NCsoft moves into City of Heroes, Villains

Cryptic Studios sells stake in superhero MMOG to South Korea-based publisher; new Mountain View, CA-based studio taking development reins.

NCsoft announced today that it has acquired Cryptic Studios' intellectual property rights to massively multiplayer online games City of Heroes and City of Villains. NCsoft will continue supporting the two MMOGs at NorCal Studios, a newly formed studio in Google's stomping grounds, Mountain View, California.

According to NCsoft, players will not notice any immediate changes to the cities they work to defend (or corrupt, depending on the game). The publisher noted that many of the minds working on the games will transition to the new studio, including lead designer Matt Miller, lead engineer Aaron Brady, and lead artist Ken Morse.

In a post to NCsoft's Web site, City of Heroes executive producer and NCsoft NorCal Studio GM Brian Clayton also indicated that NCsoft has plans to continue evolving the MMOG franchise. "We're building this new studio not just to maintain the status quo," he said. "We're looking beyond the normal slate of free issues for City of Heroes. We want to use City of Heroes as a focal point and really build on this franchise."

As for Cryptic, the development house stated that the primary impetus behind the move was to "free up resources for our future projects." While Cryptic didn't name names, one of those properties is undoubtedly Marvel Universe Online, a similarly superhero-themed MMOG in development for the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista and being published by Microsoft Games Studios.

NCsoft's NorCal Studio is the second development house the South Korea-based publisher has set up in the US in recent months. In October, NCsoft formally unveiled Carbine Studios, an MMOG developer based in Orange County, California. Carbine Studios boasts several former World of Warcraft developers, as well as Turbine Inc. cofounder Jeremy Gaffney and Tim Cain--lead designer of the original Fallout and cofounder of Troika Games.

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29 comments
chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@DiscGuru101 I'm much happier with all the stuff they added Post-ED, actually. And a huge wave of people came back with i9 and the Invention System. I and pretty much everyone I play with love the Invention System, even though a lot of us were like "meh, crafting, whatever." No extra effort on our part, its an easy way to make money if we need/want it, and we're looking forward to more (including more Invention costume pieces). I'm not saying your wrong (your opinion, after all); just offering a different view on the matter. i6 and i7 were slow, but once i8 hit the dev team lead by Positron has been adding all kinds of awesome to the game.

spraynard
spraynard

@ DiscGuru101 man PvP was a hell of a lot of fun...but as unbalanced as WoW. when i went to WoW i was told how much better it was than CoH. hell the teamwork i expirenced in CoH was as up to snuff as WoW. hell i had a nub tell me at lvl 40 with my druid i shouldnt run the flag back in WSG. i ran ever flag back, and the entire team was chanting my name on the way back with the first. my point being, in CoH ppl were way more happy to help a comrade. wow they nerfed the hell outta Hami's too huh? that is pretty depressing....

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

@spraynard: Wow.. I'm sure you are talking about PVP but I really cant agree with you very much.. When they nerfed everything across the board then Hami Origins, a huge wave of people left and the whole game felt watered down from then on..

spraynard
spraynard

@ chikahiro94 oh man you shouldve seen the lag. id be leading a raid, and id freeze up for a minute or some once and a while, graphics turned all the way down. o.O hehe. i really really really wanna play that game again. just wish it would live up to my expectations. some of my peeves....stoney needs a quicker attack rate and be controllable...regens, ice/nrg blasters are way to powerful...stalkers shouldnt get an automatic crit when in stealth...stacking holds never seemed to work, even with 4 debuffs on someone....if your close enough to hit someone the animation should make you stop and finish without you being 100 yards away....line of site was way off....etc. i guess i can dream....

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@spraynard Those could be rough for both the connection and frame-rate. The attacks across the whole are over for now (although everytime someone completes the Lady Grey TF, one is spawned). Oh, and they redid the Hami raids for what its worth (still haven't been on one myself, but still). Bummer!

spraynard
spraynard

@ chikahiro94 i stopped just before issue 8 was released. with my pc, when the Rikti attacked talos on one of those free weekend deals, i couldnt move more than 1 foot at a time. the lag was soooo incredible i had to stop playing. reminded me of leading the hami raids o.O

Wedge55
Wedge55

I just can't see NCSoft taking over CoH development as a good thing. NCSoft does alright as a publisher, but they have typically had awful in-house development.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@vboydjr One of the Blizzard devs noted that players go through content far, far faster than any company can hope to put it out - they're insatiable. Now, what would be very COH like is if they adopted what Ryzom did - custom mission editors - allowing you to make your own missions, trials, TF's, whatever :D

tylea002
tylea002

I hope this developer transition means that more will join and CoX will last!

vboydjr
vboydjr

I believe this will be good for the City franchise. Look what Guild Wars is doing compared to City. I hope they change alot if they plan on as they say make a City of Heroes II. I played both City of Heroes and City of Villains since betas for both and found the game boring after you reach level 45 or so. They need to fix the end game content which has been asked for by many players. As unique a game City is right now the others are right around the corner and City needs to update and bring something fresh and exciting to the table besides having players make new characters and start all over again for all the new content.

dorohala
dorohala

Am bord listening to this crap about Xbox 360!!!

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

I spent a huge amount of time on CoH/CoV. I went back for the crafting which was cool, but not inspiring. They badly need to add new content for levels 40-50+ as it still feels tacked on. Fighting Carnies, Nemesis, and Malta over and over again is tiresome. The missions need more variety, non-humanoids, and perhaps the long rumored 10th power? -$9.99 a month would feel better too.

Lumenadducere
Lumenadducere

I doubt that it'll change the game at all, but it's kinda interesting to know nonetheless.

Tactis
Tactis

if i am not mistaken NCsoft has always been the publisher of this title so cant be that much of a change

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

Can't answer how "the grind" is or isn't different for you, sadly. Since you left around i8, that means you saw the police band stuff which a lot of people (including myself) thought was a great help. The Rikti Crash Site turned into the Rikti War Zone, a level 35-50 area with its own arcs that cannot be outleveled and can be have mixed Hero/Villain teams. i11 is bringing in the "Flashback" system, which will let you replay stuff you missed, although you will be autoexemplared for it. Skill-less crafting (ie, you don't have to grind to make things) has been introduced as has an consignment house system and a whole new catagory of enhancements (Invention Origin enhancements). Oh, and there is an arc in i11 (currently on test) that features the 5th Column, if that matters to you. Best thing for grind in my opinion is to find a bunch of good folks to run with, but then I'm not much for soloing. The character transfers introduced recently also means you can move your favorite character to a more (or less) populated server if you like for $10 (cheaper than WOW's $25 and EQ's alleged $50). Maybe look into a bit, and when they do the free-weekend thing again, jump on in.

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

I have mixed feelings, but I doubt I'll see any real difference in the actual game itself. Had me worried, though.

PacoL250
PacoL250

@chikahiro94: Just to answer your question, I left around Issue 8 and left mainly because of the fact that I needed to spend my money elsewhere. I'd like to go back, but I assume the grind hasn't changed much has it? Although this transfer may bode well considering who is now going to be taking over...maybe...

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@spraynard When did you stop playing? If it was a while ago, try checking out what's been done in recent issues and what's coming up in i11 - COH is significantly better than it was when I started playing in 2005. COH is great, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out. As a former WOW player and an occassional Guild Wars player, COH is what I enjoy more :)

-TheSecondSign-
-TheSecondSign-

I hated everything about City of Heroes. I hope it dies.

NightRain
NightRain

I really hope somebody will finish the Marvel Universe Online project.

GodzillaX8
GodzillaX8

Are you people crazy? I play City of Heroes and there's always a ton of people on. As far as expansions go, City of Heroes has had 10 expansions so far, and the 11th one coming out soon. These expansions have all been FREE, however, unlike other companies who charge you $30 for 1 race and new end-game content.

spraynard
spraynard

i loved CoH. loved it to hell. i have a crapload of fun playing that game. hell i played it longer than i played WoW, and there was a TON more things to do in WoW than CoH when i quit playing it. part of it i think is the fact that ppl arent trying to screw the hell outta ya in CoH like they do in WoW, i made a lot of friends in CoH, ppl id talk to everyday....wonder how they were. more personally i guess. if they can improve on the many, and i mean many problems that plagued CoH and CoV, id return in a freakin heartbeat. beware Freedom server....

Danold
Danold

I think that after a few years, when an MMO starts to lose players and the online begins to die, it should no longer have a monthly fee. I realize this has very little to do with the subject, but I just thought I'd throw it out there.

MasterChief725
MasterChief725

Marvel Universe Online!! OH MAN! I have been looking forward to this game for SOO LONG!!

Strike_Zer0
Strike_Zer0

It's good to see they're still committed to building on the franchise. Considering how many people still play I was worried it'd be closing soon. Which would be a shame as it's a pretty fun game, just a shame it lives in WoW's shadow.

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

This probably won't change anything unless an expansion is released. All NorCal has to do is maintain the game. And I'm not a City of Heroes/Villains expert but I'm pretty sure there aren't a HUGE amount of people playing the games so it can't be that hard even for a new developer.

DonutTrooper
DonutTrooper

Although it sounds fun, I don't think I'm the first one to say eventually the MMOS are going to have to hit a peak and stop. More importiantly; if it's not creative or shocking enough to top WoW, why even try? I want to play a creative MMO, but I also want a Massive (hence the name) amount of other players instead of the few who liked the idea.