Twelve years ago tomorrow, April 28, an upstart game studio named Cryptic released an MMORPG like no other before it. “City of Heroes” launched to rave reviews from the gaming media, many of whom pointed out the game’s robust costume creator, its friendliness to the casual gamer, and its adherence to the tropes of the standard comic book superhero on which it was based.
Nearly four years ago, on August 31, 2012, “City of Heroes” players and fans were shocked to hear news of the shutdown Paragon Studios, the studio that had been overseeing the game for its last few years, and the coming end of their beloved game. A few months later, the heroes (and villains) of the world’s first and greatest superhero MMORPG took to the skies for the final time, as publisher NCSoft shut down the game servers.
Fans launched a massive campaign to save their game, but NCSoft would not be persuaded to change its mind. Since then, several groups have started working on their own superhero MMORPGs. Dubbed “spiritual successors,” these games are meant to give fans what they loved about “City of Heroes” while breaking new ground. Among the various spiritual successors are Missing World Media’s “City of Titans” and Silverhelm Studios’ “Valiance Online.”
For some, though, nothing would be better than if the original “City of Heroes” could rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes. To that end, a small group of fans, led by Missing World Media’s Nate Downes (but not connected to Missing Worlds Media itself), announced promising talks with NCSoft that would allow the original game to return. If successful, the game would exist in a “maintenance mode,” meaning no updates would ever be allowed. However, the “City of Heroes” intellectual property would be allowed to be used in other games, including the aforementioned spiritual successors, if the makers of those games chose.
Unfortunately, there have been very few updates on that front since the initial announcement.
Not to be deterred, fans have still found a way to reenter the world of “City of Heroes” through an application called Paragon Chat. There are no enemies to fight, and no missions to complete, but heroes (and villains) can still gather and explore their former world.
It is through Paragon Chat that fans are planning an unofficial celebration of the game’s 12th anniversary tomorrow, April 28, 2016. Beginning at 3pm EST, the celebration includes radio broadcasts and costume and trivia contests taking place from within Paragon City itself via Paragon Chat.
A schedule of planned events for the celebration can be found here. For more info on Paragon Chat, check out the Paragon Chat forum on the Titan Network forums.
It is said that heroes never die. And in the case of “City of Heroes,” it seems that many choose to not fade away, either.