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We just heard the other day that Spider-Man was going to be excluded entirely from the upcoming Avengers video game, unless that is you are playing on PlayStation. Both the PC and Xbox versions will not feature Spider-Man in any capacity, whereas he will be one of the playable characters in the PlayStation version. It’s disappointing, especially for fans of the comics and films. Perhaps it would have been easier to understand if we’d had some explanation for this decision, rather than just marketing copy from Sony that we initially got.
Thankfully one of the studio heads from the developer working on the game, Crystal Dynamics, has stepped up to explain this situation. Sadly, it’s a somewhat incoherent and rambling comment, that feels more like something shared off the cuff, rather a clear and prepared piece of communication. Here’s the comment in full, originally posted by Comicbook.com.
“So the beauty of Spider-Man, and what Spider-Man represents as a character, and as a world is… Again, it comes back to the relationship with PlayStation and Marvel. We happened to be… once you can execute and deliver, when it comes down to choices of where and what Spider-Man can be, that’s a relationship question that PlayStation absolutely has the rights to, that as you guys know, with Sony’s ownership there, and Marvel with Sony saying, ‘Hey, this is something we can do. This is something we can do on this platform.’
And so, what we do as creators is say, ‘This is an opportunity that we can make something unique, and fun, and awesome that we all…you just talked about Black Widow, and to be able to have that experience. So we love the idea of being able to bring this character to the PlayStation players. As far as everybody goes, we just announced Hawkeye less than a week ago. We have two characters announced within a matter of five days, the future is bright. People will get fixated on one thing as opposed to, ‘Oh by the way, you’re going to have hundreds of hours of content and years of storylines coming ahead of us, and new worlds and regions, and new heroes,” and more stuff we haven’t even announced yet.
But I really do think people will look at this and say, ‘Yeah, okay, we get that, we can understand the business behind that’, but in general, we’re making this game for everybody. We want this to be the place you get to play those superhero fantasies out with your Avengers team, that continue growing with new characters, characters you ain’t even guessed at yet, that are going to come to this roster down the road, and new regions as well. So I am very excited for what the future holds for everybody on all platforms.”
I dunno, I don’t think that really settles anything. It dances around the specifics, spends a bunch of time promoting other aspects of the game instead of tackling the issue head-on, and it avoids clarity where it probably would have helped to use as precise language as possible. It’s a vague attempt at Damage Control
Something along the lines of “the exclusivity is a result of negotiations between Marvel and Sony that happened quite some time ago” or similar would have been far more direct and clear.
I don’t really put the blame on Amos’s shoulders though. This decision would have likely been made above him, where he is responsible for managing the team working on the game, but negotiations over the rights to Spider-Man would have been happening at an executive level, likely between Disney/Marvel, Sony and perhaps Square-Enix.
I kinda think it was cowardly on Sony, Marvel, and Square-Enix’s behalf to leave it to Crystal Dynamics to answer these questions. The suits who brokered this deal should be the public face of it.
Sony have owned the film rights to Spider-Man since the 90s, which I think is what Amos is referring to with his “ownership” comment, but those rights do not extend to video games, so this exclusivity arrangement will have been the result of more recent negotiations. I think clarity would be far more useful for people to react to this decision, where this statement and the things it omits to say just add to the confusion.
Will the omission of Spider-Man on platforms other than PlayStation impact your decision to play the game? Will it convince you to pick it up on PS4 instead? Let us know in the comments.
Lewie skews Chaotic Good where possible, and loves pressing buttons, viewing pixels and listening to sounds. He's written for publications like Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, VG247 and Kotaku UK, and spent 13 years running Savy Gamer. If you ever get the chance you should ask him to tell you the story about that time he had a fight with a snake on an island off the coast of Cambodia.