Comic giant Marvel Entertainment is reported to be looking into increasing its role in the development of future videogames based on its properties.
According to a report in Develop Magazine, "multiple independent sources" have said that the company wants to become involved in the development process beyond simply licensing its characters to other companies. Two in-production titles based on Marvel properties have recently hit snags: Rumors of cancellation have swirled around the Marvel Universe Online MMOG project, while a Marvel-based fighting game was a victim of the EA Chicago closure. Their impact upon Marvel's future actions is unclear, although the report indicates that discussions of "closer ties with studios" were taking place in private prior to these events.
The company has recently hired former Sega and LucasArts executive Justin Lambros as vice president of interactive at Marvel Studios and executive producer of future Marvel-based games, and has also advertised for someone experienced with "the management of content development and/or interactive publishing business" and "interactive or online casual gaming planning and deployment."
A move toward direct involvement in the development and publishing of videogames would not be without precedent: The company launched Marvel Studios, its movie division, to give it control over the production of Marvel-based movies.