Marvel Comics and Telltale Games have announced a partnership to develop games. The first game under this new union will arrive in 2017 on unspecified platforms. Exciting news, but the firms are being stingy with further details, assuming they have any. Marvel did not disclose anything about the game or which of its myriad properties Telltale might be working with.
At the recent event in San Francisco where Marvel announced the partnership, Marvel Games creative director Bill Roseman said that the company’s future games will feel “exquisite” and “sexy,” and will look “eye-popping.” “Marvel is about storytelling,” said Marvel executive vice president Peter Phillips, who went on to promise heroic, complex, and relatable characters. (via Polygon)
That all sounds great, but still tells us basically nothing. After making a huge splash with its two seasons of The Walking Dead, Telltale has been ramping up its partnerships with established brands recently, with Game of Thrones, a Borderlands episodic series currently in mid-season, and a new Minecraft game in the works.
Teaming up with Marvel opens up an enormous universe of stories and characters for them to explore. The fact that Marvel is owned by Disney also means that, if this goes well, it could potentially lead to Telltale adapting other Disney-owned properties, such as Star Wars, which would be a huge coup for the developer.
Marvel is currently in the midst of Phase Two of its hugely successful cinematic universe. Phase Two, starting with Iron Man 3 in 2013 and concluding with Ant Man later in 2015, broadened the universe established by mainstays like Iron Man and Captain America in Phase One, introducing deeper slices from the Marvel Comics canon like The Guardians of the Galaxy. Phase Three, which will be well underway by 2017 when Telltale joins the fold, will use the pieces laid out over the previous two phases for bigger crossover events like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
The games released during Marvel’s cinematic renaissance have generally been underwhelming, failing to capture the popular imagination to the extent that the films have. Marvel’s presence in the Disney Infinity toy-based games and Lego games has been successful with children, but otherwise Marvel games have failed to reach wide, mature audiences. A high-profile partnership with Telltale could change that, however, by turning the focus from action toward characters and storytelling.