Tag Archives: Marvel Universe Online

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.

Related:

Daybreak and the Power of the Marvel Name

For reasons of historical connection I tend to pay much more attention to Daybreak and the goings on with some of their games, even when I am not subscribed and playing.  I think EVE Online and CCP’s shenanigans are the only game company news I watch more closely, and I’ve been subscribed to EVE for a decade straight at this point.

When you don’t play the titles you have to find ways to keep track of what is going on, so I follow the news channels from their Discord servers and the games and studios on Twitter and subscribe to the RSS feed for developer posts on a couple of their forums.  That usually at least keeps me up on their latest announcements.

But I also have Google news alerts for things like “Daybreak” and “EG7” and “Enad Global 7″ and EverQuest” and a few other related keywords.  And those… are generally garbage.

Seriously, I get an alert or two a week for Daybreak and most of the time it is some wannabe analyst group looking to be the next NPD or SuperData that wants to see reports about online gaming that throws as many keywords as possible so you’ll go to their site… and find that it is just an ask for you to spend a couple grand on a report they have put together.

So the Google alerts for Daybreak and related keywords are generally low effort to track because there isn’t much “there” there.

And then the EG7 Q3 2021 financials were released last week, in which it was mentioned that Daybreak was working on an unannounced MMO project based on the Marvel IP.

Dimensional Ink’s Unannounced Project has a logo of sorts

That was certainly worth a mention, though it came out a year ago, during the EG7 acquisition of Daybreak, that they held the rights to make a Marvel IP, and even back in when Daybreak did its independent studio shuffle a superhero MMO was in the cards.  Since then I have been predicting a Marvel version of DC Universe Online, Daybreak’s most popular game.  It seemed like a pretty easy slam dunk idea.

But the whole thing was in the “Longer Term” column of future plans, which would put it, by my own reckoning, out into 2024 at least, if not further out.

EG7 Q3 2021 slide 17

Cool idea, something to look forward to, but not exactly something to write home about right this second due to the obvious distance between now and when it will ship.

Certainly none of the ways I track Daybreak news seemed very interested in it… and then my Google news alerts blew up as the weekend arrived.

While Daybreak probably isn’t newsworthy on its own and I am sure EG7 is even less so, once you mix in Marvel and the MCU, then suddenly everybody sees a headline that will draw some click.  So rather than a couple of garbage links there was suddenly some actual coverage of the studio, first from niche gaming sites, then the general gaming news, and then into other niches that generally wouldn’t know Daybreak from my uncle.  All because somebody said “Marvel IP based MMO.”

So the list of sites with a story about it starts looking like this:

not only is that just a bit of the list, that doesn’t even get into the foreign language coverage that didn’t make my keywords but which I found by just doing a bit of searching.  Big gaming sites with foreign editions translated the stories and foreign language sites wrote their own copy.

Now, we’re still a far cry from something like a front page headline in The New York Times or some such, but I haven’t seen Daybreak do anything in… well… I don’t know how long… that generated this much press interest.  I don’t think EverQuest Next, which goes back to the SOE days, garnered this much attention outside of the usual suspects that keep an eye on the company and its games.

So this seems like a really good sign for Dimensional Ink, Daybreak, and Enad Global 7.  If just a mere mention that a Marvel IP MMO might be coming spreads this far, just imagine what will happen when they actually have a title, a logo, and some art to post.