10 Canceled & Abandoned Marvel Games We Wish Came Out

cancelled Marvel games
cancelled Marvel games

While a household name today, the origins of the multimedia monolith Marvel stretch back to 1939 when it went by a different name completely: Timely Comics. By the 50s, it was known as the pre-comics code Atlas Comics, before eventually settling on Marvel in 1961.

For the last 60+ years, the company has branched out into several industries like films, TV, and video games. When it comes to video games especially, Marvel has been expanding full force over the past decade. Not a year goes by without another new title based on a superhero like Blade or Wolverine getting announced.

That said, while many of us cherish Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Midnight Suns, and Guardians of the Galaxy, while also looking forward to upcoming releases like Marvel’s Wolverine, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Blade, not everyone is aware of the long lineage of Marvel games that got canned for various reasons known and unknown. While there are a lot of them throughout even just recent history, here’s a list of the ten most disappointing cancellations of Marvel games that hurt badly even today.


10. Activision Z-Axis’ Iron Man

Activision Z-Axis’ Iron Man
Activision Z-Axis’ Iron Man

Platform(s): PS2, Xbox

Back in the early 2000s, Underground Development (formerly Z-Axis) was developing an Iron Man game for Activision. The game wasn’t ever officially announced by Activision, but as per IGN in 2003, Z-Axis had job listings put up that stated they were working on two Marvel games for Activision: an Iron Man and an X-Men game.

Later in 2005, Z-Axis released X-Men: The Official Game for the PS2 and Xbox. As for the Iron Man game, it was nowhere to be seen, and we didn’t hear anything about it until 2020 when images of a prototype were uploaded on Unseen64, an internet archive about canceled video games.

To this day, there’s no confirmation why the Iron Man game wasn’t made. Some reports state it wasn’t feasible for Z-Axis to develop two Marvel games at a time, but it’s impossible to be sure. We’ll probably never find out why, but if it’s any consolation, EA’s Studio Motive is developing an Iron Man game in Unreal Engine 5, so Marvel fans should rejoice.


9. Marvel MMO (Daybreak Games)

Platform(s): PC (otherwise unconfirmed)

This one’s a rather recently canceled Marvel game. In 2021, Daybreak Games, developers of DC Universe Online, confirmed they were making a Marvel MMO, a massively multiplayer online game. Seven months later in May 2022, in a since deleted blog post from their official website,  the company backtracked, stating that after a “re-evaluation of the development risk profile, size of investment, and the long-term product portfolio strategy for the group” they had decided to close the book on the project. Instead, the proposed $50 million budget for the Marvel MMO would be utilized elsewhere, specifically on smaller-scale projects.

Shortly after, one of the Marvel MMO game’s designers uploaded images of the game onto their ArtStation profile. The screenshots depicted a character creation menu, four factions the player could join, the UI design, and lots more. It’s a shame the Marvel MMO was canceled and abandoned because the visuals look stunning and it did show potential. There’s still a possibility that the project might get revived if the budget could be lowered significantly.

Otherwise, another massively multiplayer online Marvel game is all but inevitable at this point. Let’s maybe give it another 5, or 10 years for the memories of Marvel Heroes to wear off.


8. Neversoft’s Ghost Rider

Platform(s): PS1

Before it merged with Infinity Ward in 2014, Neversoft was a prominent studio that made some of the all-time greats like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Guitar Hero. However, if you go even further back, Neversoft was developing a Marvel’s Ghost Rider game on the original PlayStation for Crystal Dynamics, who you may know today as the developers of Marvel’s Avengers and the Tomb Raider franchise. The story was exclusively broken by PlayStation Museum on their blog and YouTube channel in 2007 which showed gameplay footage from an unreleased demo of the game.

As for what exactly happened, Neversoft worked on its PS1 Ghost Rider game throughout 1996. It was envisioned to be a new genre-defying platformer, a game where the environment was 3D but the player would move in 2D planes across 15 unique levels. The player could choose to alternate between axes by shifting the camera, it was as if you were tilting the different sides of a cube. The gameplay would be side-scrolling and beat ‘em up style, fitting the genre.

A playable demo of Ghost Rider was made and pitched to Crystal Dynamics, but then things started going downhill. In the latter half of 1996, Crystal Dynamics decided to pull the plug on its publishing department. Crystal Dynamics wanted to focus on developing games only and it was running out of funding at the same time. Neversoft pitched a budget and plans on how to complete Marvel’s Ghost Rider, but Crystal Dynamics rejected the proposal.

Apart from monetary constraints, Crystal Dynamics thought that the Ghost Rider game wouldn’t do well commercially as the industry was shifting to 3D. According to a Neversoft ex-employee, a third of Ghost Rider was completed, but it ended up in the pile of canceled and abandoned Marvel games as the publisher didn’t pull through. You can bet Crystal Dynamics regrets the decision after seeing the success of games that made the leap to 3D in the fifth generation of consoles.


7. The Avengers (THQ)

Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360

You might not know this, but there once was a first-person Avengers game being made by THQ according to an anonymous ex-employee who leaked details to Kotaku about the game following its cancellation. It was originally supposed to be a third-person co-op action game, but a first-person camera angle was favored later on. THQ reportedly wanted to put a unique spin on the Marvel characters since they felt that because all previous Marvel games were in third-person, the time felt right for a change, until, well, THQ ran out of a different kind of change.

The Avengers eventually reached a playable build stage and development continued until disaster struck. THQ was on the verge of bankruptcy because their AAA game Homefront and uDraw GameTablet, a gigantic failure, didn’t sell well enough to turn a profit. The developers pitched The Avengers to Marvel in hopes of securing funding to continue development, however, the conglomerate declined and that was the end of it. It’s sad what happened to the work of the developers, as what has leaked seems like one of the more interesting Marvel games since the turn of the century.

THQ filed for bankruptcy in December 2012, whereas the license to The Avengers and other THQ video games was sold off to Ubisoft which would later make its own Avengers game. Ubisoft’s Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth took some inspiration from THQ’s project for the story and setting, whereas the gameplay was third-person and clearly different. You can’t really say how THQ’s Avengers would’ve turned out, but Crystal Dynamics’ (yep, them again) 2020 Avengers game left a bitter taste in the mouth, a failed live service comic book game that would definitely make publishers second guess–nevermind.


6. Marvel: World of Heroes

Platform(s): Mobile

Marvel: World of Heroes was one of the most unexpected video game announcements of 2022. The developers of Pokémon GO were working on a similar augmented reality game based on Marvel’s iconic superheroes, and they even released a teaser on YouTube to spread the word.

A few months later, and you guessed it, Niantic CEO John Hanke commented on the future of the company in a blog post uploaded to the company’s official website. It stated that Niantic had decided to end development on World of Heroes and would instead dedicate all resources towards the health of Pokémon GO.

For fans this might’ve been unexpected news, but to employees, not so much. The market for AR games was already dwindling with plenty of failed attempts getting canned, and even keeping Pokémon GO running proved to be tough. As a result, support for NBA All-World, one of Niantic’s other AR games, was cut, and for Marvel: World of Heroes, that meant goodbye too.

Interestingly, the teaser for Marvel: World of Heroes is still up. You’d expect Marvel to take it down considering the game is officially canceled, but it hasn’t been yet. Since the cancellation, Pokémon GO has boosted in popularity a bit and its earnings for 2023 were reportedly still among the highest for a mobile game. It’s possible Niantic and Marvel may reconsider restarting development on World of Heroes, though you shouldn’t spend your days counting on it.


5. Iron Man (Avalanche)

iron man
Source: Marvel Studios

Platform(s): Unconfirmed

If you thought Z-Axis’ Iron Game getting canned was bad, you’re going to lose it after you find out the Just Cause creator Avalanche Studios had an open-world Iron Man game in the works at one point. In an interview with MinnMax in 2022, Christofer Sundberg, the co-founder of Avalanche Studios, opened up about working on an Iron Man game.

The game had been in development for about 2 years and would focus on melee combat with Iron Man’s repulsors and would allow players to fly off anywhere. Things were going well, but Marvel wanted Avalanche to rapidly staff up and, in turn, shorten the timeline for release. This meant that Sundberg had to hire 80 or more new professionals and bring them on board and at the same time find a new contract for the studio to work on after Iron Man. According to Sundberg, that was “impossible to do” in the proposed time frame and had he tried, it would have caused irreparable damage to the studio.

Avalanche’s Iron Man entered development hell and there was no clear direction going forward, as both the publisher and developer had different visions for the game. Unsurprisingly,

Iron Man joined the list of canceled and abandoned Marvel games in 2012 and Avalanche moved on to other IPs like Mad Max and Just Cause 3. No footage or concept of Iron Man has leaked so far and considering how long it’s been, we might never even get to see what they were cooking up.


4. Spider-Man: Classic (Sequel to Web of Shadows)

Platform(s): Unconfirmed

Spider-Man: Classic or (Spider-Man: Chronicles) was the proposed name of the canceled sequel to Shaba Games’ Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. A bummer since the premise had all sorts of fan-favorite villains like Carnage and Mysterio, as well as epic adventures for the players who would have controlled both Spider-Man and Wolverine. This cancellation was due to Shaba Games being shut down by Activision in 2009. The only reason we know the fabled Web of Shadows sequel existed at one point was because concept art images were leaked anonymously on the internet.

Why Activision shut down Shaba Games was never clearly explained, however, in a statement to Kotaku, the company stated the decision was made after a strategic re-evaluation, probably money problems as always. Thus, yet another Marvel game was shelved.

Spider-Man: Classic was later replaced with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Shattered Dimensions may not have had an open-world setting, but it was a great follow-up that’s become something of a cult classic. It featured four different versions of Spider-Man, including 2099 and Noir, each battling unique bosses like Kraven and Hammerhead. While it’s not tied directly to Shaba Games’ canceled Classic sequel, Shattered Dimension is still considered an indirect sequel to Spider-Man: Web of Shadows.


3. Marvel: Chaos

Marvel Chaos
Marvel Chaos

Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360

Marvel: Chaos was another promising game for the Xbox 360 and PS3 that went under due to unfortunate circumstances. One of EA’s subsidiary studios, EA Chicago, was tasked with developing Marvel: Chaos, a fighting game featuring the iconic superheroes and supervillains from the Marvel comics. The game was shown to the public during the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con, but was canceled in November that same year.

In a quarterly earnings conference, it was revealed that EA Chicago was unprofitable. The Chicago branch had drastically increased in size from a team of 49 to 146 employees and the profit turnover wasn’t enough to keep the studio running. According to Electronic Arts president Frank Gibeau, EA Chicago wouldn’t have hit profitability margins until at least 2011, nearly four years away, so given the situation, shutting down the studio for good was the only viable way to move forward.

Unfortunately, this also meant that the devs had to say farewell to the brawler under development too. Since this was back in 2007 – way before even our time – the exact details of the report aren’t readily available online but many publications such as GameSpot did cover it.

A playable build of Marvel: Chaos for the Xbox 360 was leaked in the following years and most of the gameplay videos, concept art, and in-game screenshots ended up on Unseen64 whereas the development build of the game is still out there somewhere on the internet. You might even find the build itself if you’re lucky. From looks alone you can tell EA Chicago’s take on the characters was special. A 3D fighting game with the crowd reacting in real-time and a star-studded cast of the best superheroes. You can’t help but think what would’ve become of Marvel: Chaos had it not been canceled and abandoned. It probably would have been better than Rise of the Imperfects at least.


2. Spider-Man 4

Spider-Man 4
Spider-Man 4

Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy dominated the big screen in the 2000s, but all the Bonesawing and pizza timing even did well on the small screen, too. Their video game counterparts were well-loved among the fans, with Spider-Man 2 still being revered by some as the best Spider-Man game ever. Unfortunately, there was a fourth entry in the works that never saw the light of day.

After Sony confirmed to Deadline that the Raimi-verse’s Spider-Man 4 hit a dead end due to Sam Raimi’s dissatisfaction with the script, the video game being developed by Radical Entertainment had to follow suit.

Radical Entertainment didn’t let their hard work go to waste though. They re-used the assets they developed for Spider-Man 4 in their next game, Prototype 2. An early build of Spider-Man 4 was leaked years later by Obscure Gamers. The leaked footage shows some UI elements along with the map being pretty identical to Prototype 2’s. Turns out their grind didn’t go completely down the drain after all since Prototype 2 is a good game in its own right. All that said, this cancellation certainly hits close to home considering how satisfying Prototype 2 is and the prospect of Spider-Man 4 was.


1. Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

Platform(s): PC, PS2, Xbox

If you ask Marvel superfans which character they’d love to see get a video game adaptation, a sizable number of them would say hands down Daredevil because the character just checks all the boxes. Super strength, martial arts, weird senses, and everything that a superhero video game needs, Daredevil has. It’s a little surprising Marvel hasn’t tried cashing in on him yet, or have they?

A long time ago, a third-party studio called 5,000 Ft. was making a Daredevil game for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. The news was first broken by Unseen64, and many years later, Kotaku corroborated the story and expanded on the events that transpired during its troubled development.

Reportedly, work on Daredevil was continuing smoothly, and the third-person open-world action game was set to release sometime in 2003. However, that’s when creative differences started arising. 5,000 Ft. had to cater to Marvel, Microsoft, and Sony if they wanted their game approved and supported on consoles, which is easier said than done. Sony wanted Daredevil to be a beat ‘em game with lots of grinding since that was the popular beat back then. Microsoft allowed creative freedom to the devs, whereas Marvel objected to Sony’s take and said the Daredevil video game had to be “faithful to their property”, whatever that meant.

The cherry on top of it all was that problems with the game engine started happening. Daredevil’s open-world nature would only be supported by Criterion Software’s RenderWare engine, which was too expensive to license at the time. 5,000 Ft. tried developing their own in-house engine for Daredevil but it wasn’t working with the mechanics.

Daredevil was officially in development hell but despite the innumerable obstacles, it was nearly finished with the only thing left being Marvel approving the game, which it didn’t. Marvel refused to allow Daredevil: The Man Without Fear to enter the commercial market on the grounds that it wasn’t like they had imagined and was too similar to the beat ‘em up style Sony proposed. Changing the game now would’ve meant going back to square one, which was irrational at this phase of the development pipeline, so instead, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear was tucked away in the 5000 Ft. archives, never to be heard again. That was until more than a decade later in 2023 when an anonymous source claiming to be one of the developers uploaded a build of the game onto the Hidden Palace wiki.

The leaked version was almost fully complete with mechanics working in sync, cutscenes in place, and levels accessible to users. Granted, it’s not on par with today’s standards but the build has some fun gameplay and after looking at it, you won’t be able to help but think how Daredevil might have changed the industry had it come out all those years ago.

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