Enad Global 7 Cancels Its Daybreak Marvel MMO Project

Say farewell to any dreams about a Marvel Universe Online landing with Enad Global 7, as they announced in a press release that they were giving up on the project and writing of the money invested in it so far.

Enad Global 7

The press release was short and to the point and surprisingly not released at 4pm on Friday afternoon.  But they had an earnings announcement to do, and you have to get the bad news out with that.  The actual text for posterity:

EG7 plans to reinvest Marvel development resources across multiple long-term projects

EG7 today announced it will be discontinuing the development of the Marvel project at Daybreak Games. Based on the re-evaluation of the development risk profile, size of investment, and the long-term product portfolio strategy for the group, the board has decided to change the development priorities and reallocate resources within the group to focus on alternative long-term projects. The company had planned to invest more than SEK 500 million in the Marvel project over the next three years. The company will now diversify this investment across multiple, smaller size projects within the group, including the previously announced major upgrades to The Lord of the Rings Online and DC Universe Online, and new game opportunities with our first party, original IPs. Along with this reallocation, the company expects a write down of approximately SEK 230 million in project related assets in Q2 2022. As one of the long-term investments, the change to the Marvel project plan will not impact near to medium term revenues and profits other than the balance sheet and P&L impact related to the write-down.

You will note the not very subtle spin about investing in other projects… projects they already said they were investing in previously.  Does that mean they are investing more in things like LOTRO and DCUO?  I don’t know.  Maybe?

The assumed reason for the cancellation of the project is the departure of Dimensional Ink studio head Jack Emmert, whose history with super hero MMOs is the stuff of legend.

EG7 even called him out

His leaving, along with whoever he took with him to go work at NetEase, was apparently enough to scuttle the project.  That is always a hazard if a project depends on specific individuals.

This is pretty much a calamity for Daybreak as it continues their lifetime streak of bringing no new projects to launch since the SOE era.  Seriously, H1Z1, EverQuest Next, and Landmark were all under way before Daybreak, so the sum total of Daybreak initiatives looks like the spectacular failure of PlanetSide Arena.

Not only that, but the Marvel project might have been the most widely covered thing that Daybreak has ever announced.  My Google alerts about the company were lit up for days following the tease that they were making a Marvel IP based MMO.

Of course, what I was already calling Marvel Universe Online should have been a slam dunk.  DC Universe Online is already the most popular title in their stable and generates the most gross revenue. (EverQuest, so very cheap to maintain, and such a pillar of the genre, matches it for net profits though.)  Daybreak would have had to go really, really wrong to mess this up.

And yet, here we are.

Then there was the Q1 2022 quarterly report, where they noted income was up year over year, largely through acquisitions, the stock price was down, Daybreak is still the largest single contributor towards revenue, Ji Ham is still acting CEO, and that Innova, a Russian company, is no longer an issue, double pinkie swear.

There wasn’t a lot of new in there, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it, save for this slide.

EQ7 Q1 2022 – Looking Forward

You can see they are still betting on a boost from Amazon’s second age Middle-earth show and that they still want to invest in the things they have said they wanted to invest in previously.  At least H1Z1 isn’t being promoted quite so vigorously… and I say that only because they appear to have no plan for it, so they shouldn’t be promoting it.

So it goes.  The high hopes of 18 months ago seem to have fallen, sapped by the reality of Daybreak at the gaming industry in general.

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7 thoughts on “Enad Global 7 Cancels Its Daybreak Marvel MMO Project

  1. Archey

    I kinda don’t care because superhero games aren’t my thing, but you would think that scaling back would have come before canceling outright. At a minimum (unless contractually prevented I guess) they could have started with the DCUO code and asset base, paid down any technical debt it has doubtless acquired, launched with a lot of fanfare, and almost certainly limped along in some form for a long time. Or maybe even matched DCUO’s popularity.

    Seems like an odd decision, even if the main and uniquely qualified project head left.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bhagpuss

    Hard to say whether this is a good thing or not. Obviously, if the Marvel project had completed and been well-received, it would have been a huge boost for the company but the history of similar Marvel-related projects isn’t encouraging. I was curious to see MUO or whatever it would have been called but I can’t say I’m sorry to see it off the planning table. Than again, I’m a lifelong DC fan…

    The idea that the cancellation will benefit the already-announced upgrades for LotRO and DCUP seems like a bit of wishful thinking or even misdirection. Either they were going to do those things or they weren’t. It’s not like they’re going to do them more now they have more spare cash.

    The part that interests me is “new game opportunities with our first party, original IPs”. Curiously, the NME news report on this picked out “Daybreak (DC Universe Online), Piranha Games (MechWarrior) and Big Blue Bubble (My Singing Monster)” as the highlights among EG7’s “original IPs”. I don’t think DCUO really counts, being licensed. I don’t know whether the other two are wholly-owned by EG7 or not. I note, though, that a non-gaming outlet like NME, albeit one that covers a lot of gaming news, has either no knowledge of or no interest in DBG’s actual originals, namely EverQuest and Planetside. I think EQ is about as famous as a minor indie band who had a couple of hits in the 90s at the point. They might still be going but no-one knows or cares.

    Finally, on H1Z1, which no longer even gets mentioned, I noticed last night, when I was checking the status of the EQIIservers, that most of the H1Z1 servers were at Medium population again. Not sure what numbers that means but someone’s obviously still playing…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I know saying that MUO or whatever would be a slam dunk is probably discarding a whole host of complications and requirements of the brand, but it still seemed like something Daybreak could do. And who knows, maybe Jack left because they couldn’t nail down how to make the Marvel game rather than him leaving causing it to fall through. Either way, it seems like a blow to the company.

    I can’t figure out WHO owns Mechwarrior or BattleTech, but I am pretty sure it isn’t EG7 or any of its subsidiaries. Activision and Microsoft have both owned it at some point if I followed the trail correctly. Certainly DCUO doesn’t count. So My Singing Monster is their leading first party IP? Okay….

    I think the key take away from that chart is that M&A, mergers and acquisitions, is listed in all three time frames, so they’re going to buy their way to success… or sell themselves to somebody.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PCRedbeard

    I have to wonder whether Marvel/Disney has something to do with this. As in whether Disney feels they can buy EA and make their own MMO as an option, rendering all this money EG7 spent on this game moot.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous

    I think the license fees and other Marvel contract things could be a problem. The ARPG Marvel Heroes had to close down in part because of this when they still had a fairly large player base.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Also, to mirror what I said in the post, my Google alerts for Daybreak and Enad Global 7 are lit up with news about this cancellation. Literally nothing Daybreak has done over the span of existence achieved this much press coverage.

    Liked by 1 person

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