For the past several years, the Marvel-based video games were usually tied with movie licenses such as The Avengers, Iron Man and Thor. However, few were as well received as the films they were based on.
That might change, with Marvel working towards producing more original games based on its properties. This past week, Sony officially announced a new Spider-Man video game for the PlayStation 4, developed by Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank). According to Marvel Games head Jay Ong, this is just the beginning of the company’s latest shift.
Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Ong explained, “When I joined, I knew that with a treasure trove of some of the greatest superhero stories and characters ever, it should be our mission to devote ourselves to making these great, epic games our fans will love. So along with the senior execs at Marvel and my team within the games business, we devised a brand new strategy to be very selective and only partner with the best game companies on earth. We wanted to work very selectively with companies that shared our vision, our ambition, and really usher in a brand new era for the Marvel games business.”
That means fewer licensed games and a focus on AAA games with an original take. “For the most part, yes. Although I think it’s part of our strategy to have a relatively diversified portfolio that meets different kinds of audience and gamers’ tastes,” said Ong.
That’s not to say that previous partnerships were a failure, as Marvel-inspired mobile and console games have been huge successes, including Activision’s line of Spider-Man games. “We’ve had a long history of success with Activision, and we still have a great relationship with them,” Ong said. “But the future of the Spider-Man console games is with Sony and Insomniac. We’re delighted about this partnership, and that’s something that’s going to continue forward. With [regard to] other console partners, stay tuned. There are many more interesting additional things to come. But Activision is in the past, with regards to Spider-Man.”
As for whether the games will feature crossovers with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “the world’s full of surprises,” Ong said. “You never know.”
The new Spider-Man game doesn’t have a release date, but even though it won’t be tied to a film, it’s very likely to come out sometime next summer, when the web-slinger’s next film, Homecoming, hits theaters.