Canon can be such a headache. I can remember being a Star Wars fan growing up and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stories out there that were technically interconnected. Novels, comic books, video games, television specials, and card games; everything with an official Lucasfilm license was plugged into the same growing and evolving storyline, and no matter how hard I tried to stay on top of things, I could always count on one of my more dedicated friends to “Well, actually…” my understanding of the Star Wars universe.

So I’ve often wondered exactly how far Marvel was willing to take their cinematic universe experiment. After all, both Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard provided voices for their characters in the 2008 video game adaptation of Iron Man; would their ongoing success mean that Marvel has plans to eventually create a sprawling gaming universe plugged into their movies? Apparently not. During an annual video game executive summit held this past week, Marvel Games Creative Director Bill Rosemann spoke with IGN (via iO9) about their decision to leave the Marvel video games out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

We want to give [developers] freedom to tell their story and we want to make it an original story. We want to give our partners…freedom to look at all of Marvel history and to pick from what interests them. It’s a bit like we’re saying, ‘Hey you’re the chef, you’re going to make this meal. Here’s all of the ingredients. You pick the ingredients that you like and make a new meal.’

This seems like the smartest possible move that Marvel could make. While there have been plenty of good video games based on film properties, my own experiences have taught me that the ones least connected to movie events  —  such as Vin Diesel’s powerhouse The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay  —  often provide the most bang for their buck. While I do want to explore the worlds of these characters, I’d rather do it my way, and being forced to recreate events from the movies is less fun than having a superhero-sized sandbox to play in.

This decision should also help Marvel gain back some of the ground they’ve lost in the video game market. As the iO9 article notes, while the Warner Bros. movies may have struggled to resonate with their audiences, their video game properties have thrived. Adaptations such as Batman: Arkham games or the multi-verse Injustice: Gods Among Us series have served as sterling examples of the studio’s decision to give “developers more freedom to come up with their own interpretations of the comic book characters,” offering fans characters and narratives that differ wildly from anything that has come before.

You hear that, Marvel and DC fans? You now have a whole new medium to fight over going forward! Ain’t life grand?

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