Marvel Comics announced this week that its long awaited massively multiplayer online roleplaying game will be free-to-play, allow players to control Marvel characters, and come with a storyline created by Brian Michael Bendis. The untitled project will allow players to experience Marvel events from the 1960s onwards, including those in different realities like the Ultimate Comics universe and that of Supreme Power, and will include Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Nova and Squirrel Girl, among many others as playable characters.The writer Ultimate Spider-Man, The Avengers, Secret Invasion and all but countless other successes for Marvel, Bendis has been working with developer Gazillion Entertainment for several months. At a presentation at the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, California, Bendis said that he was especially keen to work on the game.

"The reason that I was so desperate to be a part of this is that I'm a big believer that the Marvel universe is more than just this fantasy universe, it's kind of a lifestyle for a lot of people. It reminds me of what Stan Lee did in the '60s by making the audience part of Marvel."

While DC Comics' MMO, DC Universe Online, is a wholly original story that involves the player as a new character of their own creation, Marvel's MMO will depict events from the Marvel Comic books themselves, with players controlling the Marvel characters they love. Comic Book Resources reports that players will guide Marvel's characters through major storylines going back to the 1960s and spanning various alternate realities like those of Ultimate Comics, Supreme Power, 616, and the live-action films from Marvel Studios. "This the ultimate answer to message board bitching," said Bendis. "'All right, go do it yourself!'"

Also in contrast to DC's effort, the Marvel MMO will be free. The game will launch on the PC platform with others to follow. A release date has yet to be announced.

In related news, Marvel and Gazillion debuted this week Marvel Superhero Squad Online, an MMO designed for all ages. Also free-to-play (with a subscription option to unlock additional characters), the game offers daily combat missions, among other challenges. You can check out a trailer below.

More From ComicsAlliance