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City of Heroes

In a better world, these games exist

Jun 06 // Nic Rowen
Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat Released on the Dreamcast in 2002 to belatedly settle the fighting game rivalry that defined the 90's arcade scene, Street Fighter vs Mortal Kombat remains a legend in the fighting game community. Still considered the finest example of 2D sprite art and animation from its era, the silky smooth and obsessively detailed characters of SF vs MK set an impossible bar to follow. The almost decadent use of special purpose one-off animations and frames only adds to the visual splendor. Vega's sublimely gory “Shadowloo Slicer” fatality still elicits screams from the audience at EVO. As fierce as the fighting between the World Warriors and the forces of Outworld got, the battle behind the scenes is said to have been even bloodier; a runaway budget, arguments over almost every aspect of the design, and frequent shouting matches characterized the prolonged five year development cycle. Despite the astounding success and popularity of the title, a sequel has never been attempted. Ed Boon and Yoshinori Ono refuse to even speak to each other to this day for reasons neither of them will discuss. The licensing snake-pit of copyrights and legal redtape has prevented any other ports or remakes from ever being produced, spurring a cottage industry of Dreamcast re-sales and custom made fightsticks for the console, supported almost entirely by SF vs MK's diehard audience. Alan Wake: The Fear That Gives Men Wings One has to imagine the lengths Sam Lake and his team at Remedy had to go to to protect their secret, their lips held firmly tight, unable to tell anyone what they were really up to. Keeping things under wraps despite the kind of scrutiny placed on what would be the flagship launch title for the Xbox One. The kind of pressure they must have been under to tease even a bit of what they had up their sleeves. But, somehow they managed it, and the fourth wall shattering reveal of Max Payne as a playable character in the second act of the game will go down in history as one of the most surprising and surreal moments in gaming history. Max is every bit as cynical and bitter as ever. But this time he isn't raging against an indifferent and unfair universe with a vague sense of living a cliché. This time he can direct his anger against the very man who wrote the script of his sorry fate. The scene where he crushes Alan's writing hand with the butt of his pistol is almost unbearable to watch. Reportedly, Sam Lake spent the night of the launch locked in his office suffering an intense panic attack, a crisis of artistic confidence. He spent the last five years of his life calculating this surprise, this single plot twist. If the game failed it wouldn't just be the end of his career, it would end his self-image as an artist and writer. Hideo Kojima, no stranger to pulling a controversial character rope-a-dope called him that night and consoled him in his hour of need. From that experience, the two men formed a bond that eventually led to them collaborating on Snatcher 2, another smash success. City of Heroes: Issue 25 “Messages from a world ending” In the waning days of City of Heroes' lifespan, most of the development and design talent in Paragon Studios carefully made their exit to greener pastures. As everyone else was jumping off, one man climbed aboard the sinking ship to take over as lead designer. There would be no budget, a small (and rapidly shrinking) team to work with, and low expectations from fans and critics already aware of Paragon City's impending doom. He was supposed to be just folding up the socks and towels, putting the game to bed. Instead, Austin Grossman created one of the most memorable final chapters to an MMO ever seen. Relying on his background as a writer, Grossman set out to recast the tone of CoH to better fit the looming ennui of a world coming to an end. CoH's final storylines were not the Silver Age dust-ups that characterized most of the game's lifespan. Instead, Grossman wrote introspective questlines laced with sharp humor about heroes and villains looking inward. What compels someone to point a laser at the moon? What drives someone else to put on a cape and jump in front of that laser? And who gives a shit about the moon anyway? Couldn't these miracle men born of science and magic be doing something better with their lives and isn't this all a little bit silly and embarrassing when you step back from it? With no money to craft new areas or other big gameplay draws, Grossman had to get clever to generate new content. Flipping the familiar Giant Monster concept on its head, instead of creating new and impressive Godzilla-esque monster for players to rally against, he instead turned a single random player into an unstoppable force of destruction. An artifact known as Mournblade, a cursed black sword, would be “gifted” to a player once a month, immediately giving them an exponential boost to their stats, constantly depleting health that could only be regenerated by killing with the sword, and flagging them as a PvP target no matter what zone they were in. When the player fell, the next nearest player would inherit the blade, and the carnage would continue until a heroic sacrifice was made -- the deletion of the character currently holding the blade. In the final hours of the game's life one lone hero remained, wielding the Mournblade against a cataclysmic invasion of blatantly overpowered alien invaders. The beauty and value of struggling against inevitable darkness was CoH's final message. A fitting tribute for the beloved and fondly remembered MMO. Springfield Rockstar has always played it's cards close to it's chest but no one could have guessed that the schoolyard based Bully was a testbed for a much more ambitious project several years in the making. When Rockstar announced it's partnership with Fox to make an open-world Simpson's game where nearly every single NPC in the game was a known and beloved Simpsons cast member, the response was a mixture of unbridled excitement and raised eyebrows. Those eyebrows stayed raised as Rockstar made design choices so bold they bordered on absurd. Rather than make Bart or any of the other predictable Simpson family members the protagonists, Rockstar reached back to its tradition with mute characters and allowed players to make their own avatar, a recent transfer student to Springfield Elementary known only as “The Kid.” The game was structured similar to GTA and Bully, but with a Simpsons twist with “The Kid” taking on all kinds of missions from notable Springfield residents. Hijinks ranging from helping Comic Book Guy try to woo a regular customer (it ends poorly), to covering up an accident at the nuclear plant for Mr. Burns (it ends poorly), to trying to elevate Bumblebee Man's stature as an actor (you guessed it, it ends poorly). 400 hours of dialog, quips and jokes make Springfield a real, living place filled with the characters you know and love. Most precious of all, though, were the inclusion of previously unused and forgotten recorded performances from the late Phil Hartman, allowing a final farewell for beloved characters such as Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure. [embed]293426:58849:0[/embed] Those are games I see when I close my eyes at night. Games that I know could never have existed for a number of perfectly sound reasons, but still can't shake the feeling that we should have had them. Do you have any games like this? Titles that stick in your imagination and make you wish things had happened differently?
Dream games photo
All great ideas go to Heaven
Silent Hills was a dream game. Specifically, it was my dream game. If you asked me before P.T. crept onto the PSN servers what series I'd most like to see rejuvenated in a bold new way, I would have probably told you Silent H...

Did Blizzard kill my dreams for a City of Heroes successor?

Nov 19 // Nic Rowen
If you never played CoH, it might be difficult to understand what all the fuss is about. It was a superhero MMO that came out juuuust before WoW stormed into the market and salted the land for every other MMO looking to grab a slice, which is probably why it was able to survive as long as it did. I've been a comic book nerd since childhood, and the idea of flying around a persistent city busting criminals and fighting arch-villains alongside hundreds of other superheroes sounded like just the ticket. CoH took a kitchen-sink approach to the genre. Drawing inspiration from everything from the goofy trappings of the '70s Silver Age, to the embarrassing grimdark of the mid-'90s Dork Age (pouches and bandoliers as far as the eye could see). There was something for every kind of player, and the level of customization and creativity available was staggering. You could make a four-foot-tall weather-controlling fairy princess as easily as you could a machine gun-slinging Punisher knock-off. I just don't get the same joy from putting on a slightly different leather tunic and choosing between pre-determined ability trees. CoH put a huge emphasis on player identity. An incredible number of costume parts was a given, but there were also a ton of little touches. Titles and honorifics could be unlocked, so you could be "The Incredible xXWolverineFanXx" if that was your bag. Badges could be set under you character name if you wanted to show off a particular accomplishment or just add a little flavor to your hero. If you were so inclined, you could even write a small biography or backstory for your character that would be viewable to anyone with a simple right-click. The "quality" of these bios drastically varied, and it was as much fun to sit around a busy area and throw shade on crappy bios as it was to actually get out there and fight evil.  And the game just kept getting better and better. Great quality-of-life tools like the sidekick system and super groups made it easy to play with friends, even if you were at different experience levels, so you could always convince a buddy to join. More content was being added on a fairly regular basis, both tiny little quest lines and huge releases like the amazing City of Villains expansion. Old areas and quest lines were revamped and given a facelift as the dev team learned from past mistakes. Even the oft-requested feature of player-created quest lines was eventually released. And then it suddenly died. In September of 2012, players were notified that NCSoft was sun-setting the game. They would have a little less than a scant three months to get in their last heroic hurrah's before the servers shut down. I haven't seriously played an MMO since. CoH was perfect for what I look for in that kind of game mechanically and aesthetically. I have Skyrim and Dark Souls if I want to run around in a suit of armor and mess up goblins; doing that with a bunch of other people doesn't appeal. But there was something special about linking up in a super team to take down a Godzilla-sized robot or invade a knock-off Dr. Doom's island laboratory. Sure, there have been other attempts at the superhero MMO, but like failed clones none of them have lived up to the original. Champions Online is still around under the F2P model, but I never liked it. Jack Emmert, the original lead designer of CoH who "left" the company early on (it's speculated that he was encouraged to leave) was the brains behind Champions and it showed. Jack was always accused by the CoH fanbase of standing in the way of obvious improvements and being unresponsive to feedback, and in this rare instance, the mob might have been right. Champions seemed to embrace all of CoH's flaws and few of its virtues. Big DC itself got into the action with DC: Universe Online, which I played for about a week before banishing to the phantom zone. After all the freedom CoH provided and its emphasis on the player's identity, it was bizarre to play DC: UO with its heavily constricted power-sets and being constantly up-staged by the DC cast (although maybe that was to be expected). It's still around, also on the F2P scheme, and I hear they've made improvements since release but I just can't be assed to give it another go. Maybe I'm just a picky jerk who's overly nostalgic for his pet game. Or maybe it's impossible to catch lightning in a bottle twice. But man, if there was anyone I'd trust to be able to pull it off, it would be Blizzard. Blizzard has the experience, the budget, and the brains to make a fantastic MMO. Say what you want about WoW, it knows what players are looking for and what kind of content works. If you had told me Titan was a superhero MMO, I would have been over the moon because I'd have known I was going to get a shot at reliving my CoH glory days. But Blizzard killed it in its cradle. After working on it for seven years, the company said it "didn't find the fun" and pulled the plug, stitching together Overwatch as some kind of Frankenstein consolation prize. [embed]284044:56375:0[/embed] There is no way of knowing for certain that Titan was going to be a superhero MMO or how much Overwatch reflects whatever state of development that game was in. We'll probably never know -- I can't see Blizzard going around talking about its seven-year money pit any time soon. This is all conjecture and speculation, but I think it fits, and it bums me the hell out. If you watch Overwatch's cinematic trailer while thinking about it in terms of an MMO it makes a lot of sense. It sets up a broad conflict and a super group that's seen better days, shows off a few mascot characters, and makes a literal call to arms that "the world needs more heroes!" at the end. It looks like it should just drop you into a character creation screen! Speaking of characters, look at them! So many sizes and shapes and interesting doo-dads, very cool. I can see them as a colorful cast for a shooter, sure. But I can see them even more as the colorful mascots of an MMO showing off what the character creator can do. They all look so crazy and anachronistic, from robots and cyber-knights to dwarfs and samurai, like the kind of crap you'd see in an MMO trying to be all things to all people. Then we have the various powers and abilities the characters demonstrate in the gameplay trailer. Lots of them seem right at home in an FPS, are genre standards, or were lifted straight out of TF2, but there are some oddballs here and there that make me think. Look at Reaper's (ugh, what a name) "death blossom" move and tell me that isn't just an AoE attack straight out of CoH or WoW. Whipping out into third-person and spinning around guns blazing looks silly in an FPS context, but it's run of the mill for an MMO attack. Hanzo's giant-twin-dragon shot straddles the line between looking cool and chintzy. On one hand, giant-twin-dragons are badical. On the other hand, look at it clip right through walls and stuff, ugh. They seem to justify it by showing that its meant to work with his sonar powers to get enemies hiding behind cover, but doesn't it look more like a top-tier power in an MMO? That "cool but kinda broken" look of the end-game stuff in CoH? The list goes on. Pharah's chest missiles look like they'd be more at home in an action-MMO than a twitch based FPS, Zenyatta is laying down party buffs, and Reinhart looks like a cyber-orc from WoW: 2099. Maybe (probably) I'm reading too much into this stuff, but to me at least it seems like Blizzard had these characters and powers in mind for an MMO and found a way to work them into a team-based FPS. What has me bummed out about Blizzard shutting the door on Titan isn't just what we might have missed out on from that project, but what it says about the industry and genre in a broader sense. If Blizzard with all its money and experience can't think of a way to make a superhero MMO fun and (presumably) profitable after seven years of effort, that might be the final nail in the coffin for the sub-genre. [embed]284044:56376:0[/embed] It's infuriating because there has never been a better time to get out there with a superhero MMO! With Disney/Marvel scheduling superhero movies out to 2030 and my own great-aunt wearing a Rocket Raccoon t-shirt, it seems like NOW is when you'd want to rush your mutants and cape-wearing aliens to the shelves. If Blizzard ran the numbers and figured it couldn't make it work, I can't imagine it will be a better climate for a superhero MMO five or ten years down the road when we're all jaded and burned out on truth, justice, and the American way. And who else is left to make one? The MMO bubble burst a long time ago; all the studios who got burned by it have learned their lessons (or are off throwing more money into the furnace trying to make the next big MOBA). DC already took its kick at the can; it won't try again. Disney/Marvel could make their own, but they've already got Infinity milking kids out of lunch money so why bother? Blizzard is probably the last big name left that could have done it right, and the company decided to pick up its kryptonite and go home.  So pour one out for all us CoH fans. Pour one out for what we lost, for what might have been, and what we'll never see again. The closest thing we're ever going to get to another superhero MMO is making whooshing thruster noises with our mouths while trying on ski-boots. Or maybe that's just me again.
Superhero MMOs photo
But I thought heroes never really died!
Spending the last week hearing how great Warlords of Draenor is has put me in a funk. I fondly remember my MMO days, but I've never been able to love another one since City of Heroes was shut down. It left a death-ray-shaped ...

Kickstarter photo

City of Heroes spiritual successor launches a Kickstarter

But can I have Perma-Hasten?
Oct 02
// Patrick Hancock
I'm eager to talk about City of Heroes at any opportunity I get. The financially successful superhero MMO closed down last year making a whole lot of people totally bummed. Some of those people were evidently so bu...

Remembering studios that closed in 2012

Dec 22 // Sterling Aiayla Lyons
Hudson Soft Founded on May 18, 1973, Hudson Soft has been a force in this industry for so long that it seemed as if it would always be around. By 2003, the company had over 500 employees, with studios in both Tokyo and California. Throughout its history, Hudson designed a vast amount games and characters, including the iconic Bomberman, as well as less-iconic-but-still-identifiable Bonk. This story was one that was drawn out, as last year saw the closure of the offices in California. The final nail would come this year, when even the Tokyo offices would also be shut down. It’s something that is definitely heartbreaking for many a fan of the company's works, as well as people who loved the classic bee logo -- doubly for people in both categories like me. With the closure came the announcement that Konami would be absorbing what was left of Hudson, and retiring the name. So while the cute bee might be put out on the rocker on the front porch, hopefully the properties that bee ran won’t be neglected in the future. THQ & THQ San Diego Yesterday we reported that THQ had filed for bankruptcy. The company may not intend to reduce its workforce size during this period, but it's not a very optimistic situation. In March, the company reported a net loss of $239.9 million for the end of the fiscal year, which was over $100 million greater than the previous year's loss. Shortly after, THQ publicly made a deal with Electronic Arts to sell off its license to the UFC franchise. This directly lead to the closure of the THQ studio located in San Diego, the team behind the UFC games. This is one of those times that just goes to show you how fragile some things are in the industry. One deal sealed the fate of a whole studio, and all the workers there. While this might not be the end for THQ yet, the company's long-term survival is by no means guaranteed. I don't usually root for a publisher, but my heart is out for this one, if only for Saints Row 4. Black Hole Entertainment Black Hole Entertainment might be known for a few different games. It developed a couple of Warhammer games: Mark of Chaos and Black March. The company's most notable recent achievement would be Heroes of Might and Magic 6, which can be claimed as the reason for its downfall. Shortly after filing for bankruptcy, an insider from the company came out with claims that Ubisoft, the publisher they worked with, was at fault. The claims laid down include a lack of accountability from Ubisoft for missed deadlines, consistently sudden changes and feature removal demands by Ubisoft, and Ubisoft restructuring the key development team numerous times. Supposedly, the penalties from the missed deadlines, as well as the losses from money spent on features taken out of the game after completed made it so that an unreasonable 200 million copies needed to be sold before Black Hole would see any profit. Whether these claims are true is unknown, but the fact that the company went bankrupt still remains. Radical Entertainment Radical Entertainment is mainly known for the recent series Prototype, but it has been around since 1991, getting passed between multiple publishing companies through its history. There were layoffs, and many claimed that these layoffs lead to the crash of the Vancouver game design market. It was the oldest studio located in Vancouver, after all. This story happens to have a silver lining, as it appears that the company is still partially intact, functioning as a support studio for Activision Blizzard. Rockstar Vancouver/Barking Dog Rockstar's Vancouver studio is known for Bully and the recently released Max Payne 3. Shortly after the release of Max Payne 3, it was announced that Rockstar would be dissolving the studio to refocus its efforts in Canada on its Toronto-based studio. This story does not bring the saddest news of closure though, unless you're someone complaining about the decline of the Vancouver market. All 35 of the Vancouver employees were offered positions within the Toronto studio. With the additional claim of more positions being created afterwards, hopefully this leads to big new projects coming from those folks. Sony Liverpool/Psygnosis Sony Liverpool, perhaps better known as Psygnosis, is the studio behind the WipEout series. At the start of the year, Sony Worldwide Studios came out with an announcement that they would be restructuring the Liverpool studio. Many of the projects they were working on were halted as a result. It wouldn't be until August when the announcement finally came about the studio's closing. The studio employed roughly 100 people across two development teams. The studio was reportedly working on two projects at the time, each for the next-generation Sony console. While the facility at Liverpool remains functional, it is only to house other Sony Computer Entertainment Europe departments. The status of the two projects, one being a new WipEout, is unknown. BigBig Studios BigBig Studios, I feel, is mainly known for Pursuit Force, one of the better launch games for the PlayStation Portable. The studio was formed from a core team of four former Codemasters employees. Sony acquired the studio in 2007, and assigned them to work exclusively on games for the portable system. That might have been the major component in the downfall of the studio, due to the generally dismal life of the portable device itself. The last game they made would be the recent Vita game, Little Deviants which released to less-than-stellar reviews. The studio would be shut down at the beginning of the year as part of restructuring of Sony's European studios. Zipper Interactive Zipper interactive started out making computer games before it became tied to the franchise that would rule the company for the most of its life span, SOCOM. In 2006, the studio was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment and would go on to make games exclusively for the PlayStation brand.  Not to let SCE Europe have all the fun restructuring studios, SCE Worldwide Studios announced in March that Zipper Interactive would be shut down. The reason given was that it was part of a normal cycle of resource re-alignment within Sony. The studio had roughly 80 employees at the time of closure. Its recent games, SOCOM 4, MAG, and Unit 13 are still going to be supported, according to Sony. Paragon Studios NCSoft is one of the few companies that almost exclusively deals in MMOs. Of course, most of that is acquiring studios that make those kind of games and just putting the monetary system on top of that. There are two things that usually happen. Either the game becomes too bloated to sustain from a financial standpoint, or the people calling the shots shift their focus to something "new." Such is the case with City of Heroes, which was finally shut down this year, much to the outrage and disappointment of its players. The really sad part comes with the liquidation of Paragon Studios, the developers behind the game. As of now, I don’t exactly know what happened to the folks who worked there, whether they were reassigned, or just let go entirely. At the very least, I hope that they are all still out there making games. 38 Studios and Big Huge Games 38 Studios started in 2006, originally named "Green Monster Games." Founded by Baseball star Curt Schilling with a dream to make his own MMO, he seemed to start out the right way, hiring talent that had great experience in the game world. In addition to writer R.A. Salvatore and artist Todd McFarlane, former general manager of games at Comcast Jennifer Maclean, former lead engineer at EA Jon Laff, and a former lead designer of EverQuest Travis McGeathy were in the employ of the studio. To further bolster the prestigious talent base of the company, 38 games acquired studio Big Huge Games, of Rise of Nations fame. The single-player RPG that BHG was working on at the time would be turned into a tie-in to Schilling's MMO. It all looked like it was going the right way, and in 2010, the studio received a $75 million dollar guaranteed loan from the state of Rhode Island to relocate their business to the state, in the hopes of creating new jobs. In February of this year, that RPG would see release in the form of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which received favorable reviews. A missed loan payment just a few months later, and very shortly after, the entire 379 person workforce was laid off, with 38 Studios entering bankruptcy. Schilling and his studio has come under investigation since then for criminal charges, though at the time of writing, no federal charges have been filed against him. A state-level investigation is still underway. As for the folks under Big Huge Games, they're still happily together as Epic Baltimore.
Studio Closures in 2012 photo
Taking a sec to pay respects
This year was great in general for videogames. Beyond the predictable success of games like Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, there were a ton of hits that came out of nowhere, including not just big publisher titles, bu...

City of Heroes photo
City of Heroes

A final farewell to City of Heroes

I'll miss you
Dec 02
// Patrick Hancock
Four years and seven months. That's how long I was a paying subscriber for City of Heroes. Looking back, I enjoyed most, if not all, of my time with the game. I've forged and strengthened relationships within the community that I never thought I would. City of Heroes is the best MMORPG I have ever played, and I am very sad to see it go. Farewell, City of Heroes.

City of Heroes Issue 22 launches today

Mar 06
// Fraser Brown
The lastest "issue" of City of Heroes Freedom launches today. To get your heroic juices flowing, NCSoft have put together a wee trailer full of skittle explosions, men in tights and a chap throwing crows. Issue 22 Death Inca...

Death ravages City of Heroes in its latest update

Jan 13
// Fraser Brown
City of Heroes will soon be getting its first major update since going free-to-play, NCsoft and Paragon Studios announced today. Issue 22: Death Incarnate adds new costumes, powers, VIP content and end game trials. Heroes and...

Death of a Statesman: New City of Heroes content

Dec 13
// Jason Cabral
NCsoft has some good news and bad news for long time players of City of Heroes. This coming January will mark the fifth part of the Signature Story Arc and the end of an era in Death of the Statesman. As the name suggests, th...

Celebrate Black Friday with NCsoft this year

Nov 22
// Patrick Hancock
NCsoft is offering a chance for you to save some money without getting out of your chair this Black Friday. Starting Friday morning, you'll be able save money on both the City of Heroes and Guild Wars titles. This i...

That's So MMO!: Freedom Rings

Oct 01
// David Moore
Hearty October greetings to you and yours and welcome to another scintillating collection of massively multiplayer news & views. Let’s reach deep down into our weekly Bag-of-Holding and pull out some especially sharp bits!

City of Heroes: Freedom is now live for everyone

Sep 27
// Patrick Hancock
After some time, City of Heroes is finally free-to-play for everyone! First, only subscribers could play with the new content and then old accounts were slowly being reactivated. Starting today, you'll be able to download th...

Old City of Heroes accounts slowly being reactivated

Sep 23
// Patrick Hancock
If you're not yet aware that City of Heroes is going free-to-play, well, now you are. In fact, current subscribers have had access to the new content for a little over a week now! A forum post came up the other day stating th...

Early access to City of Heroes Freedom for subscribers

Sep 09
// Alasdair Duncan
It seems like we're never too far away from an established MMO going free to play. Just like Star Trek Online, long-running NCsoft title City of Heroes will be going free soon and the developers have announced some benefits f...

That's So MMO!: Pandas in the Mist

Aug 06 // David Moore
“Pandas to the rescue!” A number of juicy World of Warcraft stories have cropped up. Firstly, MMO Champion uncovered a Blizzard-filed game copyright for the title “Mists of Pandaria.” Speculation is running wild that this may be the name of the next WoW expansion and feature a playable Pandaren race (yes, anthropomorphic pandas.) All may become known at BlizzCon in October. Speaking of BlizzCon, virtual tickets for the big show are now on sale for $39.99 USD (WoW and StarCraft II in-game items included). Also of note, WoW players raised $1.9 million for Japan earthquake relief by buying in-game Cenarion Hatchling pets. Finally, CEO Mike Morhaime says WoW has lost 300k subscribers in the period covering May to July. Will pandas with attitudes be enough to bring fleeing subscribers back?   “Greek Peek” Curious about the mythical it’s-actually-been-released-after-six-years Gods & Heroes? Satisfy your curiosity with Heatwave Interactive’s new three-day free-trial offer. The Heatwave team has also recently added a new Scout class for those who'd like to infuse their Strider fantasies with the “Power of the Gods”.   “TERAble news” En Masse Entertainment’s fast-action MMO TERA has had its release date pushed from this Fall into Spring 2012. North American producer Chris “Chager” Hager says “When the beta phase starts in early 2012, TERA will be operating like a well-oiled machine.” Remember folks, that MMO you’re anticipating will be delayed at least once. Factor that into your stress management plan.   “Flickering 'Light” Being a big fan of single-player hack ‘n’ slash dungeon crawler Torchlight I was greatly excited back in 2009 when Runic Games announced an MMO follow-up. Due to the surprising success of Torchlight, the devs instead focused on getting Torchlight II done ASAP. TL II brings small scale multiplayer into the mix but isn’t massive by any means. In an interview with Eurogamer, Runic CEO Max Schaefer says the MMO is still far off and may be delayed yet again if Torchlight II rocks the sales charts like the original. I love me some Torchlight--but I demand my MMO version NOW!   “Winter brings ‘Fall” Red 5, who have been developing the massive sci fi shooter Firefall for many a long year, have finally announced a December release date for the game. An “expanded” Beta will be on offer following Pax Prime in late August. Jetpack over and sign up.   “Spandex Spendthrifts” NCsoft’s long-running City of Heroes title recently announced it was going free-to-play when the “Freedom” update launches later this year. Now, Paragon Studios are giving up secrets regarding the free game’s upcoming Cash Shop, or, Paragon Market. New costumes (‘natch!), power sets and character slots will all be available for purchase. Just remember to stay away from the capes. You’ll end up caught in a jet turbine or sucked into a vortex!   “Loving the Alien” How would you like a free Star Trek Online client, 60 days of subscription time and a Tribble pet? If you answered “Make it so” you’ll want to beam down to the Alienware Web Site and sign up for an Alienware Arena account. Yes, that’s free too. The trouble with this Tribble? You’ll need to be a brand new STO player to qualify. Hurry though. At the time of this writing only 1k giveaway packages were left.   That’s going to do it for this week cats & kittens. Keep on leveling up and keep it logged-in.   ----- David Moore has run the site for the past ten years and co-runs, a site focused on all things Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Hello MMO groovers. It’s time for another healthy helping of the latest massively multiplayer news. While things have been relatively quiet leading up to PAX Prime and Gamescom, I have found a number of newsy nuggets to foist upon you.


NCsoft is bringing Guild Wars 2 and more to Comic-Con

Jul 18
// Jordan Devore
San Diego Comic-Con is almost here! NCsoft will be representing at booth #5345 with two of its big online titles. AreaNet intends to show off Guild War 2's Engineer profession and underwater combat areas, while City of Heroes...

City of Heroes Freedom gets in on the free-to-play action

Jun 21
// Jordan Devore
Yet another massively multiplayer online game has taken to the hybrid model. This time, it's City of Heroes, which will offer a free-to-play alternative in addition to the normal pay scheme when it relaunches as City of Heroe...

Watch Captain Viridian pwn Super Meat Boy

Dec 12
// Jonathan Holmes
It was really cool to see the Pink Knight (from Castle Crashers) and the Ninja (from N+) in the XBLA version of the game, but they didn't play all that differently from Meat Boy. More so, they didn't make the excruci...

NCSoft trademarks 'City of Heroes 2'

Apr 06
// Conrad Zimmerman
Superannuation noticed a trademark filing on April 1st by NCSoft for "City of Heroes 2." Now, I'm not a genius, but I think that would suggest that a sequel to the rather popular City of Heroes MMO is coming down the pip...

James Barnett's Fauxvism: Fallout 3's Megaton meets Matisse

Jun 23
// Joseph Leray
The Internet is a wonderful place -- you can find anything on it, including the results of videogame × Fauvism mash-ups. Well, let's back up a bit. Perhaps Arizona is a wonderful place, since it's where artist James Bar...

City of Heroes devs get fancy new name, Paragon Studios

Apr 14
// Nick Chester
Boring name for a studio: NCsoft NorCal. Cooler name: Paragon Studios. That's what the current City of Heroes developer, formerly known as NCsoft NorCal, announced it were renaming its studio today.  "The renaming o...

Macintosh version of City of Heroes coming this January

Dec 22
// Brad Nicholson
After waiting several hours for a massive 2.7 GB patch to download, I was finally able to prowl around the Macintosh open beta for City of Heroes, a PC MMO developed in 2004 by Cryptic. During my wait, I couldn’t help b...

City of Heroes update to add mission creator, day jobs, more

Aug 26
// Justin Villasenor
An entry on the official City of Heroes Web site shows that the next upcoming update, Issue 13, will be adding several interesting new features. The biggest one is definitely the Mission Architect, which will allow players to...

Champions Online shut down to check if it was fun

Jul 05
// Brad Nicholson
A few days ago, Cryptic Studios’ chief creative officer, Jack Emmert, wrote in the Champions Online blog about stopping all new development on Champions Online for two weeks. The idea was executed to make sure that a re...

Cryptic Studios gets all uh, cryptic, shuts down official forums and blog

Dec 11
// Nick Chester
There's something going on at Cryptic Studios, best known for their work on the PC MMOs City of Heroes and City of Villains. Today, the studio announced that they would be closing both their official forums and their official...

City of Heroes film in development; Owen Wilson to play sXeNightstabber1987

Jun 08
// Earnest Cavalli
City of Heroes, NCSoft's superhero MMO, has been optioned by Tom DeSanto, the same Tom DeSanto whose upcoming Transformers film is poised to rape the collective childhoods of the Internet this summer. DeSanto's ultima...

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