While I was surprised by the State of Play announcement of a new Predator game, one thing that really didn’t occur to me till much later is that the Predator (and Alien) license is effectively now owned by Disney given the House of Mouse’s acquisition of Fox. This is a rather interesting scenario as this will be the third licensed Disney property published by Sony, and developed by a third-party studio this generation.
We all knew the deal made between Disney and Sony for the exclusivity rights of Spider-Man was going to most likely open themselves up for future properties, but to our surprise, it appears things may be moving quicker than anyone could have expected.
Earlier this year, it was announced during the first State of Play that Marvel/Disney would once again be partnering up with Sony to deliver us an Iron Man VR title exclusive to the PS4. Much like with Spider-Man, Sony would also be developing this in collaboration with yet another non-first party studio (Camouflaj who are known for their work on the Republique series). It may not be what people were expecting from an Iron Man title, but nonetheless it could prove to be one hell of a killer app to add to the growing list of PSVR titles. Early impressions and some gameplay have been rather positive so far, so it’ll be interesting how it turns out once it releases.
This news of Iron Man being a PlayStation VR-exclusive no doubt already showed a growing relationship between both Disney and Sony, but what seems to be an announcement made out of nowwhere, and during yet another State of Play event, Sony has now been granted to publish yet another Disney property with the Predator game. And oddly there seems to be a common trend going on here.
Besides Sony being the game publisher, it would appear that all three of these titles are developed by independent studios. Spider-Man was developed by Insomniac Games, Iron Man VR by Camouflaj, and now a Predator game by Illfonic. This simply can’t be a mere coincidence that three Disney-owned properties happen to also be developed/in development by independent studios (instead of first-party) in collaboration with Sony, right? Perhaps this gives us a better look at what this partnership entails between the two, or if its in some sort of clause of their agreement that an outside studio must develop said IP to get publishing rights. Who knows, honestly. In fact it could very well be a coincidence and given how close we are to the recent deal closure (march 20, 2019) of Disney buying Fox, it’s possible this was a deal struck well before Disney came into play.
Though I can’t see how Illfonic, despite being a decently size team would have time within the past few years to be working on multiple titles. Dealing with a major set-back that Friday the 13th: The Game may have caused them and be working on a Predator game for Fox. This may be backed up by the fact that we were given a CGI trailer rather than any type of gameplay reveal, or a reasonable amount of gameplay details suggesting the game may be in extremely early stages of development. It is slated for a 2020 release after all, but we do have a feeling it may be delayed given Illfonic’s past work history.
It’s actually somewhat of a surprise to see this if it were a Disney and Sony made deal, as the future of Predator (and Alien) is basically up in the air with the recent movie tanking, and the Disney film schedule leak lacking these titles perhaps they plan on continuing these R-rated franchise through the means of video games? It would certainly make a ton of its fans happier rather than trying to make another cash grab film.
Regardless, even if this deal was made before the buyout it only further strengthens this growing relationship that Disney has with Sony. This would be three titles within this console generation that Sony has secured rights to publish exclusively for Disney and we can’t help but think this won’t slow down anytime soon. Its a good sign though that Disney isn’t done working with Sony and perhaps we may see other titles similar to Predator that fall outside of the Marvel Universe. We know without a doubt a sequel to Marvel’s Spider-Man is going to be issued, and if Iron Man VR and/or Predator end up being successes, then we expect more support to follow.
What we can say is the numbers certainly are stacking in Sony’s favor.