Unlike SOE's DC Universe Online, Marvel Entertainment is taking a surprising approach to the MMO genre with the upcoming release of Marvel Heroes. Using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, the game will be Diablo-like in appearance with its isometric view, but offer the free to play model with in-game item purchasing.
"Marvel Heroes marks a new era in gaming for us," stated TQ Jefferson, Vice President of Games at Marvel. "For fans to actually become their favorite heroes in an original storyline, explore iconic Marvel landscapes and combat some of the most dangerous villains in a shared experience is unbelievably compelling."
Marvel Heroes is currently in development at Gazillion Entertainment and features a storyline penned by Brian Michael Bendis, author of Ultimate Spider-Man, New Avengers, Secret Invasion and others. The storyline is inspired by some of the more popular stores in the Marvel Universe, the developer said.
According to Gazillion, player characters will be based on popular heroes including Iron Man, Thor, Storm. Black Widow, and even some of the lesser known heroes like Cable and Squirrel Girl. Players will use the base model to customize their own character by altering the costume, selecting powers from a specific skill set, adding items and more.
"In the game’s social areas, including Midtown Manhattan and the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, players can meet up with other players, discover missions, and buy items from legendary Marvel characters," Gazillion said on Tuesday. "While pursuing missions, players will explore such famous Marvel landscapes as the Savage Land, Hell’s Kitchen and Mutant Town."
So far other characters listed on the Marvel Heroes roster includes Deadpool, Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, Thing, Ms. Marvel, Cyclops and The Hulk. The roster will eventually consist of Marvel's more than 8,000 superheroes and villains.
"I've been a big Marvel fan for all of my life," said David Brevik, President of Gazillion Entertainment and creator of PC games Diablo and Diablo 2. "Marvel Heroes represents the combination of Marvel IP with all of the knowledge and experience I gained creating Diablo."
That said, expect Marvel Heroes to feature the energy of an action role-playing game combined with the breadth and immersion of the MMO genre. However so far there's no word on a release date, so stay tuned.
Update: Marvel Heroes will not be making an appearance next month at E3 2012, but will instead make its first public debut at San Diego Comic-Con in July.