(We’ve updated below with MMOBomb’s detailed investigation into this Indiegogo – short story, don’t go handing over your dough.)
With Marvel Heroes dead and gone, most fans have moved on to other gaming pastures. After all, it would take a miracle to bring it back, right? Turns out that miracles are pretty expensive in this modern age, but there are always those who will take a shot at the near-impossible.
Enter Paragon Institute, a new non-profit that says it wants to purchase Marvel Heroes for $450,000 (or more) and form an indie studio to operate it. Even more interesting, this group says it wants to use Marvel Heroes and other titles as “learning labs” to train developers and preserve abandoned video games.
“Our goal is to establish ElderMage Studios as a learning lab to partner experienced professionals with aspiring game developers to help them gain the skills and hands-on experience necessary to work in the field,” the group posted on IndieGoGo. “This may include time spent supporting or enhancing existing titles to create entirely new ones. A secondary mission is to preserve games that are no longer supported so that those who have licensed them may continue using them and so others may learn from them.”
The group claims it plans to acquire Marvel Heroes’ rights following Gazillion’s bankruptcy, however unlikely that may sound. With it, the new studio would either keep restore the MMO or create a new superhero gaming universe. Dealing with Disney and IP-protected content is a challenge, but there is a chance to retain it if the U.S. Copyright Office approves a proposal to exempt abandoned MMOs from DMCA protection (which it has not done yet).
“With your support, we intend to approach Gazillion Entertainment to acquire its relevant assets either as part of restructuring in advance of an involuntary bankruptcy or in response to a court-ordered liquidation of assets in order to settle debts. Plans are being made for a Section 363 asset buyout under the US Bankruptcy code. Ideally, we would present an initial proposal shortly after the first court hearing scheduled on February 23rd.”