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Microsoft Passed on Marvel's Spider-Man as They Wanted to Focus on Own IP

Microsoft Passed on Marvel's Spider-Man as They Wanted to Focus on Own IP - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 23 May 2022 / 4,277 Views

Steven L. Kent's The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 2: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and the Billion-Dollar Battle to Shape Modern Gaming book released last year, but some details on it have now appeared online posted on ResetEra.

Head of Marvel Games Jay Ong in the book reveals Microsoft passed on Marvel's Spider-Man in 2014 as it wanted to focus on its own IP. Marvel would eventually work out a deal with Sony. 

"Being from console first-party in my past, I pinged both sides, both Xbox and PlayStation, and said, 'We don't have any big console deals with anyone right now," said Ong. "What would you like to do?' Microsoft's strategy was to focus on their own IP. They passed.

"I sat down with these two execs from PlayStation third-party, Adam Boyes and John Drake, in August 2014, in a conference room in Burbank. I said, "We have a dream that this is possible, that we could beat Arkham and have one game at least and maybe multiple games that could drive adoption of your platform.'"

Microsoft Passed on Marvel's Spider-Man as They Wanted to Focus on Its Own IP

Sony turned over to Insomniac Games to develop a Spider-Man game, according to Insomniac Games founder and CEO Ted Price.

"Sony turned the project over to Insomniac Games, an independent studio at the time, but one of Sony's most important partners," reads the book "Insomniac had a long list of hits that were published under the Sony label—Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance: Fall of Man, and most recently Sunset Overdrive.

"Insomniac was an obvious choice for the project. As a studio, Insomniac had an impeccable record as both a designer of hit games and a reliable partner for Sony. Another plus, one of the studio's most recent games, Sunset Overdrive, incorporated a fast-paced, highly acrobatic style of combat that was equal parts parkour, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and Call of Duty, a very Spider-Man style of fighting that involved swinging and grinding over cities while facing multiple enemies."

Price added, "Very early on, we knew that there was a great chemistry between us and our compatriots at Marvel. A lot of that came from being able to learn more about the Marvel universe from those who were really experts in it…guys like Bill Rosemann [executive creative director, Marvel Games]. At the same time, the Marvel team was fantastic in trusting us to come up with a new story…to come up with a new take on Peter Parker, and to explore the mechanics of what Spider-Man could be in a modern game."

Marvel's Spider-Man would eventually launch in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, while a remastered version for the PlayStation 5 launched in 2020.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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23 Comments
Blood_Tears (on 23 May 2022)

But but Sony is evil and anti consumer for gate keeping Spiderman! blah blah blah.

  • +27

This makes them look like idiots.

  • +6

It wouldn't have been the same game anyway. Even if they got the license, who knows what studio would have been developing it? Spiderman is popular yes, but that's not the only reason it sold.

  • +2

If they got spiderman we would get something like crackdown 3

  • +3

or minecraft spider man

  • 0

Sounds about right to me.

  • 0
2zosteven SvenTheTurkey (on 25 May 2022)

NAILED IT!!!!

  • 0
DonFerrari (on 23 May 2022)

Great result for Sony, and considering history it really is a very hard and rare occurrence for an IP like Marvel to generate such a high selling game. And even with this info I bet there will still be people blaming Sony for taking Spider-Man hostage and that the game should be multiplatform.
I would just clarify a little the paragraph about the partnership between Insomniac and Sony, because the way it is written seems to indicate Sunset Overdrive was made as part of that agreement instead of an exclusive for Xbox.

  • +14
gtotheunit91 DonFerrari (on 23 May 2022)
  • -17
ClassicGamingWizzz (on 23 May 2022)

Papa phill wanted more gears, halo and forza.

  • +11

To be fair, Xbox dabbled a good amount into new IP's during this time with Quantum Break, Project Spark, Ori, Recore, D4, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, Ryse, Screamride, Sea of Thieves, Scalebound (cancelled), but all of them besides 3 didn't find success or issues arose (ie Scalebound.)

  • +1
Jumpinbeans (on 23 May 2022)

Thank god they did :)

  • +4
The Fury (on 23 May 2022)

That's great and all but what is more interesting the what he says about what they wanted. They wanted to beat Arkham, in other words make a dent in what was at the time a WB/DC dominated super hero market, as when Disney bought Marvel they basically made no big titles for years. Reduced output to mobile games, and the dispute meant nothing was being done with X-men. They did the same with Star Wars, LucasArts were making games then Disney just cancelled them. A waste, such potential but Disney too years to realise we are a market. :P

  • +2
LivncA_Dis3 (on 23 May 2022)

Big regret from Xbox "focusing" on their holy trilogy IP

  • 0
brute (on 23 May 2022)

I always thought Sony got first refusal rights do to owning the movie rights for Spider Man.

  • 0
Qwark (on 23 May 2022)

If only they bought Insomniac to make Spiderman. Would have been a massive blow to Sony. Also Insomniac is good at making quality content quickly. One way or the other MS screwed itself.

  • 0
zero129 Qwark (on 23 May 2022)

This. Even if i am still of the believe that an IP such as Spider man should be multi plat no matter what. buying the SM IP would be no good if you had no one to develop a good spider man game. Still i stand by my original statements always and Spiderman should not be exclusive.
Its not the same as mario as that IP was made "By" Nintendo but Spiderman is pretty much every bit as popular of an IP but has always been 3rd party till this shitty deal. So yes its still a shitty deal.

  • -10
smroadkill15 (on 23 May 2022)
  • -19