When is it coming? The one question everyone is anticipating an answer to, and so far all we know is sometime this decade! How did this all come about? Lots of suits, lots of money, strings of piano wire, and some body bags -- you know the basic necessities when it comes to building a MMOG. Hopping back in the way-back time machine to a few months after Comic-Con 2006 edition, Cryptic Studios, creators of City of Heroes and City of Villains, decided to unleash some sparkle magic, dropping the industry bomb that they held Marvel Universe Online in their clutches in conjunction with Microsoft Game Studios as their new cohort and publisher.

When I read the news, it felt as if I was kicked in the gut by some fat man wearing a Spiderman Speedo (I love my Spidey Speedo) because Marvel had slapped Cryptic Studios with a lawsuit. Apparently, Marvel thought CoH's character creation system infringed on their intellectual property, otherwise referred to as the super hero awesome sauce. Well, to make a long story short, Marvel lost and Cryptic rejoiced -- freedom for players to create look-alikes won out and everyone got a cute puppy. Marvel mended fences and reached out to Crypic, all the melted faces were contorted back into sleek shape! But, what is there to know about Marvel Universe Online, and does it spell doom for City of Heroes and City of Villains?

This is good, because Cryptic Studios has a little experience in developing online comic super heroes department, don't be quick to forget that the now defunct Sigil Games was originally rumored to be developing the title. I'm sure many of you are glad the Marvel MMOG was yanked from their mitts. While I would love to plaster some intimate details about Marvel Universe Online, it seems the Cryptic newsroom has been hush-hush on any details since Comic-Con 2007 edition.

The real sick and twisted thing about Marvel Universe Online that I can't even begin to imagine is how the developers are wrapping their heads around the Marvel canon canvas since they have carte blanche to do with it as they wish. For the first time, (The Marvel IP is no saint when it comes to platform exclusivity) a game developer has access to every single character and storyline throughout the history of Marvel Comics, this dates all the way back to 1940 -- lots of dust and cobwebs sifting through all the back-issues. Over 5,000 heroes and villains, and the stories, all those stories, that's freakin' insane. Does that expansive library mean players will play as their beloved super heroes? That is still unknown at this time. There has been talk by Jack Emmert, Chief Creative Officer of Cryptic Studios, that in some special cases players may play as their favorite super heroes, but that they would more than likely play alongside them.

The cold hard facts are few and far between, we know that the Marvel Universe Online engine will be based on the CoX engine, but with extensively super powered modified doohickeys that will rule the world and block out the sun. (I hyped that up big-time.) The game will be simultaneously developed as Windows and Xbox 360 gamers will reunite and join forces on the same servers. As for the crossover development to the 360, I believe this may lead to certain RMT elements because the Market Place exists to nickel and dime everyone to death, and it's already been talked about by the head-honchos. Is there anyone willing to chip-in for some horse armor for Wolverine's mount?

That's all fine and dandy but other than that, there isn't much information available. Still don't let the no infoz take you down into the dumps, feel free to doomcast or dispel the doomcastin' away in the comments. Think about it, the super hero competition is ratcheting up and the MMOG market place is set to become a lot more crowded with Marvel Universe Online and also SOE's upcoming DC Comics MMOG that will be developed for the PC and PS3. I don't this this bodes very well for CoX / CoH. Duel of the super hero MMOGs. Who will be the last one standing?

Below is a little don't forget about us teaser- trailer Cryptic recently tossed out there. It is not my fault if you find this video a total let-down like I did. I didn't think the video deserved its own post since there no in-game footage is shown. Bonus points if you can name at least half the Marvel cast making their official Cryptic debut without cheating.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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