Hutter said Super Hero Squad will be a "freemium" MMO game that's supported through in-game micro-transactions with an allowance model. Players can explore much of the world for free, but also opt to enter into a monthly currency program that allows in-game virtual purchases at a value price.
Work is currently underway on Marvel Universe at Gargantuan Studios in San Mateo, CA, another one of Gazillion's four wholly owned MMO game developers. (Slipgate Ironworks in San Mateo, CA, which is working on an original MMO game, is the fourth.)
"We have a dedicated studio working on the Marvel Universe game and I think people are going to be pretty excited to learn who's piloting that project," said Hutter. "We have a great team that has a history of building great entertainment for the core gamer. What we're really trying to do is create a game that will satisfy the core in a very persuasive way, but also bring in fans who have different types of play styles. We can build a very large and robust Marvel Universe with incredible amount of support from fan bases of different types, which means a bigger experience with more expansions for core and non-core alike. We don't think the two are mutually exclusive."
To ensure that the core gamer is part of the equation, Hutter has been assembling a team of MMO game developers from some of the top publishers in the business. He's pulled folks from Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, Cryptic Studios and NCsoft. Steve Cartwright, design & production principal, was a co-founder of Activision and later worked at Midway Games and Electronic Arts. Serdar Copur, producer, was the lead producer on City of Heroes/Villains at Cryptic Studios.
Ralph Guggenheim, exec.producer of episodic content, was a co-founder of Pixar and an executive producer at EA. Ed Hocking, quality assurance manager, held the same position at Sony Online Entertainment. Jim Pearson, lead concept artist, was an art director at Pixar on Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo. Richard Rowan, Regine Weiner, director of Game Services, previously served as the customer service director for Turner Games and was a manager at Disney Online. John Yoo, lead systems designer, was lead designer at Perpetual Entertainment for Star Trek Online and also oversaw the virtual economy at Blizzard Entertainment for World of Warcraft.
In addition to developing the actual games, Gazillion has spent the past three years building the front-end and back-end architecture that allows its studios to share resources seamlessly. Hutter said that each time a build of a game is made, the team is actually accessing that build inside the studio from data centers worldwide. Gazillion has the technology capable to make everything from full streaming 3D world MMO experiences to engaging in-browser experiences for the PC. Down the line, when the next generation of consoles support in-browser experiences, Hutter said his team will be read for that, as well.