City Of Heroes Moves Home

City of Heroes/Villains is moving house. The super superhero MMO IP has been fully bought up by NCsoft, who formerly shared ownership with the games’ developer Cryptic. But unusually for a publisher buying a game from its developer, this doesn’t seem like it’s bad news at all.


According to Cryptic, NCsoft have offered everyone on the CoH/V team a job, and indeed a few of the top dogs have accepted. So lead designer Matt Miller, lead engineer Aaron Brady and lead artist Ken Morse have all made the transition.

NCsoft promse this signifies their continued interest in the games, with multi-year plans for their future, beyond continuing the free Issue updates (Issue 11 is coming soon). Employing wild speculation, you could see executive producer Brian Clayton’s words – “we can’t wait for the ‘City of’ community to see all that we have in store for them” – implying the possibility of a third City being added to the franchise. Or you could say he’s just abbreviating for the two existing games. Let’s pretend it’s the former, because that’s more fun. [Edit: Content And Community Manager, Stephen Reid, tells us that a third city isn’t very likely, but there are big plans for the existing locations]

NCsoft seem quite committed to the project. They’re opening a new California-based studio for the games, and it seems unlikely that players will notice much difference. And it leaves Cryptic free to work on their Marvel license MMO. Which is all enough to remind me to wake up my account and take Nitefall out on the battle of crime once more. Super-jump!


  1. schizoslayer says:

    It’s quite a wierd occurance this because I always thought Cryptic was pretty much created by Matt Miller and this seems to suggest otherwise.

    It also begs the question of “Why?” I always felt there was a conflict of interests going on with Cryptic developing an MMO for people that sued them that would directly compete with their own existing MMO.

    Not that anybody seems to know anything about this Marvel MMO but the general buzz in the CoX community is one of mistrust because the art style and setting of CoX means you have a huge amount of flexibility in what you create as a hero and what the developers can do with it storywise.

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    Schizo: That’s why I always presumed that the Marvel MMO would have to be a very different approch to the Superhero Genre than City of Heroes. I mean, in the same way there’s no need for all fantasy games or sci-fi to have the same mechanics, there’s no need for all Superhero games.

    (I always kinda presumed that the Marvel MMO would be for the consoles too, off a gut feeling.)


  3. John Walker says:

    I hope it is, as I wrote the most ludicrous “preview” ever about the Marvel game for Xbox Box World.

  4. Julio Nobrega says:

    Where’s Jack Emmert? I thought he was the lead “City of” (a common way to refer to both titles) game designer?

  5. Alex Hopkinson says:

    Going through what the Devs/Community liason folk have been saying in the forums, all the main players seem to have moved over, pretty much. So that’s good. Fingers crossed for the future.

    Jack Emmert hasn’t been very involved with City Of X for a while now – Matt Miller has been the lead for a year or more and I believe Emmert has been the lead on the Marvel project at least since it was announce a year ago.

  6. Zoso says:

    Jack “Statesman” Emmert stepped down from CoH/V a while back when Matt “Positron” Miller became lead designer (so he’s now Jack “Not Statesman, But Whatever He Posts On The MUO Boards As” Emmert)

  7. Sarge says:

    “The Hero Formerly Known As Statesman” or to be represented by this symbol “%&$^%!!!”

    Inneresting news. It makes sense that it separates Cryptic and NCSoft re; the Marvel thing, but it makes me wonder that if the CoX team has moved to NCSoft, what’s Cryptic left with to work with? Was the Marvel team a completely separate entity? Which project is losing what part of their creative power?

  8. Alex Hopkinson says:

    Yes the Marvel team was completely seperate. The CoX team was only working on CoX, according to their forum posts.

    The Heroes and Villains teams were much larger earlier on, so presumably there were numerous less visible members of staff who went off to work on the Marvel game/other projects in the last year or two.

  9. Citizen Parker says:

    It’s awfully convenient that Cryptic washes its hands clean of City of Heroes just hours after I reactivated my long-dormant account.

    If I should decide to start playing EVE again, I’m happy to give a heads-up to any shareholders or key investors who read RPS, in exchange for a cut of the action naturally.

  10. Games updates « It’s about …. says:

    […] Paper, Shotgun comments on the big news from late last night: NCsoft has announced that it has purchased City of Heroes/Villains from Cryptic Studios, the Massive game’s original developer. Everyone on the team has been offered a new position […]

  11. Stephen Reid says:

    Third ‘City’, John? Noooo, at least not in the sense of ‘City of Sidekicks’ (for instance). More stuff in the existing ‘City’ (and Isles)? Oh yes. Beyond that? Other stuff.

    FYI all but one of the Cryptic staffers working on CoX made the move over to NC NorCal (the new studio). The only person who didn’t was a fairly new employee.

    Cryptic has had a lot of people working on MUO for a long time, Jack Emmert included. The CoX ‘live’ team was small by comparison. With the new studio the number of people working on CoX is going to go up dramatically, which is great for a three year old game, really…. :)

  12. ken morse says:

    […] at MIT. … It was counterintuitive enough for Ken Morse to disagree with him on a few points. …City Of Heroes Moves Home | Rock, Paper, ShotgunCity of Heroes/Villains is moving house. The super superhero MMO IP has been fully bought up by […]