Cryptic Studios has confirmed that Champions Online, its upcoming super-powered MMO, will alunch on PC before it hits PS3 and Xbox 360.
"All I know is it’s coming out first on the PC," said design director and Flagship Studios veteran Bill Roper. "We really, really want to bring it out on console, the consoles are just hungry and perfect for an MMO, and we’ve done a lot of work to ensure that there’s nothing to prevent us from doing that… It’s an area beyond my control."
The game is set for release sometime this spring. It is to be published by Atari.
Following the demise of Flagship Studios, the creator of Hellgate: London, industry veteran Bill Roper has joined Cryptic Studios.
He will now serve as Design Director on Champions Online, the studio’s upcoming MMO superhero title.
"Bill brings a ton of creative energy to the Cryptic office and we’re thrilled to have him join our team,” said Cryptic Studios CEO John Needham. “His years of gaming and online experience are huge assets to all of our projects, and Bill will assist us in furthering our studio’s vision to create innovative, exciting MMO gameplay.”
There’s news for underwear perverts – NCsoft has announced the formation of a new development studio in Mountain View, California that will be dedicated to develop the City of Heroes property, which, the company mentions, is now owned 100 percent by NCsoft. The previos ownership was split between NCsoft and Cryptic Studios, the original developer of the project.
The new studio will be built around key members of the City of Heroes team from either companies, including the art, programming and design team leads.
“We’re happy to announce that NCsoft has acquired full ownership of the City of Heroes IP,” said Brian Clayton, NCsoft executive producer and manager of the new studio. “Our plans are clear. We are now in a position to make a major reinvestment in the City of Heroes product line. With our existing Cryptic and NCsoft team as the core, we will be able to run our current service without any interruption to our players, expand our studio to deliver triple-A content, and take City of Heroes to new heights.”
While formal plans for the IP are still slated to be announced in the future, it was implied that a sequel to the popular MMO is being developed right now.
The newest expansion to City of Heroes, dubbed Issue 10: “Invasion” is now live, letting City of Heroes and City of Villains players join forces to thwart an attack by aliens hell-bent on destroying Earth. Invasion is free to current subscribers and includes a major redesign of the Rikti Crash Site zone as well as a Rikti co-op task force where heroes and villains team up to defeat alien bosses.
The kick off invasion featured in Issue 10 continues the City of Heroes tradition of global events, and in this case the Rikti attack in constant waves through most of the games’ zones and threaten both Paragon City™ and the Rogue Isles™.
“The Rikti maintain a very powerful position in the lore of City of Heroes and the Rikti invasion event we had during the beta stage of the game is still talked about by veteran players,” said Matt Miller, Cryptic Studio’s lead designer for City of Heroes and City of Villains. “We felt the time was right and it fit into the narrative of the game to unleash another invasion — with a vengeance — and transform the Rikti Crash site into the heart of the new alien incursion.”
The Rikti Crash Site zone has been renamed the Rikti War Zone and is the epicenter of the Rikti’s assault on Earth. The Rikti War Zone, designed for player levels 35 to 50, allows both hero and villain players to work together on missions. Centered around the crashed Rikti mother ship, the Rikti have a variety of new powerful weapons including Rikti Pylons and UXBs or “unexploded bombs.” The Rikti Pylons are heavily armed defensive points surrounding the crashed mother ship which need to be defeated in order to gain access to the ship.
Issue 10, however, provides players with powerful new tools used to combat the Rikti. The Vanguard base established in the Rikti War Zone includes a special Vanguard Workbench that allows players to create special costume pieces as well as Vanguard Support Machines, or “heavies”, that serve as deadly pets in altercations with the Rikti.
“This expansion unleashes total war where aliens and earthlings get great new weapons to bludgeon each other with. We think this will be great fun,” Miller said. “The fact that both heroes and villains need to join together to defeat a common enemy is a comic book convention that helps to add greater depth and excitement to City of Heroes and City of Villains.”
The Rikti co-op task force, set for player levels 45 to 50, can be obtained from the leader of the Vanguard in the Rikti War Zone and delivers high-level adventures for teams composed of both heroes and villains.
New players interested in the game can purchase the Good versus Evil Edition, which includes both games, as well as a set of exclusive bonus items. Customers also receive the first month for free, with following months going for £8.99 / €12.99.
Cryptic Studios has announced that they have hired a new Design Writer, John Layman, for working on the Marvel Universe Online, a MMO currently in development for PC and Xbox 360.
Layman is a twelve-year veteran of the comics industry, having worked on prominent series like Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, House of M: Fantastic Four, Gambit and many others. He has also worked on several games, including Metroid: Hunters (DS) and Marvel Trading Card Game (PSP).
No information on the MMO itself was disclosed.
This year’s X06 saw a couple of big announcements from Microsoft. Very big announcements. Let’s check them out:
- Peter Jackson, who is currently associated with the upcoming Halo movie, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh and Microsoft Game Studios have teamed up to create two new games exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative with Bungie to co-create the next game in the Halo universe, while the second series will be a completely new IP. Additionally, they have also partnered up to form Wingnut Interactive, the studio which will dedicate itself to bringing these series’ to the next-gen console.
- Besides the Wingnut Halo game, Ensemble Studios is working on Halo Wars, a new real-time strategy game based on the legendary universe. Before you cry foul, keep in mind that these guys are behind the Age of Empires franchise, which has been a solid series so far. The game is entirely exclusive to Xbox 360.
- Hoping to make a dent in Sony’s future, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV will receive two exclusive downloadable, “epic” episodes via Xbox Live, each with many hours of entirely new gameplay. These episodes will be available just months after the game’s release next year.
Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship at the same time in October 2007.
- In a move that is very uncharacteristic of Ubisoft, the publisher confirmed that the next Splinter Cell title after Double Agent will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360. It will also be released on PC for those without the console.
- Yes, BioShock is also exclusive to the console. It’s on PC as well.
- Banjo-Kazooie is back, courtesy of Rare! Another exclusive to Xbox 360, the title will feature the much beloved characters, who, according to the press release, will thankfully retain their “sharp wit and hilarious sense of humor.”
- Another exclusive: Marvel Universe Online. In development at Cryptic Studios, the game will also be released for Windows Vista.
- Everyone saw this coming, but not this soon: Project Gotham Racing 4. The game was unveiled at the show, though it is not expected until late next year, or 2008.
- id Software’s DOOM and Codemasters’ Sensible World of Soccer are now available on Xbox Live Arcade.
- And finally, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player will be released in North America, UK, France and Germany this November. It will retail for $200 in North America and €200/£130 in U.K., France and Germany. The player will also come with a copy of King Kong on HD-DVD and the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
At X06 Microsoft and Marvel Entertainment confirmed that Cryptic Studios is the studio behind Marvel Universe Online, the upcoming Marvel-themed MMO, exclusive to Windows Vista and Xbox 360.
Cryptic Studios is known for their work on City of Heroes and City of Villains. They will be bringing the Marvel MMO to both platforms simultaneously, letting users from either platform to play alongside one another. No release date for the project was mentioned.