Two interesting things I saw recently:
1) Cryptic bows out of trying to get either Champions Online or Star Trek Online onto consoles. There are some out there who saw these moves as vindication that Cryptic is a horrible company who deserves to fail, but it is probably more a case of Microsoft being incredibly stringent on letting MMOs onto Xbox Live. Part of this stringency is likely quality assurance of patches and updates; the other part is working out how big a cut MS should get of every subscription fee (or what should MS get under a MMO royalty scheme, to package it another way). Back when Cryptic was working on Marvel Universe Online, it absolutely would have launched on the Xbox 360 because that IP was a key property for MS. Now that Cryptic isn’t working directly on an IP that MS has a stake in, MS doesn’t care MMOs until the next time a Halo MMO is up for consideration.
2) I missed the original news that Stephen “Rockjaw” Reid had joined Gazillion, but Massively.com made a splash about David “Daeke” Bass joining the same studio. There are some parallels between the two – both worked on superhero MMOs, both were let go by their employer in contentious circumstances (Rockjaw was let go when NCsoft closed NCsoft Europe, Daeke was let go after announcing some info that sent ChampO players into a tizzy), both were community managers. Given that Gazillion has two superhero MMOs in development – Marvel’s Super Hero Squad and Marvel Universe Online – it makes sense they’d be looking for these kind of people to fill in similar roles.
Personally I only give Gazillion about a 10% chance of pulling off everything it has promised – I just get a Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment / FireSky vibe off of it. Multi-studio ventures over multiple titles are difficult even for established studios, let alone start-ups. Plus even Gazillion’s “established” studios in NetDevil and Slipgate Ironworks hardly have the best reputations.