Activision lands Marvel RPG rights

Spider-Man publisher extends partnership with comic factory; stand-alone role-playing game featuring superheroes due in 2007.

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Like a busy superhero rushing from place to place saving hapless citizens from peril, Marvel Enterprises has been swooping from publisher to publisher, saving the companies' revenues. Unlike its roster of superhuman characters, Marvel doesn't do it with pyrokinesis, spider sense, or adamantine claws. The company merely partners up with publishers, allowing them to create games based on its wildly popular portfolio of comic book stars.

Electronic Arts (Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects), Microsoft Game Studios (a to-be-named Marvel-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game), THQ (The Punisher), Mforma (Marvel-based mobile content), VU Games (The Hulk), and Capcom (the Marvel vs. Capcom series), are just some of the companies that have benefited from the licensing rights of the well-branded Marvel characters.

One publisher that has benefited the most from Marvel is Santa Monica, California-based Activision. Among the company's Marvel-based games are Blade II and Fantastic 4. However, its biggest hit is the top-selling Spider-Man franchise, which has crawled over several platforms and has climbed up the sales charts.

Activision today announced that Marvel has come to save the day once again. The two have signed a licensing agreement that lets Activision create a "non-persistent role-playing game" featuring Marvel characters. The "non-persistent" distinguishes the game from the MMORPG deal that Marvel made with Microsoft Game Studios. It also means that Activision can now build on the success that it has had with its current Marvel-based RPG series, X-Men Legends, without fear of competition.

The Marvel-Activision deal covers consoles and PCs (no specific platforms were mentioned), with the first game expected to be released in 2007. "We are proud of the success we have had with games based on the Marvel licenses," states Ron Doornink, chairman of Activision Publishing. "This agreement further strengthens and helps to solidify our position as the number one publisher of superhero games."

Comic fans who can't wait until 2007 for an Activision-published Marvel-based RPG won't have to. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse will be released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PC, and PSP within the next few months.

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