Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Shot at a Marvel Comics MMO

Gazillion Entertainment
just announced they have signed a deal to do a Marvel super hero MMO. It looks like the plan is to do multiple games with the first product being a casual MMO for younger audiences based on Marvel's "Super Hero Squad Property." They say that they are also underway on a major new Marvel Universe PC and Console MMO that will introduce a number of breakthrough features. Gazillion says that as additional games are release that they will "share various levels of connection."

The last attempt to produce a Marvel Universe MMO was by Cryptic Studios, but it was announced in February of last year that the project was canceled. Cryptic created the other super hero MMO, City of Heroes and is currently working on two other MMO's: Star Trek Online and Champions Online. Champions is a table top, super hero role-playing game. Looking at that plate I can easily see why they would have canned the Marvel MMO. Star Trek is a bigger license and Champions is still a super hero game, its just not restricted by the Marvel license. The odd thing about all this is that Marvel was suing Cryptic over City of Heroes because it was too easy for people to make characters that looked exactly like Marvel characters, but the lawsuit was settled out of court with the result being that Cryptic was then going to make a Marvel MMO.

Looking at the Gazillion site they appear to be the parent corporation of The Amazing Society, Gargantuan, NetDevil, Slipgate Ironworks, and SmartyCard.

Net Devil published the failed MMO "Auto Assult" which at least they published so don't judge too harshly. Do you have any idea how many companies fail to even get their MMO to market much less find it to be successful? Anyway, they are also currently working on the Jumpgate Evolution MMO and Lego Universe MMO.

Slipgate Ironworks is John Romero's company that was founded in 2005 and has been working on some unannounced MMO since then. Further digging just found that John announced via Twitter that he is a co-founder of Gazillion.

SmartyCard appears to be a card you buy for your child aged 3 to 6. The kid then can then earn (unlock the value you paid for?) stuff by completing educational games and activities. The rewards are claimed to be subscriptions to their favorite virtual world or physical rewards such as books, video games, DVDs and toys. Though in the 2 minutes I looked over the site I wasn't able to find an actual listing of these rewards without signing up. Their FAQ answer to that question just has the same vague list.

The Amazing Society and Gargantuan are new companies I have never heard of. Gargantuan's website just has one page that says they are hiring and gives an email address for you to send your resume to. They do appear to be the company listed as doing the Marvel Universe MMO though.

What does all this mean for this new attempt at making a Marvel MMO? Not much since all we have is some new studio announcing a bunch of marking goobly gook. Only time will tell if anything comes of this true believer.

Personally, I can see how this is difficult because if I am going to buy a Marvel Universe MMO, I want to be Spider-man or Wolverine. I don't want to play some new super hero that gets to fight along side Spider-man and Wolverine. That later method is exactly what SOE is doing with DC Universe Online. Don't worry though, if it fails they can just have a Crisis event to rewrite history.

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