Shane Kim, the head of Microsoft Games Studio, has confirmed the cancellation of the planned MMO based on the Marvel Comics universe.
In an interview with MTV Multiplayer, Kim said, “I’ll confirm. Marvel and we have agreed to end development on the MMO. It was an amicable decision…. It’s just something that we felt that, for us and for them, it would be better if we ended development. Which is disappointing, because that had a lot of promise. But sometimes you have to make these decisions.”
Originally announced in 2005, the MMO has been beset by rumors of cancellation in November 2007, due to possible technical problems. The studio in charge, Cryptic, was supposed to be taking over the recently canceled Star Trek MMO.
“When we first entered into the development and agreement of the development of Marvel Universe Online, we thought we would create another subscription-based MMO.” Kim said. “And if you really look at the data there’s basically one that’s successful and everything else wouldn’t meet our level or definition of commercial success. And then you have to look [and say]: ‘Can we change the business model for that? Is that really viable given how far we are in development? And so forth. Does Marvel want to do that?’ There’s a whole bunch of factors.”
Kim also stated that, despite the cancellation of True Fantasy Live Online also occurring during his tenure, that he was not against the notion of greenlighting a new MMORPG, “if the right opportunity came along.”
While EA’s Marvel fighting game was also abandoned, new Spiderman and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance games are in the works, along with the requisite movie tie-in in the form of Iron Man, slated for release with the 2008 film of the same name.