Kapow! Marvel's Superhero MMO Will Be F2P

Now that Sony Online Entertainment finally has DC Online up and running, fans of the Marvel Universe have probably been wondering when they'll get to mingle with the likes of Wolverine, Captain America and the Black Cat (she's hot in those black tights, admit it). The wait for the first details is finally over.

Marvel originally enlisted Cryptic Studios to develop the super-hero MMO years ago, but then canceled the project in February 2008 primarily due to the competitive market for subscription-based MMOGs. Then in July 2009, Gazillion Entertainment announced that former president of Blizzard North and Diablo creator David Brevik had signed on to lead the development in the rejuvenated Marvel Universe MMO project.

"I’m a huge fan of comic books, Super Heroes, and MMORPGs, so the chance to lead the creative efforts for the Marvel Universe MMO is an amazing opportunity," he said. "Gazillion’s mission to bring MMOs to the mainstream while maintaining the depth in gameplay that enthusiast gamers demand is something that deeply resonates with me. Marvel is a perfect fit for this mission, and I couldn’t imagine a better venue to announce our efforts than Comic-Con."

Little else on the game's development has been revealed until last night when Marvel introduced Brian Michael Bendis as the game's story writer, the mastermind behind most of the major events taking place in the Marvel Universe in recent history. The introduction was made live during a presentation in San Francisco which also revealed that-- unlike DC Universe where characters are generated from scratch--gamers would actually get to play popular Marvel superheroes.

During the show, Bendis told the audience that he's secretly been working on the game for several months. "The reason that I was so desperate to be a part of this is that I’m a big believer that the Marvel universe is more than just this fantasy universe, it’s kind of a lifestyle for a lot of people," he said. "It reminds me of what Stan Lee did in the 60’s by making the audience part of Marvel."

According to TQ Jefferson, VP of Games Production at Marvel, the game won't launch with just a top-ten list of characters to play. "The Marvel Universe MMO is going to launch with more characters than any Marvel game to date," he said. "It’s not just going to be the top ten or twelve characters, it’s going to be a monster list of characters."

Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Squirrel Girl and Nova were a few of the heroes mentioned.

But given Marvel's huge audience, it's surprising that the subscription-based model was ditched for free-to-play. "We’re really going to turn the MMO world on its head," said Gazillion president and CEO David Brevik. "This [is being] designed as a free play game from the ground up, which is a very different approach most people are taking these days. We really want to make this a legitimate experience, a compelling experience."

To see the press event in its entirety (it's about 1:26:00 in length), Marvel saved a copy for your viewing pleasure here.

  • Raid3r
    Good idea.
  • tehTyrant
    So by being F2P... pretty much taking the point that it's going to suck. And like F2P if you REALLY want to play the game, you're going to have to pay anyway. Don't understand why people are afraid of paying a monthly payment when they probably or will be dropping more money on whatever gimmick the employ to get you to have to pay.

    I'll pass.
  • fyasko
    David Brevik left blizzard? that's why D3 has a WOW-feel.
  • boogien8
    It could have good entertainment value even for FTP. There's plenty of games that are good examples of FTP where you absolutely can get away with just playing for free. They have events and stuff that give you items you would normally pay for. I hope this turns out good, I can see if they employ it the way tanks, scouts,wizard type and healers could be employed via marvel characters.
  • NuclearShadow
    I don't think F2P MMO's are a certainty of them being poor, nor does a P2P MMO mean its going to be good. My position on the issue is that ever since the original EverQuest massive success for its time everyone wanted to a piece of the pie. This created two attitudes one being the positive one that they want as much gamers as possible by trying to make the best quality game they could (Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft as examples) and then the ones that just want to rush believing it will lead to massive profits. (Asheron’s Call 2,Age of Conan) In-fact notice that all listed are/were P2P. The F2P concept profiting through a item-shop certainly does not spell doom for the quality while not being such WoW was more of leaning towards it before it was released. The majority of MMORPG's quality is poor P2P or F2P but there are profits and advantages of being F2P and its only a matter of time before we see more quality ones make the shift from release.
  • mikepaul
    Dragon Age Legends is 'free to play' on Facebook, but only if you wait forever for stuff to be crafted, and if you skip any customization that needs 'crowns', like extra crafting spots in existing rooms.

    There needs to be short jargon for "free to play without sacrificing anything" that can be used, or, perhaps, not used when 'free to play' is all you're going to get...
  • pirateboy
    free to play mostly should be called "free to pay" ... meaning you only get the real experience after you've payed
  • Burodsx
    Well I never really was amazed with Marvel games anyhow. I might actually try it with it being free.
  • TheWhiteRose000
    Free to Play?
    Hang out with Iron Man?


    I'm Totally there!
    *Sits anxiously and awaits it's release.*
  • EvanBGood
    The interesting thing is that lots of F2P games are becoming more profitable than the regular monthly subscription style games (WoW excluded, of course). For example, Lord of the Rings Online's profits exploded after they created a free-to-play model and converted their monthly system to a "VIP" system. It's tricky to do correctly, though. F2P games welcome hackers, gold farmers, and every other kind of unsavory internet type, while a lot of them are, in truth, "free to play, unless you want to ACTUALLY do anything". A good security and player management system combined with a system that gives paying players more fun or enjoyment, but not an overwhelming advantage, seem to be key.

    As for Marvel... ehhhh... We'll see. DC Universe Online left a lot to be desired, and in general, I feel like MMORPGs are starting to hit the point of over-saturation. It's going to take something special to be a success, no matter how "free" it is.