The PC version of Champions Online launches September 1st. The Xbox 360 version of the MMO -- once listed to hit day and date with the PC version -- is rarely mentioned. Developer Cryptic Studios doesn’t talk about the port and it hasn’t been shown to press at public events. I spoke with Cryptic boss Jack Emmert during a demonstration for Champions Online at Gen Con '09 and pressed for details about the Xbox 360 title. He suggests that the apparent delay has something to do with the Microsoft on the business end.
“We just have to work it out with Microsoft,” Emmert says. I ask him if the issue is related to what Turbine is going through with the rumored Xbox 360 version of Lord of the Rings Online. He answers, “No, I think it’s probably a different problem than LOTRO. But it’d be all set -- we just have to wait for the business guys to do their thing.”
According to a reliable source in our previous story, Microsoft brass won’t allow Turbine to use a free-to-play model with the Xbox 360 version of LOTRO. In April, when we ran the story, our source claimed that Microsoft was close to hammering out an MMO model for Xbox LIVE. Considering the pitiful amount of MMOs available on the service and the lack of the brand new Champions Online, it seems that deal is nowhere near done.
After showing me the battle system -- a cool mixture of fluid action and traditional MMO keyboard smashing -- I ask Emmert if there’s any ETA on the Xbox 360 version. He responds, “All I know is that I’m ready and rearin’.” Yeah, I am, too.