Today, Square Enix and Marvel announced a multi-year, multi-game agreement for the development and publishing of new and original games based on Marvel properties.
The first title to be revealed is The Avengers. Developed by Crystal Dynamics (Rise of the Tomb Raider) and Eidos Montreal (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided) and will feature an all new, original story and “a universe gamers can play in for years to come.”
The statement above is ambiguous, but has enough detail that we could spend an entire article dissecting, guessing and predicting what The Avengers will be. But we aren’t going to do that. Square Enix has said that more details will be released for upcoming games in 2018, we’re hoping that’s a typo, but for now we want to discuss why this deal is good for everyone.
Quality original titles
One of the most important lines in today’s announcement is “to develop and publish original games based on beloved Marvel Super Heroes.”
Why is this so important?
It means that the games developed as part of this agreement won’t be based on upcoming movies, comics or cartoons. The games will stand alone and will be built from the ground up. They’ll feature familiar and much loved characters, locations and scenarios to be sure, but they won’t be beholden to an already established narrative.
The only rules these games will have to follow are the existing rules of the Marvel universe. This gives Square Enix a huge amount of scope to develop interesting titles set in the Marvel universe.
First Class Development Studios
Today’s announcement already shows that Square Enix is committed to using its best resources as part of this deal.
Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal are both world class, AAA studios and not the bargain basement, sub-par developers usually associated with licensed titles. Both studios are also responsible for rebooting and reinventing to of gaming’s most beloved and classic franchises. No small feat.
But they aren’t the only studios owned by Square Enix. IO Interactive, Square Enix’s in-house team and Tokyo RPG Factory are all potential developer’s of Marvel titles as part of this deal.
But they aren’t the only ones. Square Enix has recently worked with Avalanche (Just Cause), PlatinumGames (Nier: Automata), DONTNOD (Life is Strange), Omega Force (Dragon Quest Heroes) and tri-Ace (Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness).
There’s no denying that there is a massive talent pool for the publisher to draw on, meaning the likelihood of varied, exciting and new experiences is looking good.
A Proven Entity
Part of this is pure speculation, but thanks to the power and vision of Disney and some key personnel, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is an unstoppable box-office powerhouse.
It’s proven that a shared fictional universe can successfully transition from comic books to the silver screen. Disney, Marvel and Square Enix will undoubtedly want to repeat that success with video games. We’d be willing to bed that a MVGU (Marvel Video Games Universe) is already in the works.
It’d be the safe and smart move. Marvel movies aren’t just ‘super hero’ movies anymore. They’re not just action movies or any other genre. They are ‘Marvel movies’. Like Disney, Pixar, Arnold Schwarzenegger in his day or any other vehicle that brings people in, Marvel movies have a buzz all their own.
They’ve become mainstream and while the video games aren’t likely to be as big a crossover hit as the movies, the pull and power of Marvel is going to help them fly off store shelves.
An Even More Complete Roster
The exact details and titles to be released as part of this deal are unknown. While today’s announcement revealed The Avengers, beyond that we still don’t know which games and which characters we’ll be seeing.
Fox Studios owns the cinematic rights to X-Men (including Deadpool), but it’s unlcear if that extends to video games as well. And the same goes for Spider-Man. However, with Sony lending him back to Marvel for the MCU, chances are he’ll be included in the new licensing deal.
If any and all Marvel properties are available, these future titles might give fans the most complete Marvel Universe outside of the comics.
Today’s announcement is excellent news for Marvel fans and video game fans alike.
Having The Avengers developed by such talented teams has the deal off to a fantastic start and we can’t wait to hear more about it.