Last year, Bill Roper left his position as chief creative officer at Cryptic Studios, creator of unlicensed superhero online games like City of Heroes and Champions Online. Now Roper's going to be dealing with the real deal, as Disney Interactive Studios today announced his appointment as chief creative officer for the publisher's Marvel Comics-based games.
Roper's new job calls on him to "be responsible for establishing the long-term strategy and the future creative direction and vision" for Marvel games that Disney Interactive publishes. Beyond that, he will need to spot prospective partners in the development community.
Disney Interactive has not previously published Marvel-based games. However, it was strongly hinted after Disney acquired the comics publisher for $4 billion in 2009 that once Marvel's existing publishing deals expired, it would look to be involved in the gaming world more directly.
Roper joined Cryptic in November 2008, following the messy dissolution of his startup development outfit Flagship Studios. Flagship's first and only project, the ambitious first-person shooter/role-playing massively multiplayer online game Hellgate: London, launched with a critically positive reception in 2007. However, due to myriad problems and flagging player support, the studio largely shut down in July 2008.
As for his time at Cryptic, Roper oversaw the releases of Champions Online and Star Trek Online, which launched in quick succession in September 2009 and February 2010, respectively. Though Champions Online received favorable review scores, Star Trek Online was greeted quite coolly by critics.