“(The inclusion of) Spider-Man is a unique opportunity for us because of the relationship that PlayStation and Marvel have,” Amos told IGN Japan.
Peter Parker’s alter-ego starred in Marvel’s Spider-Man, which was exclusive to PS4, and developer Insomniac Games is currently working on a followup centered on Miles Morales for PS5. The studio was acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2019 as a first-party developer. The wider Sony group has other links with the character, with Sony Pictures Entertainment currently owning the rights to the character in movie form, though as far is currently known the rest of the character’s rights — comics and games among them — rest with Marvel.
This close relationship, though, meant that it was an obvious decision to include the web-slinger in the PS4 and PS5 iterations of the forthcoming game. However, Amos clarified, “That is the only character that we are doing that way,” confirming that no other characters are planned to become platform exclusives.
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Marvel’s Avengers is an online co-op game available on multiple platforms, which of course makes it seem well suited to cross-play, but at this stage no such functionality has been announced. IGN Japan asked whether cross-play is a consideration eventually, and if so, how would a platform-exclusive character like Spider-Man work in that context. “For cross-play, we have no announcements at the moment,” said Amos. “But the beauty of this game is that we’re going to be adding on to it for years, so it’s one of those things that we have our eye on for what the future could be.”
Spider-Man is arguably Marvel’s most iconic character, so it is understandable that players on other platforms may be upset by the PlayStation exclusivity. When asked how Xbox and PC gamers who want to play as Spider-Man should feel, Amos replied, “I would say that Marvel’s Avengers has a lot of heroes, and with the scope and the breadth of this game and this universe, players are going to have their hands full with a lot to play with. And as we have just announced with Hawkeye, there are more heroes to come. So this is an opportunity to celebrate (Spider-Man’s addition) uniquely for those players (on PlayStation) because of that relationship, but I think there’s so much of a world for people to explore, I wouldn’t look as that as a reason not to embrace it (the opportunity to add Spider-Man on PS4 and PS5). I would say, look at all this stuff you get to play with.”
“And for those players who absolutely want to play as Spider-Man, you have the option to do so on PlayStation.”
Regarding Spider-Man, Creative Director Shaun Escayg told IGN Japan, “It’s going to be our version of Spider-Man, inspired by our world and integrated into our story.” In other words, players should expect the character to be somewhat different than Insomniac’s version.
The first character to be added to the game post-launch is Hawkeye, who will be made available for free on all platforms. Escayg told IGN Japan a little about Crystal Dynamics’ interpretation of the character.
“This is Clint Barton’s Hawkeye, and we will have a complete original story arc inspired by the best of Hawkeye moments from the comics. You will be able to wield Clint’s iconic bow and trick arrows in missions either solo or online with your friends. And that story will continue to move the wider narrative along.”
It has been previously stated that the team was inspired by Matt Fraction and David Aja’s comic series Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon, and this story has been folded in to an original scenario to reintroduce Hawkeye to the wider cast of characters in the game. (And we recently spotted an Easter Egg that suggests Kate Bishop could appear in Marvel’s Avengers.) In Fraction and Aja’s series, Barton wears a hearing aid, and eagle-eyed fans have noticed from the announcement trailer that the in-game version does too.
“As far as releasing Hawkeye soon after launch, we knew from the beginning that people would be missing him,” Amos told IGN Japan. “We already knew narratively that we wanted to have Hawkeye as a mystery, so when he come, there’s a whole story of where has he been and what has he been up to that will actually open even more stories in the Avengers Initiative.”
Marvel’s Avengers is due for release on PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 4. Those who have preordered the game on PS4 can participate in a beta test that runs August 7-9, with further beta tests planned for the following two weekends to include other platforms. You can read IGN’s thoughts on the Avengers beta.