'Marvel Universe' MMO Coming to PC, Consoles

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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.

From The Chatty
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    March 17, 2009 7:43 AM

    What does it take for a title to overtake or at least compete with any sort of merit against Blizzard and the Leviathan that is WoW?

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      March 17, 2009 7:50 AM

      WoW is like the Universe. One day it will implode upon itself.

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        March 17, 2009 10:09 AM

        Except the universe is going to keep expanding forever....so WoW will experience a heat death?

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      March 17, 2009 7:57 AM

      You would be suprised how little it would take to topple wow.
      It's just most companies let their mouths kill them game for them.
      They over promise and under deliver.
      Blizzard pretty much kept hush hush and only talked about
      things in the game that were actually completed, being worked on, or
      they 100% knew they were going to finish and put in the game.

      Companies like Funcom or Mythic run their mouth about everything,
      cut features, under deliver and just plain piss everyone off.

      Plus Blizzard did something that most other companies try to do
      but aren't big enough to get away with it. When wow first came out it
      was pretty hardcore so it pulled in the hardcore mmo player. Then
      they unleashed the carebear crew to dumb it down for noobs and new
      people.

      So what happens now is, the carebears pull their friends in, the hardcore players
      are pissed off but addicted so new mmos like warhammer come out and the hardcore
      leave for a few weeks but come back.

      I call it here, the MMO that will finally de-throne wow will be a Sci Fi mmo.
      Fantasy is played out and Funcom fucked up. Do Sci Fi and even get it half way
      right and i'll have a winner.

      If Funcom had used all the man power that it wasted on Age of Crapon we could be playing Anarchy Online 2 right now in directx9/10 with a massive feature set and things could be evening out a bit.

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        March 17, 2009 9:37 AM

        it's not just good marketing that makes Blizzard good. Their games ARE awesome. Most games on the market are NOT.

        I don't like WOW though. It's a miracle to me why this game is so incredible successful...

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          March 17, 2009 10:20 AM

          It's the social aspect. Loads of people get into it because a friend or two are playing. Once you play for a couple months, you make new friends and suddenly, you'd rather not leave them, even for a better game.

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        March 17, 2009 10:43 AM

        lol

        Funcom is the LAST company that's going to make a game that competes with WoW.

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      March 17, 2009 9:19 AM

      On the PC scene I think Valve are the only ones that could come close. They are doing a great job at building a similar reputation and player support that Blizzard had before WoW.

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        March 17, 2009 10:27 AM

        Agreed. If anyone could take it on, it'd be Valve.

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          March 17, 2009 1:25 PM

          Don't forget about Epic, imagine an MMO Gears of War.

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        March 17, 2009 10:30 AM

        Their MMO experience is limited to being a reseller. Not saying they can't.

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          March 17, 2009 10:51 AM

          WoW is Blizzard's first mmo too.

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            March 17, 2009 11:07 AM

            Depends. You need to consider what was learned from Battle.net. They learned quite a bit from Diablo & Diablo II as well.

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        March 17, 2009 10:35 AM

        Basically I'm saying that running a successful MMO is a huge undertaking. While past successes deserve kudos (and I LOVE giving vALVE as many as I can), I'd be careful of unbridled confidence. Bioware is trying something new with their new MMO. Best to them. However, let's see what happens. That's my take on all of it.

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      March 17, 2009 9:51 AM

      What are your success requirements?
      What are your comparison parameters?
      Who will you include?
      Who will you exclude (Free-to-play)?

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      March 17, 2009 10:05 AM

      a mixture of staleness in either the product or perception of staleness in the user base, just like Everquest isn't the king of the hill, Valve replaced ID for FPSs, Ma Bell went south, and the sun set on the British empire, etc

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      March 17, 2009 10:36 AM

      Blizzards new secret MMO.

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        March 17, 2009 10:52 AM

        This is pretty much it.

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        March 17, 2009 1:53 PM

        that'd have been my guess if he didn't have said "against Blizzard"

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      March 17, 2009 10:41 AM

      Bioware's Star Wars MMO looks to have what I'd consider the best chance:

      1.) Broad appeal of a popular huge franchise
      2.) Appears to be micro-transaction based -> One may not have to pay for it monthly.
      3.) Low system reqs.
      4.) From a trusted dev house (keeping in mind the stipulations mentioned in one of my earlier posts).

      Only time will tell.

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        March 17, 2009 12:44 PM

        I agree here. If anything has a shot right now, it's this. I just hope that Bioware can create a big enough playspace to make it worthwhile for more than a few moments.

        I love Bioware's games, but they're shit when it comes to designing play space, no matter pretty they look.

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      March 17, 2009 10:58 AM

      Polish.

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        March 17, 2009 2:47 PM

        Agreed. It will take a developer/publisher being smart enough to realized that releasing early and hoping for patience is an autofail for a mmorpg. There are too many choices available and no reason to put up with excuses/lies of why X was cut and why Y wasn't tested before release.

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      March 17, 2009 11:43 AM

      It'll take the marketing fuckwits closing their traps about the game except for tiny teases... that way they don't under deliver, or cut a bunch of stuff people looked forward to.

      It'll take a really dedicated and passionate developer

      It'll take the corporate execs (read: stupid suits that only care about next quarter's numbers) to SIT DOWN, STFU and let the developers polish the ever-loving shit out of the game... no matter how long it takes.

      It'll take something that easy to get into, but hard to master.

      it'll take something that has depth, and FUCK the endless grinds for gear. Gear grinding begets more grinding for the next piece of "ub3r ph@t lewts"

      It'll take a SHITLOAD of money, as they'll have to work for a long, long time to get the amount of content correct.

      It'll take a closed beta with an NDA that lasts up to 2 weeks before, launch and then an open beta so everyone can get a chance to try.

      It'll take a TOTAL wipe of all players the day prior to the launch. that way everyone starts on equal footing.

      It'll take a vast amount of people getting sick of what WoW offers.

      And above all... it'll take a miracle.
      It's like trying to dig out an entrenched enemy from their home country.

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        March 17, 2009 12:36 PM

        I support this man in his bid for the presidency.

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      March 17, 2009 12:07 PM

      Here's what it takes to compete or beat them: don't start out looking to compete or beat them. Seriously. In any market when there's a leader (we'll call it X), then people constantly tout themselves as the "X KILLAR" as a part of their marketing. That's suicidal marketing; the expectations by that simple statement are built up too high, and you're expected to do the same exact thing X does only better.

      The things that topple the leaders are always those little projects that come from some little unknown bunch out of left field that aren't trying to compete with X. They just thought of something cool and did it, not caring if it's better than this or that. It's just their cool idea.

      Wanna beat WoW? Stop trying to beat WoW. Aim to make your own ideas, make them sustainable, and don't try to compete for the market that somebody else has firmly locked down. It's like learning to run in races when you're a kid... you don't pay attention to what or how the competition is doing, you just run as fast as YOU can, because there's no point to worrying once the race has started. ;-)

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        March 17, 2009 12:32 PM

        I'm going to agree with you on this, because it makes (common) sense, but...

        Does it even matter after the game has come out? If it's good, it's good, if it simply isn't as good as WoW, which lets face it, love it or hate it... it is actually a very well put together MMO and it has so much polish it's gleaming so bright it's blinding.

        It doesn't matter how much the marketing morons spout bullshit about the game, if it sucks, it sucks. Or in the case of the latest few efforts (WAR (which is awesome) and AoC (which is pretty cool)) they're pretty awesome but lack the polish of WoW or have huge flaws that simply can't be overlooked.

        I can't remember if I was agreeing with you or disagreeing any more, anyway, you make a good point.

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      March 17, 2009 12:30 PM

      Some new ideas, every MMO that was supposed to be the "WOW Killer" still followed the basic fantasy MMO formula and sucked ass.

      Vanguard
      Age of Conan
      Warhammer Online

      They may have had a few unique ideas but the gameplay and content was essentially just like every other EQ clone MMO.

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        March 17, 2009 3:21 PM

        you have to remember that WoW was the same exact thing, an EQ-clone, when it came out... it became so popular originally because it was a period of transition in the MMO world. A lot of players were leaving EQ for other games and just ended up coming back, but when they left for WoW, it was a fresh enough of a look (being built on the warcraft universe is a huge plus here), that they never went back to EQ. It turned out that WoW became so slick and easy to use people were able to get their friends that wouldn't have ever touched an MMO to play it. Rinse/Repeat for a few years and WoW became the popular thing to do. It does not lead the MMO world in any one particular feature, but the overall package is untouchable.

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      March 17, 2009 12:51 PM

      not the title itself, the company. The company has to be madly famous before the MMO product.

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      March 17, 2009 1:18 PM

      TLDR: A finished and well polished MMO could do it, but it would be extremely difficult to hit WoW sized subscription numbers as long as Blizzard struggles to keep players playing. To make an MMO that draws away invested MMO players and appeals to a large number of possible players would require a level of innovation we haven't really seen in the genre. No matter what there is a lot of risk involved and the better bet is to not aim to overtake WoW, but just be successful in their own right.


      One of the major hurdles for MMOs seems to be releasing a finished game. One would think that the long trail of burning mumorpugers would demonstrate that if your game is unfinished and/or buggy your chances of success are going to drop, but nevertheless this continues to be a problem. If release day sales were the measure of success this wouldn't be the case, but you are going for long-term subscriptions and therefore need to make sure players don't just bail after the free month.

      As for getting the customers to compete with WoW....that's the hard part. If all we have to work with are WoW players, ex-WoW players and past/present players of other MMOs, then you have an uphill battle to usurp WoW from its throne of money. To attract current MMO-players you are going to have to deal with player investment since someone who still plays their MMO with a decked out max level character and a guild of friends is going to need something pretty major to draw him or her away from their game. With WoW holding such a large chunk of current MMO subscribers, if you really want to seize the MMO crown you can't afford to ignore these possible customers, but as long as Blizzard keeps injecting content to entertain their subscribers it will remain quite difficult to do.

      Attracting ex-MMO players and bored WoW players is probably an easier task, but its not without its problems. The size of this group of possible customers isn't exactly known. Is it big enough to compete with WoW by itself? If this group is big enough, is it cohesive enough in it's desires that it could be turned into a reliable group of subscribers? If not, by appealing to a segment of these players, do you run the risk of falling into a gameplay niche that simply would not be appealing enough to draw in a competitive chunk of WoW subscribers?

      Of course, maybe there is an untapped segment of people out there that have yet to be brought into a MMO world. One thing to remember is that WoW drew in a lot of new players into the MMO market through keeping their initial influx of players subscribing who in turn drew in others through tales of their "fun times". Are there more people out there who don't play MMOs and could be enticed to play? My first reaction is no, but then again if you had told me in 2000 that over 11 million would be playing a single MMO in 2008 I would have called you a filthy liar.

      I'd think the better bet for MMOs is to aim small, releasing a finished game that is appealing enough to draw in a group of subscribers suitable for the game's needs. The goal is to retain those initial subscribers so that you have a stable population to bring in profit and possibly gradually increase your subscriber numbers through word of mouth. Unrestrained hype is not your friend as the presence of players who are not going to subscribe is going to simply add to the release day overcrowding that will drive away customers who would have subscribed. Instead you'll be left with too many servers which are too thinly populated and will hemorrhage even more customers who would have continued their subscription.

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      March 17, 2009 1:29 PM

      It will take another good developer that can get away with a "When it's done" release date. Companies like Blizzard, Valve, Epic, and Id that aren't bound by release dates tend to make good games.

      What is needed is for publishers to back the hell off and let the developer pursue their vision. Granted, it takes a lot of money to fund these behemoth games, and I can see why they want a return on investment ASAP, but still, the need to wait for the polish to shine through before they release it.

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      March 17, 2009 1:32 PM

      What it takes is for Blizzard to fail at a game. They haven't yet (excluding internal projects they shut down themselves).

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      March 17, 2009 1:51 PM

      6-10 years development time and at least half a billion $ would probably be enough. Oh and a good license plus a solid concept. Maybe a miracle but that's optional

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        March 17, 2009 1:55 PM

        more realisitically I'd say, someone like Nintendo could pull it off, by targeting their newfound market.

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          March 17, 2009 2:12 PM

          Honestly I can't figure out why Nintendo has not made a full 3D real Pokemon RPG on Gamecube or Wii yet?.

          A Pokemon MMO would also be a great idea.

          The only reason I can think of is that they are just lazy bastards and realize that it is much cheaper to make 2D pokemon games on handhelds and still make tons of money...

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            March 17, 2009 2:57 PM

            A Pokemin MMO would be great as it would inherently be a PVP game but people won't fear it as one.

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      March 17, 2009 3:45 PM

      A MMO With more user generated content maybe? Like quests, items, etc. But not getting anywhere near the trash that is secondlife.

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      March 17, 2009 4:07 PM

      It'll happen eventually. There was a time where it looked like nobody would ever topple Everquest.

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        March 17, 2009 5:21 PM

        Lineage was more popular than Everquest.

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      March 17, 2009 5:20 PM

      Originality and polish.

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        March 17, 2009 5:56 PM

        Just the polish actually. WoW isnt THAT original. Its just that it looks/plays/runs so well.

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      March 17, 2009 6:04 PM

      1 Billion USD, and a shitton of skill and luck.

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        March 17, 2009 6:08 PM

        Exactly, it seems like a lot of folks don't understand that while yes you do need a lot of money and resources but the single most important thing is that the game actually has to be good. This is involves a very skilled, innovative team that can make a good game that the masses will want to play.

        You can toss a billion dollars at Warhammer Online, that doesn't mean the team behind is all of the sudden going to be hot shit and all of the sudden have amazing ideas.

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      March 17, 2009 7:01 PM

      it takes a world without me-too sheep.

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      March 17, 2009 7:28 PM

      I haven't played wow for years (and wow that seems weird to say) but I have to say, I felt something special the first time l logged in during beta there, that I haven't felt since with any other game. Sort of sucks. I almost wish Blizz would spin off the IP into a starcraft themed game or something

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      March 17, 2009 8:00 PM

      An MMO engine that can run more than one game on it via plugins and a slightly cheaper rate. And of coarse some good game selections. I think Elder Scrolls/ Fallout/ something SCIFI(I know they're not truely related other than using same engine for current incarnations) would do some damage to blizzards numbers.