Ever since the release of PlayStation exclusive Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018, Xbox players have been asking to get their own Marvel exclusive for their platform. However, new details revealed from the book ‘The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 2’ by Steven L Kent reveals that Microsoft actually turned down the opportunity to work with Marvel when approached several years ago.
In a section of the book highlighted by ResetEra, Jay Ong was hired as Marvel’s vice president of games in May 2014 and he began to readjust Marvel’s outlook when it comes to games. Kent says that Ong was looking for a publishing partner who hadn’t adopted the ‘crappy licensed games’ mentality when it comes to Marvel games.
Eventually, this lead Ong to reach out to each of the three major platform manufacturers, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. Ong reached out to both Microsoft and Sony and said “We don’t have any big console deals with anyone right now. What would you like to do?” And, while Sony executives sat down in 2014 and began discussing a triple-A Spider-Man game with Marvel, Microsoft’s strategy was ultimately to focus on its own IP.
Interestingly, at that time, Microsoft was heavily invested in trying to revitalise the Halo franchise after the release of Halo 4, with The Master Chief Collection, as well as building out Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon.
During that time, it was also scrambling together a line-up of exclusives, including a remaster of Gears of War, State of Decay, and the controversial one-year exclusivity deal for Rise of The Tomb Raider. The troubled Crackdown 3, Quantum Break, and ReCore was also on the horizon from the publisher.
Looking back on this decision almost a decade alter, many could see this as a misjudged move from Microsoft. This is especially true when you look at the success of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales, as well as the excitement for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Marvel’s Wolverine in the coming years.
Unfortunately, we don’t know if Marvel has been talking about a potential collaboration since the success of Sony’s Spider-Man games, but it is fascinating to learn that Microsoft turned down one of the most recognisable names in modern entertainment.