Spider-Man’s PS4 Exclusivity In Avengers Is A Bit of A Bad Look

Spider-Man being used as a tool for villainy.

Spider Man PS4 Avengers

If we look deep enough into our hearts, I think a lot of us probably expected that Spider-Man would become a PlayStation exclusive character in Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers game. It’s a truth we perhaps didn’t want to admit to ourselves, but it’s one that we could have seen coming from a mile away.

Spider-Man has become a huge mascot for the PlayStation ever since 2018’s highly successful PS4 exclusive, and rightly so if you ask me. That game slaps. With Sony retaining the character’s rights for films, along with the highly successful exclusive game that’s receiving a standalone follow-up on PS5, seeing Spider-Man be exclusive to the PS4 version of Marvel’s Avengers is unsurprising. Still, it’s a bit of a bad look for the game and has killed any hype I might have had.

Marvel's Spider-Man

Announced via a PlayStation Blog post this week, the developers of Marvel’s Avengers revealed that the wall-crawler would be added to the game, free of charge, for PlayStation owners in early 2021. The character would come complete with his own event, along with a variety of new challenges that will yield “some exciting results”. Sounds like a great deal for PlayStation owners, but everyone else is getting shafted.

Let’s face it: console exclusive content is a bit of a crap deal. In an article I wrote about Grounded last week, I spoke about how I’d feel like the arachnophobia mode would be like playing a lesser version of the game, but console exclusive content straight up creates inferior versions of games. Usually, though, that exclusive content usually amounts to a few weapon skins, a new quest in an RPG or, at most, a timed-exclusive multiplayer map. It’s typically not the most sought after content, though it’s still enough to sting.

Marvel's Avengers

The difference here is that Avengers is a loot based RPG trying to be a “games as a service” title, putting it into a similar mold as the likes of Destiny. Each Marvel hero represents their own class, if you will, possessing abilities that are unique to them. This means that each hero who is introduced adds something valuable to a co-op team’s composition, and with Spider-Man only appearing on PlayStation, the other versions are noticeably lacking.

We’ll take Destiny as an example of how damaging a move like this can be. Destiny 2 itself was no stranger to platform exclusive content, offering weapons and a multiplayer map to PS4 players alone. Sure, it meant other platforms were given less, but the content offered exclusively to PlayStation was both a) timed, and b) small in the grand scheme of things.

Marvel's Avengers

By comparison, Marvel’s Avengers offers up an entirely new character, or class if you prefer, and says “you can only play this one if you’ve bought the game on the correct platform”. It’d be like Destiny 2 saying “everyone can play as a Titan or Warlock, but if you want to play as a Hunter, you better play on PlayStation!” It makes every other version demonstrably weaker. Sure, Marvel’s Avengers could end up running better on Xbox One X and PC, but with the PS4 version receiving more worthwhile content, why would you play it on any other version?

The only other comparable time to this that I can think of is Soulcalibur 2 and 4, which both offered platform exclusive guest characters. For SC 2, you could play as Heihachi, Spawn or Link depending on whether you’re on PS2, Xbox or Gamecube respectively. Soulcalibur IV introduced Star Wars characters, for some reason, with PS3 offering Darth Vader while Xbox 360 could play as Yoda and essentially cheat. His hitbox was ridiculous.

Soulcalibur 2

In these instances, each platform was given their own exclusive character, meaning that players weren’t necessarily missing out. Each version offered something that made their game unique, and for those who owned more than one platform, they were given the freedom of choice to pick the platform that offered their preferred character. Here, there’s no choice to be made; either pick up the PS4 version of Marvel’s Avengers, or miss out. At least Soulcalibur IV also had the good decency to release the exclusive characters as DLC later on.

It would be weird to have a huge Marvel game without Spider-Man in it in some way. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, which released on the Nintendo Switch, featured plenty of characters related to Peter Parker, including Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen and more. Without a doubt, Spider-Man should be a part of this Avengers game, but to make him exclusive? That’s wrong, in my opinion. Throw a host of exclusive skins based on the PS4 game in there, sure, but an exclusive character is just awful.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 The Black Order
Pictured: Spider-Man in a non-Sony Marvel game released after the PS4 exclusive.

The only conceivable reason I can think of for Spider-Man to be a PlayStation exclusive is that it’s the same Spider-Man from Insomniac’s game, which in that case, it makes a lot more sense. That iteration of Spider-Man is a PS4 character, so it’s slightly more understandable that they’d only be available on PS4. If it’s any other version of Spider-Man though, people can and should just point to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 and ask why that’s fine instead. Unfortunately, the wording of the blog post seems to suggest it’ll be a new take on Peter Parker, so there goes that theory.

Before you start typing in the comments about this article being a shill for Xbox, it’s important to note that if the shoe was on the other foot, this article would still be written. Gating off important content like this is a bad move, and one that attempts to wrestle the choice away from consumers regarding where they should spend their money, especially as it doesn’t look like Xbox players will receive anything to replace that content. Personally, I won’t be spending any money on Marvel’s Avengers, on any platform, and Spider-Man’s exclusivity is the reason why.

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