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Marvel Universe MMO canned

Plus: Banjo 3 for Xmas?

Microsoft Game Studios boss Shane Kim has confirmed that the Marvel Universe MMO has been canned.

He believes most games based on the subscription-based business model it was following do not make enough money to be deemed commercially successful. It was too late for Marvel Universe to begin exploring other possibilities - especially with many other titles taking higher priority on the list.

"I'll confirm. Marvel and we have agreed to end development on the MMO. It was an amicable decision," Shane Kim told MTV Multiplayer.

"When we first entered into the development and agreement of the development of Marvel Universe Online, we thought we would create another subscription-based MMO. And if you really look at the data there's basically one [game] that's successful and everything else wouldn't meet our level or definition of commercial success.

"And then you have to look [and say]: Can we change the business model for that? Is that really viable given how far we are in development? And so forth. Does Marvel want to do that? There's a whole bunch of factors," he added.

Marvel Universe Online was in development for Xbox 360 and PC, and announced to the public many moons ago at Microsoft event X06. Cryptic Studios of City of Heroes fame was developing, having finally got the Marvel licence under its belt.

Shane Kim went on to talk about the year ahead and what Microsoft Game Studios is doing with some of its key properties.

A highlight was the news that Banjo Kazooie 3 will be out this Christmas, or "holiday" as strange people from a far away land like to call it. This is the same game rumours suggested was cancelled late last year.

As for the rest of Kim's blatherings, we've decided to summarise using bullet points of justice.

  • Alan Wake: Kim was reluctant to confirm it as a 2008 title (sniff), but said it was "very different, very ambitious".
  • Halo: Kim likes the idea of using the Halo universe in different ways. He mentions Halo Wars and the project with Peter Jackson as examples of this; "I think we can expand the universe and what we do there."
  • Fable 2: Kim said he has had to keep Molyneux focused on developing the game rather than mouthing off about it this time around. Fable 2 could be the best looking game of 2008, apparently, and the secret Lionhead project "Dimitri" is something Molyneux and Kim have had lots of chats about. No beans spilled here, though.
  • Mass Effect: Kim is confident his strong relationship with EA will prove fruitful, and is less concerned about publishing the title than having it solely on his platform. He believes all three instalments in the trilogy will be on 360 but admits he has no idea whether they will be exclusive.
  • Too Human: Kim says Microsoft hurt the project by showing it when it wasn't ready. But he has been nurturing it since, and is still "a big believer" in Silicon Knights and their vision for Too Human.
  • Crackdown: Kim's creative director Kenn Lobb loves Crackdown and there is plenty of enthusiasm for another game.
  • Viva Pinata: No confirmation of it on DS, but "there's still a hint", and Kim is keen to build and expand the property. Which seems a bit odd what with them having announced it at Comic-Con and released a screenshot...