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Diversity Triumphs as Muslim Woman Suits Up in Latest Marvel Video Game

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Kamala Khan bursts onto the screens in Marvel’s latest installment, “Marvel’s Avengers,” as the teen superhero, Ms. Marvel.

Her inclusion into the ranks of Marvel’s premier superhero group marks a new chapter in the history of diversity as a Muslim woman headlines an AAA video game.

The meeting of Marvel with successful video game developers, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, brought forth lofty expectations for the new game.

The development team behind Marvel’s Avengers sought to create a deep, story-driven experience about the titular team without retreading familiar ground from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As a result, they came to a stunning conclusion: a woman named Kamala Khan. 

Ms. Marvel is a vibrant, Muslim superhero of Pakistani descent. Gifted with amazing powers of elasticity, Kamala can contort, stretch, and elongate any part of her body.

This unique ability makes for an extremely flexible character.

While carrying the emotional weight of the story,  Ms. Marvel’s unique, hero-like abilities make the gaming experience all the more thrilling. 

Players will experience the game vicariously through Kamala.

The fledgling hero journeys through peril, danger, and hijinks, as she ventures desperately to reassemble everyone’s favorite super team.

Shaun Escayg, the creative director behind “Marvel’s Avengers,” had positive remarks about the heroine’s new arrival to the gaming world, “She’s the glue, the conduit that is drawing all these characters in.”

Escayg further explains that featuring Kamala’s evolution from a humble fan of superheroes to a full-time avenger was always the goal of the company.

The decision to allow a Muslim woman to carry a blockbuster game was certainly an uncommon one.

The Avengers brand practically guaranteed this game would sell well, so the decision to potentially jeopardize that in order to buck the trend of traditional superhero stories is truly astonishing.

Audiences have grown accustomed to seeing one predominant demographic represented in the superhero genre.

What do Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor have in common with their rivals, Superman and Batman? They are all white men.

Women and people of color are rarely given the chance to shine in the spotlight of a massive franchise. The Avengers brand decided that it was just about time to break that mold.

One of the reasons to celebrate the release of the project is that it took huge risks.

The creators gambled on a relatively unknown character and rewarded audiences with a story that has never been told before.

Players can experience a well-known, action-packed story while simultaneously getting a fresh new perspective on the successful superhero format.

Featuring a Muslim woman as the lead, playable character truly exemplifies how the game champions diversity.

Debuting as a comic book character in 2014 before earning her own solo title the following year, Ms. Marvel is indeed no stranger to being the star of a franchise.

The series, “Ms. Marvel,” received critical acclaim upon its release, with many citing Kamala’s personal struggles as a Muslim woman fighting to fit into a world dominated by white men as the highlight of the book.

Similar to her role in the groundbreaking comic series, Ms. Marvel embraces her heritage in the new game, modeling her crime-fighting outfit after a traditional Muslim swimming outfit called a burkini.

Zoomed in on an Xbox controller, featuring the green A button, red B, yellow Y, and blue X.
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G. Willow Wilson, the writer behind Kamala’s comic series dissects how the young character upends her readers’ anticipations.

“Everybody’s expecting Ms. Marvel,” referring to the blonde woman that previously used that moniker.

“A real superhero. With perfect hair and big boots. Not Kamala from Jersey City.” 

Hopefully, this won’t be seen simply as a check in the so-called diversity requirement box for a massive video game publisher — but rather, indicative of superhero stories growing more inclusive.

There is a larger audience for superheroes than ever before. With that larger audience comes an appetite for a wider array of stories and characters. 

Marvel, after noticing Kamala Kahn’s rising popularity and increased profitability, recently greenlit a live-action television series starring the Pakistani teen.

The creative heads behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe also hinted at the strong possibility of a future film featuring Kamala is on the horizon. 

Marvel certainly seems poised to diversify its costumed heroes on screen.

Upcoming projects for the company include a Spider-Man game featuring Miles Morales in lieu of Peter Parker, a female version of Thor starring in an upcoming movie, and of course, the big plans for Ms. Marvel as well.

The game, “Marvel’s Avengers” has been met with mostly positive reviews.

While critics can look forward to a steady stream of content headed to the game to patch its flaws, the character-driven story content anchored by Kamala Kahn garnered near-universal praise and requires no such fixing.

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