One of the surprising announcements at Sony’s E3 press conference was that Spider-Man was not only getting a new game, he was getting a new game from Insomniac, veteran game developers from the Ratchet and Clank and Resistance series. And that new game wasn’t necessary arriving the same week as his next movie. But that is, according to Jay Ong, the head of Marvel Games, just the start. Marvel has some ambitious plans for video-game consoles, and they don’t include the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ong has been doing interviews around E3, and a bunch of interesting tidbits have come up. The first one is that you shouldn’t expect to see any Spider-Man games from Activision in the future. And it sure sounds like you might not see Spidey outside the PS4:
…the future of the Spider-Man console games is with Sony and Insomniac. With [regard to] other console partners, stay tuned. There’s many more interesting additional things to come. But Activision is in the past, with regards to Spider-Man
It’s an interesting step as Activision has handled Spider-Man, and its multitude of movie tie-ins, for years. Making Spidey exclusive to the PS4 was likely a condition of Marvel getting the character rights back for the movies. But in another interview, Ong notes that they’re stepping away from the movies entirely:
When we tell people that they aren’t just building a movie game, that opens up their eyes. “You mean we have the freedom to invest and deliver the title that we want to deliver?” They don’t have to meet some artificial date. We give them time. We initiate projects far earlier than we used to.
It’s an interesting choice, not least because in theory, at least, the Marvel movies are a licensing juggernaut. Then again, Marvel’s sudden lack of control over the movies means that it may find itself less and less interested in staying consistent with its cinematic universe. But as Ong points out, Marvel heroes are evergreen, and frankly, good games are evergreen too. Besides, if nothing else, at least they can’t deliver anything worse than Superman 64.