Marvel’s stable of characters have become big business for Sony’s PlayStation division. 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man has gone on to become the best-selling superhero game of all time, and doing so on one platform no less, and the recently released Marvel’s Iron Man VR has seen respectable reviews – it currently holds a 73 on Metacritic and this site has gone on to dub it “one of the best comic book games ever made.” Without spoiling exactly what the connective tissue is as there’s assuredly those who have yet to experience the game, there’s evidence within Marvel’s Iron Man VR that connects it back to Marvel’s Spider-Man. If a recently pulled listing from a retailer is to be believed, it looks like Spider-Man could be showing up in another upcoming Marvel video game, only this time it would be much, much more problematic.
A listing from online retailer Base.com in its description for Marvel’s Avengers writes “Play as Spider-man exclusively on PS4.” This has since been pulled for obvious reasons, but it has been archived online. Neither developers Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal or Marvel’s Avengers publisher Square-Enix have gone on record confirming if this is indeed true or not.
While it’s exciting that there’s an opportunity that Spider-Man could sling webs alongside the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, it shouldn’t come at the expense of users on others platforms getting denied the opportunity to play as Spider-Man, though again this is only rumor and speculation thus far and right now it’s unknown if Spider-Man inclusion in Marvel’s Avengers, to reiterate if this indeed true, is a timed exclusive or something locked to the PlayStation platform. Individual betas are rolling out for Marvel’s Avengers, starting with the PlayStation 4, but eventually there will be ones for the Xbox One and PC as well. As of this writing, there isn’t word on whether or not Marvel’s Avengers will support cross play between any platforms when the full game is released.
There have been instances of superhero games being exclusive to platforms: last year’s Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order was a Nintendo Switch only title while Sega made Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men games for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in the 16-bit era. There was also the instance of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn being a playable character in SoulCalibur II only on the original Xbox, a console that also had an exclusive boss fight with Kraven the Hunter in the first Spider-Man movie game. In the case of Spawn though, this exclusivity stopped once SoulCalibur II HD was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
If rumor turns into fact, this will be an unprecedented exclusivity agreement that will certainly rile up devout, often toxic, PlayStation super fans, but this will do more harm than good. Sony published Marvel’s Spider-Man and they did the same with Marvel’s Iron Man VR, so it feels natural for them to share some connective tissue, but in the case of Marvel’s Avengers, this is a game coming to most every platform from a third-party developer. This is one of the many reasons why a Marvel Gaming Universe that would rival what Marvel has done with movies – and soon streaming only shows – is easier said than done.
More as it developers.
Marvel’s Avengers arrives September 4th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
The credited source for this piece is VGC, though before they broke the story, Joshua Sutton from Panels to Pixels did so via his twitter account on Friday, July 31st.