The licensing agreement between Marvel and Activision has expired, prompting the Call of Duty publisher to end all work on Marvel-based games, according to a report from GI.biz. Previously released Activision games using Marvel characters, including the recent June 2013 release Deadpool, have been removed from PSN, XBL, and Steam.
Activision and Marvel have been working together on games as far back as 1986 with Howard the Duck, but in 1998 the companies signed a publishing deal. Over the last 15 years, the publisher has released more than 30 games based on Marvel properties. With the removal of all Activision-published Marvel games from online stores, it doesn’t appear that the two companies are considering renewing their agreement.
Although the removal of the games is a bit sudden, the dissolution of the partnership shouldn’t come as a major shock based on the results of the games released over the last few years. Prior to Deadpool, the last Marvel release from Activision was the movie tie-in for The Amazing Spider-Man. Prior to that, it released X-Men: Destiny and Spider-Man: Edge of Time, both of which were met with mixed to negative reviews.
Now that the contract between the two has expired, Marvel is free to shop around its license to other publishers. It may opt to offer a similar deal to another publisher, or it could elect to keep a tighter control over its games and license on a case by case basis. That could lead to some bold new games, but unfortunately with no deals currently in place, it could be a few years until we see a new Marvel game.