Marvel is taking another stab at online multiplayer games, as the company has signed an exclusive 10-year deal with Lego Universe publisher Gazillion Entertainment to develop its comic book properties into MMOGs.
This report by Wall Street Journal says that the companies will share revenue of the games. They are expected to announce details on the partnership tomorrow.
The comic book publisher had a MMO in development dubbed Marvel Universe Online. It was being developed by Cryptic Studios for PC and Xbox 360 until its cancelation by publisher Microsoft over Blizzard’s dominance in the MMO market.
Following up on the disastrous Marvel Nemesis game, EA has announced that it will develop a brand new Super-hero fighting game using the Marvel franchise. This untitled fighting game is in development at EA Chicago for release sometime in 2008 on PS3 and Xbox 360.
EA Chicago’s credits include Def Jam: Icon (which didn’t do well) and the Fight Night series. “We looked at past comic-based games to find out what was missing and what was needed to successfully translate the intensity, excitement and fiction from comics into fighting games,” said Kudo Tsunoda, General Manager and Vice President, EA Chicago. “We’re challenging ourselves to make a game that delivers on the Super Hero promises of past top-tier fighting games.”
The game will be unveiled on Spike TV’s Game Head on Friday, August 31 at 1.00am ET/PT. The show will also feature a behind-the-scenes look into EA Chicago development.
Cryptic Studios has announced that they have hired a new Design Writer, John Layman, for working on the Marvel Universe Online, a MMO currently in development for PC and Xbox 360.
Layman is a twelve-year veteran of the comics industry, having worked on prominent series like Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, House of M: Fantastic Four, Gambit and many others. He has also worked on several games, including Metroid: Hunters (DS) and Marvel Trading Card Game (PSP).
No information on the MMO itself was disclosed.
With the exception of a few, it is a rule that movie-games must suck. Well, Sega has also jumped on the bandwagon: the company has announced that it has partnered with Marvel Entertainment to exclusively develop and publish games based on the Iron Man property. Sega has been given the right to create games based on both the upcoming Iron Man feature film and the classic comic book iterations of the superhero. Both companies plan on bringing at least one other Marvel property to next-gen consoles.
No studio has been named yet, though further information is expected soon. The Iron Man movie is expected in theatres on May 2, 2008.
In more superhero news, Take-Two has picked up the rights to create games based on the upcoming Fantastic Four movie sequel. No details are known, except that the film-based-game will out be out alongside the movie next year.
This year’s X06 saw a couple of big announcements from Microsoft. Very big announcements. Let’s check them out:
- Peter Jackson, who is currently associated with the upcoming Halo movie, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh and Microsoft Game Studios have teamed up to create two new games exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative with Bungie to co-create the next game in the Halo universe, while the second series will be a completely new IP. Additionally, they have also partnered up to form Wingnut Interactive, the studio which will dedicate itself to bringing these series’ to the next-gen console.
- Besides the Wingnut Halo game, Ensemble Studios is working on Halo Wars, a new real-time strategy game based on the legendary universe. Before you cry foul, keep in mind that these guys are behind the Age of Empires franchise, which has been a solid series so far. The game is entirely exclusive to Xbox 360.
- Hoping to make a dent in Sony’s future, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV will receive two exclusive downloadable, “epic” episodes via Xbox Live, each with many hours of entirely new gameplay. These episodes will be available just months after the game’s release next year.
Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship at the same time in October 2007.
- In a move that is very uncharacteristic of Ubisoft, the publisher confirmed that the next Splinter Cell title after Double Agent will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360. It will also be released on PC for those without the console.
- Yes, BioShock is also exclusive to the console. It’s on PC as well.
- Banjo-Kazooie is back, courtesy of Rare! Another exclusive to Xbox 360, the title will feature the much beloved characters, who, according to the press release, will thankfully retain their “sharp wit and hilarious sense of humor.”
- Another exclusive: Marvel Universe Online. In development at Cryptic Studios, the game will also be released for Windows Vista.
- Everyone saw this coming, but not this soon: Project Gotham Racing 4. The game was unveiled at the show, though it is not expected until late next year, or 2008.
- id Software’s DOOM and Codemasters’ Sensible World of Soccer are now available on Xbox Live Arcade.
- And finally, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player will be released in North America, UK, France and Germany this November. It will retail for $200 in North America and €200/£130 in U.K., France and Germany. The player will also come with a copy of King Kong on HD-DVD and the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
At X06 Microsoft and Marvel Entertainment confirmed that Cryptic Studios is the studio behind Marvel Universe Online, the upcoming Marvel-themed MMO, exclusive to Windows Vista and Xbox 360.
Cryptic Studios is known for their work on City of Heroes and City of Villains. They will be bringing the Marvel MMO to both platforms simultaneously, letting users from either platform to play alongside one another. No release date for the project was mentioned.
Activision CEO Robert Kotick revealed the launch titles for both the PS3 and Wii. This coming November will see both next-gen consoles launch with three games from the publisher, with both consoles receiving Call of Duty 3 and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. The last title will be Tony Hawk’s Project 8 on PS3 and Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam for Wii.
In related news, he noted that most PS3 titles will be priced at $60, keeping in line with pricing of Xbox 360 games.
Activision has had a special agreement with Marvel to make games on its comics (and movie) properties through 2009. This included Iron Man, but according to Gamespot, it is no more.
The site, after the teaser poster (pictured right) for the upcoming Iron Man movie was released, contacted Activision regarding the movie-game adaptation and landed with some surprising information from a company rep: “[we] no longer retain the rights.” He did not say why the rights lapsed, or which publisher had picked up the rights, but a response from Marvel came to the rescue: “Expect an announcement this Fall.” No other details are known at this point other than the fact that the Iron Man movie is scheduled for release on May 2, 2008.
Following the release of the Halo Graphic Novel, Bungie and Marvel have announced their intentions to collaborate even further at the San Diego Comic-Con. The two companies will be working jointly on a monthly Halo Ongoing comic.
No story details or arcs were revealed at the time, but details are expected soon. The monthly Halo comics will begin Summer 2007.
And yes, Nintendo did offer its Wii E3 lineup:
- Wii Sports
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
- Super Mario Galaxy
- Excite Truck
- WarioWare: Smooth Moves
- Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Call of Duty 3 from Activision
- Sonic and Super Monkey Ball games from SEGA
- DRAGON QUEST SWORDS: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors and CODENAME: FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Crystal Bearers from SQUARE ENIX
- Madden NFL from Electronic Arts
- Rayman Raving Rabbids and Red Steel from Ubisoft
- SpongeBob SquarePants title from THQ
Nintendo also announced that Wii titles are in development at Atari, BVG, Eidos, Konami, Majesco, Midway, Namco, SNK and many other publishers.