(City of Heroes update)
Old news by now, but NCsoft’s buy-out of the City of Heroes IP from Cryptic is big news for the company, team, game and players (not necessarily in that order). Previous to this, NCsoft & Cryptic shared the property 50/50. Cryptic did the development work out in California, and NCsoft did a lot of Quality Assurance, Customer Service, PR, and Community* from Austin. There was a … let’s call it an embassy … of NCsoft Producers working out in Cali with the rest of the team, working on the project on a very high level.
So what does the purchase mean? Well, all of this is just my best guess of course (and full disclosure, I used to work for NCsoft on the CoH team, so consider my words shaded appropriately):
• Company – City of Heroes has been one of the key pillars to NCsoft’s success since its launch. Guild Wars is obviously another prized asset. And while early reports seem good for Tabula Rasa, it’s too early to tell how the new sci-fi shooter/RPG will do. City of Heroes is a proven success, and there’s a lot they can do with the property now that they have full control.
• Team – Ncsoft brought over almost the entire development team which is fantastic news. They are going to be invigorated with new hires (check out the jobs page), and also once again have access to Sean “Manticore” Fish, who left Cryptic to join NCsoft last year.
• Game – with the core team protected, and the addition of more resources, the team is going to be able to expand in new ways. I believe I read in some of the early comments that the devs will be able to finally work on a few wish list items, but I think it will also free them to try some radical new ideas. This last year has been one of the most exciting times for CoH in awhile, with Issue 9 (Inventions), Issue 10 (the Second Rikti War), and Issue 11 (Flashbacks – forthcoming).
• Players – all of this is great news for the players. Their characters and stories are in the hands of people who know the world and will treat it with love and respect. The high level overseers – the NCsoft Producers – have been with the game for ages, and clearly are in it for the long haul. And while I believe Cryptic did a solid job in keeping CoH separate from the work on their upcoming Marvel Universe Online game, it will put everyone’s mind at ease regarding conflicts of interest. It will let both games develop more freely (without casting shadows on each other), and I expect it will push both teams to new heights.
So kudos to everyone involved. I need to log on and get my Brute to level 40…
* After the esteemed CuppaJo left to join Tabula Rasa, they moved the Community team out to California, which has proven to be a solid move.