New City of Heroes content update details

Cryptic Studios cofounder and lead designer Jack Emmert talks about the next update to the online superhero game.

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GameSpot recently had an opportunity to chat with Cryptic's Jack Emmert on the next content update for the studio's online game, City of Heroes. The popular superhero game has unfortunately been featured in the news most recently for the lawsuit that comic book publisher Marvel filed against it earlier this year. Cryptic's only official response continues to be the statement it made on its official Web site: "As reported by the Associated Press, Marvel Enterprises and Marvel Characters have sued NCsoft Corporation and Cryptic Studios. The complaint is meritless. Cryptic Studios is confident that the district court will reject all Marvel's claims and fully vindicate Cryptic Studios in all respects."

Emmert offered no comment beyond that statement, but was able to discuss the soon-to-be-released "issue three" update for City of Heroes, as well as the development team's future plans. For more information on the game, consult GameSpot's full review.

The next update will add many new features to the online game, including "epic archetype" characters--all-new character classes that will be unlocked and playable from level one, once one of your current characters reaches level 50.

According to Emmert, these characters will be endowed with original powers, and starting over from level one will enable players to experience the updates to lower-level content that Cryptic has constantly added to the game since launch.

"With every update, we always refresh new missions--we add new art, AI, and so on," Emmert said. "In issue two, for instance, we had one mission in which players were supposed to break up a rave. We actually added a DJ with music, laser lights, and so on--those are the types of updates that we hope veteran players will be excited to see."

The update will also add "ancillary powers" that become available at level 40 and should help round out existing classes by giving melee characters ranged attacks, or giving ranged characters better defense. The new update will also include an all-new island zone that players of levels 20 to 30 will visit to invade an enemy organization.

Emmert otherwise stated that the team is constantly looking at the game's balance between group-oriented play and solo play, but that the team is very happy about how the balance has turned out. Apparently, while some of the community-building features that were touted prior to launch--such as auto-generated Web pages for each character--have yet to be implemented, the team is working on solutions like an enhanced chat interface.

Emmert remained mum on the subject of updates to City of Villains, the expansion pack for the game that will add supervillains to the roster, saying only that the expansion is still in production, and that players should continue to look forward to it in 2005. When asked about the future of City of Heroes' powerful character-customization system, which lets players create countless unique appearances for their characters, Emmert replied that players interested in these features "should stay tuned for updates very soon."

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