Let’s face it… Marvel hasn’t always had the best track record when it comes to video games based on its properties. While there have definitely been some good games featuring Marvel heroes, there have also been lackluster efforts such as the Iron Man and Captain America tie-ins. That’s part of the reason there was such a strong reaction to the amazing new Spider-Man game that was announced for the PS4 during Sony’s E3 press conference.
Of course, Marvel would prefer it if you forgot about those older, less well-received games. According to Marvel VP of games, Jay Ong, the upcoming Spider-Man title is just the beginning of a new era of “epic” AAA games featuring Marvel characters.
Speaking to Polygon, Ong explained that part of his purpose with the company is to improve the quality of its games. As he put it:
“When I joined Marvel two years ago, I came in with a mandate to usher in a new era for Marvel Games. We have a treasure trove of the best superhero characters on earth. What can we do with this to create truly epic games? … Is [Spider-Man] a signal of things to come? Oh, yes. Absolutely. And we can’t wait to tell the world about it.”
While Ong couldn’t talk about the specifics of these upcoming games, he did talk about Marvel’s new approach to selecting partners to develop them. Declaring that the movie tie-in model didn’t really work anymore, Marvel Games is now placing the emphasis on quality rather than quantity. This means passing up a lot of potential opportunities to make sure every game that’s released is worthy of the Marvel name. According to Ong:
“One of the things we really focus on in terms of our new strategy is that we all believe that great games drive the brand and great games are what our fans really deserve. The question is, ‘How we can get there?’ The thing we landed on is to be really selective with who we partner with. Extremely selective. Right now I would say that out of every 10 opportunities we look at, we maybe do one.”
He explained that Marvel wants to work with the “best developers in the business,” which includes Sony’s Insomniac Games, Warner Bros’ TT Games, and Telltale Games (the latter of which is working on a Marvel project that will also be released in 2017). Additionally, Ong suggested more games are in the works, and promised details on those games will be released later this year. It might be a slow process due to the company’s selectiveness, but that’s the price they chose to pay to create the sort of games that Marvel wants to make.
One of the major criteria for Marvel games moving forward is having development partners who really seem to understand the characters in the games. This means more than just knowing how the character’s costume is designed in the comics or the specific power set that the character has; the character needs to be recognizable to fans not only from the way he or she looks, but also in how the character acts and reacts. As Ong put it:
“One of our mantras is authenticity; it’s easy to make a game with Spider-Man on the label, but it’s much harder to make it truly authentic in a way that reflects Peter Parker, the character.”
Ong also stated that Insomniac Games and Spider-Man creative director Bryan Intihar embodied that mantra, as is evident in the game’s announcement trailer.
Fans are likely delighted to hear that Marvel is changing the way it’s approaching games, looking to bring more epic and authentic Marvel character experiences to players in the future. While the company’s new selectiveness may result in slightly slower releases, it does have the benefit of giving fans games that they can actually look forward to.
The as-yet-unnamed Spider-Man game for the PlayStation 4 and the Marvel game from Telltale Games are both slated for release sometime in 2017. Screen Rant will bring you news on additional Marvel games as they are announced.