New massively multiplayer online game publisher and developer Gazillion Entertainment has emerged from stealth mode, revealing its ownership of formerly independent MMO studios including NetDevil and Slipgate Ironworks, and announcing it has signed a worldwide agreement with Marvel Entertainment to make a MMO based on the Marvel Comics universe.
At one point, Microsoft planned to publish a Marvel MMO, but the project was cancelled early last year
for still unspecified reasons. Developed by City of Heroes
creator Cryptic Studios, the game formed the basis of the forthcoming Champions Online
The new title from Gazillion will be developed by wholly owned Californian studio Gargantuan, which was founded this year. Little else is known about the developer or the game, which is not due until after 2010.
The first game to result from Gazillion's 10-year licensed deal will be the more child-friendly Marvel Super Hero Squad
in 2010, by Washington State developer Amazing Society. As with other Marvel video games, the MMO will be licensed separately to the previously announced Super Hero Squad game from THQ
Privately-held Gazillion, previously known as NR2B Research, has a number of separate development studios under its wings. According to VentureBeat, the company acquired Lego Universe developer NetDevil back in 2008
Gazillion’s other wholly owned studios include Slipgate Ironworks, founded by original id Software designer John Romero. First announced in 2006, the San Francisco-area Slipgate is working on an unrevealed MMO using an original intellectual property.
The final studio under Gazillion's wing is SmartyCard, whose eponymous online educational game offers virtual rewards to children from sources such as iTunes, Webkinz, Stardoll and Bella Sara. That technology is expected to be used across multiple Gazillion titles.