Traditionally, Marvel hasn't been a big player in the world of video games. The company's characters have appeared in a variety of titles and formats over the years, but seldom in big budget titles. Now, according to Marvel Games Vice President and Executive Producer Mike Jones, that might be about to change with the upcoming release of developer Insomniac Games' aptly-titled Spider-Man.
Jones revealed in an interview with GameSpot that the company has specific long-term goals for video game adaptations of its properties going forward.
"We absolutely have a road map." Jones said. "We have some incredible mobile, console and VR games planned that I can't announce or talk about today. We are curating our portfolio and trying to find the best match for character, partner, genre, platform and trying to not just see who wants a license to make a game. We're actually very active in planning what are the right experiences for the right franchises for the right platforms, as well as finding the right partners who can provide the best of that."
Marvel's movie output has found purchase over the past decade with this kind of long-term thinking, with films directed by the likes of Joss Whedon, the Russo brothers and Scott Derrickson netting hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, if not billions.
"Marvel Studios decides who directs a film based on a character's genre and type of story they're in, so we're similarly thinking the same way of who would be perfect for a Spider-Man or an Avengers game experience," Jones said. "We want to make sure that we pair the right characters and the right franchises with the best possible developers."
Jones said there is a clinical, portfolio management aspect to the process, involving Excel spreadsheets and their governing algorithms, but that Marvel is primarily looking for passion in the game developers it is choosing to team with.
"Teams are going to work on a game for three or four years, so the quality and the authenticity of the experience lives or dies by the passion and the vision of the teams that we're working with," Jones said. "We're constantly looking for development teams and publishers who love Marvel and are excited to tell a story or bring a particular experience to life. We're here to support that drive. We think of ourselves as kind of facilitators in that sense. We want each of our partners to be the vision holder for their games."
Currently scheduled for release in 2018, Spider-Man is an open-world action game developed by Insomniac Games that will release exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles.