City of Titans: From the Ashes Comes a New Super Hero MMO
When the long running MMO, City of Heroes, was unceremoniously shut down by Cryptic Studios, fans of the super hero game cried out in terror (sorry, couldn't resist). They lamented about having to put away their spandex and capes, but as they moved through the stages of grief they eventually rallied in a valiant attempt to get someone - anyone! - to save their virtual city where crime never sleeps. Despite their enthusiasm (some would say overly so) pleas fell on deaf ears.
So, die-hard fans decided to resurrect the game on their own. And with the proliferation of Kickstarter as a practical funding source for game builders these days... why the hell not? The Phoenix Project (rising from the ashes and all that) is a heroic effort led by Missing Worlds Media to create a spiritual successor to CoH in the form of... City of Titans.
Their Kickstarter page is incredibly detailed, and the accompanying video shows the progress they've made so far (which is impressive). They're using the Unreal Engine, and what little is shown looks very intriguing. The biggest gripe I had at the end of City of Heroes was the outdated graphics engine.
Yes, I too was a spandex wearing do-gooder (and at times, villain). From beta actually. And I was there when the servers went offline. It was a sad day indeed. In fact, CoH was the game that got me hooked (line and sinker) on the wonderful world of MMOs. So this Kickstarter movement is fantastic news and I will gladly drop (more than) a few coins in their coffer. As I perused their Kickstarter page a few things really jumped out...
The drive to survive literally just started (today). As of this writing they already have over 800 backers and collected more than $116,000. There are 14 pledge levels ranging from $5 all the way to $10,000. Each level gets you an increasing number of perks and privileges, and some of them are pretty damn amazing. All but the $10k level has at least one backer (again, as of this writing). With 32 days remaining to reach their $320,000 goal... it seems likely this project will get a big green light!
Developing Like Yoda They Are
Initial beta release is currently planned for mid-to-late 2015. Seems like a long way off, but when you're talking about game development... it's not. Besides, none of us will be jonesing for a game fix. Go back to playing GTA V until then.
They're working backwards developmentally, starting with what they want the game to be like 5 years after release and working back to the beta release. Having never been involved in-game development, it sounds like a reasonable plan. Many story writers know the ending to their book and work backwards from there, so it makes sense.
Player Created Missions
Since this is a spiritual successor to City of Heroes, we should expect to see similar features. Of note... the Mission Architect, which let players create and publish their own custom mission arcs. CoT will also allow players to create their own stories and share them. But instead of dropping one system (used by players) on top of another system (used by the devs), they plan on creating one single system that everyone can use. Now that should be interesting.
Spandex, Capes, and Wicked Powers... Oh My!
The character creator in CoH was one of the great MMO innovations, and still reigns as one of the best of all time. It was the main impetus behind my own personal bout with altoholism. And it sounds like something very similar - only better?! - will be implemented. Terms like "flexible framework" and "custom Socket System" are being used to describe how they're approaching character and power creation.
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.
Basically they're saying players with the same power can have different looks depending on what they plug into their corresponding sockets (powers, colors effects, animations, etc.). A few more examples ripped from the Kickstarter page was "a vine swinging Amazon warrior who attacks by using her hair as a whip" and a "wizard warrior with a pet raven who can spit fire." Both will apparently be possible. Um, yes please!
It's All in the Details
The sections marked "Budget" and "Our Team" lay out exactly where the money is going and who (by name) makes up the team behind City of Titans.
The budget section is incredibly important to those who want to help fund this project, but the breakdown also shows just how much planning has gone into this particular venture. And having names to go with the responsibility of utilizing the money being donated is pretty big in my opinion. At least you know exactly who to praise (or blame) when all this is said and done.
The Price of Admission
Free to play is out. It's tough enough for big companies to swing it, but for indy developers it's a pipe dream. There will be a set price point to buy the game (digitally; brick and mortar boxes are also out), and while a monthly VIP subscription will be available, it won't be required. Think of the model currently used by Star Wars: The Old Republic. There will also be an in-game cash store, which gives me pause. But they promise good value for your money, there will never be "pay to win" options, and there will be something for everyone.
Only time will tell, but I like what I'm hearing. So, if you played City of Heroes and enjoyed living out your super hero fantasy... check out the Kickstarter page and DONATE!