It’s been a pretty wild year for Marvel in video games – and a lot of the interesting developments have taken place somewhat behind the scenes.
The most significant developments were back in the spring, when speculation was rampant about what Marvel had up its sleeve. The company had already declared an intention to start on a lineup of “epic” console games, effectively admitting that its efforts in this realm had previously been somewhat lackluster. The declaration was followed fairly quickly by the release of Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: The Telltale Series, though it was a little bit tricky to know if this was the first “epic” title or if it had already been in the works. Of course, there’s no specific line denoting the beginning of the “epic” era. This is a very entertaining and high quality console game – though also a fairly typical one, for Telltale.
Almost in conjunction with the news about “epic” games was the announcement by Marvel that it would be cutting dies with online game developers that until recently used Marvel properties in the creation of slot and jackpot games. The main developer in this regard was Playtech, which has since moved on to include DC heroes in its main gaming lineup. Where once you could find characters like Hulk, Thor, the other Avengers, and the X-Men, you now see the likes of Green Lantern, Superman, etc. This may well have been a somewhat late development to follow up Disney’s takeover of Marvel; they may simply not have wanted to be in the casino business. Or it could have been further indication of the shifting focus toward big console games.
Basically, all of this was setting the stage, and doing so gradually, for the game lineup we now see ahead of us. And now, at long last, Marvel is finally on the cusp of embracing console games in a way that looks exciting for all of us.
The first game up is actually a familiar title, in some ways. It’ll be Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the latest in a series of brawlers pitting Marvel superheroes and villains against beloved characters from Capcom’s catalogue of games. It’s probably going to be more of the same, though naturally on modern consoles it will be bigger and more visually impressive than ever. There’s a growing feeling that this is going to be one of the better Marvel games we’ve seen, even if it’s not solely a superhero experience.
Next up is Spider-Man, or as some are calling it, Spider-Man PS4. The game will, unfortunately, be exclusive the PlayStation 4, but aside from that little detail it looks to be one of the more impressive superhero games in recent memory. The graphics are mind-boggling, and early gameplay footage looks simply wonderful. The game will launch in 2018, a little later than some expected, though possibly in the first quarter of the year. And it will not be based on the recent Spider-Man: Homecoming film, which most gamers will agree is probably a good thing. A lot of superhero games have suffered from tying themselves too closely to cinematic narratives, allowing for very little flexibility in storytelling or gameplay.
After the Spider-Man game, however, comes the real prize. We found out back in January that Marvel had partnered with Square Enix for a future series of games, and we learned that the first of the bunch was going to be an Avengers game. That’s about all we know at this point. It could be an RPG, an open world adventure, or some combination of the two, based on what we know about Square Enix’s games. Or it could be something entirely unexpected! But the big news is that Marvel is working on a major Avengers game with a top-notch development company.
Altogether, this is a lot of great news for Marvel lovers! Stay tuned for more.