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Ubisoft picks up Avengers license following canceled THQ game

Ubisoft picks up Avengers license following canceled THQ game

May 10, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Ubisoft and Marvel will release Avengers: Battle for Earth on Wii U and Xbox 360 Kinect this fall -- after THQ passed on an opportunity to release its own tie-in games for the blockbuster movie and comic book franchise.

The game's release will follow the record-setting box office debut of The Avengers film last week. Though it had the biggest opening weekend ever for a movie in North America after earning $207 million, there was no licensed console game to profit on that success.

Media reports last August indicated that THQ was originally set to release an Avengers game for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, but the publisher is said to have cancelled the project after closing its Brisbane and Blue Tongue studios that were working on the titles.

THQ has relinquished a number of game projects as the company tries to recover from layoffs, studio closures, and financial troubles. It recently gave up global publishing rights for an Adidas MiCoach to 505 Games, and sold its casual publishing/distribution division ValuSoft to Cosmi.

The beleaguered publisher also decided to not continue its distribution deal with Codemasters, which is now handled by Warner Bros. And while THQ exited the kids' licensed game business, D3Publisher took over an exclusive partnership with DreamWorks to release the film studio's licensed games.

Other game publishers have been able to capitalize on the Avengers movie -- Disney/Playdom put out a Facebook game based on the property, and in the weeks leading up to the film's release, that title saw its audience size spike up to 7.5 million monthly active users and 1.5 million daily users, according to AppData. Gameloft also released a licensed title for mobile devices.

The rights for an Avengers console game eventually reverted to Disney's Marvel Entertainment subsidiary, and now the company is working with Ubisoft Quebec (PowerUp Heroes, Battle of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D) to develop Avengers: Battle for Earth.

As with the Avengers comic books and movie, the game will feature a team of popular superhero characters like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk, all of whom have received their own individual films and games in the past.

The Xbox 360 version of Avengers: Battle for Earth will require the console's Kinect peripheral, and will have motion controls, while the Wii edition will take advantage of the system's tablet controller.

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