Disney Selling Off FoxNext, Getting Out Of Game Making Entirely

With the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Disney, many of the Fox subsidiaries and IPs have been under a pretty taxing microscope. Alongside all of their movie and animation studios, Fox also had their own game development studio called FoxNext. FoxNext is allegedly on the chopping block currently under Disney’s new supervision. That could lead to a troubling future for their main game, Marvel Strike Force.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the entire decision comes from Disney CEO, Bob Iger. Iger recently made the case that he’d rather Disney get out of the business of making and/or publishing games. The 2016 shut down of toys-to-life game Disney Infinity and the 2017 cancellation of Club Penguin, were just the beginning. He’d just prefer to license out their properties to other studios.

 

What’s Next For FoxNext?

FoxNext’s Marvel Strike Force was among those licensed games, with growing popularity over the past year as a heavy-hitting mobile game. The game plays identically to the also-Disney-licensed EA mobile game, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes. Of course, that comes complete with Marvel characters, stories, and some changes to the formula on which it is based. With single player and multiplayer alike in the game, it relies on a free to play model and has constant updates and events. 

FoxNext also has other games based on the Fox properties, Aliens and Avatar, in the works. While the Aliens title and details are kept under wraps, Avatar: Pandora Rising’s website has only a quick description. “Experience the striking beauty of Pandora in Avatar: Pandora Rising. Lead a flourishing Na’vi village or build a prosperous RDA mining colony. Collect iconic heroes, troops and resources, build your base, and fight real-time battles. Join the epic battle for survival, save your people and determine the fate of Pandora.”

Alongside Disney getting rid of FoxNext, it’s now currently unsure territory if the mobile developer will be able to keep the licenses they have been working on. With them all Disney owned now, Iger has made it clear that partnerships with other, more established game developers is the way to go. EA still has its Force-choke hold on the Star Wars properties and Square Enix assembling Marvel’s Avengers. So, maybe FoxNext will keep their licenses in the future.

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A Proposal For A Disney MMORPG

In the past, Disney has always said that the Disney Princesses all live in totally different universes and they have nothing to do with each other. Despite this, fans are always quick to try to link them together and the idea of them all existing in one big world is incredibly appealing. Thanks to Ralph Breaks the Internet it looks like we’re going to get all the Princesses in one place, and we’ve seen Frozen and Tangled linked to each other. So it seems that Disney may be relaxing their previous rule and embracing the unified universe that fans all want. With that in mind, I would like to propose that it is time for a Disney MMORPG. Yes, MMORPGs are on a decline, but they are an incredibly valuable way to tell stories and have massive amounts of players interacting with one another.

In this MMO you don’t play a Princess or even a daring General. You’re an adventurer and you’re traveling the world, getting caught up in events, helping Princesses and Genies, and dancing with royalty. Each of the major Disney hits will have its own zone while the smaller, less popular movies still get the chance to make an appearance too.

In the Winter Elsa will introduce a frozen wonderland for you to explore as part of the winter event. You’ll build Olaf a family, relax in the Wandering Oaken Trading Post’s Sauna, and end up humming Do You Want to Build a Snowman for weeks. Across all the zones, hordes of giant snow beasts will attack. If they aren’t fought back the zone will be frozen until it’s taken back by adventurers.

For Halloween, Frankenweenie becomes the star with all sorts of undead monsters coming to life and causing problems across the world. There’s also the option for a Nightmare Before Christmas tie in which gives an alternate Christmas event.

But now you must be wondering about the zones themselves. Many Disney movies take place in the same rough areas as others, though at different times. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Aristocats, and Ratatouille all take place in Paris but they’re all in different eras so having them together makes no sense.

Instead, the game begins with the fantasy Kingdoms from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Tangled, Hercules, and Frozen. These are the first main zones that you’ll travel through. Along the way, you’ll see iconic locations from the movies, face off against evil, and help out a demi-god. This is, in reality just the first half of the game. Once you’ve traveled these lands it’s time for you to move on to Agrabah, where you’ll meet the Genie.

The Genie will play a very important role in this MMORPG, he’s the one who will help you get out of the fantasy land and see other places. This is how you’ll see the modern world; a world full of superheroes, dentists, and living toys. He’ll also be the one to take you to alternate realities that are released in the form of expansions. Monsters Inc and Zootopia are only the beginning.

A Disney MMORPG should cross genres because their movies cross genres. There is of course no denying that the fantasy settings the Princesses are from are supreme. But there’s still room for Neverland to exist next to Mulan’s China and Moana’s Polynesia. There’s also room for expansion.

At the moment, the only Disney movies that have been confirmed as upcoming are live-action remakes and sequels, but we do know that Lin-Manuel Miranda is working with the Walt Disney Animation Studio and there’s also an untitled Pixar movie in the works. Depending on what these movies are they may be very easy to slip into their place in the MMORPG or they may require the help of the Genie to get us there. Either way, Disney would be able to have a new tie-in event and game expansion each time one of their movies comes out.

But that led me to a question that I couldn’t quite answer. Do the live action Disney movies have a place in this MMORPG? In this, I’m particularly interested in Pirates of the Caribbean, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars.

Thanks to Big Hero 6 and the Incredibles, the MCU wouldn’t be too big of a stretch to include. Pirates of the Caribbean have already had their own MMO, but including a pirate-themed zone isn’t too much of an issue at all in my mind. Star Wars though, Star Wars feels like a massive stretch. Sure, we can argue that Genie can take us there. But where and when are we going? The Star Wars films all take place over a long stretch of time. Even current movies aren’t made in the same time periods as one another. We also know that Episode IX will be the last of the Skywalker movies. What is going to happen to the franchise after that? We don’t even know at this point if Disney knows. There’s just too much unknown and too many complications to easily add Star Wars to our Disney MMORPG.

Finally, there is the Fox merger which is looking more and more likely every day. If it does happen that means animated movies like Ice Age, Robots, and Kung Fu Panda will join the Disney lineup. X-Men, Independence Day, and Avatar will also all belong to Disney. Am I suggesting that these movies all join the Disney MMORPG? Not at all, but ownership of them means that when a new one of these films comes out it could be cross-promoted in the Disney game with special limited time events.

There’s a whole lot of potential when it comes to a Disney MMORPG and while I don’t think one will ever be made, it is a lot of fun to dream about. I’ll almost certainly write about this subject again in the future and explore the various zones, what quests you might be asked to undertake, and what you’ll see along the way. I promise this isn’t just an excuse to make my husband sit with me while I watch all the Disney movies…ok, maybe it is a bit.

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RUMOR: Disney and Lucasfilm Seeking New Publishers for Star Wars Games

Okay. We’re going to need a lot of tinfoil for this one. Like, a lot of it. Everyone suitably wearing their hats? Good. There’s some scuttlebutt out there that seems to suggest that Disney and Lucasfilm Ltd. are shopping around for new Star Wars game publishers, potentially in direct response to continued fan reaction and assumed mishandling of the franchise in EA’s hands.

star wars game publishers

According to anonymous sources, Disney and LFL execs have reportedly pulled EA “to the principal’s office” with regards to the state of the Star Wars license in the publisher’s care and have been shopping around for other publishers to handle games for Star Wars, with Ubisoft and Activision being name-dropped in the report.

The timing seems to suggest that the event in question is recent, but also references reports in November about Disney strong-arming EA’s decision to remove loot boxes from Star Wars Battlefront 2, which could mean that the search for different publishers was part of Disney’s tactics to bring EA back in line.

Incidentally, there’s word that Disney is capable of looking for alternate publishers despite having a contract with EA as a result of a clause that would let the Star Wars license change hands “if certain standards/conditions weren’t being met”. Whether the agreement between EA and Disney has such a clause has not been confirmed.

These all directly fly in the face of statements made by EA CEO Andrew Wilson during a fiscal earnings call, where he stated that EA and Disney have “a tremendous relationship” and denied reports of Disney’s attempts to step in.

It is vital to note that the sources in question were not able to provide specifics, with the only vetting of said sources being that they have been “trusted in the past”. So be sure to include some salt grains along with those tinfoil hats.

Our Thoughts

It’s not what one would consider to be the most solid of sources, but it’s also hard to ignore EA’s impact on Star Wars games in recent months, with entire world governments pointing at the publisher’s loot box practices as a means to push gambling on children and calling Battlefront 2 “a Star Wars casino”. Having an IP owned by Disney associated with harming children certainly goes against the very identity of Disney, so it’s not too off the wall that they would be displeased. If more firm details arise from this story, we’ll be sure to report them ASAP.

Source: Cinelinx

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Disney Announces Shutdown of Marvel Heroes

Our friends over at MassivelyOP had mused about what precisely has happened to Marvel Heroes. Unfortunately, we now know: a statement from Disney has confirmed a Marvel Heroes shutdown.

marvel heroes shutdown

As many fans know, Marvel Heroes and specifically Gazillion Entertainment had fallen radio silent over the past few months, with the last major message made on October 18th making a vague reference to harassment. Now, Disney has stepped forward with a statement, confirming their ties with Gazillion are severed and the game is going dark.

“We regret to inform our Marvel Heroes fans that we have ended our relationship with Gazillion Entertainment, and that the Marvel Heroes games will be shut down. We would like to sincerely thank the players who joined the Marvel Heroes community, and will provide any further updates as they become available.”

At this point, both the Gazillion Twitter and the Marvel Heroes Twitter accounts are yet to redirect to any statements. We’ll be sure to update this story as details come to light.

Our Thoughts

While we certainly were preparing for the worst, it still doesn’t help how terrible it is to get full confirmation that Marvel Heroes – arguably one of the best implementations of free-to-play in MMO gaming – is being shuttered. Our best wishes to those who have been affected by this decision.

Source: Kotaku

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