The end of Marvel Heroes, which is also known as Marvel Heroes 2016 and Marvel Heroes Omega, is now set in stone, as Disney announced that it's shutting down the Diablo-style MMO based on the Marvel franchise.
As to why the online game met an untimely end, it's not because of a dwindling user base, per se. Rather, it's because Marvel and Disney had to cut ties with the developer Gazillion Entertainment.
Broken Relations Resulted In 'Marvel Heroes' Demise
In an email to Kotaku, a Marvel representative explained why Marvel Heroes is being closed down.
"We regret to inform our Marvel Heroes fans that we have ended our relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that the Marvel Heroes games will be shut down. We would like to sincerely thank the players who joined the Marvel Heroes community, and will provide any further updates as they become available," they wrote.
However, it doesn't really say much beyond that. In other words, it's unclear why the relationship with the studio behind Marvel Heroes had to end. There's even no comment on exactly when the MMO will go offline for good.
To no one's surprise, there's also no word regarding the future of the game, whether it'll be continued under a new name with a different developer or not. That one is a bit of a stretch, though. No one in their right mind will shut down a game and announce a new one in the same sentence, after all.
By "further updates," Marvel presumably means how Marvel Heroes will go out with a bang.
Marvel Heroes is a free-to-play MMO that rolled out to the PC in 2013, and it was ported to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017.
It features a wide range of playable Marvel characters, and it's not just the more popular ones such as Iron Man, The Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Thor, and Captain America but also lesser known characters such as Squirrel Girl, Magik, and Moon Knight — but the matter of knowing or not knowing them ultimately depends on the fan, of course.
The End Was Seen Coming From A Mile Away
According to Kotaku, two former Gazillion Entertainment employees and one who's still currently onboard confirmed that a minimum of three rounds of layoffs took place. Others said that they were simply asked to stop showing up at the office.
That more or less explains why the developer failed to post four weekly community updates, kick off the Halloween event, and add the expected Thor: Ragnarok movie content to the game. On top of that, two community managers suddenly went missing.
On an interesting note, that also sheds light on why the Marvel Heroes user base gradually shrank from about 12,000 players in 2013 to around 800 players in 2017, according to Steam Charts.
At the very least, former Marvel Heroes creative director Jeff Donais told Kotaku that the layoffs "would definitely not be the fault of the internal men and women who actually worked on the game itself or served the customers."