Deadpool, Other Activision Marvel Games Pulled from Steam, XBLA, PSN
High Moon Studios’ Deadpool title has disappeared from Steam and other digital platforms, seemingly as publisher Activision’s license of several Marvel properties expired at the end of 2013.
Deadpool, which was released just six months ago, was delisted from Steam on Dec. 31, and it appears it has also disappeared from Xbox Live and the Playstation Network, as reported by Game Trailers. In fact, a number of Activision’s Marvel licenses seem to have expired, as was hinted at by a post on the Facebook page of Activision’s Amazing Spider-Man game on Dec. 21.
The posting encourages players to take advantage of sale prices before the games become unavailable on Dec. 31, 2013:
“Celebrate the final days of 2013 with one last chance to download Activision’s Marvel collection to your console. From now until the end of the year, save big on hits featuring Spider-Man, the X-Men, Deadpool, and more.
“These games — and their corresponding DLC — will no longer be available on the Xbox Games Store or the PlayStation Network after New Year’s Eve, so if you’ve been dragging your heels to snag a digital copy, now’s the time to pick up your controller and play at a great price.”
Among the affected games are X-Men: The Official Game, X-Men: Destiny, X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Spider-Man: Edge of Time and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Metacritic scores across the list of titles tend to skew somewhat low for such a high-profile set of licenses, with titles rarely breaking the mid-70s and often dropping into the 60s and 50s. While it’s true that licensed titles tend toward middling review scores, it seems possible that Marvel and owner Disney have let Activision’s licenses lapse without renegotiating them in hopes of going in a new direction.
Forum posts on Polycount and pointed out by Kotaku’s Superannuation suggest development on Deadpool was difficult for employees at High Moon, 40 of whom were laid off in April before the game’s release in June. The reports allege intense crunch on developers and low quality standards from Activision. Deadpool’s Metacritic ratings show averages hovering in the mid-60s.
If Activision’s licenses are indeed expired, it would appear as though Marvel’s plans for future games is unknown. Deadpool marked one of only three major console and PC releases of Marvel games in 2013 — the others being LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and the MMO Marvel Heroes. There don’t seem to be any Marvel games announced or in development for 2014, at least that we know of.
Meanwhile, The Amazing Spider-Man remains on sale on Steam and elsewhere, and may be free of licensing issues, as it was based on the Columbia Pictures movie and therefore on Sony’s Spider-Man license. Activision announced in October that a second Amazing Spider-Man title would be out in the spring to correspond with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theaters.
Game Front has reached out to Marvel Entertainment and Activision for further information and comment about the situation.