What Happened To Marvel's MCU Video Games | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

During the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel had a partnership with SEGA to develop games based on MCU films. All of the Phase One MCU films, except The Avengers, had tie-in games released on consoles to coincide with their premiere. Some of these games even had talent from the films involved in the development. For example, in the Iron Man 2 video game, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson both returned to reprise their roles as Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes and Nick Fury respectively.

However, starting with The Avengers, MCU tie-in games were limited to mobile releases or MCU costumes in Marvel’s Avengers. There have also been some other experiments in interactive media for the MCU, like virtual reality experiences released alongside Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Console experiences, though, ended with Captain America: Super Soldier, based on and released at the same time as Captain America: The First Avenger.


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Ultimately, it was the rushed development that ended the production of home console games based on the MCU. Expectations were for these games to release on all major platforms, some of which, like the Nintendo DS, had wildly different requirements for development. This rushed development with high expectations led to the end of MCU games. However, it also brought about the beginning of Marvel’s successful video game franchises, like Insomniac creating its own PlayStation-exclusive Marvel universe with Marvel’s Spider-Man.

SEGA Made MCU Games Based On Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, & Captain America

Iron Man 2008 Game SEGA

The video games based on Marvel Cinematic Universe films varied quite a bit in quality and genre across platforms. The console versions of these games, for the most part, nearly all had negative reviews across all five movie tie-in games. They were typically simple beat-em-ups with basic level up and skill upgrade systems. The stories, for the most part, adapted the films while adding a bit more.

Iron Man, the first MCU movie and first MCU tie-in game came to a whopping seven platforms, including the PSP, Nintendo DS, and Xbox 360. The game is pretty simple, being a mixture of slow aerial dogfights and grounded fights. The game even features voice talent from the original Iron Man film, with Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, and Shaun Toub reprising their roles from the film. While this game wasn’t very successful critically, Tony Stark got another chance in video games with the PSVR exclusive game Iron Man VR, released in July 2020.

Related: The Iron Man Crossover Video Game No One Remembers

Iron Man 2 came two years after the initial Iron Man video game, and released alongside the movie. The game added War Machine as a playable character, who focused on ballistic attacks and was voiced by Don Cheadle. Unlike the film, the Iron Man 2 game was seen as a marginal improvement over the original. However, this wasn’t enough to save it from poor reviews, and particularly not, when Batman: Arkham Asylum had showed that superhero games could be more than generic tie-ins.

The Incredible Hulk Game Tried To Build On Ultimate Destruction

Incredible Hulk 2008 Game

The Incredible Hulk was the next MCU movie to receive a tie-in game after Iron Man. This game was unique because The Hulk had a game released just three years earlier in 2005: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate DestructionUltimate Destruction was one of the most successful Marvel games at the time, and was well-received critically. Fans have wanted a next-gen successor to Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, building off of the character’s gameplay in Marvel’s Avengers. However, even though the team was inspired by that game, The Incredible Hulk video game wasn’t able to equal it, with two aspects derided most being the monotonous gameplay and a bad voiceover performance from Edward Norton.

Thor’s MCU Game Was Arguably The Worst

Thor God Of Thunder Game Sega

The video game adaptation of Thor, titled Thor: God of Thunder, was the second to last MCU tie-in game released. Thor: God of Thunder‘s story mostly followed the film’s story with extra content at the end. The game even used Surtur as an endgame villain, years before his MCU introduction in Thor: RagnarokGod of Thunder is most notable, though, for its impressive sprites on the DS, coming courtesy of WayForward, at the time known for developing the Shantae series and licensed games that were much better than average.

Captain America: Super Soldier Was The Peak Of SEGA’s MCU Games

Captain America Super Soldier combat

Captain America: The First Avenger‘s video game tie-in was better received than the other MCU games, but its reception was still mixed. The adaptation, titled Captain America: Super Soldier, was the last Marvel Cinematic Universe movie tie-in game on home consoles. Super Soldier had some notable developers tied to the game, too. Mario Strikers development team Next Level Games made the console version of Captain America: Super Soldier before Nintendo’s eventual acquisition of the company.

Related: Captain America Had The Best Batman: Arkham Ripoff

Overall, over-ambition seems to be the main cause of Marvel Cinematic Universe games’ demise. Instead of focusing on making a good experience on a small sampling of platforms, SEGA was constantly contracting out MCU games to make experiences on every platform, resulting in rushed, rough projects making their way to store shelves. While not quite critical and commercial failures, the games never reached success, either, and eventually hit a point where the investment was no longer worth the effort. This led to the company to instead focusing on smaller mobile experiences to promote games.

Marvel Games Now Make Their Own Unique Worlds Instead

Now, over a decade since MCU tie-in console games ended, Marvel has found success with video games. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy‘s strong humor and narrative made it beloved by critics and audiences alike, and it had nothing to do with the MCU. The release of Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018 signalled a shift in approach from Marvel, with game studios free to develop their own unique interpretations of the Marvel Universe without being wedded to any particular interpretation – the MCU most notably. This has come in the wake of Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham games, which saw the studio create its own unique version of the DC Universe to tell its own stories about the Dark Knight. That same formula has now also resulted in success for Marvel, and the trend is set to continue with Marvel’s Wolverine and projects in development at Amy Hennig’s Skydance New Media.

Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in games are an interesting look into the past of Marvel video games. With how impressive and beloved some Marvel games are today, it’s hard to imagine a time when they consistently got mixed reviews and a trip to the bargain bin within a year. The allure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will no doubt always be there, but Marvel shouldn’t look back in the wake of its recent titles.

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