I’ve often poked fun at Marvel Heroes and its now-yearly rename. The game launched in 2013 as simply “Marvel Heroes” but changed in 2014 to “Marvel Heroes 2015” and, before 2015 is over, will be re-branded again as “Marvel Heroes 2016.” But it looks like there’s a method to Gazillion’s and David Brevik’s time-warping madness.
Over at Gamasutra, Brevik acknowledges that the reason for the change was due to Marvel Heroes’ less-than-stellar debut, which he admits happened “before it was ready, and that it was frankly not very good.” That resulted in a Metacritic score of 58, which would have been unlikely to ever change no matter how much the game improved.
His solution? Call the game something new and get it re-assessed and re-reviewed, thus boosting its score. Marvel Heroes 2015 sports a much shinier 81 on Metacritic, and Brevik is hopeful that the “launch” of Marvel Heroes 2016 will draw in even more folks.
“It’s our big launch for the year, basically. And I think as we get better with improving the game as well as watching our metrics and measuring things, our retention will improve as well.”
I think the article’s comparison to Madden NFL games rebranding themselves each year with a new number is a little bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison, and recent news of layoffs at Gazillion aren’t good news. But overall, it’s a tactic that seems to have worked pretty well for Marvel Heroes 201something.