Ship Of Heroes: latest attempt to avenge City of Heroes

It is an entirely true and 110% accurate fact that everyone who ever played now-dead superheroic MMO City of Heroes is now developing three spiritual sequels of their own. Ship Of Heroes is the latest attempt to resurrect the much-loved NCSoft title, character creator and all, with the twist that it’s all set on a giant spaceship.

To get it out the way first – they’re planning on a Kickstarter in April, and though I don’t know how much bat-cash they already have in the bat-attic, it’s probably not entirely inappropriate to say that the fate of Ship of Heroes depends on the outcome of that.

I should also note that it does not currently involve any original COH developers, and that this appears to be the first major game project for its team, Pennsylvania-based Heroic Games Inc, most of whom are big huge COH fans. That hasn’t stopped other Kickstarted games from being excellent, but I just wanted to set expectations for a crowd-funded massively multiplayer game at an appropriate level. This project would be an enormous undertaking for any small team.

Take a look at the videos below and you’ll see a mix of the extremely recognisable, the subtly or not-so-subtly different and elements, such as UI, that clearly need a ton of work yet. It’s Unreal engine-based, by the way.


Character creator:


I’m reasonably impressed by the character creator and environments – clearly both money and dedication has gone onto this – but the combat video suggests a lot of work is yet to be done. Well, that’s what Kickstarter is for, after all.

You might have noticed that, despite apparently being set onboard a spaceship, it looks a whole lot like a city. Paragon City, to be specific. Well, here’s the conceit they’re going for: “It’s a ship that is going places, so our aspiration is to have the ship dock periodically at new worlds, distant mining colonies, other ships, and perhaps even a space station or two, in a sequence. “In each new location, Players will find new missions, materials to harvest, enemies to defeat, and unique items to acquire.”

Here’s an intro video to said ship, including the ow-no-please-please-don’t revelation that it’s powered by made-up mineral Unobtanium, a term that’s been around for yonks but which is most known for its use in magic enviro-Smurfs opus Avatar.

More details here. Kickstarter’s due April 4, with goals not yet revealed, but if it works out then they plan on alphas late this year and through 2018, with a beta to follow.

If it’s the original you miss, you should know that, although it’s officially been force-fed Kyrptonite, it is still possible to play it, albeit on quieter, third-party servers.


  1. Orillion says:

    I really dig the amount of facial customization on display; CoH, Champions and DCUO all offered fairly little in the way of customization if your cape didn’t wear a mask. Well, CoH offered a bit, but they were early 2000s pre-formed heads you’d want to hide under a mask anyway.

    I do wish them the best of luck; super hero MMOs are few and far between, and currently there aren’t really any good choices out there, in my opinion.

  2. Boozebeard says:

    Uh, not exactly a looker is it? The textures look like they just copy and pasted stuff off the internet; no cohesion or art direction at all. That’s honestly some pretty beginner level looking stuff. Of course graphics aren’t everything but it has to make you question their level of expertise as a whole.

  3. geldonyetich says:

    I suppose it’s a work in progress being made by fans, so I should cut it some slack.

    But one criticism I will have to levy is that the combat system that Geko and co came up with for City of Heroes has many subtle fundamentals that, without, it’s just not a worthwhile game. One of those fundamentals was the knockups/knockbacks, which not only were an interesting form of crowd control but also were essential to that feeling of superheroics. Being able to fling foes, or be flung, basically multiplied the combat appeal. But, in that combat preview, I don’t see any of that going on.

    NCSoft really put down something irreplaceable when they decided to pull the plug on City of Heroes.

  4. amcathlan says:

    I’m creepily nostalgic for COH/COV and all the amazing things in it. Tbh though…You’d only really need two concepts (though they are general and kinda…include a lot of other stuff) for me to start throwing money at a project like it was a beautiful stripper who needed the money for cancer research.

    *Open world based on the freedom to self-define by choice of actions, with enough variation in themes, customization, enemies and mission types to let people of almost any stylistic taste find their own niche. COH was a glorious single player RPG, which was weird.

    *Something like the Mastermind class. The absolutely most amazing pet-class ever invented. Not just the mechanics. Permanent pets, nameable, and NOT JUST GODDAMN DEMONS AND CRAP. Wan’t to be a Shredder-like ninja master? Go for it. Rogue mercenary commander? Have those dudes rappel down and start flashbanging the room like it’s 1996. And of course necromancers and all that boring poop too.
    Then make your lil’ buddies emote a choreographed dance, or a military inspection after the day is won.

    Shit, I know what I’d be playing RIGHT NOW if I could, NCSoft, you idiots.

    • Einsammler says:

      “I know what I’d be playing RIGHT NOW if I could, NCSoft, you idiots.”

      I think I had 6 months of subscription refunded when they shut it down, so all of this.

      A ship docking at a location would make a good excuse for seasonal events. Visit the snowplanet!

      • ButteringSundays says:

        Yes I thought that was a great idea – seasonal docking. Don’t think I’ve seen a similar mechanic before.

        My biggest disappointment (I’m not the target audience so my dissapointment is moot) is the ‘theme’ and general atmosphere. I take it this is heavily borrowed from its inspiration – however IMO something more along the lines of The Expanse, Blade Runner or even Guardians of the Galaxy would be so much better here. There is good sci fi and there is bland sci fi – the ship external hits much closer to home for me. . The city look and feel here really falls flat for me, very uninspired.

        I wish them luck though, the narrator soothed me rather than irritated me, that alone deserves praise.

  5. Shuck says:

    Feels like an awkward and unnecessary mash-up of two different games – the urban superhero game and a ship-set sci-fi game that gets to change locations (which would have been an interesting approach to a Star Trek type MMO). Individually, each game has a lot of potential – the problem is each game has different needs, so by combining them, you end up with something less than the sum of its parts.
    It also made me wonder what happened to all those spiritual successors we heard about. Most seemed like enthusiastic projects by naive and unprepared fans, which I didn’t expect any to go very far, so I was curious how long they lasted. Amazingly, Phoenix Project/Titan City is still going – in theory, at least. As a purely volunteer project, it’s amazing that they’re still soldiering on. I can’t see how they’ll possibly ever release what they proposed, but that they still have anyone working on it is impressive. Heroes and Villains is still ostensibly alive as well – I can’t tell if they’re funded or making any progress though. I’m not sure what that means for this project – that the previous attempts are still grinding on past their original release dates with no evidence they’ll ever be released. Plus the impossibility of raising the kind of money they need through Kickstarter doesn’t help either.

  6. Jonfon says:

    Ack, I thought this would be “One of the other remakes is doing really well and a full beta is around the corner”, not “Here’s another vague alpha”.

    Damn it. I miss CoH.

    • bmonkeyhammer says:

      If I may interject… I happen to know the team. SoH launched it’s web site in Nov 2016. At the time they published a timeline and they have stick to it, hitting every milestone. the goal is transparency and showing the work every step of the way. i hear what comments are saying about needing more texture, some things looking, well, pre-alpha, which it is… but it’s all built in UE4 and all working toward the alpa, set for the end of 2017, with beta in 2018. not vague – very pointedly doing what the say on a set schedule and showing our work the whole time.

  7. bmonkeyhammer says:

    i know the combined concept – and the naming – doesn’t work for everyone. the goal is to not try to reproduce CoH, but to make a continuation taken into a future where heroes are an integrated and necessary part of the free state existing on the FHS Justice. There are some great articles out there on the lore/background… maybe the concept will grow on you (as it did on me). It presents an interesting and flexible backdrop for heroes that is distinct from other recent MMOs in that it has an optimistic (and family friendly) backdrop, not another post-apocalyptic vision of the future.