In what is the best decision we’ll probably see from the recently formed Marvel Games, Creative Director Bill Rosemann confirmed that its video games will not be bound by the cinematic universe’s canon.
His reasoning? He wants game developers to have more freedom in bringing classic characters to life in a game and to not be bound to the past, whether its 60 years of history or Marvel’s relatively recent success.
We want all of our games to tell an original, all new story. We want [our development partners] to have passion, we want them to put their stamp on the games. It’s their game. We want it to be their vision.
However, he also stated that Marvel is taking into consideration the boundaries to which some characters are popular. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy from Telltale will certainly stick closer to the film because characters and the brand have only been popular for the last few years. However, Insomniac was granted more freedom with Spider-man because the character has been popular for so long and has already experienced so many interpretations. What’s wrong with just one more?
We want every game to be game of the year. So we’re focusing on each game at a time. We know there are certain characters people are really hungry for, [but] right now we’re just going to focus on getting those right.
The best decision Marvel Games could make
Okay, two points to make here. First up:
This is what happens when good studios are allowed to explore an established property with a bit of freedom. This is also no longer considered canon and nothing like this game is possible anymore, showing how strict adherence to a cinematic universe can cripple creativity. ‘Nuf said.
Second, it’s important to remember that while Marvel has never been more financially successful than it is now, there are definitely times in its history when it was more creatively successful. The movies are exciting, but they don’t touch longtime readers on nearly the same level as some of the best-written comics from each respective character or title. Stating that the modern standard is to be how we should judge Marvel’s past and future would not be correct.
Just like the movies had the ability to set the pace for Marvel’s creative path, games have an opportunity to do so as well. I’ve become somewhat “Marvel fatigued” with the movies as of late, and if games were to continue in the same style the film universe set up, then I wouldn’t give Marvel Games a second thought. Why would I sink 10 or 15 hours into a game when I could wrap up a movie in, hopefully, under two and a half?
Plus, I also remember what happened when SEGA tried to follow in the footsteps of the movies. Ugh, no thank you. Not again.
If the films have found themselves in a rut, then games definitely have the ability to help break Marvel free from it. Try something new, see what works, maybe use some of the ideas from the games to help steer future movies.
And please, I really don’t want to control Jeremy Renner in a video game. Slap a mask on Hawkeye, please.