It shouldn’t be too big a shock that, almost a year after it shut down, I still have City of Heroes on my mind.
Not in any obsessive way or something like that. Thanks to the “good” folks who brought me the NGE for Star Wars Galaxies, I’m pretty inured against shutdowns and the vanishment of games nowadays. Plus, thanks to the Titan Network folks, I have access to the maps and character creator for CoH, which alleviates a heap of the pain. It’s not the game, but I’ve adapted-I’ve moved on.
But there are no less than three projects dedicated to moving on in a different way than I have; projects that each want to be the spiritual successor to City of Heroes. The problem, of course, is that for the most part, they’re all fan-based initiatives. They aren’t professional game designers, they aren’t backed by a major producer, etc. But over the last couple of years, the concept of crowdfunding has potentially changed the game.
Such is the case with the Phoenix Project, or as they have recently revealed, City of Titans.
They recently began a Kickstarter to get the ball rolling for tools and the like, and as of this morning, they seem to have hit their goal after about five days. It helps to have a motivated player base, and as I understand it, the backers include a few names that would be very familiar to players of City of Heroes.
I…haven’t decided yet to support it with my wallet.
Certainly I support them in spirit, but spirit doesn’t pay the bills. But what I have psychological issues with is putting money on something that may or may not have a return to it. I’ve backed exactly one KS so far, and that was because I knew the product existed (it was for a new print run of books) and the person running it was one I knew to be reputable and reliable. And let’s face it, books are cake in comparison to the development of something as complicated as an MMO.
Still, KS seems to be one of the waves of the future with development. Star Citizen and the Repopulation have held Kickstarters, and have reached their goals as well. Star Citizen released their “hangars” recently for its backers, while the Repopulation appears to be moving merrily along its development path. And there are a bunch of other, non-computer related Kickstarters that have used it to successfully push development.
I just have psychological hurdles here. I’m sure there are heaps of safeguards against the “take the money and run” thing, but for a KS like the City of Titans…well, the risk here isn’t in delays; it’s whether or not it will even happen at all. But in a way, it’s not so different than gambling at a casino. You put your money down, you take the risk you’ll never see it again…for the chance to get a big payoff. In this case, the big payoff would be a fully realized MMO that has the heart and soul of the City of Heroes that came before it.
The payoff is in the future; the best projections put it at two years out, and that’s for an initial beta release. No telling what comes after that. Still, the community of City of Heroes is a pretty passionate one, even a year after the game itself has faded. They’re passionate and motivated, and even split into three separate projects, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see one of them hit the big time in 2016-ish.