Image copyright Gazillion Entertainment 2017
It’s been a rough state of affairs for Marvel-themed games the past few years.
Since last year, no fewer than four Marvel games have come to an abrupt end, sometimes for reasons relating to the change in the industry’s direction, and sometimes, because Disney has stepped in to stop proceedings.
The most recent entry in this list is the free-to-play Marvel Heroes MMO game, a product of a Gazillion Entertainment and Disney collaboration.
As reported by Kotaku, Disney themselves have pulled the plug on the game, which is due to come to an end around the end of the year.
The game is akin to Diablo or Path of Exile, in that players can jump into gameplay with a character from a roster of dozens of well-known and beloved Marvel heroes and villains, with Marvel Heroes offering players the choice of nearly any character to play from start for free.
You can play the game as normal, levelling up your character to level 10, and to choose a new character, or progress past the level 10 level cap, you can opt to purchase the items you liked.
Marvel Heroes launched on PC in 2013 and was subsequently ported to Xbox One and Playstation 4 earlier this year as the rebranded Marvel Heroes Omega.
It is known that all three versions of the game; both console versions and the original PC version, will be affected by the announcement.
A representative form Disney made the announcement saying;
“We regret to inform our Marvel Heroes fans that we have ended our relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that the Marvel Heroes game will be shut down.
We would like to sincerely thank the players who joined the Marvel Heroes community, and will provide any further updates as they become available.”
When the game originally launched back in 2013, there was a cast of 21 playable characters from Marvel‘s expansive catalogue, with names including Captain America, Iron-Man, Wolverine, Deadpool and more. As updates came and went, new characters such as Groot, Black Bolt, Gambit, Star-Lord, and more, as well as new costumes, non-playable character allies, and items coinciding with various Marvel-related movie and TV releases.
The game featured locations from the comics such as the Raft, Latveria, and Asgard, as well as New York City.
The game had a script that was written by comic-book royalty in Brian Michael Bendis and had a story that revolved around Doctor Doom obtaining the Cosmic Cube and killing off the Watcher. Meanwhile, a prison break at the Raft unleashed hordes of supervillains. Hydra, A.I.M., Mr Sinister and several other of Marvel‘s sinister forces also make their presence known throughout the game.
The climax sees Doctor Doom reveal himself to be the puppet master controlling each of these various factions.
Later add-ons introduced players to the Skrull invasion and even teased the appearance of Thanos into the game.
Fans had feared for Marvel Heroes’ future though, as, over the past few weeks, Gazillion missed four planned updates and the annual Hallowe’en event never materialised. A Thor: Ragnarok tie-in update that was scheduled for a release at the end of October went unreleased, too.
Gazillion made an official statement through the Marvel Heroes official Twitter account stating how;
“We’re sad to inform our players and our entire Marvel Heroes family that Omega will be shutting down.
The Marvel Heroes servers will stay on until Dec 31, 2017, and we’ll be removing real money purchases as soon as possible.
Players will be able to play the game entirely for free once this sunset period commences…
We’ve had the privilege of entertaining and collaborating with our players for over four years.
We’re extremely humbled by that privilege and wanted to get this message out: Thank you.”
Marvel Heroes remained one of the few places outside of the comics where characters from all corners of the Marvel universe could interact, undisturbed by the whole licensing drama that plagues the live-action movies, TV series, and new games that come out.
In the past 18 months, Marvel-based video games such as the mobile/Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance and it’s sequel were closed down last year. Earlier this year, the largely popular Disney Infinity franchise was brought to an end, which featured Marvel characters within their 2.0 game. Marvel Heroes is the latest to face the Disney chopping block.
Understandably, fans who purchased packs since the announcement are demanding a refund from Gazillion, and, for a lot of the claims, refunds are reportedly being granted. Gazillion‘s only other game that they produced was a Dexter themed mobile game titled Dexter: Slice.