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The Phoenix Project – City of Titans: spiritual successor to City of Heroes lands on Kickstarter

Wednesday, 2nd October 2013 21:44 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

City of Titans is the spiritual successor for the superhero MMORPG City of Heroes, and it is being developed by Missing Worlds Media. The project has landed on Kickstarter and the developers are asking for $320,000.

According to the project page, the game is a superhero MMORPG previously known as the fan-made The Phoenix Project and the team needs funds for servers and production software.

Character focus in the game will not be based on skills or classes and instead, whatever your character decides to do is how he or she will advance.

You can have a look at stretch goals and funding tiers through the link, and have a look at the pitch video below.

With 32 days left on the counter, 803 backers have already pledged $115,639.

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4 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    I don’t know how serious they are about this because I didn’t get a particularly good vibe from the video itself. They didn’t show themselves, and what was on offer looked very much like stock assets thrown together without any worries about aesthetic cohesion. The last thing you want a superhero game to look is bland, honestly, which is exactly what both City of Heroes and Champions Online did their best to avoid.

    I worry that this is either by desperate City of Heroes fans, or to cash in on them. They need an aesthetic character for their game, though. They need something that tells people that they’re passionate about what they’re doing, because as it is? This is just rather generic.

    And I would liked to have seen the faces behind the Kickstarter, too.

    I don’t know, it just seems very questionable. And that’s an incredibly small sum they’re asking for there considering what they’re trying to make. I have more doubts about this than anything else, and I’m just about the biggest superhero nerd of them all (and I played City of Heroes for the longest time, too).

    I dunno. I feel underwhelmed. I feel they also need iconic characters, that’d help. If they had an iconic couple of characters in their video to introduce to us, and perhaps a small story to tell. Anything to say this is something other than ‘generic, poorly made City of Heroes clone.’

    And it’s not like I don’t want superhero games, I do. I just worry people are going to leap on this and be disappointed in the end. Kickstarter has enough stories of angry people who didn’t see the warning signs when it comes to bad projects. They really don’t need more.

    #1 12 months ago
  2. SplatteredHouse

    @1: http://cityoftitans.com/ Read in particular, the “What has gone before” update. You will then know why they don’t have prepared iconic characters, and so on. Kickstarter wanted to see a “game trailer” before MWM could launch its campaign. That clashed with their development to that time, heavily, but they rose to meet the request.
    Additional: http://cityoftitans.com/content/frequently-asked-questions

    A snipped segment of the latest update: “MWM is registered as a business in Washington State, but the people working here are paying with their time, effort, and every spare dollar they have to get the project this far. Game designers, writers, coders, artists, support staff, skilled workers of all kinds have put in thousands of hours of work in service to the community they love, and to the hope that the new world we are creating will serve not just as well but even better, as improvement was always the example set by the game that initially set us in motion.

    Our group includes a wide range of skilled personnel, in fields related to both actual game production and making sure we earn enough with that game to keep the lights on indefinitely. We have published novelists, coders with decades of experience, so many experienced pen-and-paper designers that almost every department has at least one or two, artists in a variety of specialties, copyeditors, historians, process specialists, marketers… all spending their otherwise free time working on this project, with so much dedication that I had to make a rule requiring everyone to take some downtime periodically so that people wouldn’t burn themselves out by working every waking moment.

    The community that served as our base deserves a game that continues to grow and improve, and it deserves not to be treated as a niche- we are not just making this game for the people who played before, we are building it for all the people who dream about being heroes and villains.”

    #2 12 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    I have no problem with any of that, but that doesn’t really contradict any of what I’ve said. It takes about a week of sitting down and brainstorming to come up with a very small stable of iconic characters, along with perhaps some basic origin stories and the beginnings of an overarching plot. Book writers can do much more than that with a week, even, but I’m making a point.

    The issue I have isn’t with what you’ve said, and I sympathise with all of that, it’s that they’re not showing that they have the capability to be creative. They’re showing that they can be baseline capable, but then there are many games which are simply capable. And sure, I’d be the first to say that for some genres being capable is enough. For games like military-based shooters or strategy games, being capable is enough.

    With a superhero game, though, you need to show that you can be creative. I say that because comics can tend to go from anywhere between silly, eccentric, earth-shattering, and substance-tripping at the drop of a hat. It’s not all po-faced and down to earth, that’s contrary to what comics are. I’m a long time reader, and the most utilitarian comics are the least interesting ones.

    And when you consider that the strangeness can get ramped up to the likes of Flex Mentallo, Doom Patrol, Batman Incorporated, and the New X-Men (not the All New), you can’t really see comics as being entirely ordinary. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most comic book writers are at least marginally insane. Some of them are completely out of their tree.

    So a comic book Universe has to capture something about comic books, and it has to have its own character. Champions Online picked its path — and that path was the ’60s golden age, everything was camp and super colourful, it was as cheesy as it was silly. It established its character that way. But City of Titans has no such character.

    I’m not just slamming it to slam it, I’ve never done that. As a certain sociopathic element has claimed, I overthink things, and I do. I tend to put a lot of consideration into what I say, and I don’t say anything lightly. I just think that if they’re doing a Kickstarter, they need to show the personality of their game.

    This is something that even DC Universe Online got, even though I wasn’t a fan of that. They were talking about the personality of not only the characters, but of the cities, and the feel of the game as a whole. It had to feel like Gotham, and Metro City, and that was important to them. DC has a very distinct feel, which is very different to Marvel, which is also different to Dark Horse, which is different again to Kirkman’s stuff.

    So I think that it’s going to be necessary to show that in a Kickstarter, that they’re capable of creating, rather than just adequate at going through the motions without any form of imagination. Anyone could clone something, it’s the easiest thing in the world to put together a half-baked clone, and we have innumerable examples of that within our hobby.

    What Titan needs to show us is that it isn’t that, that they can imagine, and conceive, and create. They need to show us the personality of Titan, and they need to show us why Titan is so very specifically and succinctly theirs.

    I think that will be relevant to their success or failure.

    #3 12 months ago
  4. SplatteredHouse

    Update #2 (on the ks page) talks a lot about the fabric of the Titan world. (update #1 is a video recorded by the project lead.) I think it touches upon some of what you are talking about, and building the game itself. I don’t have much of a history at all with comics. So, many of your examples go far over my head, I’m afraid. My closest point of reference would probably be Cyber Force, though I guess that can get pretty out-there.

    My interest in the game presented here, is simply that it appears to be a fun idea for a game that should be fun to play, (and may be better off for not having to directly carry the weight of an existing universe – I have a heavy hardcover book on DC through the years, so I know at least some of how far they go!))

    I did own and play CoH/CoV for a while, but I didn’t get into it to any great degree. The underlying game mechanics chafed a bit too much, for my taste at the time. I was satisfied though, in my short time with that game that the idea could live up to expectations. That the concept in practice, was as strong as the theory that originally piqued my interest.
    I wasn’t seeking to contradict your initial post, merely to illuminate the fact that answers have been made available to some questions.

    #4 12 months ago

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