Well it looks like Activision has accomplished a task that hundreds have attempted before: they have killed Deadpool. The first sign that the ‘Merc with a Mouth’s days were numbered came when his recent game disappeared from a number of digital download services without explanation.
Having published an endless number of Marvel superhero games over the years, Activision has confirmed that Wade Wilson will at least have some company. Over half a dozen Spider-Man and X-Men games will no longer be available through digital services.
That prospect may not sound truly tragic at first – after all, Activision is famous for publishing Marvel superhero games that are “good, not great” at the very best of times – but not all of the games set to be restricted to retail shelves (while supplies last) are to be scoffed at.
For its part, the recent Deadpool action title from High Moon Studios did the character justice better than expected, but it’s certainly not alone as one of Activision’s Marvel titles that hold a special place in gamers’ hearts.
The underwhelming sales of Deadpool made its disappearance from Steam, Xbox Live and PSN slightly less than shocking when reports first appeared on NeoGAF (although the game’s presence in the Steam Holiday Sale now seems odd…), but Game Informer has received word from Activision that Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Spider-Man: Edge of Time, X-Men: The Official Game, X-Men Destiny, and even the legendary X-Men Origins: Wolverine have all been pulled in digital form.
PC players can still purchase Steam codes through Amazon or Gamefly, but boxed retail copies are now the only way for players to experience those of the cancelled games that haven’t been completely panned (with the latter Wolverine title one of the greatest exceptions to the rule of terrible move tie-ins).
It’s assumed that an expiring license is to blame for the sudden removal, but whether any games will fill their vacancy in the coming years remains to be seen.
With Marvel’s vast roster of heroes and villains set to be storming the box office with no fewer than three shared universes from a number of studios, it seems an odd time for Activision to be cutting ties. For now, fans of these heroes will have to content themselves with their comic book incarnations alone.
Would you like to see Marvel’s heroes take a bit of a break after years of underwhelming releases? Perhaps a chance to see new developers take a crack at the properties? Share your own hopes or concerns in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.