Activision no longer forging Iron Man

Publisher reveals it no longer has game rights for classic comic franchise; Marvel says new license holder will be revealed in the fall.

In January 2003, Activision announced it had extended its agreement with Marvel Entertainment to make games based four of its classic comic book franchises: X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic 4, and Iron Man. The agreement gave Activision rights to make games based on said properties through 2009, and also allowed the publisher to make game tie-ins to films based on them.

The intervening two and a half years have seen four movies based on three of the Activision-licensed comics hit theaters: Spider-Man 2 (2004), X2 (2004), Fantastic 4 (2005), and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). During that same time, Activision has released multiplatform game tie-ins to each film, including Spider-Man 2 (2004), Fantastic 4 (2005), and X-Men: The Official Game (2006).

This week, the first teaser poster (pictured) for the film adaptation of the fourth property, Iron Man, was released. The one-sheet dated the Jon Favreau-directed project as hitting theaters on May 2, 2008.

Given Iron Man's pole position on the summer-blockbuster calendar, one would expect Activision's forthcoming game adaptation to hit stores around the same time. However, that assumption was shot down by Activision reps, who had a surprising bit of information to convey regarding the project.

"We did have the rights to make an Iron Man game, but no longer retain said rights," a rep told GameSpot. "So I cannot comment on the status of any game project related to the film." The rep did not say why Activision had let the rights lapse, or which publisher had acquired the rights.

So who is publishing Iron Man? That information remains elusive. THQ reps contacted by GameSpot claimed ignorance of any such project, as did Electronic Arts and Midway spokespersons. Take-Two Interactive declined to "comment on rumors."

But while the Iron Man publisher is currently a mystery, it won't be forever. "Expect an announcement this fall," a Marvel Entertainment rep told GameSpot before declining further comment.

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