Marvel Games – Major Goals for AAA Development and Quality a Big Factor in Game Production

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The new Spider-Man game coming from Marvel, Insomniac Games, and Sony.
Marvel, Sony and Insomniac Games announced Spider-Man PS4 on Monday Night and that is just part of a larger plan for Marvel’s introduction into the console gaming landscape. They have big plans for the future of their game production and Insomniac’s Spider-Man and TelltTales Marvel Project are just the start of the bigger picture. Their full plans will be cited below but the main goal they have in mind is quality and from their comments, the upcoming Spider-Man game will be PS4 Exclusive and it will be a flagship series for Sony going forward.
Source: NeoGaf VIA Venturebeat & Games Industry

Summary of Interviews from the Two Sources

  • Jay’s team is specifically focused on console-style games for Marvel. The mobile and social stuff is already hitting it out of the park, so his group is dedicated to making their console games great again.
  • Insomniac/Sony’s Spider-Man series will be the only console Spider-Man series going forward. They want to find excellent teams and then dedicate the IPs to them so they can focus on quality. That’s not to say Spider-Man can’t be in a cross-over game, but you won’t see something like Activision console Spider-Man games coming out alongside these. Jay explicitly says “The future of the Spider-Man console games is with Sony and Insomniac.”
  • Movie tie-in games are over for Marvel. This is the same as their mobile strategy. All games will be given lengthy development cycles with all the budget they need and have no concerns about hitting a specific date tied to a movie/comic book/whatever. Marvel is very clear that developers cannot be rushed or underfunded if they’re going to make great games.
  • That said, Jay notes that on the mobile side, the games tend to have tie-in events when films or certain initiatives like Women of Marvel launch. He doesn’t explicitly commit to this happening on the console side, since it probably varies a lot per game, but don’t be super shocked if you have downloadable skins or DLC for a game when a movie or comic book initiative comes out, especially if it’s a living product.
  • When asked about whether Marvel’s console games will have cross-overs and cameos like the films do, he states “The world’s full of surprises. You never know.”
  • Jay notes that in the past, they used to take about 30% of console game opportunities that are presented to them. These days it’s more like 10%.
  • He’s also clear that Marvel will only work with developers who they think will make excellent, top tier titles instead of just “good” games. So far their two publicly announced partners are Insomniac and Telltale. He speaks very fondly of the LEGO games, but IIRC that’s run out of the mobile licensing division.
  • Marvel will also only work with developers who are clearly very excited about the IP itself instead of just the IP’s money making potential. He notes that he can usually tell within the first 30 seconds if someone is actually passionate about the IP in question.
  • There’s an implication that the publishing partner is also important to them. I imagine this is especially true for retail games.
  • Jay mentions that the success of the films and the success of their top mobile games, along with the break away from the movie game model, has resulted in way more developers being interested in working with them. He mentions that developers have even gotten more open to the idea during his two year tenure as titles like Marvel: Contest of Champions have crossed $200 million.
  • As for working with Insomniac specifically, Jay mentions that they’re only 10 minutes away from the studio and 10 minutes away from Sony as well, so that they’re in contact every day, which they think is very helpful for getting their new initiative going well. They also openly admit that Spider-Man is the most commercially successful superhero so they’re more than happy to start with him.
  • Jay notes they have several other console games in development that will be revealed over the upcoming years. I probably wouldn’t expect an immediate impending announcement (beyond perhaps unveiling Telltale’s game) since he wasn’t teasing any more reveals soon.

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