City Of Heroes Wannabe City Of Titans Kickstarts

By Craig Pearson on October 3rd, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

A logo!
It’s only been a year since the sun set on Paragon City and City of Heroes was sealed off. If you look at that homepage and weep and wail and pound on your desk, snottily disclaiming: “It was too soon, damnit”, then I have a thing you should look at. The previously titled Pheonix Project, a fan-made spiritual successor to the dead MMO, has arrived on Kickstarter in the guise of City Of Titans. “Thank you again, and fly free,” were the final words of City Of Heroes, and it looks like Titans will do just that. It has taken half of its $320,000 goal overnight.

Up until now it’s been a volunteer driven endeavor, and has suffered from time troubles and an engine swap, but now they’re hoping to go pro and finalise their dream MMORPG. That dream is to have a flexible character system of mix and match powers and animations, building a framework that should enable players to build a character with a broad range of powers.

Powers are split into effect and animation, allowing us to mix and match to offer more to the player. You pick “Fireball.” You then pick how you want to throw this fireball, from the hand, mouth, a wand, or a 12-gauge shotgun. Same power, different look, all through the framework designed with our custom Socket System. Even two people with optic blasts can have their own unique look, depending on the powers chosen, the colors selected, the effects added and the animations picked for the power.

The goal in the end is to give you the ability to create your character. Want to be a vine swinging Amazon warrior who attacks by using her hair as a whip? We’re working on that. Want to be the wizard warrior with a pet raven who can spit fire? It’s in the cards.

The early footage shows players jumping, and that was 90% of the game for me, so I’m in.

A lot of the Kickstarter text is about the pitfalls they might face, so there’s been some degree of disaster preparation on their part. The rest doesn’t say much about the game beyond the character creation’s potential. This is certainly a leap of faith for the backers, but the team promise more information on the fighting system, lore, and a teaser trailer coming. This looks like it’ll definitely happen, so if you want to know more you won’t be harming their chances if you wait to find out more.

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30 Comments »

  1. DrollRemark says:

    I was going to say that 180k between 1300 backers seemed a little odd, but then I noticed the tiers. I guess since it’s an MMO you wouldn’t expect a $15 entry point. $50 does seem like a lot though…

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    How the hell does a campaign with such expensive tiers make so much money that quick….

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      The CoH community is a bereaved, solipsistic cult and the only surprise is that people aren’t throwing their entire life savings at this. Anyone who isn’t still weeping into their pillow over the loss of their half-angel half-demon seductress character and throwing knives at an NCsoft logo every morning won’t see the draw, but for everyone else, even if the project crashes and burns and implodes in drama, just being this close to the illusion of a revival will be enough. You can look up any classic Second Coming cult and see the same pattern.

      One of the great things about the City Of series was that it allowed you to create distinct and interesting characters, and creating interesting characters and playing them out can really stick in the imagination, so I’m not shitting wholesale on people who loved the game, here — I played it and it was a lot of fun! But honestly the support group got a little out of hand and while I feel I should be applauding the project, instead it just comes off feeling creepy and weird.

      • CaesarBritannicus says:

        Honestly, I have never been for the support-group-esque cult of community which surrounded the game. That said, there is a incremental but huge nostalgia for City of Heroes. The video probably looks really unimpressive to a lot of people, but it looks a lot like CoH. The awkward teleporting, the jumping, and flying (and just a hint of a few other powers). Still, what I miss is the gameplay: toggle debuffs, the knockback, the genuine feeling of power that tanks and brutes had, storm summoning. Haven’t played anything like CoH (either generally or specifically). I never got into CO or DCU, both seem to be propped up on cardboard stilts, hovering just above maintenance mode sing launch. I dunno what this KS will accomplish (I haven’t backed yet), but it is running on dreams and vapors which are all too real.

  3. Bradamantium says:

    I used my laptop for the first time in ages yesterday, and it still has City of Heroes installed from when I played years back. There might have been some reminiscing and a single tear shed.

    This gives me the sense of hopelessly chasing a tail, however, and a pretty esteemed tail at that. I’ll withhold judgment until more comes out, but I don’t know if I think a fan-made successor can really capture what made the game great.

    • Emeraude says:

      Yeah, personally, from what I’ve seen, I’d say it was all about the community.

      One of the reasons I don’t play MMOs nowadays: many of them are basically using their infrastructure to hold captive the real thing that creates added value to what would be an otherwise a very limited game: the community.
      That’s a weird business, where you are paying to generate value for a company, so that it can attract and retain more value-creators.

      And then when there’s not enough money to be made, the community will be thrown out with little to no recourse. As city of heroes can attest.

    • CaesarBritannicus says:

      Somehow I wonder if a fanmade game could do it better than a AAA title ever would. A big budget commercial product would feel compelled to evolve and adapt to new tastes (perceived or actual). This game might feel an overwhelming need to be true to CoH. Here’s hoping!

  4. tk421242 says:

    The tiers seem a bit high for sure but I am not surprised they have sold so many so quickly… the COH core playerbase was always pretty hard core even years after launch. I myself enjoyed the game but it was never my primary MMO… in fact I spent most of my time in the level 1-20 region just creating hero after hero and never getting anywhere.

    I will say that they better spend the bulk of their energy and resources on getting the character creator just right or it will all be for nothing since that is the feature that will be looked at the most.

    Good luck to them but this is definitely a ‘wait to see what happens’ KS project for me.

    • RakeShark says:

      I think Cryptic’s follow up Champions Online denotes that a robust character creator isn’t enough to make a superhero game a homerun.

  5. Flappybat says:

    Hm. For as big an undertaking as an MMO is they don’t have a lot of game development muscle to back it up. 100 unspecified volunteers and two named programmers.

    I think they need more to show before they ask for money. They don’t even have much concept art.

  6. Shaun239 says:

    That logo/title art looks pretty bad to me.

    • fabulousfurrygingerfreakbrothers says:

      I like the logo. Looks like something on a t-shirt I’d have bought in the 90′s.

      • CaesarBritannicus says:

        I always see it as a giant crab claw hovering threateningly over the city.

  7. Panda Powered says:

    I always feel MMO kickstarters are a bad idea for various reasons. Never played CoH but I always heard good things so I wish them the best.
    I’m not surprised it got over 50% already as there are always groups of very hardcore players of old discontinued MMO’s who would do anything to raise it from the ashes in some form.
    My own experience is from the old promise-filled early versions of Star Wars Galaxies. A community splinter group tried to make their own version ever since the dreaded Combat Update that reshaped the whole game. The SWGEmu åroject has come pretty far though but always had a severe lack of players whenever I tried it.
    Random ramblings.

  8. Jimanzium The King says:

    Those first few images looked like clip-art

  9. mwoody says:

    “Started learning the engine” as part of the first year of development doesn’t exactly engender confidence.

    • ThePragmatist says:

      I’m on the team working on City of Titans and it is a fair point. It would probably be more accurate to call that period engine evaluation. Both Unreal and Cryengine are large and complicated beasts and often you don’t realise that the things you want to do are really tricky in a particular engine until you are quite far along.

  10. HisDivineOrder says:

    I’d stay away from this one. Looks like it’s going to implode from all the unknowns.

  11. gwathdring says:

    I loved City of Heroes for approximately 3 days of my free trial. But there just wasn’t enough substance underneath the lovely character creation system and the flashy surface. The fun of mixing powersets in Guildwars wasn’t there, the exploration people have told me makes World of Warcraft awesome wasn’t there … it felt spiritless. Champions Online was even worse for me, though the arts style was cooler.

    I just felt like I had no reason to be in this world, no reason to be doing these quests. I was enthused about my heroes and about the almost-action-y mechanics right up until I realized there was almost nothing to support the illusion of action.

    From Dev videos and reviews respectively, it seems like Wildstar and The Secret World start to get around some of my problems with the classic MMO formula and as mentioned the first Guildwars kept me satisfied for quite some time with it’s skill system (and it’s any-time-you-want, no-cost re-speccing!!). Far too often MMOs feel like really crappy RPGs with robust communities and exorbitant quantities of content … which just isn’t worth it if the RPG part is that crappy.

  12. PopeRatzo says:

    “Kickstarter”? I’m not familiar with the term. Is it something like a Nigerian prince?

  13. ThePragmatist says:

    Hi,

    I was a City of Heroes player, and I have signed up to get involved with building City of Titans. I’m also a software engineer with about 13 years of experience, about a third of that working professionally in games. So the team is not without experience. :)

    Let me know if you have questions and I can either answer myself get an answer from someone else who knows or if it is more general information I can try and get it added to the kickstarter.

    • carlbme says:

      ThePragmatist – How would someone volunteer now that the project is going along? As a former CoH player and a server admin for over a decade I’d be interested in seeing if there is any way I could help out.

  14. Ergates_Antius says:

    When I first looked that this post my still half asleep brain merged “City of Titans Kickstarts” into “City of Kittens”. A much more attractive prospect.

  15. zaphod42 says:

    DO NOT KICKSTART MMOS. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN.
    /facepalm
    Anybody who’s ever worked on an MMO can break down for you a myriad of reasons that an indie MMO is almost absolutely technically impossible. You can do it if you make the game extremely limited, like a 2D MMO or a half-MMO like Guild Wars at best, but a full on MMO is several times over impossible to fulfill on anything less than a colossal budget. Even many AAA studios cannot afford to produce an MMO. Its lunacy.

    Even if they reach all of their goals, they won’t have enough money to host and support the game. That’s the simple truth of it. And that’s to say nothing of having to develop an entire MMORPG from scratch with almost no experience.

    Have you played any MMOs lately? People hit max level within 3 weeks of the game coming out, and are bored, and complain and yell at the devs for not making enough content.

    Can you just IMAGINE the clusterfuck that an indie MMORPG would be? But it doesn’t matter, because they all fail. You can’t even finish making it.

    • airmikee99 says:

      Except for Guns of Icarus Online, right?

      Oh and Pathfinder Online that’s in closed beta, right?

      Star Citizen just passed $20 million in backing, and you think that’s not enough to make it?

      I would have thought that having access to the internet would mean you could research your opinion to make sure it matches up with the facts, but I guess taking a few minutes to do so is just too much hassle, eh?

  16. jezcentral says:

    I get all my jumping kicks from Saints Row 4. It also has a comparable character creator.

    That said, more options for more people is a good thing. I wish them good luck.

  17. Foosnark says:

    MMO development is high risk.

    There is a huge, HUGE gap between CryEngine or Unreal, and the server and client-server needs of an MMO. Huge. Everyone who hasn’t built an MMO engine underestimates it.

    Understand that contributing to this Kickstarter is like buying a lottery ticket. I’d bet money against it, frankly, regardless of how much I might want to see a newer and better superhero MMO.