Could Spider-Man on PlayStation 4 Pave the Way to a Marvel Video Game Universe?
Maybe we’ll see the Avengers assemble yet again.
These days, the super heroes of Marvel Comics are everywhere you look. There are the comic books which serve as the foundation for everything else to follow, of course, as well as the hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Then there are the cartoons and television shows, action figures, clothing — even Avengers slots. Am I forgetting anything?
Oh yeah, video games.
Here’s the thing: For the longest time, video games based on licensed properties have typically had more of a tie to the source material — typically as “adaptations” — than being distinct entities in their own right. One can see and readily identify a version of a character as being “the comic version” or “the movie version” or “the cartoon version,” but you seldom — if ever — see a readily identifiable “video game version” of such a character, largely due to the fact that if there is a video game based on said character, it’s usually tying in with one of the aforementioned, rather than standing as its own entity.
Not too long ago, however, Rocksteady Studios defied convention. Rather than adapt Warner Bros. The Dark Knight theatrical version of DC’s iconic Batman, they instead created a version of the character with his own distinct look in his own distinct universe. Only the most passive fans might possibly confuse the Arkham version of the Caped Crusader for one of his other incarnations. As such, they created an iconic version of the character that can readily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other interpretations, rather than merely recreating another to forever live in the shadows.
Unfortunately, at the moment, it seems that neither Rocksteady nor Warner Bros. are interested in fanning the flames they’ve sparked. That said, it seems that Disney’s Marvel is ready to follow their lead with none other than Spider-Man.
Announced recently at Sony’s 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference, an all-new video game starring the web-slinger is headed to the PlayStation 4 courtesy of Insomniac Games. Little is known about the title thus far, not even the proper title or release date, but PlayStation.Blog does reveal some telling information just the same:
…we’re thrilled to be given the responsibility to create a brand-new, authentic Spider-Man story. Nope, this isn’t the same Spider-Man you’ve met before, nor is our game based on the upcoming movie. This is a more seasoned Peter Parker who’s more masterful at fighting big crime in New York City. At the same time, he’s struggling to balance his absurdly chaotic personal life and career. All while nine million New Yorkers depend on him for their safety… no pressure indeed.
By the sound of things, they may very well be taking a similar approach as their contemporaries in creating a Spider-Man that can distinctly be referred to as “the video game version” of the character. Heck, just look at the all-new and unique costume they’ve created for their take on the alter-ego of Peter Parker:
Should this take off, then the big question becomes “what’s next?” Marvel is already heavily involved in the development of this title, and if they maintain that level of involvement, perhaps they could find other studios to bring us distinct video game versions of other mainstays, such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, and others.
And if you think back, it wasn’t that long ago that each of these heroes was being drip fed to us in all-new cinematic offerings that led to them coming together in The Avengers, thus solidifying the concept of a full “Marvel Cinematic Universe” that every other executive in Hollywood has been trying to chase and create their own version of, from DC to Universal Monsters to Hasbro and, beggaring belief, even Transformers (yes, just Transformers, separate from the rest of the Hasbro universe).
But since Marvel has already staked its claim and has movie releases plotted out through the end of 2020, why not try making lightning strike twice in the video game world?
Incidentally, it’s worth noting that even if Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man should fail to create the spark needed for such a venture, there may still be a Plan B. Telltale Games has been quiet since the announcement of their own mysterious video game partnership with Marvel; perhaps their own developments could provide a separate foundation, or even weave some characters less suited for a more action-oriented game into the grand scheme of things?
Only time will tell, but hopefully Spider-Man will mark the beginning of bigger and better things for Marvel video game fans.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.