By DERRIK J. LANG, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Now that they've saved the world on film, "The Avengers" are teaming up for a motion-control video game.
Ubisoft Entertainment announced a partnership Thursday with Marvel Entertainment to create a game based on the popular Marvel superhero posse. The game will be titled "Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth" and will be released for both the upcoming Wii U console from Nintendo Co. and the camera-based Kinect system for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp.
"The idea that we're making a motion-control version of 'The Avengers' is a unique proposition if you compare that to superhero games of the past," said Tony Key, Ubisoft's vice president of sales and marketing, in making the announcement to The Associated Press. "This is the perfect type of game for that because these characters are very action oriented. They're always fighting and throwing things."
"Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth" will focus on such characters as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk fending off an invasion of genetically altered Skrull aliens. The title will feature more than 20 characters from the Marvel universe and would be based on the "Secret Invasion" comic series, not the recent film.
No release date was announced, but Key said the disc-based title is expected to launch after Nintendo debuts the Wii U later this year. The successor to Nintnedo's Wii will feature high-definition graphics, increased online capabilities and a touch-pad controller. He said more details about the game would be unveiled at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The game will be the latest addition to Ubisoft's motion-control arsenal. Previous titles released by the Canadian publisher that rely on gesture-based devices include the artsy shooter "Child of Eden," street brawler "Fighters Uncaged," superhero dueler "PowerUp Heroes," the "Your Shape" fitness franchise and top-selling "Just Dance" series.
"Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth" will mark the first time that the "Assassin's Creed" publisher has developed a game based on a franchise from Marvel, which was purchased in 2009 by The Walt Disney Co. The developers previously worked with "Avatar" director James Cameron to craft a third-person 3-D action-adventure game set on the planet Pandora.
Sega created each of the games pegged to the films of "The Avengers" forerunners, including last year's "Thor: God of Thunder" and "Captain America: Super Soldier," but there was no console game released this year alongside director Joss Whedon's blockbuster "The Avengers," just the mobile game "Marvel's The Avengers" and Facebook title "Marvel: Avengers Alliance."
Fans freaked out last year over unofficial footage and concept art posted online of a first-person "Avengers" game that was reportedly in development by THQ Inc. The footage of Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America and Thor battling the infamous Skrull was yanked by Marvel from YouTube. A representative for Marvel declined to be interviewed for this story.
Traditionally, games based on Marvel movies have been released around the same time as their super-powered counterparts to benefit from parallel buzz. The open-world action-adventure title "The Amazing Spider-Man" from Activision Inc. is set for release June 26, ahead of director Marc Webb's film of the same name on July 3.
The big-screen adaptation of "The Avengers" starring Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye has smashed box office records, earning $207.4 million domestically in its opening weekend.
"For us, that obviously raises the brand itself to an even higher level, and that's good for our video game because we have an opportunity to reach a broader audience than just the guys who love comic book characters," said Key, who added that "Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth" would be family friendly despite the game's focus on fighting.
Marvel's superheroes have been a dominant presence throughout the history of games. They most recently assembled for the Capcom brawler "Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3" and the Activision Inc. role-playing sequel "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2." Gazillion Entertainment is currently developing a free-to-play online game featuring them called "Marvel Heroes."