Insomniac Suffers Massive Breach as Wolverine Gameplay Leaks

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Insomniac Games Data Breach

Insomniac Games, the renowned PlayStation Studio responsible for the Spider-Man games, suffered an unprecedented cyber attack on December 12. Consequently, the hackers were able to extract over 1 TB of data from the studio. The data breach included sensitive information of employees alongside the gameplay and development build for the much-anticipated Marvel’s Wolverine game. Information relating to other projects such as the next Spider-Man and Ratchet and Clank games was also stolen. The leaks come after Sony reportedly refused to pay the $2 million ransom in exchange for the stolen data.

Insomniac recently released a statement on the incident after a brief silence from both the developer and Sony. “This experience has been extremely distressing for us” stated the studio as it expressed its disappointment at the situation and expressed gratitude to their fans for their compassionate support. The developers confirmed that despite the leak, the development of Marvel’s Wolverine will continue and reiterated that the game is still in “early production”. Sony has yet to comment on the matter regarding the actions the company is or will take to prevent such a massive data breach in the future.

The data stolen and, consequently, released by the hackers has been damaging to Insomniac and Sony. The leaks not only contain a lot of content relating to Marvel’s Wolverine, but they also show Sony’s internal communication with the studio, passport information of employees and contractors, and information relating to all future projects in development by Insomniac. This article will provide an overview of the leaked content but will not provide any specific gameplay/ plot details or any sensitive information. A summary of the 1 TB of leaked content is as follows (Spoilers):

Marvel’s Wolverine

A significant part of Wolverine’s early development cycle constitutes much of the stolen data. According to the leaked data, Marvel’s Wolverine is expected to be released in 2026. The data included concept art, gameplay footage, animation, test footage, cast, leaked build, and the roadmap of the project. Other content included the full plot, the internal PC build, game and design presentations, motion capture footage, and details regarding the gameplay mechanics and villains, alongside a 25-minute gameplay from a section of the game.

The game length of Wolverine is shown to be 15 hours total for the main story. Of course, this is open to change as the game is still in early development. The studio expects to have an internal alpha build ready by the summer of 2025 and a full alpha build by the fall of the same year. The leak also included the core mechanics of the games such as abilities, stealth, and traversal. The leaks show that Jean Grey, Logan’s famous love interest and partner in X-Men, will also be a playable character.

Marvel's Wolverine Trailer Screen Shot

The entire cast, at the time when the data was breached, was also released. It was revealed that Liam McIntyre will play the role of Logan/Wolverine, and Krizia Bajos will play Jean Grey who will be the second protagonist. Troy Baker will also be featured in the game as he plays the role of Nathaniel Essex better known as Sinister. The fan-favourite Raven Darkholm (aka Mystique) will be played by Nicole Pacent. The leaks also show the casting of other notable characters but in the interest of avoiding spoilers relating to the story, they will not be named.

The data included a PowerPoint presentation by the studio detailing the art direction process for the game. The presentation shows real-world imagery from foreign countries which is probably the areas the game will take inspiration from. The art direction regarding objects such as clothes and environmental objects like chairs and scaffolding is also provided. The presentation also talks about the design of rooms inside buildings where gameplay will take place. There are recommendations and guidance offered in areas such as adding beams to a ceiling, the emphasis on using rugs instead of carpets, and the scaling of objects in a room.

Insomniac Road Map

One of the most surprising details revealed in the leaks showed information such as Insomniac’s roadmap for the current games it is or plans to work on. The roadmaps revealed the tentative release dates of all the upcoming projects by the studio. Most damaging, however, were slides which outlined detailed discussions between Sony and Insomniac Games regarding the state of the gaming industry and the threats faced by PlayStation.

Insomniac's Road Map

The leaked roadmap revealed the names and release dates of future Insomniac projects, both announced and unannounced. A stand-alone Venom game is in the works and is scheduled to be released towards the end of 2025. Spider-Man 3 is also revealed with a release date of fall 2028. This is followed by a new Ratchet and Clank game scheduled to be released in 2029. The leaks also revealed that a Marvel X-Men game is also planned for 2030. The studio further plans to release an unnamed new IP with a release window of 2031-2032.

Insomniac’s ambitions for an online multiplayer experience were also discovered. The studio has divided its multiplayer architecture into three phases: Multiplayer 1.0 will consist of Spider-Man 2 Online set to be released in 2024 and is expected to be supported till 2028. Multiplayer 2.0 will include Marvel’s Wolverine Online which apparently will be released in 2026, the same year as the launch of the Wolverine game. It can be assumed that Wolverine will launch with a single-player and an online mode. The online mode is only planned to be supported till 2028, the same as Spider-Man 2 Online. Multiplayer 3.0 will be based around X-Men Online, a seemingly stand-alone title that will be released in 2028. This title will be followed by the X-men game in 2030.

 It should be noted that Insomniac lists the multiplayer games as “ambition”, so there is a chance that some or all of these titles may not end up happening. This is especially true now because of the data breach that has unveiled Insomniac’s strategy.

Insomniac Internal Information

Another big concern from the cyber-attack is that details about Insomniac’s budgets and revenues were also leaked. The slides show the total revenue and profit earned by Insomniac for the PS5 and projections for future titles. According to the data, Spider-Man: Miles Morales sold 10.2 million copies with a revenue of $260 million. This resulted in Miles Morales turning over a profit of a whopping $104 million. The Spider-Man 1 Remaster sold 4 million units with $50 million in revenue and $11 million in profit.

Ratchet & Clank’s fiscal performance, however, was surprising. The game only sold 2.2 million copies and had a loss of $8 million. It was also interesting to note that outside a remaster, it was the cheapest game to make for Insomniac with a total cost of only $81 million. In comparison, Miles Morales cost $156 million to make. Ratchet & Clank requires a further 2 million units in sales just to break even. Spider-Man 2 has already sold 10.5 million copies since its release in October. The game cost $315 million to make, a record for the studio. So far, the critically acclaimed game has earned $390 million in revenue and has turned over a profit of $75 million.

In comparison, Insomniac and Sony expect Spider-Man 3 to sell at least 14.5 million lifetime units generating $555 million in revenue. Spider-Man 3 is projected to cost even more than its predecessor to make, $385 million. The studio expects the game to give profits of $170 million, which is 75% ROI (return on investment). Marvel’s Wolverine is expected to sell only $10 million copies. It is expected to cost $305 million to make but only have a profit of $85 million. This shows that Insomniac is cautious of the reception Wolverine will receive, especially in comparison to its Spider-Man series.

Sony Inside Information

A series of presentation slides were discovered in the hacked files which showed Sony having an internal discussion regarding the state of the gaming industry. According to the documents, Sony feels that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard could “disrupt and threaten console gaming and game subscription markets.” Sony believes that the threat of Call of Duty being owned by Microsoft will materialize in 2027. The acquisition will present a massive threat to PlayStation Plus as upwards of $1.5 billion of annual revenue could potentially be lost.

Sony believes that Activision “provides incredible strategic value across live service games and allows Microsoft to scale the business in the mobile and PC storefronts. Microsoft could also use a multiple-game subscription model allowing games to be available on console, mobile, and PC. However, Sony also states that expecting high-quality AAA games to be free will create an unsustainable model as the subscriptions will not cover investments. The document also states Sony’s plan against the acquisition: “premium sales model is the central approach.”

It can be understood that Sony will continue its policy of not including its exclusive games on day one and focus on a fully priced game model.

PC Sales Report for PlayStation Ports

The sales for PlayStation titles on PC since the port of Horizon: Zero Dawn were also released. The report includes the sales of the PC games on Steam from their launch date to around June 2023. Horizon is Sony’s best-selling game on Steam, with 3.3 million copies sold. In comparison, God of War sold 2.5 million while Days Gone sold 1.7 million units. However, the PlayStation report states that Horizon and Day Gone were released at least 1.5 years ago (from the time of the report) and both have a “longer opportunity for more sales”.

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on Steam sold 1.3 million units as of early 2022. The report notes that despite being released around 6 months ago, it has sold only 400,000 units less than Days Gone. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on PC sold only 483.2k units since its release in the fall of 2022. Spider-Man: Miles Morales sold about 450k copies since its release. However, Sackboy: A Big Adventure sold only 62.9k copies, probably due to its release around the same time as Uncharted. Although the sale numbers are outdated by now, it shows that Sony’s idea of bringing their exclusive titles to PC has been paying off. It should be expected that the recent PS5 exclusives will also eventually make their way to PC.

Venom: Lethal Protector

The hacked data includes a document containing the description and concept art of an unannounced game, Venom: Lethal Protector. The game is stated to have a release date of 2025, one year before the release of Wolverine. Venom will be “an all-new storyline that continues Spider-Man 2 and leads into Spider-Man 3. The game is in the same category as Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a stand-alone game that is too big to be called a DLC but not big enough to be considered a ‘full game’.

Venom from Spider-Man 2

The leak also included a concept art of a pigeon that has been taken over by Venom. There is no further information provided relating to this. It can be assumed that Venom survived the finale of the Spider-Man 2 story by somehow using a pigeon to escape. This is complete speculation, however, so should not be taken too seriously.

The document states that Venom will be an 8-10 hour “stand-alone” experience. Venom: Lethal Protector will have a playable Venom and players will be able to switch between the Spider-Heroes. The game will have around twelve main story missions alongside optional content such as side quests and collectables.

A New Ratchet & Clank Game

Data containing information about an unannounced Ratchet & Clank game was also discovered. The data included concept art, images from a dev build, and the script from a segment of the story. The game is scheduled for release in 2029. As there is a long time to go till it comes out, no other details are worthwhile mentioning. It can be assumed that the game may come out on the next PlayStation console (PS6) in an analogous way to its predecessor. However, based on the lack of revenue generated from Ratchet & Clan: Rifts Apart, that may not be a wise strategy.

Spider-Man 2: Free DLCs

The hacked files included slides discussing the upcoming DLCs for Spider-Man 2. Unlike its predecessor, however, the DLCs are stated to be free. A total of three DLCs are shown in the slide: Beetle Infestation, Extreme Carnage, and Spider-Verse Anomaly.

The first two DLCs have the same descriptions stating that they will be an open-world mission and will include a boss fight. A carnage DLC was teased after a series of side missions in Spider-Man 2 and it comes as no surprise. The Spider-Verse Anomaly states that it is a Sony Pictures crossover as teased by the conclusion of one of the side missions in Spider-Man 2. The leak states that the DLC will contain Spider-Verse NPCs and villains, a Spider-Verse mission, and a Spider-Verse visual filter.

Carnage

No further details regarding the DLCs and their release dates were discovered but, based on the roadmap, they may be scheduled for release in 2024 before the launch of the Venom game.

Spider-Man 3: A Two-Part Series?

Details regarding the unannounced, but expected, Spider-Man 3 game were discovered in the data breach. A slide showing the financial model for Spider-Man 3 stated that the game has now been split into two parts. The game was originally designed to be a single title but is now split into two parts, and a multiplayer mode. Spider-Man 3 is projected to cost $400 million now instead of the $300 million estimation when it was a single title.

Part 1 of the game is targeted for holiday 2027, with part 2 scheduled for release on holiday 2028. Part 1 of Spider-Man 3 is projected to sell 12 million copies at a launch price of only $49.99. The development cost is estimated to be $175 million leading to a profit of $80-90 million at an ROI of 41%. The multiplayer mode for Spider-Man 3 is scheduled for release alongside Part 1. The multiplayer is expected to increase the sales of Part 1 by 3 million units in its lifetime. The slide states that the launch price of $49.99, which means that the mode will be included at no cost with Part 1. The multiplayer is projected to cost $80 million but provide a net return of $8-9 million.

Part 2 of Spider-Man 3 is projected to sell 12 million copies as well and at the same price of $49.99 as Part 1. However, the development cost is much higher and will cost $225 million. This will result in an estimated profit of $40-45 million resulting in a much lower ROI of 16%. Spider-Man 3 will also be sold as a combination of both Part 1, Part 2, and the multiplayer in 2029. This version of the game is expected to sell only 2 million copies at a retail price of $59.99. The combo is expected to have no development costs and will provide a 100% ROI of $60-65 million.

Overall Spider-Man 3 is projected to have $1.1 billion in net sales and sell 29 million units in its entirety. The leaks also suggest that currently, sixty-five developers are working on the project, which will increase to a total of a hundred by early 2024.

X-Men License Agreement

The license terms between Marvel, Insomniac and PlayStation for the X-Men franchise were discovered amongst the stolen data. X-Men, which is scheduled to release in 2030, will be available both on a PlayStation console and PC. The agreement suggests that there will be three X-Men games with an optional fourth that will be developed by Insomniac. The agreement does not mention PlayStation 5 directly, suggesting that the game may be primarily made for the PS6.

As per the terms Sony is required to commit $621 million to the game compromising of $120 million development commitment for each title and the same amount for a provisional fourth title, $30 million marketing for each title with another $15 million for the fourth provisional title, and a $9 million “recoupable advance” for each required title with the same amount. Insomniac has committed to release all the games by 2035 and sell them till at least 2038, “and later, if Marvel allows us to continue.”

X-Men as seen in the comics

The license terms also include an exclusivity clause between “now and December 31, 2035”. During this period, Marvel cannot release or announce an X-Men game for console or PC or even use an X-Men character “as a competitive advantage” in another game. The terms provide a specific example of the situation: “Play as Wolverine in Ultimate Alliance exclusively on Xbox.” However, X-Men character can appear in “multi-family” games such as Avengers and Marvel will retain rights to children’s games and certain X-Men games from the 1990s, but they cannot release or announced such games 45 days before or after any Insomniac game.

The leaked document also shows the costs Sony will incur for getting the exclusivity. According to the royalty clauses: Marvel will get 9-18% of net sales from digital games, 19-26% of net sales from physical games and DLC, and 35-50% of wholesale bundle price from any hardware bundles. This agreement shows one of the steps Sony is willing to take as it responds to Microsoft’s recent acquisitions, focusing more on licensing than spending billions in acquiring studios.

To follow this situation as it develops, and for everything esports, stay tuned to esportsnext!

Author

  • Sheharyar Ahmad

    An energy engineer by trade but an enthusiastic gamer by passion. Starting his gaming adventure with a GameCube, Sheharyar's love for narrative and action-based storytelling made him a PlayStation fan since the PS2 era. He has a love for a wide range of gaming genres ranging from Pokémon to inFamous to God of War.

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