Following its fourth update this week, there are no plans for further updates to Marvel Powers United VR (2018), an Oculus spokesperson has confirmed to Road to VR. For developer Sanzaru Games, publisher Oculus Studios, and Rift owners alike, the focus is on the future.
Developed by Sanzaru Games and published by Oculus Studios, the Rift-exclusive Marvel Powers United VR launched in July 2018, representing one of Oculus’ biggest content investments to date.
The company has made good on its promise of post-launch support with a series of updates spanning seven months after release. However, the updates have felt largely aimed at salvaging the gameplay, which lacked variety and challenge out of the gate, rather than adding new and meaningful content.
This week Marvel Powers United VR saw its fourth update which introduced a new objective and enemy, along with a slew of tweaks including a “significant tuning pass” to hero abilities to reduce ability spam and increase character versatility.
An Oculus spokesperson confirmed that this was the last update for Marvel Powers United VR, as the Sanzaru Games team shifts its focus toward its next Oculus Studios project, Asgard’s Wrath, which is due out later this year.
Ahead of the game’s launch, Oculus Studios’ Executive Producer on Marvel VR, Mike Doran, spoke to Road to VR about the studio’s DLC plans for the game:
[User retention] sort of ties into our DLC philosophy. There will be DLC for the game, it will be free, we’re going to be generous with the community—we’re not talking what or when quite yet, but as long as people keep coming back and playing, we’re going to keep making stuff.
I think what we want to do [with DLC] is get the game out there, get it in the hands of the fans, and let them tell us what they want more of. Obviously we could come up with no shortage of cool scenarios that we could script and put people in, or stories that we would want to retell, but you have to fit it in a structure—you only have so much resources and time and ability to get stuff done. This was the choice we made, we wanted to lean heavily into the multiplayer and the co-op social aspects; we’re going to see how the fans react and what they want more of.
Unfortunately for fans who were hoping to see the game’s scope and hero roster expand through DLC (including the much requested Iron Man), that ship has sailed. This the final form of Marvel Powers United VR.
Past & Future
At the time of its launch Marvel Powers United VR was a big deal for Oculus, which funded a slick, highly produced ad which did a great job of selling the idea of becoming your favorite Marvel superhero in VR.
Not only was the game the first VR superhero title to incorporate such a wide array of iconic heroes and with such high production value, it was the first time Oculus sold a Rift bundle with unique packaging.
Launched at the end of July, 2018, production of the limited edition bundle stopped and stock had begun to peter out by November, Oculus confirmed. Ostensibly if the game and bundle had performed well enough, the company would have sought to keep it in stock through the 2018 holiday season.
Marvel Powers United VR was met with mixed reviewed at launch, ultimately reaching a 68 out of 100 from critics on review aggregator Metacritic, and a 3.8 out of 5 from users on the Oculus Store. Among Rift-exclusive titles from Oculus Studios, the game is perhaps one of the biggest productions so far to receive such middling reviews.
As a publisher, Oculus Studios has largely presided over strong Rift-exclusive releases, including lauded titles like Robo Recall (2017) and Lone Echo & Echo Arena (2017). But it isn’t the first misstep for the company which has been aggressively funding high production VR content for its platform; in the Rift’s earliest days—back when the headset only supported seated play with a gamepad—the publisher opted to nearly halve the price of Feral Rights (2016) just a few days after release, citing community feedback. For users who had already bought the game for full price, the studio gave away six Rift titles totaling some $150 and offered to refund the cost of the game.
2018 was slower than prior years in terms of tentpole titles from Oculus Studios, and felt even more so with the reception of Marvel VR, but the 2019 lineup appears strong with a string of upcoming titles including Defector (Twisted Pixel), Stormland (Insomniac Games), Lone Echo 2 (Ready at Dawn), Asgard’s Wrath (Sanzaru Games), and an unnamed “AAA VR Shooter” from Respawn Entertainment.