Disney wants to license more of its IP to video games companies and give developers greater creative freedom over how they represent Marvel, Star Wars and other franchises.
Sean Shoptaw, SVP Games and Interactive Experiences at Disney told attendees of a recent games industry summit that the entertainment giant wants to give video game creators more freedom to “do really unique things” with its IP, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The sentiment follows the success of games like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Star Wars Jedi: The Fallen Order, both of which have sold millions of copies.
Insomniac Games’ take on Disney’s web-slinger became the fastest-selling exclusive game on Sony’s PS4 console, selling through more than 3 million copies in three days and over 13 millionto date. Meanwhile Respawn Entertainment, a studio owned by EA, won critical acclaim for its unique take on the Star Wars universe – and is nearing 10 million units sold.
Sean said that the key to success for both these titles was the creative liberties and experimental attitude to storytelling developers took within the Marvel and Star Wars universes. He wants that to be the focus: licensing Disney IP to experienced developers, inviting them to “come and play” with its properties, which now include a host of popular 20th Century Fox brands.
Disney shuttered much of its internal video game development with the end of Disney Infinity, a toy-video game hybrid known as toys-to-life that was discontinued in 2016.
Disney has struggled with controversy over its treatment of IP in video games, notably in Star Wars Battlefront 3, which was seen to contain so many options for in-game purchases it sparked a debate that led to law changes and greater governmental oversight of video game monetisation.