When it was announced that Disney would be purchasing comic book giant Marvel Entertainment both comic book and video game fans were in disarray. Comic fans were worried that their comics would soon lose some of their edge under the “direction” of Disney and video game fans just didn’t know what the hell to expect. But after the deal between Disney and Marvel went through everyone was reassured that nothing would change and Disney said they would honor all the existing contracts Marvel had with video game and movie companies. Well despite what was initially said it looks like Disney is already laying out their plans for the world of Marvel video games which is a move that could ultimately be for the best.
Speaking during their investor’s call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company plans on publishing fewer games for “high-end” systems i.e. PS3/360. But to make up for publishing fewer original Disney titles such as the upcoming racer Split/Second, Iger revealed that Disney may soon start publishing games on Marvel properties. Iger didn’t elaborate on when or how Disney would begin publishing Marvel video games so it could be some time before we see a Spider-Man game with a Disney Interactive label instead of an Activision one.
Currently most of the Marvel video game properties belong to a variety of companies such as Activision (Marvel comic universe, Spider-Man/X-Men film properties), Sega (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America film properties) and THQ (Marvel animated properties). Activsion has the Marvel license locked up for a few more years but the exact contract details for Sega and THQ aren’t known. So it’ll be interesting to see how Disney goes about publishing Marvel games and whether it’ll be a case of waiting for the existing contracts to expire or if Disney will simply buy out the remaining contracts and throw bundles of cash at companies like Activsion and Sega.
The news that Disney may be publishing a Spider-Man or Avengers game at some point may not sound that exciting but I’m somewhat optimistic. Over the past few years Disney Interactive has been rather serious at building up a strong label and roster of developers and so far they’ve done a good job with games like Split/Second and releasing mature content such as Turok. And plus, you know Disney is trying to be serious on the games front since they haven’t flooded the market with an endless sea of Pirates of the Caribbean games. With Disney’s stable of solid developers such as Propaganda and Black Isle maybe we’ll see the Spider-Man or Daredevil games we’ve been yearning for.
Along with Iger’s comments on publishing Marvel games he also said that Disney would in the future probably publish the majority of games based on Disney properties (such as Epic Mickey) exclusively on the Wii. Iger states that this is simply because most Disney games sell better on the Wii but and didn’t completely rule out publishing Disney based games on the PS3/360. So everyone can relax now before they start getting worried and paranoid that Kingdom Hearts 3 will be a Wii exclusive. It’s certainly a possibility but let’s just wait until we have an official announcement instead of all having an uber agro moment.