Right now, Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man for PlayStation 4 looks set to be the first genuinely great Spidey title since Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2 licensed game way back in 2004. From the trailers we’ve seen, it’s got a cool aesthetic, snappy gameplay and a real sense of kinetic motion that every Spider-Man game needs. Expectations are high – so high, in fact that Executive Creative Director Bill Rosemann is making noise about this being the launchpad for a new Marvel games universe.
While Marvel characters have dominated cinemas and staked their claim to the small screen with Netflix’s excellent Defenders’ stable, things haven’t quite been so busy in the interactive arena. There’s the odd licensed release – stuff like the LEGO Marvel Superheroes series, Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Capcom’s iffy Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – but they’re completely disconnected from one another.
But, could they one day be tied together in the same way the MCU films are? Here’s Rosemann on the idea via The Telegraph:
“I mean, they tacked on that Nick Fury scene at the end of Iron Man but did anyone think it would culminate in The Avengers? Or now Avengers Infinity War? That was a pipe dream. The first intention was, let’s just make the best Iron Man movie. We’re approaching it the same way.
This is going to be hard enough. Let’s just make the best Spider-Man game. Let’s do that. The rest will take care of itself. Who knows what the future holds? We just want to make sure each individual game is awesome, is great. Again we don’t want to trap people and contain people. We want to give them freedom.
Continuing on, he said:
This is Marvel’s New York. This is a Marvel game. It’s not in a bubble. It is the New York that you want Spider-Man in. So yeah, uh, if you’re a Marvel fan coming to play this game you’ll see familiar names and logos and locations and we’re lucky that you’ll see, oh, that is the Sanctum Sanctorum?! It’s not going to be a focus but you’ll be able to swing by it. You’ll feel like, this isn’t just any New York City, I’m in the Marvel universe. This is Marvel’s New York. There will be a lot of elements that will make you feel like it’s part of a larger story.”
Perhaps we’ll only really know for sure whether these plans have legs when we see a bit more of Square Enix’s Avengers game. If they can tie that into Spider-Man, then we could be seeing the opening gambits of something truly special. Then again, the MCU movies are made under one studio and one producer, while any ‘Marvel Games Universe’ titles look as if they’re going to be made by multiple studios and multiple companies, and it’d be much more difficult getting them to work in sync.
And, though it might be even trickier than that, why not try to release games that exist within the MCU as we know it rather than creating an entirely separate universe? While we’ve seen some intensely crappy licensed games based on the Phase 1 movies, it feels like the time is ripe to let us explore the worlds created by Marvel Studios, don’t you think?