This seems a little like spotting three magpies on the lawn and ringing everyone you know to tell them they’re going to die, but maybe there’s something in it. Has Marvel Universe Online, the next project from City of Heroes developers Cryptic, gone the way of Jean Grey?* 1-Up presents its case for the prosecution here, with a worrying list of (mostly circumstantial) evidence to support it. With a year since the game’s official announcement and nary a whiff of a screenshot since (the pic above is from button-mashing pseudo-RPG Marvel Ultimate Alliance), no reply from Cryptic to a direct “whuddup?” and one too many situations where they’ve avoided even mentioning the Spidey’n’chums MMO, there’s probably something going on. I’d guess that we won’t be seeing the game any time soon – really, how many MMOs do ship in a timely fashion, at least with all the stuff they promised they’d have at launch? – but actual cancellation of a project Microsoft and Marvel alike are doubtless willing to throw sacks’o’cash at seems hugely unlikely. A release date wasn’t ever given in the first place, so even shouting ‘delay!’ would be a reach.
I hope MUO is in fine health, at any rate, as this is one ememoharrpeegee I’m quite excited about. I’m a partially-reformed Marvel geek and, though it got too samey too soon for me, City of Heroes is the MMO I’ve had the most amount of fun in by a long shot. One day, I’ll post crazy fanfic about my own character, The Entomologist, on here. Then you’ll be sorry.
Still, it’d a toughie to think how MUO could be done right. You can’t have 800 Professor Xs running (or rolling, I guess) about, so the logical approach is creating your own bespoke hero and having the dubious pleasure of chatting to an oddly stationary Charles Xavier NPC whenever you want to level up or buy a new hat or something. So, if this is taking longer than hoped to develop, I really hope it’s simply so that Cryptic have longer to come up with something that doesn’t demean Marvel characters by letting Freddie Fratboy play Doctor Strange as as foul-mouthed teabagger, but does allow players to interact with them meaningfully.** Or, ideally, so that there’s a way I can play as J. Jonah Jameson. How do you think Marvel Universe Online should be done, noble blogchums?
Oh, and here’s the “crap, we haven’t actually made anything yet. Quick, render some CGI!” teaser trailer from last year, in case you missed it.
Thanks, Gametrailers! Bet you look good in spandex.
*By which I mean if it is dead now, it almost certainly won’t be by this time next year.
** How about a mini-game in which you try and drink Tony Stark under the table?