Marvel Ultimate Alliance, a fan-favorite game that let you play as almost every superhero ever, has disappeared from digital platforms. The Xbox Game Store, the PlayStation store, and even Steam have lost the game as though it was erased by Thanos himself. The truth is less (or more, depending on your opinion) sinister: Activision lost its license.
Activision published Ultimate Alliance way back in 2006 for Xbox 360 and PS3. The sequel, Ultimate Alliance 2, was also an Activision game. Both titles were revived as digital downloads for modern consoles in 2016. July 26th of 2016 to be exact. Two years later, to the exact date, the games were taken down.
The reason for the absence has not been confirmed, but outlets such as Eurogamer note that the pattern is reminiscent of other licensed games. Publishers who release video games tied to known brands and franchises often do so under a limited license. If that license isn't renewed, they lose the right to sell the game. Activision has let licenses go in the past, with Marvel's own Deadpool suffering the same fate.
To be fair, it might not be Activision's choice this time. With Square Enix working on an untitled Avengers game, Disney could very well have no interest in the sales of older Marvel games. For those really needing to scratch that Marvel itch, the House Of Mouse would probably point you to one of its many mobile games starring Cap and company.
While some of those mobile games are very fun (Spider-Man Unlimited, anyone?), they are a poor replacement for the universe-spanning action of Ultimate Alliance. With a brand as strong as Marvel, Disney should be pumping out game after game. Yet there is a confusing lack of Marvel games on console and PC. Hopefully the Square Enix game, whatever it is, is epic enough to warrant the wait.
At least the Spider-Man PS4 game looks to be everything fans could want. Here's hoping it actually delivers.