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The Real Reason Marvel Won't Give Wolverine A New Game

Why won't Marvel give Wolverine a video game? After all, he's a great character with decades of lore, character-building and personality backing him up. More people probably know his name than Iron Man's, even with the latter's rise to prominence thanks to the MCU. With that kind of starpower and timeless cool-factor, we're left to wonder: why hasn't Marvel given him a proper game in so long? We haven't seen a Wolverine standalone title since the movie tie-in to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


Well, though fans might be clamoring for it, there are a number of good reasons why Marvel might not get Wolverine back out on the hunt. Be it his past history with video games, the character's absence from the big screen, or a whole host of other issues, Marvel will likely keep the clawed mutant out of the video game circuit, maybe for good.

No opportunity for a movie tie-in

Since 2008, few Marvel characters have gotten a big-budget video game that didn't have some sort of tie-in aspect with a related movie. Both Amazing Spider-Man games were tied to Sony's two movies of the same name, both Iron Man games were released in tandem with Iron Man 1 and Iron Man 2, respectively, Sega's Thor came out at the same time as the Kenneth Branagh Thor movie ... need we say more?


Besides Deadpool, no character's really gotten a chance to shine in the video game sphere without having an associated movie right around the corner. This is particularly problematic for Wolverine, whose last big shot at getting a tie-in was 2017's Logan. Now that that window of opportunity has passed and no Wolverine movies are in sight for the near future, it seems the character might be on ice in the video game sphere until another blockbuster with his name on it comes to town.

The Disney-Fox saga

While the comics have operated independently from the massive machinations of Marvel's movie and gaming endeavors, those latter two mediums are likely being heavily impacted by the current Disney-Fox merger that's slated to bring the X-Men franchise under the same hood as Marvel's other big properties. It's not a stretch to assume there's a ton of legal red tape surrounding the very idea of a Wolverine game right now, due to merger-related contractual bindings that we, the public, will likely never be privy to. Plus, we can assume that all the logistics of the merger are holding up the development of the next solo Wolverine movie, also known as Wolvie's best bet for a new solo game. Everything's connected to the merger, in that sense, and given that that legal epic is likely going to take a good year or two (or three) to get squared away, we're in for quite the wait.


A forgettable resume

If you say the name "Batman" to a hardcore gamer, their ears will perk up, even if they've never seen a Batman film. That's because they'll associate the caped crusader with Warner Bros.' four epic Batman: Arkham games, all of which are among the best open world adventures one can experience in the medium. Batman's name, simply put, is a calling card for quality gaming.


Wolverine's name, on the other hand, is associated with some old Sega Genesis games that no one remembers, and a decent tie-in game to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie lots of people wish they didn't remember. In other words, gaming associations with Wolverine are pleasant but forgettable at best, and unfortunate at worst. He doesn't have a resume that sets him apart from the rest of the failed superhero pack in video gaming. It's a bit of a catch-22, as Marvel's not incentivized to bolster his gaming presence due to his past performance, but if he's never given another opportunity he'll never be able to escape his bad rap.

Slacking on the AAA front

Say what you will about the quality of Marvel's products, but at least they know how to produce quantity — at least when it comes to everything but video games. Between 2012 and early 2018, Marvel released over a dozen blockbuster movies, hundreds and hundreds of comic books, and ... just six AAA console video games: The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy game, and three Lego Marvel games. However, we can more or less write off the Lego games and Telltale's Guardians, since those four titles are by-the-numbers, formulaic palette swaps of their respective developers' endlessly recycled licensed game formulas (calling them true AAA Marvel games would be like saying a paper plate with a picture of Iron Man taped onto it is "legit Marvel merch"). With that perspective, only TASM1 and 2 are true AAA Marvel experiences, and while TASM1 was a surprisingly fantastic movie tie-in, 2 was... well, more in line with what we've come to expect from movie tie-in games. With these points considered, it's no stretch to say that Marvel hasn't been swinging for the fences with its AAA lineup these past few years.


In the meantime, at least we can see Wolverine in Marvel's mobile titles, such as Contest of Champions ... sigh.

Not Marvel's forte

When it comes to gaming, Marvel's never really hit the nail on the head with its AAA endeavors starring only one character. Games like Deadpool, Thor, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 all centered around a B- or A-list hero yet resulted in C-list adventures.


Marvel hasn't found a dependable licensee, yet. They've been humiliated multiple times by increasingly dodgy efforts from Sega's (presumably rushed) movie tie-in games for the first four MCU films, and then again when the Activision-published Deadpool game failed to make a splash with its painfully repetitive and stale gameplay. And beyond that, Marvel hasn't really had any character-focused AAA efforts to speak of (with the exception of Spider-Man, who's railed against Marvel's general AAA absence with a consistent slew of releases).

Thankfully, it looks like Marvel wants to change all of this. Much like how Warner Bros. has Rocksteady and WB Montreal, Marvel looks like it's hoping to garner a stable of worthy partners, namely Insomniac and Square Enix, for its own properties. We'll only know if these partnerships work out once both developers have released their products, however.


Other games, other agendas

Though we're still not even certain it's a real game due to Square Enix's complete lack of word on it besides a mysterious, years-old CGI teaser, the company is supposed to have a game codenamed "The Avengers Project" in development. This is one of a few big Marvel games currently in the works, on top of Insomniac's Spider-Man game and another project from Square Enix rumored to be a Guardians of the Galaxy game. None of these titles, as you'll notice, seem to involve the X-Men, though — and none even hint at the presence of Wolverine.


It makes sense that Wolverine wouldn't be a priority for Marvel's current gaming endeavors, seeing as the company first needs to focus on capitalizing on the massive brand power of the MCU, a feat it still hasn't accomplished since 2008's Iron Man rocketed onto the scene. Maybe once Marvel figures out how to make the MCU a success in the video game realm we'll start to see other franchises crop up, such as X-Men and everyone's favorite clawed curmudgeon.

Wolverine doesn't really exist right now

Wolverine, for all intents and purposes, doesn't really exist right now. He's got no movies slated to come out, and he's got no successful games on his resume. Even in the world of the comics, he doesn't have anything going on; Marvel killed Wolvie off years ago as part of their not-so-secret petty feud with Fox over the X-Men franchise's movie rights, and only now are trying to phase the guy with steak-knife knuckles back into their core A-lister lineup. To do this, they're dragging out his return with a massive, overly long, overly complicated, poorly executed event called The Hunt for Wolverine, which is incorporating a gazillion tie-in books that all beat around the bush to stall Wolverine's big return. It's a cheap, offensive ploy to milk X-Men fans for as much money as they're willing to dish out for prelude comics, and the core fact still remains: he hasn't returned yet. If he's not on the page or on the screen, then, why would Marvel be expected to dish out big bucks for him to have a completely out-of-left-field AAA video game?