Monday, February 11, 2008

Official: Marvel Universe Canned

Via Next-Gen:
Following months of rumors, Microsoft Game Studios has finally confirmed that the Marvel-licensed MMO has been cancelled.
“I’ll confirm. Marvel and we have agreed to end development on the MMO,” Microsoft Game Studios VP Shane Kim told MTV Multiplayer at last week’s DICE Summit in Las Vegas.

“It was an amicable decision…. It’s just something that we felt that, for us and for them, it would be better if we ended development. Which is disappointing, because that had a lot of promise. But sometimes you have to make these decisions.”

Rumors that Marvel Universe had been canned first emerged on 1Up. Shortly after, an industry insider told Next-Gen that plans to release the Marvel superhero-themed MMO had been terminated.

Microsoft had been strangely evasive about the fate of the MMO until now. The rumors originated in November 2007, and in the weeks following, the software maker insisted either that the game was still in development or wouldn't comment at all.

Kim was hesitant to tell Multiplayer’s Stephen Totilo that something “went wrong” with the development of the game. But Kim did say that Microsoft began development of Marvel Universe with plans to make it a subscription-based MMO. Microsoft eventually found the venture too risky.

“…If you really look at the data there’s basically one [MMO] that’s successful and everything else wouldn’t meet our level or definition of commercial success,” he said. “And then you have to look [and say]: ‘Can we change the business model for that? Is that really viable given how far we are in development? And so forth. Does Marvel want to do that?’ There’s a whole bunch of factors [in canceling the game].”
So then, that means:

  • Cryptic is not working on Marvel Universe.

  • They could be working on Star Trek Online.

  • Microsoft sees the idea of a traditional MMO not financially intelligent because of WoW (though they don't say that directly).

  • And of course, it means that NCsoft feels safe with CoH.

  • But what about DC Universe? Sony has that license I believe... and we all know they're not afraid of Blizzard. Will it see the light of day? Will anyone care? Also, if not Star Trek as rumored, what is Cryptic working on?

    What a bummer, folks. One future major MMO down. Which one will be next? Spellborn? Hero's Journey? Is the bubble bursting on the traditional MMO? Is the genre going to be flooded with budget titles in fear of going up against WoW?

    What a weird path we're on.


    Hudson said...

    This sucks because personally I cant stand City of Heroes, its far from making me feel heroic and the grind stinks. I was hoping for a REAL super hero MMO and I think this could have worked. This is the SECOND MMO that Microsoft has pussed out on, Mythica was the first and that even looked good. And of course the Asherons Call 2 debacle

    Bildo said...

    I'm more miffed because I want console MMOs already. If EQ Online Adventures could work on the PS2 and still run, so can something for MSft. They just need to be a bit more gutsy.

    Hopefully it won't be too long before Conan hits it. But I'd rather see a less complex MMO, like Sony's the Agency, on my 360. Damn non-unified consoles...

    Maybe we'll see something before 2010, but I doubt it.

    Bildo said...

    Oh, and let's not forget the huge success abroad of FFXI, reviled by me but loved by hundreds of thousands.

    Hudson said...

    I guess we still have Marvel Ultimate Alliance on the xbox360

    Thallian said...

    FFXI == :( It coulda been great but wasn't.. Square shoulda just used one of their stellar single player plots and turned it MMO. I don't see any logical barriers to console MMO's, just big-wig corporate mindset ones..