Hey everyone, I know it’s Monday, but things aren’t going too badly, are they? We’re all reveling in all the BlizzCon news and announcements, playing the new Assassin’s Creed, or kicking ass in some Battle Royale game or another, right? It’s November 6, and it’s a good day to be a gamer! Let’s do a quick Google search and see if anything else comes up when I search “November 6” and “gaming”!
NCsoft Announces New Studio in North California; Takes Full Ownership of Successful City of Heroes Property
Yes, it was 10 years ago today that Cryptic Studios ceded control of City of Heroes/Villains to NCSoft, thus embarking the generally well-regarded Korean publisher of Lineage, Lineage 2, Guild Wars, Tabula Rasa (which was four days old), and Auto Assault — remember that? — on the path to transforming into one of the most reviled companies in MMO gaming.
The popular superhero MMORPG still had a subscription in 2007, but it would go free-to-play on Sept. 13, 2011. 14 months later, it would be shut down entirely, and not without a little controversy, despite the company’s attempts to smooth things over with fans. The sting of losing the beloved title still resonates with many of its former players today.
But on Nov. 6, 2007, everything was rosy and everyone was optimistic. In the press release announcing the move, Lead Designer Matt Miller said “We feel that City of Heroes’ best days are in front of it.” Executive Producer Brian Clayton said, “Rest assured, the future is indeed bright!”
And for a while, they were right! Looking back at NCSoft’s financials, CoH’s revenues remained steady for two full years after the NCSoft acquisition. Then, suddenly, it dropped off in Q1 2010 and never really recovered. And then, just as suddenly, it was gone, and a lot of folks still haven’t forgiven NCSoft.
In the intervening time, we’ve had a few different superhero MMOs to enjoy, like Champions Online, DC Universe Online, and Marvel Heroes, and there are various homages to CoH, like City of Titans, Ship of Heroes, and Valiance Online, in the works.
But for many, City of Heroes can never be replaced. It was my first MMO — the image at the top of this article is the first screenshot I ever took in an MMO — and while I drifted away from it before its first year was up, it still holds a fond place in my heart.