With a Black Panther game, is Marvel Games creating a video game universe?


Electronic Arts announces a 'Black Panther' video game that is being worked by a new studio called Cliffhanger Games. — Electronic Arts/TNS

With all the recent Marvel video game announcements, one has to wonder if Marvel Games is creating its own gaming universe. We have Spider-Man and Wolverine on deck led by Insomniac. Meanwhile, Electronic Arts has an Iron Man in the works, and they've now added Black Panther to its plate.

The Redwood City, California-based company announced that it's working with Cliffhanger Games on an original, third-person single-player Black Panther game. Cliffhanger is a new outfit led by Kevin Stephens, formerly of Monolith Productions makers of "Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor". That bodes well because that studio did a good job crafting a game with solid gameplay and innovative mechanics.

"We're dedicated to delivering fans a definitive and authentic Black Panther experience, giving them more agency and control over their narrative than they have ever experienced in a story-driven video game. Wakanda is a rich Super Hero sandbox, and our mission is to develop an epic world for players who love Black Panther and want to explore the world of Wakanda as much as we do," said Stephens said in news release.

What's notable about all four releases so far is that they're mostly third-person, single-player experiences developed in collaboration with Marvel Games. Motive Studio is developing the Iron Man project, and EA said it's also a third-person, single-player experience. Insomniac "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" is a third-person, open-world game. Little is known about the Wolverine game, but if Insomniac is at the helm, they've normally done third-person games.

For all of this to work, there should be a mold to work from, but the more important thing would be to share characters across different properties, adding villains from one franchise to another would be the easiest way to do that. For example, Kraven from the upcoming "Marvel's Spider-Man 2" could conceivably appear in a Wolverine game.

The harder thing would be moving protagonists from one franchise to another, but if they're built from the same foundation of a third-person perspective, it could be something that's more achievable and intriguing. – Bay Area News Group/Tribune News Service

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