Comic book maker Marvel Entertainment has teamed with development firm Cryptic Studios to create a massively multiplayer online game, dubbed Marvel Universe Online.

Microsoft Game Studios will publish the game exclusively for Windows Vista and the Xbox 360. The firms plan to allow players from both platforms interact with each other in a virtual world.

The vision behind the alliance of Microsoft Game Studios, Cryptic Studios and Marvel is to expand the MMO genre and create an epic gaming experience, said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Cryptic is an independent employee-owned developer of massively multiplayer online games, gaining wide interest with its popular 2004 title, City of Heroes. The firm is planning to take characters from Marvel's comic books and allow them all to interact simultaneously in a large virtual world.

The companies have not announced a release date.