June 13th 2016 Sony held their E3 conference and gave us plenty of surprises. One of those major surprises was the announcement of a PlayStation 4 exclusive Spider-Man game to be developed by Insomniac Games.
The day after this massive reveal Polygon got to chat to Marvel’s vice president of games Jay Ong who went on to say that this was just the beginning for Marvel’s ambitious plans to bring their plethora of iconic superhero’s to gamer’s.
“When I joined Marvel two years ago, I came in with a mandate to usher in a new era for Marvel Games,” Ong told Polygon in an interview. “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.”
A truly interesting part of that interview came about when Ong suggested that the focus and drive of this new strategy was to ensure that the games that they want to deliver to fans will only arrive when they feel they have the right partners on board who can provide the game the fans truly deserve.
“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,” Ong said. “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.”
“What we look at first and foremost is the talent level of partner,” he said. “Are they world class in building the games we’re talking about? They have to have world-class talent. They have to be able to invest the resources to make that talent sing. Equally important is, do they have passion for the IP they’re working on? Do they share the same ambition? Do they love the character? We look for passion that comes through in the first 30 seconds.
“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.” Insomniac Games and Spider-Man creative director Bryan Intihar, Ong said, embody that mantra.
Well here we are over 6 months later as since that conference we’ve had 4 announced Marvel games. And it’s fair to say that Jay Ong’s mandate for ensuring that only world class talent is considered to bring these projects to fruition has certainly remained true.
Since Insomniacs Spider-Man was revealed, Guardians of the Galaxy from Telltale games, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite from Capcom and most recently Avengers Project Reassembled Square-Enix have been announced.
It’s certainly a very respectable name of developers that Marvel have approached for their next onslaught of bringing superhero’s to audiences. Of course we shouldn’t forget that Activision once pumped Spider-Man games out who are a pretty respectable name in the videogame world, but their titles seemed to deteriorate to shovel-ware to coincide with movie releases.
This feels fresh and different though, this doesn’t feel like quick grab and cash in’s to coincide with movie releases. The developer names speak for themselves and their history should speak volumes to the quality that they can put out. Yes okay, Capcom have admittedly seen better days, but Resident Evil 7 seems to be a curve that they might be on an upwards trajectory, and Square-Enix have also taken that upward curve as of late with their recent output.
The more respectable game developers that Marvel can trust with their properties the better. Perhaps we’ll see a Platinum games developed HULK game in vain of Vanquish of complete carnage or 2K could take on Frank Castle’s Punisher in a nice gory but classy revenge story driven FPS?
All I can say is that I’m already excited enough about Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and where it’ll be heading in the next few years, and I’m beginning to get excited with the names enlisted so far for their re-emergence into the video game market.
Check out the trailer for the teaser for the game from Square-Enix.
Polygon’s Interview with Jay Ong can be found here