Oh My: Marvel Heroes MMO Sounds Superb

Isn’t this just like Marvel? DC puts the weight of an entire movie on one hero, and Marvel fires back with six (seven, if you count Hulk twice – which you should). Then DC shows off an excellent-looking Lego beat ’em up with 50 heroes, and Marvel rains on its superpowered parade with 8,000 of its own. That’s Marvel Heroes in a nutshell. Actually, no it’s not. Marvel Heroes in a nutshell is “Diablo II – not Diablo III – slipping into spandex and fighting crime after being bitten by a radioactive MMO.” Also, you’re not playing as some lawsuit-baiting Wolverine wannabe. Rather, you can swap between big names and lesser-known defenders of, er, whatever Squirrel Girl defends on the fly. Get it? Fly. That’s a thing superheroes do.

First up, the gist, straight from Secret Identity Studios, which is, promisingly, headed up by former Blizzard North co-founder David Brevik:

“Drawing upon the 8,000-plus heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe, Marvel Heroes allows players to become their favorite Marvel Super Heroes – from the popular Iron Man, Thor, Storm and Black Widow to the lesser known Squirrel Girl and Cable. Fans will be able to completely customize their characters by constructing costumes taken from each hero’s rich history, choosing from a huge array of super powers for each character, and finding thousands of other items.”

So that sounds nice, but obviously, in practice it could be a total disaster. IGN, however, got to quiz Brevik and co about the smaller strokes of this almost unbelievably big picture, and there’s definitely promise here. While the jury’s still out on how swapping between (once you’ve collected them) every hero ever will work, Marvel Heroes’ approach to traditional MMO structure sounds like something I can get behind. The short version? No more chores.

“We want this game to be less about having a giant to-do list of missions and more about pursuing a heroic task and having smaller stuff that you discover along the way,” said studio director Jeff Lind. Brevik then cited the “Christmas tree effect” quest hubs in other MMOs present, saying that Heroes will instead be “very much like Diablo II where you had a bunch of quests that led you along the path and told a story.”

The story, meanwhile, will be told through fully voiced comic book sequences and written by, among others, the absurdly prolific Brian Michael Bendis. And apparently, Deadpool will make “you died of dysentery” jokes when party members bite the big one, because Deadpool.

So then, Marvel Heroes sounds very impressive on paper. Admittedly, its first few weeks will probably look more like World of Yep-Everyone’s-Wolverine-Craft, but I can’t say I often get excited about superhero games or MMOs. Heroes, honestly, has me feeling pretty good about both. But, for those of you who don’t take my opinion as Gospel from on high (say, due to some crippling mental disorder), here’s a trailer.


  1. RF says:

    I didn’t know what to say for this one.

    “Oh, look, another hack’n’slash.”
    “Oh, look, another MMO.”
    “Oh, look, another bad franchise tie in.”

    • kukouri says:

      If it works, it works. Give me Strawberryshort Cake MMO’s if they play well. NFL, Powerpuff Girls, Pepsi One the MMO, I care not, is it a good game, does it play well and do I get enjoyment out of it is all that matters.

      Check that video. Your logic would go something like this:
      “Oh look another bad cartoon tie in to Marvel”

      • Wreckdum says:

        Oh boy that cartoon just made my day. =D

      • Dianoga says:

        That was awesome.

      • siegarettes says:

        Thank you for that!

        I especially love the cameo at the end by [SPOILERS].

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    • -Spooky- says:

      “Oh!! LOOK! Marvel Ultimate Alliance in MMO?! – YES! YES! GIEF!”

      • Baines says:

        Except it might not be X-Men Legends/Marvel Ultimate Alliance in an MMO. Everything I’ve read so far is focusing on the Diablo connection and comparison.

    • Jerakal says:

      You should really consider whether or not you want to eat:
      “1 dick”
      “2 dicks”
      “All the dicks.”
      You pessimistic shitstain.

  2. G says:

    I wish Cable was half man half cable. Imagine the possibilities. Much more interesting than some mutant from an apocalyptic future.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Someone like that was in one of the more recent cable comics.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Actually Cable used to be an interesting character on his own. Then they had his biggest nemesis killed off. Then in a crossover with Cable’s alternate universe twin, they killed off his second biggest nemesis. Then, having killed off Cable’s equivalent of The Joker and Two Face and realizing that Cable desperately needed a foil who wasn’t a threat to the rest of the world, they paired him with Deadpool. Which, even if you are aware of the fact that Deadpool started off as a supporting character in Cable’s comic, worked surprisingly well for quite a while.

      Cable’s main problem is that he’s more or less Mutant Jesus here to save the world from villains powerful enough to threaten the world by themselves who also happen to have close personal ties to Cable himself for one reason or another. This is a problem because when you keep killing said villains, Cable eventually doesn’t have anything left to do. Un-killing them to go another round just serves to throw a spotlight on the problem. That’s why Cable so desperately needs Deadpool (because Deadpool makes Cable’s life interesting without threatening the world), and Deadpool is very, very willing to serve as Cable’s foil.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        So yeah, I used to be a big comic nerd.

      • Redsplinter says:

        Also, Cable raised Hope Summers, who is so powerful she exploded Cerebro by being born.

      • Dan Lowe says:

        The Cable/Hope storyline from just a couple of years ago was still one of the better arcs in any sci-fi medium I’ve read in awhile, especially comic books, for that exact reason. He was travelling through time to hide from other time travelers, moving in and out of when his enemies were alive or not, or in alternate histories (even causing them) where they existed or hadn’t even existed, and the main villain during the story followed him through that, dealing with all the consequences of having history redone, undone, etc. as a means of slowing his pursuit down.

        It was one of the few times that I thought Marvel would actually acknowledge what has been for decades an absurd strategy: kill your characters so you can use other characters or introduce new characters, because you can always unkill them. I had thought they were going to make the X-Men universe a meta-analysis of superhero comic book writing, embracing the inconsistencies and lack of consequences as the sort of shit that happens in an imaginative multi-dimensional, super powered universe. Where it is not so much arbitrary that characters die (or are born into particular timelines), but that this arbitrariness is just the surface of a much more complex and interesting universe of apparent but perhaps not literal paradoxes — a Gödelian sandbox for the rest of us.

        Except they didn’t do that, and after Hope got back to the present (OR DID SHE!1? /COMICBOOK SPOILER UNDO), they moved onto the 1 or 2 book at a time overly simplistic conflicts, and I haven’t read comic books since. Though I would love for anyone to recommend I do otherwise if there is something better out there.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          “but that this arbitrariness is just the surface of a much more complex and interesting universe of apparent but perhaps not literal paradoxes — a Gödelian sandbox for the rest of us.

          Except they didn’t do that”

          Because the real reason for it is the fact that some editors are just jackasses with no taste or respect for their predecessors.

          The essential problem with current continuity is the way editors are in charge. To keep things consistent across a whole “universe” you either need the same writing team doing everything (as Stan Lee + Kirby and/or Ditko did once) or you need editors to keep track of both what’s happening and planning for a year or two in the future. Any “permanent” change that comes to any character is an “Event” by definition, because the editors have to work it into the publishing schedule instead of a story or character arc. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even if continuity mistakes are made (which can be forgiven) until someone decides to deliberately alter major events in the past that blatantly contradict important character development.

          Killing off a beloved character can be done well. Resurrecting that character later (or saying they faked their death or whatever) can also be done well. Permanently messing with characters’ powers can also be done well. Major twists revealing characters were not who you thought they were can be done well. And if any of these things are done without respecting the original intentions of previous writers and editors or the perspective of the ever-dwindling audience: that’s not doing it well.

      • Orija says:

        Thanks for reminding me not to read anything from DC and Marvel.

        • MadTinkerer says:

          They do put out some good stuff despite the problems I described. It’s best to stick with titles that are as far removed from what might become a movie or drafted into serving This Summer’s Big Event as possible. Limited series such as Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. or ongoing series that avoid being serious such as She Hulk, and so on.

          Though sometimes the Big Events are good. Sometimes even very good. Right up until the point where they arbitrarily decide Infinite Crisis never happened but Final Crisis did. So… yeah, just stay away from the big events.

          • Dan Lowe says:

            The Silver Surfer 4-part mini-series was an example. It was excellent sci-fi perspective, regardless of being a comic book.

  3. Secundus says:

    can i play as MF DOOM. thats a marvel character rigjtht

  4. Nim says:

    How many MMOs are there?!

    • stahlwerk says:

      All of them.

    • Rublore says:

      New MMO idea:
      You play as a small MMO trying to find your place in a world populated by MMOs. Ruled from on high by WOW, the land comes under attack from an invading force of Free-To-Play games.
      Fight them back to gain subscribers (xp) and glory (press)!

      • pilouuuu says:

        New MMO idea: You are an MMO and you try to fight against single-player games that try to disguise them as MMOs.

    • -Spooky- says:

      Try this: How many GOOD MMO are out their? ;)

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Peggles upon Peggles.

  5. apocraphyn says:

    Sounds…interesting. And looks like an isometric ARPG? ARPGs tied to the internet definitely seem to be flavour of the month, at the moment. (Also, Deadpool.)

    Edit: Champions Online was initially meant to be ‘Marvel Online’ or whatever initially, wasn’t it? I guess these are the new torchbearers.

    • JohnnyThinMint says:

      Champions Online was based on the pen and paper rpg Champions, and it had no ties to Marvel.

      • Twoflower says:

        Actually, the game was originally designed as Marvel Universe Online. But Marvel pulled out, leaving Cryptic with an engine and assets and nothing to do with it, so they applied the Champions IP to it instead and pushed it out the door.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

  6. Vexing Vision says:

    I have three things to say, and all of them relate to Gazillion: No, No and No.

    You might want to look them up. If there’s ever any games publisher with a more creepy background than EA, Activision and Kickstarter together, it’s them.

    • stahlwerk says:

      ooo, care to elaborate?

      On a related note, is this the same as that? link to rockpapershotgun.com

      • Shuck says:

        Same company, different game.

        Also curious why it’s a “creepy” studio, and I know quite a lot about it. Is it because “former Blizzard North co-founder David Brevik” is also “former Hellgate developer David Brevik”? Or because it’s funded by a Chinese online game company? The whole “NetDevil” debacle?

  7. NyuBomber says:

    I was worried when they were calling it an MMO (read: WoW clone), but it looks WAY more like a Diablo-esque Action RPG to me.

    Which is absolutely a 100% confidence booster, because of some little game series called X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. If this continues to be in the spirit and gameplay of those, I’ll be on board (rocking Squirrel Girl, for she is unbeatable. It’s canon.)

  8. xcopy says:

    I say this as a gamer and comic geek: Please be good! Please be good! Please be good!

  9. Morph says:

    But Cable and Squirrel Girl aren’t obscure! Are they?

    • NyuBomber says:

      Cable’s less so thanks to Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and the various cartoon series (not to mention the stellar Cable & Deadpool series), but he’s still obscure in comparison to a lot of bigger names.

      And Squirrel Girl is even lower down the pop culture renown pole. Doesn’t take away from their awesomeness…they’re just obscure. :)

      • Jackablade says:

        Squirrel Girl huh. It’s not quite up there with Wolverine in the superheroes inspired by rodents stakes, is it?

  10. Hatsworth says:

    Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is what I want. It’s even on Vita at this point :/.

  11. Jupiah says:

    Holy crap, innovation in the action-rpg genre? Letting you collect dozens or hundreds of characters, customize them all individually and swap between them at will in-game sounds incredible. I’m just imagining seeing that in a Diablo game. That champion too strong and kicking your barbarian’s butt? Swap out the sorceror and whale on him with ranged attacks.

    Separating looks and stats with a costume system also sounds pretty cool.

    • mckertis says:

      Basically its a Marvel Ultimate Alliance -clone -type game. MUA was actually pretty good, except very hard to play on PC as it had huge problems with USB gamepads.

    • Malk_Content says:

      I think that essentially is what DarkSpore tried to achieve, then they weighed it down with pre-order bullshit to the tune of “if you pre-order start with 3 characters who are better than anyone you’ll collect in game.” The idea with that was a bit more constrained I guess, as you chose a roster of three interchangeable heroes for each mission.

  12. Bhazor says:

    Oh Dead Pool, you are so random!

    If he doesn’t do this I’m gonna be so sad.

    • siegarettes says:

      I love that. I also love that before the game came out, a whole bunch of people were throwing around interesting ideas for Deadpool’s moves. Ya know, he should totally do that shoryuken, beat people unconscious with their health bars etc.

      Yup. They pretty much all made it in.

  13. rustybroomhandle says:

    Squirrel Girl is too OP to play well with others. Still awesome though. All my nuts are belong to Squirrel Girl.

    • lowprices says:

      Damn, you beat me to the ‘Squirrel Girl is OP” comment. I tip my imaginary hat to you sir. Or madam.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        Her OPness is undeniable. Avengers take a frickin holiday!

        • lowprices says:

          So where’s HER Joss Whedon film? That’s what I want to know. And while I’m on the subject, where’s the Deadpool film? The one that doesn’t turn him into Mutant X?

          • rustybroomhandle says:

            It’s an injustice I tell you. We need someone to set things right and restore order.

            This is a job for…

            JUDGE JUDY!

          • lowprices says:

            You lost me there. Who’s Judge Judy?

            Edit: Just checked. Not what I was expecting.

  14. Lemming says:

    This is actually a very shrewd idea. Instead of skills, you have hundreds of heroes with unique ones. Brilliant! Looking forward to seeing more on this develop.

  15. MadTinkerer says:

    As long as the current editing staff of the comics are kept far away, with cattle prods if necessary, I will be looking forward to this. (I gave up comics in 2008, right as a few very infamous story lines began in both the Marvel and DC universes. Both companies have yet to give me a reason to regret my decision.)

    Also: Doom has the Cosmic Cube? Again!?! Well okay, as long as it’s not the only big story hook.

  16. Love Albatross says:

    How are they going to handle the different abilities? You can have the standard punching and ranged attacks for, say, Wolverine and Cyclops. But what about someone like Multiple Man, or Longshot? Would he just have standard melee attacks or are they actually going to make use of his ‘luck’ powers?

    Suspect it’ll be a lot of reskins with the same attack set.

  17. aliksy says:

    MMO Requirement checklist:
    Dynamic grouping
    Level scaling/sidekicking to play with friends easily
    No “kill x of y” “quests”

    For extra credit:
    No “save us from $badthing!” quests where the world does not change upon completion.

    In order for me to actually play it:
    No subscription fee.

    How many of these will this actually have?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Doesn’t ‘saving the world from X’ mean you’re preserving the status quo anyway?

  18. skyturnedred says:

    Looks a lot like X-Men Legends, which isn’t a bad thing.

  19. leokhorn says:

    If only we could get a “Freedom Force”-like in the Marvel universe.

    • Grygus says:

      Hmm. I felt like one of the strengths of Freedom Force was that it wasn’t in an established universe, so you could make up your own stuff more easily. Never did finish those games, but had a great time just designing new heroes.

      • leokhorn says:

        Being able to create heroes was great, but I also liked the slow-paced tactical action too. The latter would still work with premade heroes I believe. That said, a Diablo-like experience with superheroes, as suggested here, is still quite intriguing.

  20. Garoshi says:

    i loved the two original MUA games, if this is anything like those i think it has promise

  21. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Is it obligatory for every game studio to have an ex-Blizzard employee? Feels like it’s half the industry these days…

  22. CheesyJelly says:

    I’m excited. Because Deadpool.

  23. Highstorm says:

    So it looks like an aRPG (and even references Diablo), but is an MMO.

    Isn’t that exactly what Diablo 3 is then? The MMO parts being all the things that are most hated about it?

  24. Spider Jerusalem says:

    this just makes me want a new marvel ultimate alliance game.

    or more deadpool. i just want deadpool.

  25. celozzip says:

    just checked it out. sorry guys, it’s writen by brian michael bendis. you know the 40-something man who writes every character like a snarky teenage girl. no thanks.

  26. Jerakal says:

    Deadpool confirmed for party member?
    It’s like Diablo 2?
    I may already be sold.

  27. Dizzard says:

    Is this actually an mmo? Some are saying it’s more like Diablo…

    I like the idea of being able to create your own crime fighting squad from 8000 heroes. It’s like pokemon with superheroes instead. :p

    It still seems pretty confusing and unclear though. :S

  28. Jimbo says:

    “So that sounds nice, but obviously, in practice it could be a total disaster.”

    Hmmm, could it be somewhere in between?

  29. ffordesoon says: