Since Disney announced the end of its toys to life line Disney Infinity, many wondered what the next step for the Marvel Universe would be in regards to video game adaptations.
At E3 Marvel Games announced a new Spider-Man game, which is being developed by the talented crew over at Insomniac (Ratchet & Clank, Fuse, Resistance). Vice President of games at Marvel Jay Ong shared some thoughts about Spider-Man PS4 with Polygon, as well as the team's vision for the brand in the digital space moving forward.
"When I joined Marvel two years ago, I came in with a mandate to usher in a new era for Marvel Games, 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."
Marvel seems to have an actual long-term gameplan this time around, with Ong adding: "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. 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."
This is a good thing, as previous efforts have been mixed at best. Whether it was the mediocre Iron Man or Thor games (Sega), the hit and miss Spider-Man games from Beenox (1 great, 1 good, and 1 not so good) or the decently received Captain America title (also Sega), you never knew what you were getting quality wise with Marvel releases lately.
"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."We are absolutely obsessed about [quality]. That is our North Star. We always say 'Great is not good enough. We're going for truly epic.'"
With this new mantra in place, Marvel will get away from timing releases to coincide with their new movies, and will allow the developers to create a vision unique to the studio. This new approach will also come with a bigger commitment from Marvel, as Ong added: "Things like [games] you cannot under-resource, You can't not give the development time ... to do justice to the game. We think, 'How do we make the game better? How do we help our partners make the game better?'"
"Building these franchises, and building these characters [at Marvel Games], this is that first big milestone from this team. This is a huge ambitious project."
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of huge step in the right direction.