Last week, the not-so-puzzling news arrived by way of March's Game Informer cover that Cryptic Studios would be returning the superhero-themed massively multiplayer online gaming scene with Champions Online. The news came not a week after Microsoft officially canned the City of Heroes/Villains developer's MMOG based in the Marvel Comics universe, after that project had mostly gone dark since being announced in 2006.
Today, Cryptic Studios officially announced Champions Online, saying the game is currently slated to perform superhuman acts in spring 2009. Cryptic did not further clarify which platforms the game would appear on, leaving the game still associated with PCs and unnamed consoles, as noted by GI.
Confirming speculation, the Champions Online MMOG will be an offshoot of Hero Games' pen-and-paper role-playing series first published in 1981. Cryptic said today that it had purchased the rights to the Champions role-playing game from Hero Games as part of its deal to develop the MMOG, and Hero Games will be licensing the property back for the game's next text installment, which is due out in 2009.
As with the pen-and-paper RPG, Cryptic plans to play heavily to player choice with Champions Online. "Gamers have literally billions of options to create their own fully customized hero," boasts Cryptic Studios chief creative officer Jack Emmert. "Couple that with the unique character generation system and tons of beautiful, expansive environments in which to roam, and Champions Online is going to be unlike anything MMO fans have seen before."
Customization options Cryptic has thus far noted include the ability to create a character's name, backstory, costume, powers, and abilities, as well as define and detail the character's own archenemy. For more on the game, check out the Champions Online Web site, which went live today.