Marvel's newly formed Games Group is promising to branch its characters and brands into uncharted water, promising to make games based on its comics as well as explore other genres.
In a recent interview on GameSpot, Marvel’s Games Group chief Ames Kirschen said that the company was considering RTSs and FPSs based on its properties to complement is traditional roster of action adventures and beat-'em-ups.
"We have some of the best products out there in the traditional superhero, third-person action adventure genre. I think that it makes sense to experiment in all the types of games where our characters bring value and good gameplay," he said. "Of course, we would partner with developers that have expertise in those genres to create a product that has best-of-breed quality, plus unique features," added Kirschen.
But despite its efforts to continue its growth in games, Kirschen insisted the company has no plans to either self-publish or internally develop its own games, choosing to stick to the far safer route of siphoning licensing dollars from most of the big names in publishing.
Asked whether Marvel plans to exploit its many comic brands, Kirschen answered: "Absolutely," and promptly invited speculation by failing to give any clues as to which ones: "As much as movie tie-in games are an important part of our business, maximizing game opportunities with our characters is just as important. Having said this, we cannot always rely on Hollywood to drive when we have an X-Men or Spider-Man game on the market. Activision's X-Men Legends is comic-based game, and we have at least one other game in development that is not directly tied in to a movie."
"We are also looking to explore opportunities with some of our characters who may not be household names at this time. We feel many of these characters have inherent value and attributes that make for compelling video games. If successful, we could see a reversal of the trends and have the game be the platform for launching those characters in other mediums, such as comics, TV, and film," he added.
Given that Marvel pulled in over twice the revenue from licensing ($189.2m) than that generated via publishing ($73.2m), i.e. its comics, you can see why the company would consider this role reversal. In fact, for many gamers, it might be preferable to see their gaming heroes be given their own comic after playing through the game. It would certainly make a change to hear people discuss whether the comic creation did the game version justice, rather than vice versa...
However, the idea of marrying EA brands with Marvel's in a beat-'em-up had us slightly worried, and certainly called into question the company's commitment to choosing the right creative partners for its projects.