For nearly a decade-and-a-half, publisher Activision’s name was synonymous with the Marvel Comics license. Starting with 2000’s Spider-Man from developer Neversoft and X-Men: Mutant Academy, the house of Call of Duty would pump out nearly a Spider-Man game a year on top of titles like the X-Men Legends franchise and Marvel Ultimate Alliance among others.
Thankfully, the two conglomerates are no longer on speaking terms it seems and with good reason. This year, Activision has come under fire for its poor treatment of women in the workplace, with one instance in particular that led to an employee committing suicide. The Blizzard in Activision Blizzard’s reputation is just as bad, as among others things, it has since been made public that Alex Afrasiabi, a developer on World of Warcraft, would repeatedly harass his female co-workers. They were also notorious for nicknaming their room at BlizzCon the “Cosby Suite”, and not because people who entered were forced to wear sweaters.
Caught in the middle of Disney, Marvel, and Activision Blizzard are many titles that are stuck on their original hardware with no hopes of ever again seeing the light of day. 2013’s Deadpool was briefly resuscitated for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC where it got both a digital and physical release at least on consoles. The same could not be said of the pre-Nintendo Marvel Ultimate Alliance games which were only ever briefly available digitally on PS4, Xbox One and PC starting in 2016. Both are no longer available for purchase.
According to an anonymous source from Activision familiar with the matter who posted on reddit under the name “armoredadvanced”, two more Marvel games nearly received the Marvel Ultimate Alliance treatment. At one point, Activision was in negotiations with Marvel to bring back the Beenox developed Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Spider-Man: Edge of Time for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
The back-and-forth between the two companies went on long enough that early prototyping had begun on the project, with a team even looking through old hard drives for source code. Marvel got cold feet, however, when one of the terms put forward by Activision Blizzard during negotiations was that they would work on a new Marvel project. Something, again thankfully, that Marvel didn’t want.
It can’t be denied that Spider-Man and the X-Men saw some of their best digital outings under Activision’s tenure, but as the years rolled on, the company looked like it saw Marvel as little more than a quick way to cash in on a popular brand. Though Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is perhaps one of the best games starring that character, its developer, Beenox, was forced to turn around three more Spider-Man games by early 2014. The less said about X-Men: Destiny, the last console game to date featuring the team, the better.
Unlike projects like the critically acclaimed Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 that lovingly rebuilt those games from the ground up, the remasters of Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time would’ve received little more than slight upgrades. Had Activision been granted a stay of execution with the Marvel license, it can be assumed that any team working on the project would eventually be refocused to work on Call of Duty or other Blizzard remasters, just like Vicarious Visions who were the developers on THPS 1 + 2.
While, yes, it would be great if players could easily access these two Spider-Man games, the price to get them back looked like it would be too high. Marvel in recent years has been very particularly who they partner with in the video game space, and modern day Activision Blizzard, to put it mildly, is far a company they should be collaborating with.