Gazillion and Marvel have revealed some new details regarding the upcoming MMO, Marvel Universe Online. And they’re pretty doggone shocking. In short: this won’t be anything like DC Universe Online. At all.
A good thing?
First of all, MUO will be free to play. Yes, that’s what I said. Totally free. Which is pretty darn unprecedented for a game that’s rumored to be in development for both PC and Xbox 360. Typically, “free to play” equates to Flash/Facebook kind of stuff. And Marvel Universe Online is certainly a much bigger and more ambitious project than that. I’m sure they’ll find ways of monetizing the game — in-game ads, in-game items you can purchase, etc. But the core gameplay will be free, and that’s surprising as all get out.
The other big surprise? You’ll play as a real Marvel character. Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor; you can play as any Marvel character you like. The logistics of this decision have yet to be explained, and seems problematic on the surface, since multiple players will want to play as big-name heroes like Spider-Man and Wolverine. DCUO skirted this issue by having you play as a new hero of your own making, alongside their established characters like Superman and Batman. For MUO, you won’t have any customization options, because you’ll simply pick a Marvel hero and start playing. (No word yet on if you’ll get to play as a villain.)
Marvel superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis is writing the game’s script, and basing it on current comics storylines, though Gazillion says that his ideas will merely propel the basic direction of the game. What happens and how these stories are resolved, is entirely up to players. Marvel fans will essentially create their own continuity based on well-known scenarios.
One last detail: Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom will be the game’s main antagonist.
Marvel Universe Online currently has no release date.