Marvel’s Avengers Spider-Man is a case against exclusive content

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Marvel’s Avengers will finally see the arrival of Spider-Man on PlayStation when the game is updated on November 30 with “Spider-Man: With Great Power.”

While arguing about the whims and interests of corporations can be a moot point, the exclusivity of the character has been a sore point for Xbox players. But that pain is salved by the recent confirmation that Spider-Man will not arrive with any unique story missions.

Simply put, outside of Spider-Man himself — and the dozens of purchasable skins that he’ll arrive with — there isn’t much FOMO to be had by Xbox players of Marvel’s Avengers. They’ll miss out on a popular and beloved character, but that’s it. There will be “audio logs and illustrated cutscenes” that can be unlocked but it’s still a far cry from the full story content that came with Kate Bishop, Hawkeye and Black Panther.

Gameplay director Philippe Therien told IGN that resources had been put into the upcoming Klaw raid that will arrive with the November update on all platforms. “We want to spend our efforts on content that everyone can enjoy, so we chose to spend a lot of our energy on the Klaw raid that’s coming up at the same time,” Therien said.

I personally find this decision unsurprising. The team at Crystal Dynamics has always struggled with its content release schedule. Developing new content is a difficult thing and planned release dates often prove to be moving targets. Moreso for Marvel’s Avengers which has frequently had to go back on its word when it comes to when new characters and content will arrive.

Avengers Spider-Man

However, this announcement is counter to what was reported in September, which is that Spider-Man was going to be “an ‘event’ so he will have cutscenes and a story for sure.” That’s according to senior producer Dan Matlack, replying on the game’s official Discord. And while it’s nominally true – the aforementioned illustrated cutscenes (akin to motion comics) and audio logs – the reply feels deceptive.

I don’t think I’m being uncharitable when I say that. Many outlets such as TheGamer, NME, GamesRadar and Eurogamer reported on Matlack’s response and not once did anyone from Crystal Dynamics over the past two months attempt to issue a correction or clarification or literally anything to adjust expectations. They had to be aware that these reports were generating excitement over something that wasn’t in their plans.

Make no mistake, this is mostly an issue for PlayStation fans of the game. But if a massively hyped character is going to arrive with the bare minimum of content (which as Therien suggests, would have been an inefficient use of resources) then maybe it would have been for the best to not have made Spidey (or any possible character) a platform exclusive at all.

Xbox fans can breath a sigh of relief knowing that they won’t be missing much, as this month’s content won’t be compromised by the obligation to deliver on a deal with PlayStation. All Crystal Dynamics has done is divide the part of the fanbase that engages in platform loyalty wars against each other, while ensuring no one is 100% satisfied when Spider-Man swings into the game.