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Coming perhaps as little surprise, if still welcome news to hopeful fans, Disney is rumored to be developing new versions of its expansive Disney Infinity video game that will feature Marvel and Star Wars characters.
The information is included in a Wall Street Journal report about the expected layoffs of “several hundred” more people from Disney Interactive Studios, despite the game’s strong launch in August.
Disney has a lot riding on Disney Infinity, the upcoming video game that will allow players to mix and match characters from different properties — for instance, Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible — using collectible figures and a special scanner. The media giant’s fledgling Disney Interactive Studios has reportedly spent more than $100 million on development, even as the division laid off more than 500 employees and suffered $1.41 billion in losses from other ventures.
To free up resources for Disney Infinity, which seems like an all-or-nothing situation, The Wall Street Journal contends Disney also stopped production on an Iron Man video game that was planned to be released this year, and passed on chance to produce Star Wars video games following its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm.
Publishing | More details have begun to emerge about the abrupt closings of Wizard and ToyFare magazines, and the announcement of a new public company headed by Gareb Shamus. ICv2.com reports that Wizard World Inc. was taken public through a reverse merger with a shell company, a failed oil and gas venture known as GoEnergy Inc., which acquired the assets of Kick the Can, a corporate repository for the assets of Shamus’ Wizard World Comic Con Tour. Following the acquisition, GoEnergy’s chairman and chief financial officer resigned and was replaced by Shamus. In the process, the new company raised capital through the issuance of $1.5 million in preferred stock. Meanwhile, an anonymous Wizard staff member reveals to iFanboy he was informed that the magazine had folded during a phone call Sunday evening, and was not permitted to collect personal belongings. A freelance contributors writes at Bleeding Cool that he learned about the closing through a Facebook message on Monday morning.
The comics Internet is swarming with reaction pieces: Andy Khouri points out the huge number of comics editors, bloggers and journalists who got their starts at Wizard; Heidi MacDonald does the same, noting that it was “a total boys club”; Albert Ching surveys numerous creators and editors; and Robot 6 contributor, and former Wizard staffer, Sean T. Collins comments on the magazine’s demise and rounds up links.
Secret Wars, the 1984-1985 limited series that launched a toy line, introduced Spider-Man’s black costume and marked the beginning of the crossover era, looms large in Marvel history. The 12-issue comic spawned an immediate sequel, and has been revisited or referenced more recently in Beyond!, New Avengers: The Illuminati and Spider-Man and the Secret Wars.
But now, more than 25 years after the conclusion of Secret Wars, is Marvel planning a return to the Beyonder’s Battleworld — in a video game? It certainly looks that way: Siliconera discovers that, just last week , Marvel filed a trademark for “Secret Wars” that covers everything from software and video-game cartridges to bicycle helmets and sunglasses.
The website points out the registration could be for the third installment of Activision’s Marvel: Ultimate Alliance; the second game, released last year, closely followed the events of the 2006-2007 crossover Civil War. There’s little preventing a sequel from mimicking a decades-old Marvel miniseries (Destructoid certainly hopes it isn’t for another Ultimate Alliance, saying “that cash-cow has been milked rotten at this point”).
However, it’s perhaps just as likely that, following Disney’s $4-billion purchase of Marvel last year, any plumbing of the publisher’s back catalog would be done by Disney Interactive Studios for its own games. “We are evaluating the entire Marvel library,” Disney Interactive’s Mark Orgel said last spring. “Not just the characters that everybody knows and loves from the motion pictures today, but the little-known characters.”
So, sure, why not the 25-year-old Secret Wars? Although conceived by then-Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter to help introduce a line of Mattel action figures, the series’ concept translates easily to role-playing video games: A cosmic entity known as the Beyonder teleports numerous superheroes and supervillains to a world stocked with alien weaponry and technology, then pits them against each other, with the winners promised anything they desire.