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20 February 2008 @ 03:56 pm
Get the dice. Wait, forget the dice.  
Those of you who casually follow online gaming may remember that Cryptic Studios, the folks who created the City of Heroes/City of Villains game, sold that property to their publishing house, NC Soft, partially because Cryptic was going to work on a new MMO. The new MMO was to be another superhero game, this one using the Marvel Comics properties.

Seems Microsoft backed out of that deal, taking the Marvel licenses with them. This must have been quite the shake-up at Cryptic. There you are, working on a major license property's first-ever online playable game. Suddenly, it's torn from you, leaving you with a game that you have either developed for nothing or that you have to totally re-brand. That would flatten some companies.

They seem to have bounced back. For my money, they have just laced the whole thing with crack. Ladies, gentlemen, and pen-and-paper gamers...

It's now Champions Online.

Champions and the HERO System were, for years, my utter favorite RPG. Believe me, that's saying something; I had experience with dozens of games under my belt. Tied with one other system, the Champions game and settings were some of my fondest memories of gaming with my buddies back in Chattanowhere. CoX has been a good game to me, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it, and though Ali and I have just recently let our subscriptions to CoX lapse again (we're smoking the Warcrack again), CoX never quite managed to scratch the itch the way Champions always did.

If Jack and the others at Cryptic can bring the feel of Champions to a game? Folks, I'll be there on launch day, assuming I'm not in the Beta.
Blind Zen Archerbzarcher on February 20th, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC)
I'm -really- mixed on this.

I'm going to keep an eye out, but I really wonder if it'll make it off the ground.

I admit, though, having a "Nemesis!" still sounds freaking cool.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on February 20th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
I know where you're coming from on this. Champions has had a couple of abortive (in one case, thankfully) attempts to be ported into the computer gaming realm, with varying levels of faithfulness to the HERO System. All the previous attempts have fallen through, yes. I'd be more worried than I am, though, were it not for two things:

1) It's Cryptic. They've got a proven track record for making killer MMOs. CoH and CoV were the 600 lbs. gorilla for a while there, up until around Burning Crusade was released for WoW. There's a lot of industry faith in Jack and in Cryptic. There's a lot of player faith in that studio, too. Leaving aside all the people who played and loved Champions, you've got gamers who are bored with CoX but still want a good supers-based MMO.

2) They've survived and turned around from what for most games would have been a death sentence, the loss of both a major publishing partner AND the loss of a major content license. The Champions license can't be lost; Cryptic bought the IP outright. As for a publishing partner, I suspect they learned a lot of lessons from working with NC Soft. If they start to think they won't be able to self-publish, I'm betting they'll pull another move and find themselves someone who doesn't mind sitting back, distributing the game, and making money hand over fist.
Blind Zen Archerbzarcher on February 20th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Cryptic may have the IP, but are they going to be able to make payroll? Get developers? I get the impression they lost a -lot- of the key players when the CoX team went over to NCSoft, and that also hurt them pretty back when they were still trying to get MUO out there.

For that matter, how much CoX code is still in Champions Online's current build? You think they'll get to use it? I strongly doubt that any shared code which might have been licensed for MUO will still be usable without having to pay a LOT to NCSoft, which makes it more expensive....assuming that NCSoft doesn't just sue them. (I don't get the impression Emmert made a lot of friends there.)

And there's money. Money money money. Where's it coming from? Where are they going to get infrastructure? Is Microsoft going to give them server space? I suspect not. Someone's gotta host this party. Are they going to private investors? Venture capital? Public offering? Where? The money they got from selling CoX to NCSoft won't last forever.

Let's remember that Emmert was -not- the guy who did most of the lead work on CoH - just the guy who came in and finished it up. If I'm an investor, I have to ask them "Your track record is finishing up a project that was already started, where another company provided the overhead and infrastructure, failing to get another project off the ground -despite being underwritten by Marvel and Microsoft both-, and coming here for funding on a project that has a smaller possible userbase and will most likely be cannibalizing off your previous successful product, which you no longer own. Why should I believe you're going to return on my investment?"

I really don't know what's gonna happen.

Edited at 2008-02-20 11:03 pm (UTC)
Blind Zen Archerbzarcher on February 20th, 2008 11:10 pm (UTC)
Gahhh. Sorry, reading over this again, it feels like I'm pissing on your parade.

I don't mean to - I just see lots and lots of challenges and roadblocks screaming out at me as I look over this.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on February 20th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
No, you're right to be skeptical. I'm hopping happy to see a Champions property with what looks like a good shot at success, but that just means I'm less likely to see things I'd normally be critical of or hold back over with other properties.
Blind Zen Archerbzarcher on February 20th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
*nods* We will see. Hopefully things work out.
silver splits the blue: Dollashbet on February 21st, 2008 12:34 am (UTC)
cavalorn was just squee-ing at me about this today :D

Fingers crossed!

-- A <3
The Bunnerflysylvidoptera on February 21st, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
OMG... I totally second these emotions. WOO! [does a little dance]
craigers01 on February 21st, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
By god, I just want my 57d6 Ind(can be taken) x10end EB. Just call me One Shot McGee, Trav already does.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on February 21st, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
And I always have. (laughing)