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Official Champions DevBlog: Jack Emmert on "Why do another superhero game?"


Welcome, faithful readers, to the first of a series of developer blogs that will be hosted on In conjunction with the good people at Cryptic Studios, Massively will be playing host to insights directly from the developers themselves! We should be seeing a developer post about twice a month between now and the launch of Champions Online. If you're interested in following the insights straight from the team make sure to follow our very own Champions Developer blogger, who will be doing the honors of posting these interesting screeds.

This morning we present the first in our Champions DevBlog series, written by Mr. Jack Emmert. Mr. Emmert is head of Cryptic, the force behind not only Champions but the much-anticipated Star Trek Online as well. Our first DevBlog offers up insights into why the company has taken on 'yet another' superhero game. Mr. Emmert explains why they've chosen to don the tights again, and looks back to their work on City of Heroes for inspiration. Read on below the cut for our first official Champions Online DevBlog!

Gallery: Champions Online Main Gallery | 207 Photos

by Jack Emmert
Why do another super hero game? I think that's perhaps the question I'm asked the most online and at conventions. Didn't Cryptic already do one? Why wouldn't you want to spread out and do something else? Like many questions, there are a variety of answers.

After we completed City of Heroes, we felt that we'd accomplished a lot, but we found that we had missed some really good opportunities. Fans immediately began requesting features that we simply couldn't deliver because of the way we had architected the game. Perhaps the most frequent fan suggestion is that we allow players to customize their powers. Unfortunately, we hadn't created the powers from the start to allow any sort of animation or color tweaking in City of Heroes. In Champions, from the start, we knew that players would want these features and I'm glad to say, they'll get them. Yep. Players can customize their powers to their heart's content.

Plus, there are a lot of things that we wish we'd gotten to, but never had the chance because of our resources; what's more superheroic than a Nemesis? What is Superman without Lex Luthor? Spider Man without Green Goblin? Batman without the Joker? Wolverine without Sabretooth? This was a sort of no-brainer that we never had the chance to do in City of Heroes, but we made sure to do in Champions. Players can not only design their own Nemesis but also the minions! Players need to keep their eyes open for sudden ambushes and act quickly to foil the Nemesis' evil plots.

Cryptic technology has progressed quite a bit over the past 5 years since we released City of Heroes. In Champions, we were able to create an "action MMO," which perfectly fits the style of comic book combat. In addition, we were able to put Champions on both the PC and the console. The latter, of course, is rare ground for MMOs, but we believe that consoles are the next logical step for MMOs. And what better game to trailblaze on the console than Champions Online?

Admittedly, our art team had grown pretty ambitious. City of Heroes, not surprisingly, was set mostly in a city. Certainly, a great deal of superheroics occur within the confines of a metropolis, but the game was pretty limited. In Champions Online, we wanted to stretch our horizons. We wanted to capture the world trotting feeling of the Justice League, the Avengers, and even James Bond. Certainly, Champions has its own urban setting, Millennium City, but players also travel to the windswept deserts of the Southwest, the steaming jungles of Monster Island, the frozen reaches of Canada and even the depths of the underwater realm Lemuria.

There are countless little things we learned in City of Heroes that we would have loved to have done differently. We spent years wondering, "what if...". We had a team that had been focused on making a next generation super hero game. We wanted the opportunity not only to improve on what we'd done, but also try something new. In the coming weeks, we'll be talking a lot more about what makes up Champions from the team. I hope you'll enjoy Champions as much as we do.
Champions Online Did you enjoy this official Champions Online developer blog? Make sure to read back through our DevBlog archive for more! You can also check out our extensive Champions screenshot gallery, read up on our hands-on impressions with the game, or generally explore Massively's Champions coverage. Go get em', hero!

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