Marvel Entertainment, publishers of a wide array of comic books such as Spider-Man
, and The Hulk
, has announced that it has settled its suit with NCsoft and Cryptic Studios, respective publisher and developer of superhero-themed MMORPG City of Heroes
. The lawsuit, first filed
over a year ago, originated over Marvel's complaints that the game's robust character creation toolkit allowed users to violate Marvel superhero copyrights with lookalike characters and powers.
Though copyright violation is forbidden in the City of Heroes
terms of service, Marvel sought to protect its intellectual property in order to prepare for the coming launch of its own MMORPG
, to be published by Microsoft in 2007, and due to compete against a DC Comics MMO in development at Sony Online Entertainment and also due out somewhere in that timeframe.
Marvel and NCsoft did not disclose terms of the settlement, but the result appears to allow NCsoft's games -- both City of Heroes
and City of Villains
, the expansion released in the interim -- to proceed unhindered, allowing players to create characters as they wish, without physical restrictions on what characters look like.
A statement released by NCsoft says that "...no changes to City of Heroes
or City of Villains
character creation engine are part of the settlement. The parties have agreed that protecting intellectual property rights is critically important and each will continue aggressively to protect such rights in accordance with all applicable laws. […] All parties agree that this case was never about monetary issues and that the fans of their respective products and characters are the winners in this settlement."