So, it's been awhile since I have had the time to really buckle down and write up something new for the site, but I have been keeping up with recent developments regarding a couple of subjects that I really want to talk about. One of these subjects particularly is that Marvel was taking down various titles within digital stores at an alarming rate. Steam, PSN, and Xbox Live saw titles like Marvel vs Capcom 3, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and Deadpool being removed for digital purchase. While it is true that you can still find physical copies of the games at your local retailers, the rumors have started floating about. Why has Marvel removed their games? Why was a recent addition like Deadpool pulled from these digital services? If the following theory turns out to be true, I will tell you why this is a good thing from both the standpoint of a gamer and an avid fan of Marvel comics.
That theory is that Activision and Capcom have lost the licensing rights to Marvel's characters. Further, it would appear that Marvel is now going to produce their games in-house like they have done with their movies when they expressed interest in doing so with their own people. That's not a bad thing by any means. This is truly a good thing. Take it from me as a fan of Marvel comics when I say that most of the games that Marvel licensed out before were either very bad or extremely mediocre.
Something amiss happened in the licensing out of these great characters hence there were many people taking liberty with what they were working on. Too many studios, developers, and publishers got their hands on a license and held on to dear life just to make money off of it. For video games, Capcom was milking fans with Marvel vs Capcom 3 back in 2011 and Activision pumped out game after game of Spider-Man and X-Men that were lackluster. For movies, the same can be seen in their lack of direction and understanding of the source material. It shows a complete lack of respect for Marvel and their characters.
Believe me when I say that the movies were in need of some work. You don't even have to look at films in recent memory like Spider-Man 3 and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance to know how bad Marvel movies were. Universal Studios' Howard the Duck from 1986 was horrendous. Personally, the in-house Marvel movies have been incredible. The movies leading up to and including The Avengers crossover (something many people said could not be done) was fantastic. I cannot get enough of that movie and I'm eagerly waiting for Age of Ultron. That is my standpoint as a Marvel comics fan. As a gamer, I can only have hope for the future of Marvel games. The only one I can ever recommend as a good game from the last ten years to buy and play is Marvel Ultimate Alliance, but Marvel taking control allows for even greater experiences and products.
Like I explained about Marvel's interest in doing movies in-house and doing so their way with people who know the material, the same benefits can happen with video games. Third parties who publish works using licensed characters is always a slippery slope. Such is the case with the multiple movie tie-in games that have barely any effort put into them (even though The Amazing Spider-Man was pretty good). Instead of getting their characters taken advantage of by studios eager to make a quick buck, Marvel can do their characters justice. No longer would we have to put up with mediocre annual releases of Spider-Man and X-Men games.
Activision and Capcom being out of the fold will be monumental. While it stings that this theory pretty much solidifies the idea that there will not be a Marvel vs Capcom 4, I don't really believe that Capcom would be in the position to be able to make a faithful game. I think that Capcom took advantage of gamers with Marvel vs Capcom 3. They made so many promises and so many guarantees, yet the game is bare-bones and average. Further, they release Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 not nine months later. This was a ripoff provided that people bought special editions from the original release and once again had to shelve out more money for the game because the new characters were not available to be purchased online.
Activision doesn't get off the hook with their Marvel games either. They covered games from Spider-Man to the X-Men to the massive crossover Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Now while I highly support the first Ultimate Alliance game, it's successor is more deserving of the opposite. Frankly, Ultimate Alliance 2 was a mess as they completely dropped the ball on both the roster and story. Honestly, how could they screw up making a game about the Superhuman Civil War? The same could be said of games like X-Men: Destiny, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows which were all painfully disappointing.
As it stands, quality beats quantity. Video game publishers have a very nasty habit of putting AAA pricing for their games despite the game not living up to a single iota of that price tag. For that matter, it comes off as unbelievable that the game should be fifty or sixty dollars. I think that Marvel would be very upfront with their pricing of the games they would produce. I know their budgets may not be huge and that they won't have all of the resources they want, but if their movies are any indication of quality in a separate medium then I have faith they won't screw us or their own games over. Here's hoping that Marvel producing their own games is true and to a better future in video games for this awesome universe.