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Jack Emmert emphasizes story in Champions Online

Kyle Horner

You might be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) to know that some of us here at Massively are comic book geeks. You know, the types who look forward to Wednesdays because that's the day comics come out each week -- yeah we're practically prisoners in a comic book-build jail. So you can imagine our lingering excitement for a massively game like Champions Online -- which has Cryptic promising a lot of features above and beyond what City of Heroes is capable of providing.

One particular feature is a stronger emphasis on the characters that populate the world of Champions Online. It's a promise that has made us skeptical, to be sure, but a recent post by Jack Emmert as assuaged or worries slightly. It's a long post so if you don't have the time or patience to read it -- there's a fairly good way to sum it all up.

Cryptic seems to understand that the hardest thing to do in any MMO is make players honestly care about the world they inhabit -- at least in the story sense. So when Jack Emmert made it clear that he realizes the most important thing for comic books is their ability to relate to readers -- it gave us a sign that Cryptic might be on to something.

In an MMO, developers have little time to speak to their audience on an emotional level, just the same as comic books. Both comic book readers and MMO players want action, not paragraphs of text over the course of several minutes, so it's important to keep character actions and dialog brief -- yet poignant. Which is the very ability Cryptic had in mind when hiring their writer John Layman, who happens to be a very good choice considering his comic book writing background. The only work of his that we're particularly familiar with is the three issue House of M: Fantastic Four, which we can honestly say was a good read -- especially since it took a unique look at Doctor Doom as leader of the Fantastic Four.

So will Cryptic be able to keep their promise on creating a deeper and more meaningful superhero MMO experience? With the hiring of John Layman it seems like they're heading in the right direction, so we certainly hope that great things come to pass.

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