Creative director of Marvel Games Bill Rosemann has revealed that Marvel is not planning on building a Marvel Cinematic Universe out of its video games, and that sounds positive for the industry. While the MCU has proven very successful and viewers have fallen in love with the limitless amount of crossovers that it has created, Marvel Games has been blazing its own trail and telling its own stories. Each game is not tied down by anything that has come before or will come after, and it sounds like there are no plans to change that.
In recent years, Marvel has begun churning out a lot more games based on its iconic roster of characters. Insomniac Games delivered the very popular Marvel’s Spider-Man spirit Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Moralesand is now hard to work on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 spirit Marvel’s Wolverine. Square Enix has also carved out its own part of the Marvel universe with Marvel’s Avengers spirit Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxyand Firaxis is gearing up to release Marvel’s Midnight Suns later this year. There are many other video games in various stages of development that will all explore different parts of the grander Marvel mythos. These titles have all offered something new and unique to Marvel fans, and there has been something for everyone.
Marvel Games are Free to Experiment and Tell New Stories
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is very successful, and Marvel Studios has definitely built a pretty impressive franchise that a lot of IPs can only dream about. The franchise has so many projects following all sorts of different heroes, and they are all connected through a much larger narrative. It has worked out so far, but it does limit the ability to tell completely new tales. Each movie or show must adhere to the other movies and shows in the franchise, and that prevents the writers from going absolutely wild with their stories.
James Gunn could not see Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy because the Russo Brothers needed him for Infinity WarScarlet Witch could not destroy the multiverse in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness because the multiverse is needed for the next set of projects, and Steve Rogers could not suddenly come back in Falcon and the Winter Soldier because his story was concluded in Endgame. Each of these projects has to tell its own story but also adhere to the larger narrative at play, but Marvel video games do not have to play by those rules.
Marvel video games are free to experiment with all sorts of different stories, characters, and genres because there is nothing tying them down. Insomniac Games can create its own self-contained Spider-Man franchise that tells a story about an older Spider-Man, and Square Enix can create a completely different version of Peter Parker for Marvel’s Avengers. EA Motive’s upcoming Iron Man project can do whatever it wants with Iron Man because it is not connected to any past project, and Amy Hennig is allowed to play with Black Panther and Captain America in World War Two without limits. Not connecting these games to a larger cinematic franchise allows these developers to chase their individual visions and tell brand-new stories for players to experience.
This experimentation has also led to many types of video games for players to check out. They can swing through the streets in an action-adventure title with Marvel’s Spider-Mansave the world with friends online in Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengersor check out some couch co-op with LEGO Marvel Superheroesand soon they can play XCOM-like game with Marvel’s Midnight Suns. All these experiences are so different from each other that there is bound to be something for everyone under the Marvel Games banner.
A Game Cinematic Universe Doesn’t Have the Same Appeal
The freedom that game developers have when they don’t have to follow a larger narrative is great, but there is also another reason that a video game MCU may not have worked. Aside from video games being far more time-consuming than movies and TV shows, one of the novelties of a cinematic universe is seeing all the different actors interacting with one another on screen. It’s fun to see Iron Man pestering Captain America, but it is even cooler when it is Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man pestering Chris Evan’s Captain America. These actors have embodied these characters and made them their own, and viewers have really connected with them over multiple projects.
Players have fallen in love with Yuri Lowenthal’s portrayal of Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spider-Man, but they rarely compare the multiple different actors that have portrayed the character in video games. Fans were delighted when Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland all interacted in Spider-Man No Way Home, as they hoped, but not many people are calling for a giant crossover between video game voice actors. They would probably not have quite the same reaction if they saw Yuri Lowenthal cross over with Mike Vaughn’s Peter from Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and James Arnold Taylor’s Peter pious Spider-Man: Friend or Foe.
While it may be cool to see a larger Marvel video game series, it just wouldn’t have the same feeling as a cinematic universe. The MCU’s big selling point is all of these interconnected movie series crossing over, but that is not as exciting in the video game world. Crossovers between characters are far more in the realm of possibility thanks to games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate spirit MultiVersus, whereas the MCU is one of the few movie franchises of its kind. There have also been many Marvel games that have already brought together some of Marvel’s most popular characters, trying to build a huge interconnected franchise may just feel redundant.
Marvel’s decision not to build an MCU out of its games is probably a really great choice, and hopefully it sticks to this. This allows developers to go wild with their stories and characters, and it has created some pretty interesting titles. Marvel franchises are still out there for those who want a cohesive narrative, but they have many self-contained series to choose from rather than one giant one. Whether they want to follow Spider-Man’s journey, the adventures of the Avengers, or the Midnight Suns, Marvel offers plenty of options.
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