Electronic Arts strikes three-game deal with Marvel

ELECTRONIC Arts (EA) will develop three video games inspired by Marvel comic book characters after forging a deal that gives the company access to the most popular entertainment franchise in the world.

The first game EA is making is based on Iron Man, a billionaire inventor and superhero who was the subject of one of the first hit Marvel movies, it announced last week. The Redwood City, California-based developer plans to create a single-player action-adventure game for PCs and consoles that features an original story based on Iron Man's history. EA didn't provide details about other characters it plans to use, or give a release timetable.

Marvel games could bring in gaming customers who haven't been drawn to other popular EA titles, like the Fifa soccer franchise, according to Laura Miele, the company's chief operating officer. The comic book brand, which is owned by Walt Disney, underpins the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an interconnected Web of movies that have grossed tens of billions of US dollars at the box office.

EA has also partnered with Disney's Lucasfilm to make games set in the world of Star Wars, such as Star Wars: Battlefront and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. That could serve as a model for EA's relationship with Marvel, which has licenced its characters to several different video game publishers over the last few years.

"We have an intentional, deliberate strategy to have a balanced portfolio," Miele said. "There will be Marvel fans who don't play other EA games. That's been true with Star Wars."

Miele first contacted Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige four years ago for advice on overseeing EA's many gaming studios. She reached out again during the pandemic and struck up a relationship with Jay Ong, Marvel's head of gaming, which eventually led to the deal. The Iron Man game is being developed by Motive Studio, a Montreal-based unit of Electronic Arts. BLOOMBERG

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