Gamasutra's Behind the Scenes of the Paragon Studios Shutdown

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marqaha
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Gamasutra's Behind the Scenes of the Paragon Studios Shutdown
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Gamasutra has an article providing some background info of the Paragon Studios closure. Not much that we didn't already know, but its still interesting. Go ahead and tear those stitches right out!

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"Things looked like they were going to go well and then things just kind of stopped going well," says Miller. "I'm not exactly sure where the sticking points were, but in the logistics of business there's always some sticking point somewhere [on which] people just aren't willing to budge and I think that's where we ended up. There were one or two points where neither side could budge.

"On the night before we all got the notice of the studio shutting down, Brian, Ross, and Destin were in there still trying to work out that deal. We were a signature away from things going through or not - and we unfortunately fell on the not side."

Samuel Tow
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I don't think NCsoft had any intention of keeping City of Heroes, or at the very least not without turning it into a Korean grindfest MMO like Lineage 2. So no, it doesn't surprise me that the negotiations fell through. NC do one thing and they do it very well - make games for the Korean market, so cutting City of Heroes seems like the only thing they could have done. I don't see any way for the game to have survived eve with Matt Miller and Brian Clayton's best efforts.

In fact, I fear for Guild Wars 2. Not now, of course, not immediately, but I can already spot NC's dark influence over aspects of game design.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Inferno Ant
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Thanks for the link Marq.  Makes me sad to know how close they were to possibly keeping it alive.

Orion Pax
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It's nice to see a little more light shed on the situation - still sounds like something could have been worked out in the end, and NCSoft decided nope, we're done with this - so long and thanks for all the fish Sad

I'd love to see another Super Hero type MMO/Multiplayer style game come out that appeals to me.  Marvel Heroes looks like Marvel Diablo - and while it might turn out alright, I think I'd rather play Torchlight II if I want a Diablo-esque experience.  I've tried a few times Champions Online and DC Universe both before and after CoH's shutdown, and for me at least, they don't provide the same level of fun that CoH ever did.

I realize that for many of us, the whole that CoH left can never be filled.  Often when a game series ends, there are other games that are similar enough you can enjoy what the "new game" has to offer and soften the pain from the death of the "old game".  But for the life of me, I can't find a game that provides me with an experience as wide and satisfying as CoH did.  I'm sure on my part at least, it's because CoH was my first true MMO experience, where I could craft what my imagination saw (TF homages or not), and make it my own.

I still keep a quiet hope that some form of CoH, or the soul that made it such a great game overall, rishes from the ashes, and gives us an even more amazing experience and that feeling of community and creation that CoH fostered in each of us Good 

marqaha
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I feel like Firefall has the closest "feel" to CoH of any game I've played.

Orion Pax
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I need to checkout the updated Firefall experience, but I'd agree, Firefall is the closest "feel" to CoH I've encountered recently.

Samuel Tow
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Orion Pax wrote:
I still keep a quiet hope that some form of CoH, or the soul that made it such a great game overall, rishes from the ashes, and gives us an even more amazing experience and that feeling of community and creation that CoH fostered in each of us Good

There are concentrated efforts going on to make a server package that can run the City of Heroes client and those WILL be successful. It'll just probably take years for it to happen. Still, it's something to hope for. Plus, who knows? It's very possible that private servers might show up on the scene.

As for a game "like" City of Heroes, there's always Missing World Media's Phoenix Project, although I'm obviously biassed towards that and the time frame for it is no less "years." Knowing the kind of things I can't talk about from internal discussions, though, I'm really looking forward to the final product. It won't be perfect, it won't be an exact copy, but I feel it's the best shot we have of retaining City of Heroes' legacy that so many MMOs have failed to capture.

I had high hopes for Firefall, in particular, but the more I play that, the more I realise it's a completely different game entirely. Champions is CRAP at replicating City of Heroes because the majority of its lore sucks and most of the content is self-parody that I just can't take seriously. It makes me feel silly to make a serious character in that game. DC looks like it could be interesting, but with how "cosmetic loot" is handled there that's not an option for me.

Honestly, the closest I've had to City of Heroes so far has been Star Trek Online. Yeah, it's a completely different setting, but it's been the only game so far to fire up my imagination and inspire me to create original content.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Orion Pax
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I'm definitely interested in the Phoenix Project - I keep tabs on it and look forward to an Alpha I could test out Smile  I haven't played STO in awhile, but STO, along with CoH, have been my best MMO experience.  I know others still play STO, and it's nice to see it's still continuing to develop content.

My biggest gripe with DC universe is I couldn't play the damned thing properly until I used my Xbox 360 controller for windows - and then the whole game "clicked" for me and made me realize how it was truly a console game pretending to me a MMO for the PC.  I could never truly get into it for more than a few play sessions, and then lost interest again quickly.

I'm still interested in how Firefall turns out, both in its development builds and it's final release.

Peregrin
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Both Champions and DC are so much more restrictive in both their character creation and how 'open' their worlds are that they could never feel like CoH. Everything feels very directed. I realize you can technically go anywhere you want in DC, but the contacts restrict you to a particular storyline or two in ways CoH just didn't. That plus the fact that it really is a console game does get in the way of my enjoyment. I do jump in from time to time because any superhero game where I get to create my own toon still gives me a sense of creativity that other games just don't, but it is a far cry from the many levels of fun and creativity CoH was able to provide.

There's not a lot I like about Champions though. It's cheesy where it doesn't need to be, I don't like the overall design of the art, and the gameplay isn't particularly great either.

Samuel Tow
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When it comes to Champions, I do actually like part of its build system. I dislike the "attributes" thing like Strength and Dexterity and so on, but I like that you're able to pick any power you qualify for, I like that you can only have one "toggle" and one "passive," and I like that you can pick whether that's defensive or offensive. The game's mechanics are still impenetrable to me to a large extent, but they seem to work with my limited understanding of them. Pick your primary and secondary stats based on the "trees" you're going to go for, then pump points into those. Easy enough.

What KILLS the game for me is the art style and "tone." I'm not going to be charitable here - Champions online is butt ugly. The graphics are decent, but the actual art style feels like a grad student's class project in art design. Animations are spastic and awkward, costume pieces are fugly, character proportions favour Cow and Chicken and the sliders are beyond a joke. Why the FFF would you not let me alter a woman's waist in any way? Why is it that any time I try to tweak a face so it's unique, it ends up looking like a genetic mishap? Why do men's arms seem to want to reach down to their knees? And the tone of the whole thing is just corn on the cob. That Foxbat mission made me log out and not log back in again, but even the supposedly serious content is a self parody. I think Po might be the only exception just because the voice actor's ham is well-directed, but the writing is... Insulting.

Honestly, I'd seriously suggest Star Trek Online as a City of Heroes substitute. It's not super heroes and it's not super powers, sure, but it has that kind of conceptual freedom which allows you to tell all manner of weird stories and yet have the game take you seriously. Plus, it's not a bad game, mechanically. Not necessarily "good" - all my characters end up being built the same - but by no means "bad," either.

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Gatecrasher
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(Felix picks at scab again.)
toon
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Gatecrasher wrote:
(Felix picks at scab again.)

 

Dammit Felix, stop that.  It will only fester.

Peregrin
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I agree the spirit of STO is closer to CoH than Champions or DC Universe is. I would have liked to have a couple more classes to choose from, or some more obvious variations among the classes, but the universe is much more open and they strongly encourage player story telling.

Samuel Tow
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Agreed. Champions Captains are all basically one of the three main types, and I really only like one of those. Yes, you can have different builds with those captains, but all that changes is stats, really. City of Heroes may have been flawed in how you chose powers (So. Much. Redundancy!) but at least a Fire/Fire Blaster was a very different animal from an Ice/Ice one and even the more similar sets (Axe, Sword, Mace) still at least looked considerably different. STO has one ship I want per tier, one captain I want in general and one set of skills I remotely like. That amounts to one character, and that kills the game's replayability. 'Cause let me tell you - I would not have been able to play Sam Tow (the character) for eight years in a row. In fact, the last time I actually played him prior to the shutdown was, like... 2008?

Let's be positive, though. Let's hope that some day, some developer will wise up and realise that City of Heroes was a diamond in the rough. Maybe then, instead of making yet another WoW clone with a new mechanic and a different skin, he'll end up making something genuinely different and interesting. After all, the MMOs of today are FINALLY discovering the merit of level-scaling people on the same team. What do you mean I can play with my buddies? But our levels are too different. Side-what? What is this madness you speak of?

One can always hope Smile

Of all the things I've lost,
I think I miss my mind the most.

 

Peregrin
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Far too many MMO's are trying to be inovative in the wrong areas, IMO.
They try to reinvent what works fine and miss the opportunity to really develope the aspects that are lacking. The compbat system for both CO and DCUO are good examples.

Gatecrasher
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toon wrote:

Gatecrasher wrote:
(Felix picks at scab again.)

 

Dammit Felix, stop that.  It will only fester.

(Felix looks at arm.) Too late...
NuclearToast
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Back to the article, though... there WAS gonna be a moonbase! Argh.