Today, Nate Downes, president of Missing World Media, developers of "City of Titans," stepped forward as the person spearheading the most recent round of negotiations with NCSoft to bring back "City of Heroes." The popular superhero MMORPG, whose shutdown was announced two years ago yesterday, spawned several efforts to revive it as well as a few "spiritual successor" games currently in development.
Downes' announcement today ended months of speculation among the "City of Heroes" community, primarily on the forums of the Titan Network, a leading group of fan sites devoted to the game. In a forum thread titled "New Efforts," the Titan Network community member known as IronWolf revealed that he was in contact with a group of people who seemed to have the best chance yet of reaching a deal to bring back "City of Heroes" with NCSoft, who had suddenly and surprisingly shut down the game and its development team Paragon Studios in 2012.
Speculation ran rampant and tempers flared, with many players expressing their opinion that the whole thing either was a hoax or would turn out to be yet another dead end. Many players were also upset at the idea that, even if the game itself was brought back, there would likely be no character data available from before the shutdown and thus would have to start all over again with brand new characters. Word got out to the gaming media, with an article posted on Joystiq on August 18.
Downes' announcement today included details on the current proposal to acquire the game from NCSoft. Character data is definitely not included in the deal, nor is the game's source code, meaning that developing the original game further would be impossible. However, players will be able to play "City of Heroes" as it existed with its latest live update ("Issue 23") in a maintenance mode, assuming the deal as it currently exists does indeed go through.
A new company would be formed that would own the "City of Heroes" intellectual property ("IP") and be able to license "City of Heroes" trademarks to the so-called "spiritual successor" games (such as "City of Titans, "Valiance Online," and "Heroes and Villains") so that they could use references to the original game if they so desired. This new holding company would itself license the game's engine from NCSoft for the creation of the maintenance mode version of the game.
Even though Nate Downes is the president of Missing Worlds Media, his role in bringing back "City of Heroes" in some form is not expected to conflict with the development of "City of Titans," which had a very successful Kickstarter. He has stated that he has no interest in running the company formed from the "City of Heroes" IP.
As this is a breaking story, be sure to check here often for the latest on the possible return of "City of Heroes."