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Activision Expands Licensing Deal with Marvel

Activision, which has had success with Marvel Comics-based games such as Spider-Man 2, X-Men Legends, and Fantastic Four, has announced another title...
Activision, which has had success with Marvel Comics-based games such as Spider-Man 2, X-Men Legends, and Fantastic Four, has announced another title developed in partnership with the comic book publisher. In addition to the upcoming Ultimate Spider-Man and X-Men Legends II, Activision will produce a role-playing game based on the wider Marvel universe. Unlike the MMORPG already in development with Microsoft, Activision's title will be an offline RPG. The game will draw from Marvel's library of over 5,000 characters, though it's doubtful that little-remembered characters such as Stilt-Man or Paste-Pot Pete will see inclusion. The game is scheduled for release in 2007, a year before Microsoft's MMO in 2008. Like its film strategy, which involves partnerships with several studios such as Fox, Sony Pictures, and Artisan Entertainment, Marvel's video game strategy has also used a number of different publishers and developers in exploiting its various licenses. In addition to Activision's and Microsoft's takes on the company's characters, Electronic Arts has the license for the upcoming fighting game Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects, and Marvel has worked with THQ and Vivendi in the past for other single-hero games. Rival superhero comic publisher DC Comics has also been expanding licensing efforts in recent months, licensing both recent Batman and forthcoming Superman titles to Electronic Arts, and recently signing a DC Universe MMO deal with Sony Online, planned for a fourth-quarter release in 2007 for the PC and unnamed next generation consoles. "We have had tremendous success with Activision through the licensing of individual characters and groups such as Spider-Man, X-Men and Fantastic Four," said Ames Kirshen, Vice President of Interactive at Marvel. "Rather than focusing on just one character, this unique license enables Activision to develop role playing games that tap a broader base of characters from Marvel's expansive universe. We look forward to an even more successful future with Activision."

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