Can the owners of Marvel save the original superhero MMORPG?
City of Heroes is only days away from being put out of service permanently, thanks to NCSoft deciding that the celebrated MMORPG no longer fitted in their long-term corporate strategy, but fans are still hopeful of a last ditch rescue from an unlikely ally.
The Titan Network, the most popular social network for CoH players, has sent a 31-page pitch to Disney Entertainment’s CEO and Disney Interactive’s CEO selling on them on the possibility of acquiring City of Heroes from NCSoft. The pitch was penned by select members from the game’s community and former members of the now defunct developer behind the game, Paragon Studios.
Now targeting Disney may seem quite odd on the face of it, but the House of Mouse recently spent £2.5bn acquiring Lucas Arts, so surely they have some change rattling around to pick up NCSoft’s most unique MMORPG on the cheap.
“We believe that Disney and City of Heroes are a perfect match; Disney now owns Marvel and two impending Marvel MMOs which are slated to be mirror opposites of the cooperative, community gameplay fostered by City of Heroes,” stated acclaimed fantasy author Mercedes Lackey , long time City of Heroes player and one of the many draftees of the pitch to Disney.
“In addition, Disney has the reach to effortlessly give City of Heroes the exposure it never had under NCSoft’s regime of benign neglect–and City of Heroes will provide Disney with some extremely unique cross-marketing opportunities.
“Disney has always understood and fostered community and loyalty–something NCSoft never did.
“We believe that acquiring City of Heroes will provide Disney Interactive with the logical extension of their games for kids and teens, offering a game that literally the whole family can play.”
It’s worth pointing out that the IP rights for City of Heroes and the associated tech are still owned by NCSoft and that by the publishers own admission “all efforts” to sell the game had been “exhausted”, but who knows what the future will bring. Interestingly Marvel’s old management structure attempted to sue NCSoft back in 2004 over the numerous unauthorised copies of Spiderman, Iron Man, X-Men and the like inside City of Heroes.
Infamously Marvel also pulled out of developing Marvel Universe Online with Cryptic, which eventually became Champions Online. For the good of City of Heroes, fans will be hoping those high-profile mistakes are all water under the bridge.
If you feel compelled to help save City of Heroes, sign the associated online petition currently sitting pretty at 20,000 signatures and check out the thread on the Titan Network detailing an initiative to send letters in support of the aforementioned pitch to Disney.
In all likelihood City of Heroes will close for good on Friday, 30th November, but the efforts of its fans trying to save the experience love will ensure that it won’t be forgotten easily.
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