Marvel is stepping up the company's video game, um, game lately, and it turns out it's been taking plenty of notes on what does and does not work for the genre in recent years. According to a recent interview, it turns out the studio's been paying special attention to the DC camp, as the Arkham series has set the standard over the past decade or so. Specifically, Marvel has embraced the way that the Arkham series embraced the strengths of the character in order to tell a unique story.
During E3, Gamespot sat down with Marvel Games VP and Executive Producer Mike Jones to talk about upcoming titles. During that chat, Jones revealed that the Batman: Arkham series has not gone unnoticed by Team Marvel. According to Jones
[W]hat Arkham tells all of us is that you can do a unique take on characters in a game and tell a story that people care about. You can do a take on a character that people remember and connect with that isn't derivative of anything else.
While Marvel has been utterly dominating at the box office with its extensive, interconnected cinematic universe, the company hasn't been quite a powerhouse in the games department as of late. Marvel's hoping to change that soon, what with Square Enix's Avengers game recently getting announced and Insomniac's Spider-Man game basically stealing the show during the PlayStation E3 showcase a couple of weeks back.
I had a similar chat with Spider-Man Creative Director Brian Intihar, who reiterated the fact that the game Insomniac is making is not directly tied to any other Spidey property. In other words, it's going to have plenty of familiar elements, but the team was given the freedom to tell a new story without worrying about sticking to existing characters or plots. Marvel seems to think that that sort of creative freedom is what will make the upcoming games more interesting, and we tend to agree with them. What's more, the Arkham series has proven that fact. It turns out that allowing creative people to simply create is a decent formula for success.
If you watched the combat from the E3 Spider-Man footage, you likely got a sense of déjà vu when compared to Arkham. That's not exactly surprising, as many third-person brawlers have basically lifted the system at this point. If something works really well, you start to see it in other games. Nobody blinks at the fact that shooters have similar button mapping and almost identical controls, for instance.
But while Jones admits in the Gamespot interview that Marvel has been influenced by the Arkham series, he says those influences are more conceptual than anything.
And the Arkham games--while we're not necessarily trying to copy any particular thing that Rocksteady has done with them--inspired us to lean into our characters and trust that nailing the uniqueness of each character experience is really what's going to make the gameplay compelling.
We're thinking this kind of attitude is a great first step forward for Marvel, and we hope its games benefit immensely from it.