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X-Men Games Will Be Sony Exclusives For More Than A Decade, Leak Reveals

If you haven’t heard, over 1.3 million internal documents from Spider-Man and Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Games were leaked after Sony didn’t meet ransomware group Rhysida’s demands for $2 million worth of Bitcoin. The documents include early footage of the team’s Wolverine game, the studio’s roadmap for the next decade of games, and, most unfortunately, private employee information. The leak also has some business documents that gives us some sense of how Sony and Marvel’s publishing deal for a suite of X-Men projects came to be. And it sounds like Insomniac has a lock on Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for PlayStation and PC.

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A graphic contained in the widely-circulated leak outlines the specifics of the deal, which currently includes the Wolverine solo game, as well as three other games based on X-Men characters and featuring online multiplayer components. As of whenever these graphics and roadmaps were made, the plan was for each planned X-Men project to launch by 2035 and to sell through at least 2038, with an option to continue beyond that if the deal is lucrative for all parties. From the looks of it, Insomniac and Sony have secured exclusive rights to the X-Men heroes in starring roles as far as video games go, and the deal includes some stipulations that keep Marvel from using those characters in a way that could undermine them.

For example, X-Men characters can’t appear as exclusive selling points in Marvel games on other platforms, such as Wolverine appearing exclusively in an Xbox version of a general Marvel game, though they can still appear in Marvel crossover games without restriction. It does look like some lengths were taken to ensure that Insomniac’s X-Men projects are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, though, such as Marvel being forbidden from releasing or announcing or publishing any re-releases of old X-Men games within 45 days before or after Insomniac’s own announcements and launch.

Each game is getting an allocated $120 million for its development budget, $30 million for marketing, and a $9 million recoupable advance for all three projects. The licensing terms also outline potential termination grounds. Neither Sony nor Marvel can terminate the deal for convenience, but if any one of the X-Men games doesn’t sell at least six million units between PlayStation 5 and PC in their first year, either can terminate the agreement. If Sony and Insomniac terminate, they have to pay Marvel $9 million, as well as unpaid portions of all guarantees. If Marvel terminates, the fees will be waived, but Insomniac can continue to sell whatever games have already been released at that time.

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