the similarities between Marvel Rivals and Overwatch will involve competition over the same player base, but we wouldn’t suggest Marvel Rivals is an “Overwatch killer” as of yet. The relationship could be like that between CS and VALORANT.

Dawn of Legends Marvel Rivals
Credit: NetEase

Dawn of Legends and the future of Marvel Rivals as an esport

This past week, NetEase Games hosted the first-ever competition for Marvel Rivals. Deemed “Dawn of Legends” the competition involved three phases – registrations, open qualifiers and a knockout stage.

With $22,500 up for grabs, a team of content creators deemed Mutants walked away with the majority of the prize pool. The community tuned into the competition and enjoyed the early days of Marvel Rivals esports. Moreover, it’s very likely that NetEase Games will host another competition once the Beta is live.

Let’s summarize our thoughts on Marvel Rivals esports:

However, we’ve been here before. Is Marvel Rivals another one of those titles which is excessively focused on esports and will eventually fizzle out before it ever becomes an esports betting option?

The best thing Marvel Rivals can do right now is focus on making the most fluid and solid game possible, and the esports scene will follow. Forget about being an Overwatch killer, Blizzard’s taken care of that already.

Gabriel Sciberras

Since: February 7, 2023

Gabriel is a content writer and editor at EsportsBets, covering every related esports scene and topic under the sun, apart from plenty of experience in the realm of technology and gaming. When he's not covering international news, he's focused on the local Maltese scene.

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