Back in 2014, Marvel's video game department was shopping around for potential developers to properly capitalize on its IP, following a disappointing period with Activision. Xbox was one of those options, but the company turned down the chance, according to excerpts from a newly published book.
'The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 2' was released last year, and according to a ResetEra forum post, it contains discussions about Marvel games, and how they ended up in the hands of PlayStation's Insomniac Games.
What he needed was a publishing partner who hadn't adopted the "crappy licensed games" mentality. He needed a company with an eye for long-term investments, one with a vested interest that would benefit from building a franchise. That partner would need to have a deep pool of talent, commitment to quality, and inexhaustibly deep pockets. There were three companies that fit that description. One of them, Nintendo, mostly developed games based on its own intellectual properties.
Being from console first-party in my past, I pinged both sides, both Xbox and PlayStation, and said, "We don't have any big console deals with anyone right now. What would you like to do?" Microsoft's strategy was to focus on their own IP. They passed.
I sat down with these two execs from PlayStation third-party, Adam Boyes and John Drake, in August 2014, in a conference room in Burbank. I said, "We have a dream that this is possible, that we could beat Arkham and have one game at least and maybe multiple games that could drive adoption of your platform.
What came from that dream, eventually, was Marvel's Spider-Man from Insomniac, along with its follow-up Miles Morales and the upcoming Wolverine game. Marvel will no-doubt be pleased with the switch to Sony, but we can't help but think 'what if Xbox took that opportunity?'
In the end, it didn't and we'll never know what might have been. It is interesting though, that at the time, Sony handed things over to Insomniac who were independent at the time and had just worked with Microsoft on the brilliant Sunset Overdrive.
What Xbox developer would you have liked to see work on Marvel games? Let us know down below.
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