Marvel Universe goes free-to-play

Gazillion Entertainment reveals Brian Michael Bendis as head game writer for massively multiplayer online game, dishes new details.

At a recent press event, publisher Gazillion Entertainment revealed the head writer of its upcoming Marvel comics-inspired massively multiplayer game Marvel Universe. That writer: none other than Brian Michael Bendis, whose credits include the House of M, Secret Invasion, and Ultimate Spider-Man comics, among others. Bendis himself joined a panel that included Gazillion president and chief operating officer Dave Brevik; TQ Jefferson, Marvel vice president in charge of Marvel games; and Jeff Lind, studio director of Secret Identity, the internal division of Gazillion formed in late 2009 to develop the game. While the executives seemed in high spirits, they were tight-lipped about most of the game's key details and revealed only a few tidbits of new information.

Marvel Universe will let players step into the spandex of their favorite heroes.

The panel did reveal that the game will take place in venues and timelines gleaned from the entire Marvel comic universe--in Bendis' words, "back from the classic era all the way to the modern"--and that unlike other superhero-themed massively multiplayer games that require players to either create new characters from scratch or act as sidekicks to existing superheroes, Marvel Universe will let players play as the actual iconic Marvel characters they know and love. The panel rattled off only a handful of Marvel's iconic comic heroes that will appear as playable characters, such as Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and, as Bendis added jokingly--or at least, while laughing--the obscure hero known as Squirrel Girl.

The panel did at least address some of the game's story-related elements. Said Jefferson, "[Gazillion is] going to try to make the game recognizable to both casual fans and to hardcore fans. We're really looking for breadth here," explained the executive. The stated goal is to create a game that will be of interest to someone who might have just learned about Marvel comics from watching the Iron Man 2 motion picture, as well as to faithful, hardcore comic fans who pick up their issues and trades every week. Without giving any specific examples, the group suggested that the game's overarching story will let players "play through the great moments of the Marvel universe" and that the game will "launch with more Marvel characters than in any other Marvel game to date"--so players should expect to see a huge roster of iconic heroes and villains.

The group did, at least, divulge that the primary villain behind the events and challenges players will face in the game will be none other than Dr. Doom. When asked to list any specific heroines, the group simply stated that there will be "many strong female protagonists from the Marvel universe" in play. Jefferson was also quick to point out that Marvel Universe will not just be a kid-friendly game that might reflect the comic publisher's recent merger with media giant Disney.

"We already have a game like that for kids," said the vice president, in reference to Gazillion's casual, kid-friendly browser game Marvel Super Hero Squad. "This is gonna be the game for hardcore gamers."

Bendis quickly added that Disney has continued to treat Marvel "the same way they treat Pixar…by letting us just do what we do" and strongly suggested that the merger has continued to have no effect at all on Marvel's editorial direction, or on the direction of the game.

While the Marvel executives seemed happy to at least speak about the game in broad terms, the Gazillion execs were much more tight-lipped. After revealing that the game will, in fact, be a free-to-play game, Brevik refused to give any specifics about the game's monetization strategy, suggesting only that it's planned to be "the biggest triple-A free-to-play MMO designed that way from the ground up" and that the studio has "a lot of great ideas on how to monetize the game" that it was not yet ready to divulge.

Lind did note that the game is currently confirmed only for the PC platform, but avoided clarifying whether the game would play through a Web browser or through a downloadable client. However, a Gazillion representative did confirm for GameSpot that the game will be powered by Unreal technology. In terms of the game's release schedule, the executives were again tight-lipped; Brevik explained that the game has been in development for "a little over a year, and is at least another year out…at least," but provided no further specifics.

Written By

Want the latest news about Marvel Heroes?

Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes

Follow

Discussion

123 comments
OdinssonThor
OdinssonThor

Great game! Enjoyed beta very very very much and can't wait for release. So many builds and awesome powers. Gazillion did a great job! See you ingame...

Sento_brean
Sento_brean

dang, I was hoping to make my own character, oh well, guess it is time to go back to monster hunter then.

PsychoDragonJoe
PsychoDragonJoe

Hmm, I was actually hoping for a create-a-hero game like DCUO or City of Heroes, but with some really comprehensive and Marvel-styled powers and traits. I guess I'll see how this turns out anyway.

brunorr
brunorr

This looks like it's gonna be something like Vindictus...

hehe101
hehe101

I like the character thing personally.

apocalyps382
apocalyps382

I think it would be a good Idea to have no iconic characters or create a storyline so that they were all captured or destroyed or something. then the players create their own characters so that they aren't the sidekick, but the new heroes.

stevo367
stevo367

Hmmm. Sounds exactly like something i would never play. I haven't seen a free to play format yet that kept my interest and personally, i would rather create my own characters, not play a generic, iconic one. To each their own i guess.

hehe101
hehe101

Oh yeah it is, it uses 3.0, 3.5 should be used for this game as its newest and is currently being used for gow 3 etc.

ArachisPT
ArachisPT

@ RavenXavier The lil kids and whiners comment I agree whit, but the "people that will spend money so they can get ahead faster" Who cares? I really prefer for game companies that let the idiots that do that to support their games than ppl who rly dont like to pay monthly fees! Besides F2P MMOs no longer sell power for $$$ they only sell XP boosts and novelty items so...

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

Well, my hopes for this just went out the window... I'm the biggest Marvel fan ever, but, I'm not getting suckered into the "Free to Play", thanks but no thanks. Now that the game is going F2P it will be Swamped with little kids, whiners, and they're going to try and "nickle and dime" everyone for the game's real content. Plus you'll have people that will spend money so they can get ahead faster or have things that can't be "earned" through real game-play. Then of course there's the most important aspect of all...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR...

TankBusterJenn
TankBusterJenn

@hehe101 DCUO is also powered by the Unreal Engine @BuNKiTZ "Free-to-Play! Sweet! I hope that there won't be anything that we'd need to pay for with real life money like items/characters and such..." This is what's gonna happen. Although it's free to play but I guarantee you you'll have to buy story arcs (kinda like buying new issues) or something to continue playing and maybe a few items/costumes and little extra tidbits. I just don't understand how this will work out like an MMO. I think it's gonna be those games where you'll end up playing a non-MMO. I don't want to see a thousand Spider-Man's and Wolverine.. I want to be immersed in a game. :/

BuNKiTZ
BuNKiTZ

Free-to-Play! Sweet! I hope that there won't be anything that we'd need to pay for with real life money like items/characters and such... Maybe just the game or expansion packs of sorts?? With the recent events in the comics... I wonder if Johnny will be here... Then again, this would be realeased in at least a year from now, so, probably... Same too with Spidey's Spider-Sense... ^^ And lastly, LOL at the mention of Squirrel-Girl! :)) But hey, she plays a great part, sorta, being Luke Cage's hired babysitter :)) Oh! DEADPOOL! FOURTH WALL! VIDEO GAME! YEAH! XD

hehe101
hehe101

Correct me if im wrong but this game is supported by unreal technology, which means its graphics will be better than dcuo, and more detailed looking game?

1penance1
1penance1

@jhmmy23 O, my bad. But no, DCUO just came out first. The were both announced around the same time

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

Honestly, I'd like to see an MMO upgraded version of the Ultimate Alliance games. Keep the inventory system from the first game, and they'd have a start. I know this is a different company, but one can wish.

Electrokah
Electrokah

I am GUESSING... They might just let players select from premade iconic's, maybe with alternate costumes, and everything takes place in a third person shooter type instance that is chosen and queued for, when not in the lobby with a thousand spidermans wolverines and iron mans which will be a big city probably, or various maybe huge singleplayer instances you level your character up in while you chat with buddies who are doing the same, i dunno just a guess, we will see...

TankBusterJenn
TankBusterJenn

"unlike other superhero-themed massively multiplayer games that require players to either create new characters from scratch or act as sidekicks to existing superheroes" But I like this. "Marvel Universe will let players play as the actual iconic Marvel characters they know and love" How is this an MMO?! WHY?! Oh god.. Marvel! please don't ruin this game. :/

TankBusterJenn
TankBusterJenn

@BloodMist You never played DCUO have you? It's a MMO with a beat-em-up gameplay. It's waaaaaay better than City of Heroes. It's quite different actually.

BloodMist
BloodMist

I have a feeling DCU is going to drop it's populations rapidly when this comes out.Deservedly so, the wannabe City of Heroes that it is.

johmmy23
johmmy23

@1penance1 No dude, I know what Marvel and DC are, I am a big Comic Book geek, What im trying to say to say is if nobody noticed that Marvel was kinda of jacking DC Universe's name and there idea...

Infinity_Gauntl
Infinity_Gauntl

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@ NickyWithATicky It looks like you, your uncle, bob, his neighbour's dog and his grandma will all be Iron Man.

ozzman69th
ozzman69th

when this comes out it better be way better than dc cuz how many times can u do the same missions over and over even when u reach lvl cap its the same missons and once a month they add 1 thing to the roster dcuo is strting to blow the big one hopfully this comes sooner than later cuz im about to throw my damn ps3 and dcuo out the window damn ps3 what a waste of money and time

Cliffy_T
Cliffy_T

I've always wanted a Marvel MMO. I love that universe. The one out now is way to kiddie though. So excited to here about this one. One thing that bugs me is the fact you'll be playing as actual Marvel heroes instead of making your own. So we'll gonna have several thousand Spider-Men and Wolverines running around. Plus I like making my own character and putting them into a huge world. That's one of the appeals of MMOs. Either way I hope this is a great game and they don't screw it up. Marvel deserves it's own great MMO.

Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

Marvel+MMO=Count Me in. cause i'm a big fan of marvel comics. and getting to explore every bit of the entire marvel universe is Awesome.

Halox06
Halox06

I can't wait to try this for the pc. Since it has another year to go before they are done, I wonder if they will release it for the new consoles instead of the current ones

hobotech64
hobotech64

Well if everyone goes Wolverine, I'm going Magneto.

hehe101
hehe101

Yeah it will be for the 360, they will most likely release it later

Jurassic85
Jurassic85

I thought this game was supposed to be available for the 360 as well? According to the article it is only confirmed for the PC....anyway else heard that it would be on 360 besides me?

Cal12
Cal12

-The age of the MMO is coming to an end, so companies are now forced to make them free to play. Good news on both counts. The subscription thing gave MMOs a premature death, and was a greedy, unnecessary move by publishers. Ask people to pay for the game, ask them to pay for DLC, but never ask them to subscribe unless you've got an insanely captive audience like WoW.- The monthly fee isn't what kills MMORPGs, it's the lack of depth and content. It also isn't greedy or unnecessary. There is a reason Guild Wars is nowhere near as fleshed out as an Everquest or WoW (besides NCSoft having like 40 other Korean MMORPGs with various P2P models). Those two are also examples of P2P MMORPGs that have used the model correctly and have survived while many others have died a quick death. This is a tired and old argument. Expecting a company to keep fresh and new content, balance, adding expansions and their development, customer service, maintenance and what not to these games for free is ridiculous. The age of the MMORPG is far from done. It has grown expotentially since the days of UO and EQLive being the only real MMORPGs out there. If anything, the future of the genre is very bright with Rift out and doing well along with TOR on the horizon.

megakick
megakick

can't be any worse then DC universe.

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

That image is my same exact background.

hehe101
hehe101

Im not much of pc gamer though sadly but its good to hear that this will be appearing on consoles. :)

mideonnviscera
mideonnviscera

Though I believe a free to play Marvel MMO could possibly be the greatest thing ever, I doubt anybody's figured out a way to make it so.

Marky360
Marky360

Wow this game sounds great but they NEED to make a PS3 release other wise it won't do half as good as it could DCUO is doing exponentially well on the PS3 and I think another super hero MMO in the Marvel universe would be perfect especially since it's free to play now thats something I can get with.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Awesome to have the free to play, that's why I avoided the DC Heroes. I won't pay a monthly fee after already dishing out $70 for the game. But they have to add villains, man. We must have free will to choose to be good or bad.

nomation
nomation

Marvel's iconic comic heroes that will appear as playable characters, such as Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, Ion Man" Don't they mean Iron Man

nini200
nini200

Jubilee Here I Come! YAAAYYYY!!!

savagetofu
savagetofu

DC Universe does allow you to play with characters you know & love. Yes primarily you play with your a character you created but there are formats in dcuo that allow you to play as Batman, Joker ect....

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

 @TankBusterJenn lol you can make a charcter look just like any DC villain or hero with all their powers etc or you can customize it. Marvel will suck if everyone is the same! No customizing blows

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

 @BloodMist lol yeah right 4 million and going strong Marvel is going to flop you cannot even customize you toons

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

 @Cal12 if a company does F2P right they make double the $$$ as they could with a script. Look at how much DCUO is making atm with sub or f2p or marketplace or legendary, replay badges, styles, trinkets, double xp etc Also the boom of 4 million players the past 7 months has been huge for DCUO