How Did Marvel Games Make A Grand Comeback After A Series Of Failures?

This Successful Superhero Cinematic Franchise Is Finally Making Its Name In The Gaming Industry After Seeing Setbacks!

How Did Marvel Games Make A Grand Comeback After A Series Of Failures?
How Did Marvel Games Make A Grand Comeback After A Series Of Failures?

Insomniac’s Marvel Spider-Man games have been doing wonders recently. With Marvel’s Spider-Man 2018 being the first installment in the franchise, Insomniac completely improvised the web-slinging and acrobatic gameplay. Eventually, comic book fans got what they had yearned for since the closure of Batman Arkham Knight 2015, an open-world and fast-paced superhero game.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

This franchise will be expanded with the Wolverine game in the same universe. With many expectations and praises on its way, it seems like the revival of Marvel games has begun. As a superhero fan, I believe this is the long-awaited comeback of Marvel games.

Key Takeaways

  • Since its beginning, Marvel has had its disappointing titles.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes became a turning point for Marvel games.
  • Movie adoptions didn’t always work for Marvel, while X-Men Origins and Spider-Man trilogy were exceptions.
  • Spider-Man games are the backbone of Marvel’s gaming franchise.
  • Marvel’s Avengers was a disaster, and Square Enix lost over $ 200 million.
  • With the announcement of new titles, Marvel games may finally see the sunshine.

However, Marvel has had a series of game failures in the past decade, something many people aren’t aware of. I will explain the timeline of Marvel games, which I have closely monitored.

Marvel’s Entry In Video Games

Marvel entered the gaming landscape in 1982 with Spider-Man, released on Ataari 2600. It had vertical scrolling-styled gameplay and was ultimately considered a disappointment. Marvel then kept releasing titles like The Uncanny X-Men, The Punisher, The Incredible Hulk, etc, all of which had an underwhelming response.

Spider-Man 1982, Atari Gameplay
Spider-Man 1982, Atari Gameplay

The breakthrough came in 2000 when Capcom developed Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, a crossover fighting game between Marvel and Capcom. It was critically acclaimed, and Marvel’s fate finally took off from there.

Source: xTimelessGaming, YouTube
Source: xTimelessGaming, YouTube

The Early 2000s & Great Games

Marvel’s games reached the pinnacle of recognition during the 2000s with its X-Men title, Mutant Academy 2. X-Men, released on PlayStation 1, blended a 3D environment and a diverse cast of X-Men’s 2D characters.

However, Marvel’s film-based games, including Blade and Fantastic Four, didn’t receive favorable reviews, citing their boring narrative and repetitive gameplay.

An X-Men Origins Wolverine movie adaptation worked well because of its gore and energetic hack-and-slash.

Source: cad5150
Source: cad5150, YouTube

Moreover, it was the Spider-Man superhero whose games primarily kept the Marvel Games franchise alive.

Spider-Man Games

Spider-Man games are known for their fluid web-swinging mechanics and acrobatic combat system, which allows players to traverse the open-world environment while battling vicious villains.

The superhero gaming franchise has seen a significant presence in Spider-Man games. In fact, sixty-four Spider-Man games have been made to date. 

Raimi’s Film-based Spider-Man Games: We are familiar with the success of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. It gave superhero lovers a unique cinema experience, an authentic portrayal of Spiderman, and William Dafoe’s iconic portrayal of Green Goblin.

Thanks to Treyarch, players could relive the events from Raimi’s films with additional comic book content. The immersive gameplay and its connection with the original films created significant interest and sales.

Source: RaSan69, YouTube
Source: RaSan69, YouTube

Ultimate Spider-Man: The PS2 generation has all experienced playing this beautiful creation. Ultimate Spider-Man features comic book-style visuals inspired by the comic book series of the same name. For the first time, it offers the opportunity to play with Spider-Man and Venom in an open-world setting, expanding the gameplay experience.

Spider-Man: Web of Shadows: Web of Shadows introduced a choice-making narrative, allowing players to control the game’s events.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions: This game was unique in every aspect. It didn’t have an option of free-roaming and instead followed a single story. Featuring Miguel O’Hara, the exciting thing was its different timelines, allowing us to control four different Spider-Men.

Source: MKIceAndFire, YouTube
Source: MKIceAndFire, YouTube

The Amazing Spider-Man Games: Like the movies, the TASM games couldn’t achieve remarkable success. The plot seemed bland, and the combat system seemed like a cheap knock-off of Arkham City’s action mechanics.

Overall, the industry had heavily capitalized on the popularity of Spider-Man and kept Marvel games going, but the disastrous situation was yet to be seen.

Marvel Avenger’s Inevitable Failure:

The closure of Tony Stark’s story in Avengers Endgame came as a heartbreak for fans but was a profitable move for Marvel. Under the spotlight of Endgame’s success, Marvel decided to cash it by giving the audience an Avenger game, but it backfired and made Square Enix lose over $200 million.

Marvel’s Avengers was released in 2020 and featured the same cast as the original Avengers, with the addition of Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel. Sadly, it could not meet the fans’ expectations due to its repetitive gameplay and felt more like a fighting simulator. 

Source: Fail Game 2.0, YouTube
Source: Fail Game 2.0, YouTube

The game was riddled with technical issues, including bugs and glitches. The updates weren’t of good use either, as the bugs were minimized only, not eliminated.

Not to mention, the game had a weak narrative, failing to engage players with its less Endgame-like content. 

With the announcement of Black Panther, Kate Bishop, and Spider-Man DLCs, fans were hopeful of receiving well-constructed characters; however, the DLCs also failed to comply. Furthermore, Spider-Man had no story missions to explore the character, upsetting fans.

How The Future Of Marvel Games Looks Like

As I perceive it, Marvel has failed to innovate the gameplay. Its commitment to stick with movie adoptions often compromised the game’s quality overall. Even after having a big budget, Marvel games lacked creativity.

As of now, I feel Marvel has yet to leave a significant mark in the gaming industry. But with back-to-back explosive releases like Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man 2 and Blade and Wolverine games already in line, the future of Marvel’s games looks promising.

Source: IGN, YouTube
Source: IGN, YouTube
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