The twists and turns of life. Although superhero games are having a very sweet moment right now, it wasn’t always this way. Before Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham, Marvel and DC factory video game adaptations were a ticking time bomb that weren’t seen as GOTY contenders, but products to be minimized with damage. Titles that should take advantage of the character’s name to benefit from a good boost in sales without harming his reputation too much. This is how Jay Ong, the executive vice-president of Marvel Games, recalls it in an excerpt from the book The Ultimate History of Video Games, where he also returns to Spider-Man’s journey from one hand to the other. before ending up at Insomniac Games.
The Activision mockery
In said book, Jay Ong explains that Marvel was unhappy with the Spider-Man games published by Activision, so the company decided to pick up the rights to the character sooner than expected. The day they reached an agreement and the two companies went their separate ways, Ong recalls an Activision member asking them what they were going to do with IP in the future, to which he himself answered: “I will find a better home for her”. At that time, from Activison, they laughed and replied with the following phrase, already historic for this industry: “Good luck finding your unicorn”.
The rest we all know. Or maybe not. Because before Marvel’s Spider-Man became one of the best-selling and most acclaimed games on PS4, with remasters, expansions, spin-offs and a sequel on the way (with Venom as the villain), the character was on the point to land on Xbox instead of in the PlayStation family. Jay Ong assures that Marvel contacted the Redmond company and offered them the possibility of working together, to which Xbox replied that they were not interested since they wanted to focus on their own brands and IP.
After the door slam, Marvel Games sat down with Sony and made it even clearer. “We have a dream that we think is possible. We think we could beat Arkham games and release one or more superhero titles on your platform that you’ve embraced. The Japanese company offered to try “a Spider-Man exclusive triple-A” and Jay Ong and Marvel happily agreed, especially knowing that the project would be handled by Insomniac.
Since this meeting with Sony, dated by Ong himself in August 2014, things could not go further, as we said before. The result of the collaboration was Marvel’s Spider-Man selling 13 million copies, its spin-off Miles Morales placing another 6.5, and Sony finally daring to buy Insomniac Games and bring it into PlayStation Studios. for $229 million. Whether or not he beat Batman Arkham, Spider-Man gave us an adventure to remember that also opens the door to the return of other characters like Wolverine, who Marvel will once again leave in Sony’s hands with a new Wolverine game. from Insomniac.
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