As a result of the news, Gazillion issued an official statement on their forums saying that "The Marvel Heroes servers will stay on until Dec 31, 2017, and we’ll be removing real money purchases as soon as possible. Players will be able to play the game entirely for free once this sunset period commences. We will share the exact date things go completely free as soon as we can", but on Nov. 22nd, Thanksgiving eve, their entire staff were laid off and the game's closure was abruptly bumped up to today, the 24th. Two employees of Gazillion, Anthony Gallegos and Andrew Hair, had taken to twitter on Nov. 22nd to report that none of the developers are receiving severance or PTO payouts, with coverage for medical insurance ending in just 8 days. The announcement to close the game was made by the devs through their official Discord server on the 22nd.
This was a game with a free-to-play model, so microtransactions were the core source of revenue for the company. With the sudden closure of the game, players have begun to request refunds for content, on which some have paid upwards of $400. Unfortunately, all requests for refunds were initially denied, with Microsoft later deciding to offer a 90-day grace period for refunds. Apparently, Gazillion's terms of service for this game had always stated that the company reserved the right to terminate the game, as well as any previously purchased in-game content, at any time and at their discretion, a clause which is apparently very common in games with this F2P model. This is just yet another example of the transience and instability of digital goods purchased in video games.
For context: the first iteration of this game, known simply as 'Marvel Heroes', had a very rough launch in 2014, scoring an average 58 on metacritic and copious amounts of bugs and imbalances being reported by the player-base. The company made many updates to the game in an effort to correct these issues in a 2015 revision which game to be known as 'Marvel Heroes 2015.' Following this update, the average metacritic score rose to 81, and the game enjoyed a moderate financial success, though Gazillion was still forced to lay off some staff. Then, in January of 2016, David Brevik resigned from his position as CEO at Gazillion and David Von Dorman took over his position.
Dorman then attempted to reboot the company earlier this year with the game's final revision known as 'Marvel Heroes Omega'. While he reported that early results with the game were promising, it was having difficulty keeping players engaged and playing. In an email Dorman sent to VentureBeat, he said that “It’s obviously been a really difficult period – a turn of events that is very hard to fathom. You know we were very committed to building Gazillion and we were on that trajectory – but yes, sadly due to a series of events that happened at an incredible pace (the last 30 days) the company is preparing to wind down. I can tell you that above anything else, the management team tried as best we could to make sure our employees would be treated with respect and given severance packages. It is heart breaking that things ended up this way, but as mentioned our intent has always been to take care of our people. If we could have done this differently we would have.” The console version of this latest revision of the game was just around 6 months old at the time of closure, meaning players had very little time to enjoy their purchases before they disappeared forever. It's more than likely that it was the game's rough launch and its subsequent inability to get back on its feet over the next 3 years which contributed most to Disney's termination of their contract.
Last edited by Meteor7,