'Marvel Universe' MMO Coming to PC, Consoles

By Chris Faylor, Mar 17, 2009 7:35am PDT Following yesterday's surprise revelation of a ten-year MMO licensing agreement between comic publisher Marvel and relatively unknown game publisher Gazillion, the two companies have announced the first two MMOs to be made under the deal.

The first game, Marvel Super Hero Squad, is a casual MMO aimed at younger folk.

The second, Marvel Universe, is in development for PC and consoles. Gazillion will develop and publish the game, with more details to arrive in the coming months.

City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios previously worked on an MMO titled Marvel Universe Online, though it was later cancelled due to World of Warcraft-related fears.

According to today's announcement, Gazillion has been "operating in stealth mode" under the name NR2B Research. The publisher has four wholly-owned MMO development studios: Amazing Society (Super Hero Squad), Gargantuan (Marvel Universe), NetDevil (LEGO Universe, Jumpgate Evolution), and id co-founder John Romero's Slipgate studio, which is working on an original MMO.

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  • I think this has a greater chance of working compared to DC Universe Online. It's too bad, because I prefer DC, but the power sets are simply less conducive to the state of the art in MMO's. It's hard to make a believable Green Lantern power ring work in an MMO. "I click this trained ability, and a hand grabs my enemy. I click this one and it's a chainsaw". Hardly what a power ring is all about. It would seem limited.

    The other issue is that the power levels of mainline DC heroes is insane. You've got Superman, of course, but then the Flash, who can run beyond lightspeed. You have the additional issue of there just not being a lot of heroes in the first place. There is no consistent reason for no-name heroes to show up out of the blue.

    On the other hand, Marvel has the Mutant issue, so right off the bat there's a plausible reason for a high population of super powered people, and the range of relative power is fairly broad. A Green Lantern ring is essentially the most powerful tool in the universe, and only one or two per space sector exists. Not everyone can plausibly be a GL, or a Flash-type hero, but there can be tons of mutants.

    Marvel also has a richer history of "scientific events gone awry". The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, all the way down to Daredevil. Technology heroes are also much more common. Asgardians are a dime-a-dozen too.

    Getting back to DC: Superman: Unique. Wonder Woman: Unique. The Flash: Somewhat unique. You don't have an instant, plausible case to say hey, if this guy exists, then there can be others like him. On the other hand, a Colossus-type character is not unique,and another can exist simply because of the origin of the first: Mutants.

    I wish it were not the case. I really do like DC, but Marvel just seems a better ground for a bunch of new heroes showing up out of nowhere.