Sony is having an amazing start of the new generation, and one of the reasons for them doing so well is Insomniac Games and their incredible output (As well as the promise of a strong future lineup of games)
What’s interesting is that Insomniac Games seems to pivot to a very Marvel-focused lineup, something that might not come as a surprise seeing the massive success of Spider-Man 2018, as well as its sequel Spider-Man Miles Morales.
Since those games launched and have sold very well, we’ve also got the announcement of Spider-Man 2 (Featuring Venom) and Wolverine, as well as the announcement of a shared Marvel PlayStation universe.
What is often forgotten, however, is that PlayStation also got access to another massive Marvel IP, namely Iron Man with the 2020 launch of Iron Man VR made by Camouflaj.
To be able to tell what the possibilities with Sony and Marvel is, I think it’s needed to take a look at the current output of Marvel Games.
First and foremost, Square Enix’s partnership with Marvel is seen as a big failure. Both Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy have done way below expectations, and it’s rumored that their partnership is done with the launch of GOTG. It’s even speculated that the support for Avengers might end as soon as later this year.
This puts us in a peculiar position, looking at Marvel Games, they’ve tried a lot of different paths and few have succeeded. Aside from Square’s games, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite was a big failure. While it was fun, it sold badly and had issues with its critical reception as well.
And while Nintendo & Team Ninja created a very good game with Ultimate Alliance 3, it didn’t end up selling massive numbers.
Looking ahead, we basically only have Midnight Sons from Take-Two interactive owned developer, Firaxis.
And by that point you gotta ask yourself, does Sony swoop in and try to get more licenses. Their games so far have sold well, have gotten great critical reception, and are pushing both the IPs, as well as the PlayStation brand forward a whole lot.
The same could be said from Marvel Games’ perspective, they’re seemingly extremely happy with their current partnership since they continue to greenlit games, and give Sony their biggest IPs to play with essentially. Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man is not a bad lineup of heroes to host exclusively on your platform
You gotta imagine that it’s not stopping here, there are not any reasons for it to do so. Sony has marketing for every single game not exclusive, and they also have some of the biggest character-IPs in the entire Marvel universe.
At this point you simply have to ask…
We already know Insomniac Games is hard at work on their next two titles, Spider-Man 2 and Wolverine. The former is announced to launch in 2023, and the latter is entirely TBA. It’s easy to assume that it won’t launch before 2024.
However, we also know through official job-listings that Insomniac is hard at work on a multiplayer game as well. While we don’t have any official information about that, Nick from XboxEra shared on their podcast that he’d heard that Sony and Marvel are working together on a multiplayer game. He and his source also speculated that it could be developed by Insomniac Games.
What might lend some proof to this, is that the Creative Director that got hired by Insomniac Games for this project, is none other than Lauren Preston. She joined them in October 2021 after having worked for over 7 years at Disney Games.
And this begs the question: Does this tie the universe together, is it a Spider-Man game, or is it a new IP like Fantastic Four?
It’s sadly impossible to know at this point, and we can only speculate and dream, but it’s clear that something is likely to happen.
But what else could there be? If Sony is going all-in on Marvel, and Insomniac is making their original IPs as well, Sony will need other developers to create content around Marvel as well.
There might actually be potential we see an announcement for something very soon. PlayStation VR2 is on the horizon, with specs, looks, and even its first game having been announced officially by Sony. At the same time, we also learned that Camouflaj has massive goals as a studio. They also opened a new studio in Japan recently, and are planning on heavily expanding their dev team.
With Iron Man VR launching very late in the PSVRs lifecycle, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility we see a remastered version for PlayStation VR2’s launch. But could there be a sequel as well?
I’m not sure. But there’s a rumor going around that Sony is pushing dual releases for games, basically, AAA games made for VR2 as well as regular couch play on the PS5. That could be an interesting way to go about Iron Man, and something Camouflaj is already doing with their title Republique.
Even then it’s hard to imagine Sony wouldn’t want to do even more in my opinion.
The question then begs: Will Sony invest either in their internal teams to grow further, or perhaps through M&A activity.
I’ve recently talked about good and bad options when it comes to acquisitions for Sony, but one thing I didn’t mention was this: The potential of acquisitions that serve a very specific area, in this case, a Marvel-focused developer.
It might sound like something Sony wouldn’t do, but I can’t help to shake the feeling that with the current success, and Insomniac’s plans of making a shared universe – is there a possibility we see acquisitions perhaps reflect that?
It’s hard to say what that would be. WB Games Rocksteady or WB Montreal would fit the bill, Square Enix Eidos Montreal proved themselves with GOTG, and who says that we couldn’t get an awesome Marvel game from someone entirely unexpected like Camouflaj?
It’s impossible to say, but I do think that there probably lies an interest in expanding their partnership with Marvel even further, because in the end… Why wouldn’t they? Marvel is one of the biggest powerhouses in entertainment, and Sony is striving to be a market leader in gaming. It makes a whole lot of sense
The final question then begs, what IP would Sony want? Well, with the recent trend seemingly being the biggest IPs, I can’t stop thinking about one IP in particular: Black Panther
Marvel has a few characters with a massive appeal, but one of the biggest ones (That frankly still has growth potential, because of his limited time so far in the MCU), is the Black Panther IP. I also think the potential for a game set in Wakanda has limitless potential. Open-world, graphics, story, and gameplay would easily work well with the IP.
Another IP that would work well with their current games from a story perspective is Daredevil. Also, a character that is quickly growing in popularity because of his introduction to the MCU. Gameplay-wise it’s quite easy to imagine it looking similar in both gameplay and tone to something like the Batman Arkham series.
Finally, I think the perfect IP for Insomniac to tackle next would be Fantastic Four. It feels like the studio has all the correct qualities to nail the team both in gameplay and story. It would for me, as a massive F4 fan, be something extremely cool to see down the line.
To conclude this article, I think it’s quite obvious that the partnership between Sony and Marvel will continue to grow, they’re obviously happy with each other and the games sell extremely well.
Sony also gets massive IPs tied to their brand, even if they don’t fully own the IP, it’s still something worth a lot.
I don’t think Spider-Man 2 and Wolverine will be the end of this partnership, in fact, I think it’s the contrary. This might just be the beginning of a big collaboration between the two.
What do you think, and what games would you love to see SIE develop together with Marvel, let me know in the comments or on Twitter!