David Brevik, CEO and Diablo-wonder-child, announced a couple days ago that he would be departing Gazillion Games, the developers of the Action-RPG Marvel Heroes. Brevik might be best known as one of the key designers behind the original Diablo way back in 1996. But more recently, you might remember him as the target of Jay Wilson’s “F That Loser” Facebook post at around the time that Diablo 3 launched. That’s something Wilson probably wishes the internet would forget, but of course, that’ll never happen.
A year after that incident, David Brevik’s Gazillion Games released Marvel Heroes in June of 2013. The game was, to say the least, unimpressive, but over the next year, it saw great strides, as evidenced by the 1000+ hours I’ve played of it. A fact I should obviously keep closer to my chest. A year later, the game was where it should’ve been a launch, and a year after that, it was actually good. At one point, the team had even ballooned to 350 people.
The last six months, however, the game’s seen its fair share of departures, including creative director, Jeff “Doomsaw” Donais, who – with the help of those 350 people – helped to make Marvel Heroes the game it is today. Since then, the team’s shrunk to less than a hundred.
The departures reached an apex with Brevik saying goodbye. Why? His forum post goes into detail, but the general gist is this:
As for what’s next, I am going to go indie. I’m going back to doing the things I love most: programming and making games. We will have more information about that in the future.
Basically, he wants to make games, not CEO them, but fortunately, nobody would have to wait too long to know what he’s doing next. He revealed the next day on Twitch that his new studio will be called Graybeard Games and he’ll be making something, wait for it, RPG-oriented. He said he’d mostly be working on it by himself, and that he doesn’t expect more than three people on the team. So it’ll be interesting to see what this project will turn out to be, especially after working on something like Marvel Heroes for the past few years.
So that’s the future of David Brevik, but what about Marvel Heroes? That’s what most the people playing it are wondering. Gazillion’s license with Marvel lasts for ten years. So that means that there are seven left, more if Marvel renews the license. It remains to be seen if that’s seven years of continued development and content, or seven years of making sure the lights don’t go out.
It’s true that Brevik laid the game’s foundation, but considering how involved a CEO is in day-to-day development, the game can most likely get along fine without him. After all, the Diablo formula has been replicated to a great extent these days, from Marvel Heroes, to Path of Exile, to Grim Dawn. Even Diablo 3 has turned into a game that people actually want to play… once a few weeks per season, but still.
But can Gazillion do enough to set Marvel Heroes apart from the pack? It’s the closest an Action-RPG has gotten to being an MMO, so content is king. Fortunately there’s some in the pipeline… eventually. The next big update, which will re-brand the game to Marvel Heroes 2016, was originally due out in November, but the best thing anyone can offer at this point is “soon.”
Fortunately for Gazillion and Marvel Heroes, the internet is patient. Sort of.