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Vicarious Existence

To blog about what is going on in the MMO genre from a casual MMO player's viewpoint.

Author: UnSub

Marvel Universe MMO Due Out 2012 For The Wrong Reasons

Posted by UnSub Friday April 3 2009 at 2:57AM
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Marvel’s president of worldwide consumer products, Simon Philips, has said that the full Marvel MMO (not the kid's version) is due out in 2012. Super Hero Squad (SHSO, I guess) is due out in 2010 and is aimed at the 5- to 9-year old market while the Marvel Universe MMO is for the older market.

Although 2012 sounds like a while away, it isn't. While I firmly believe long development cycles are detrimental to the MMO industry, three years is a pretty short development period, especially since Gargartuan Studios - a studio so new they appear not to have a website - is starting from scratch. I'm expecting announcements like "Marvel MMO to use Unreal Engine" and "Marvel MMO to use PhysX for ragdoll" or similar to start appearing in the near future because third party apps would be the only way to get things done in this time frame. Even then, third party apps - especially full third party MMO toolsets - still have lots of inherent issues and I note the irony that apps like BigWorld, HeroEngine and Icarus' toolset still haven't made any MMO titles that had a positive impact, if they've even been seen in a released title at all.

In short, three years doesn't give Gargantuan enough time to develop their own toolsets, but will give them time to see what the other superhero MMOs coming out will offer.

Reading the release also indicates that 2012 has been picked not for any kind of design purpose, but because that is where the worldwide consumer product marketing plan says it will best fit. The Captain America film comes out in 2011, followed by the Avengers movie in 2012, which sees 2012 as the year the Marvel MMO should come out. The way it is stated, it is completely tied to Marvel Entertainment's multimedia plan, not to any kind of "this is a good schedule to develop a MMO on" way of thinking.

This is especially the case when Simon Philips says things like:

"Every day, every week, and every month, there is a new element of technology that comes about. So whatever plans we had for an MMO two years ago have now evolved to embrace that new technology."


"We’re looking at lots of different scenarios. But at this moment in time we haven’t identified exactly what the end game is going to be. We’re still working on the different variations that are potentially possible."

Both of these statements indicate to me that the Marvel MMO is in such an early state of planning they don't have anything at all - not even a vague claim - to hype. Except for non-news such as Marvel offering artists and writers to the project.

All in all: not confidence building.