As part of a new Gamasutra feature interview
, art lead David Nakayama and senior producer Jesse Caceres explain how the six year old MMO has continued to entertain an audience for so long.
This week, NCsoft will release Paragon Studios' Going Rogue
, the first boxed expansion to hit City of Heroes
since 2005's City of Villains
. While the developers do make continuous updates to the game in the form of "Issues", Going Rogue
adds a great deal of new content and comes alongside a major graphical overhaul.
How does the popular superhero MMO maintain an audience so long after its launch -- both dedicated hardcore players and a more casual audience? Caceres explains:
"Well, our gameplay is very different from other MMOs. The way that players can fight and move in a 3D space -- other MMOs are always ground-based, so you can't full jump or fly at super-speed and also do combat. It's much slower, I would say, in other games. It's just different. I think our game allows players to feel very powerful without being... I guess gimmicky, if that makes sense."
It's not just the gameplay, but also the storytelling, he feels. The wide open nature of superhero stories allows the developers to use "...really cool concepts that exist in television, movies, comic books... It's just fun. Not a whole lot of MMOs can take advantage of that because they may not be set in a kind of comic book universe where fantasy and science fiction can meet. I think that's one of our benefits."
The game's balance of hardcore versus casual extends to its character creation system, says Nakayama:
"The great thing about the character creator is it can be as casual or involved as you want to be. You can spend weeks doing it, or you can hit a button and have a costume generated for you -- or levels in between; you can have that generated for you and only choose the colors. So it's as involved as you want it to be."
To find out more about Going Rogue
and how the team at Paragon has kept City of Heroes
thriving, check out Gamasutra's new feature-length interview