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Marvel Avengers Initiative brings Infinity Blade hack-and-slash to the world of the Avengers

Marvel (and its games division) has unveiled a brand new game for iOS called Marvel Avengers Initiative. This game has been teased for a little while now, and TUAW was lucky enough to see an in-progress version a few weeks ago. In just a few words, you can call this one "Avengers Blade." It's an Infinity Blade-style action RPG, set in the world of the super-popular Avengers superhero team.

The game will consist of a series of episodes, the first of which will be available at launch. Wideload Software (originally started by Halo's Alex Seropian, but more recently acquired by Disney -- which explains why it's working on a Marvel game) has put together the first episode featuring Hulk. Given that the title is so closely based on Infinity Blade, you can imagine how it works.

You move from point to point around a game world, collecting currency where you can find it, and fighting big foes by swiping and tapping the screen when prompted. Wideload has even brought Infinity Blade's XP and equipment system over, giving Hulk various stat and costume upgrades that not only make reference to classic comic appearances, but also can give bonuses to XP or certain attributes.

Marvel's TQ Jefferson tells TUAW that in the company's video games division, he and his team have come up with three main principles to include on big releases. First, they want each game they release to have fun, engaging gameplay, which is really a no-brainer in the crowded market these days. There also has to be a story, and Avengers Initiative begins with the story of Hulk, fighting a battle across the Avenger's floating fortress of a home base.

Finally, Marvel games should have "true-to-character experiences," and that's really what Marvel is going for here. Yes, admits Wideload's Patrick Moran, the gameplay in Avengers Initiative is very similar to Infinity Blade, but the team worked to make all of the moves in this first episode feel very true to Hulk as a character.

Moran says that "only a small percentage of our players have ever played" titles like Infinity Blade, which doesn't really seem possible, given the popularity of Chair Entertainment's series. But even if so, Jefferson and Moran both say that the Avengers franchise is hugely popular right now, and they're convinced that Avengers fans of all kinds will be interested in this kind of gameplay experience on the App Store.

Avengers Initiative will be out on September 6 (along with the other usual app releases across the world) for the premium price of $6.99. Wideload wants to make sure users know that future episodes of content will be released for free, so there's plenty more game to come.

While chatting about the new game, I also was sure to ask Jefferson about a possible iOS version of the very popular Facebook title Avengers Assemble, and he agreed with me that such a thing "would be a very good idea." That's not exactly a confirmation that the company is working on bringing its great game over to iOS, but stay tuned -- we may hear about something else like that soon. For the time being, we'll have to see if Wideload's gamble on this Infinity Blade-style gameplay pays off with users in the way they hope.

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