Marvel Heroes could be shut down early as Gazillion lets go of most of its staff

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Despite relaunches, countless updates, a massive roster of superheroes and villains, and its recent move to consoles, Marvel Heroes is being shut down. Disney and developers Gazillion had announced last week that they were dissolving their partnership, and that servers would go quiet on December 31. Today, only a couple of days before Thanksgiving, staff were “let go”, and Marvel Heroes may now cease to exist tomorrow.

An ex-employee shared a termination letter from Gazillion’s CEO with MassivelyOP which claimed that creditors decided to make them shut down the studio early, forcing Gazillion to let go of almost all staff without severance or benefits. Since then, more ex-employees have taken to Twitter to confirm that they’ve been let go without paid time off, and that their medical insurance will run out in eight days.

While the initial shutdown date was December 31, the letter also explains that Marvel directed the developer to close the doors earlier. At the time of writing, December 31 is still the date given on the official site.

This is obviously horrible for many reasons, not least of which that it’s Marvel — astronomically successful and wealthy Marvel — who seem to have forced Gazillion to shed almost all of its staff right before a major US holiday and only a month before any even bigger one.

It looks like staff were working on new content even as Disney were planning to dissolve the partnership. Game designer Brian Waggoner shared some of the things the team was working on before they were let go.

We’ve reached out to Gazillion to clarify when, exactly, the plug will be pulled on Marvel Heroes.

12 Comments

  1. wombat191 says:

    Wow that’s a crappy thing to do to both employees and players

  2. Inu says:

    I was happy they finally let the suffering creature that is Marvel Heroes die.

    But this just seems wrong.

  3. Snargelfargen says:

    I gave the game a shot this summer, but was turned off by the way instances were handled (dozens of players milling about in the same zone as opposed to Diablo 3’s smaller grouped adventuring) and the preponderance of in-game currencies. I think there were ten different currencies? It was confusing.

    In any case, it gave the impression of a game that had been through the wringer. Sad that the staff have been ditched with no warning or care taken. They have probably been through development hell already.

    • malkav11 says:

      It was actually one of the most aggressively improved games I’ve ever played. It was in a dire, dire state at launch and inside six months it was my favorite ARPG and they kept making it better at an incredibly rapid clip all the way into last year. And then things just kind of stopped, possibly to pour the development effort into the abortive console version (which did launch but only a few months ago and is dying with the PC version), possibly just due to internal difficulties, or poor management on the part of the new people in charge. Right now it’s hard to say. Perhaps there will be some sort of post-mortem journalism about it at some point.

      Also I appreciated the regular mixing of players. Diablo 3 is for me a 100% singleplayer game where I’ve never had any need to interact with another human being nor been expected to, yet it’s still always online. At least Marvel Heroes’ design actually justifies the server requirement.

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    Aerothorn says:

    So can we actually pin this on Disney? Is Gazillion owned by Marvel in some way? I am all for hating on Disney but I’m not sure what the connection is here, unless the argument is that Disney was obligated to extend the contract for a couple months just to keep people paid (presumably it’s not their fault if Gazillion mismanaged their own finances to the point of bankruptcy? Or maybe it is their fault, but I’m not seeing any sources cited in this story?)

  5. Spacewalk says:

    When you’ve got Batman wearing red staff layoffs are the least of your problems.

  6. NihlusGreen says:

    One day, when the contract ends, Battlefront will also be shutdown.

  7. KidWithKnife says:

    It seems a bit naive to me to take Gazillion’s CEO at his word about Marvel forcing the early shutdown. I’m pretty sure you guys are aware of the issues surrounding this guy.

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