Giant Bomb News


City of Heroes, Developer Paragon Studios Shutting Down

The long-running MMO will officially go offline by year's end.

It's been hanging around since 2004, but as of 2012, City of Heroes shall be no more.

Nobody likes it when an MMO shuts down, but it's especially heart-wrenching when it happens to an MMO a lot of people actually liked. City of Heroes was one such MMO that, sadly, finds itself very near its end.

Publisher NCSoft, who picked up the rights to the game from original developer Cryptic Studios, announced today that the game would cease operation before the end of the year, and that developer Paragon Studios would also be closing. The game's yearly subscription fees and microtransaction-based online store have also ceased as of today.

Launching in 2004, City of Heroes has endured developer transfers, years of competition against other MMO juggernauts, and even seemed to be doing okay in a free-to-play remodeling that took place last year. No reason was given for today's announcement, save for a brief mention of "a realignment of company focus and publishing support" at NCSoft.

Paragon's community manager posted a brief farewell on the company's site, and made special mention to any potential hiring companies out there to keep an eye out for former Paragon employees, saying "Hire these people. You won't regret it."

When City of Heroes' date of closure is officially announced, we'll undoubtedly start planning for some kind of live stream send-off.

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165 Comments Refresh
Posted by onimonkii

@jakob187 said:

Does this mean that City of Villains will also be seeing a shutdown?

It's sad news to hear, especially because the community that did play it...whether they stayed with it the entire time or not...seemed to love it. People always spoke fondly of the game to me.

Sad to hear, man.

yeah, they merged games a while ago, it's all one thing. villains was essentially a fancy expansion

Posted by prestonhedges

Aww, City of Heroes/Villains had the most laid-back community.

Posted by tourgen

CoH was a ton of fun. I had the most fun with it out of any MMO I've played. It's sad to see it go.

Posted by KelpPlankton

RIP 80's Man, The Corporate Suit, Bluescreen, Kelp Plankton, Optimystical, and Deathgirl. My poor little neglected roster of silly superheroes, flying swiftly off into the sunset. There will never be another game quite like City of Heroes. There's other superhero MMOs out there, and other games with similar mechanics, but nothing will ever be the same as this for me. This game was my life in high school. And even though I don't play it anymore, really... it's sad to lose it for good.

Posted by project343

Sadface. It was one of my first MMOs. :(

Posted by probablytuna

Another week, another studio closure announcement...

Posted by Tolshakk

It's really sad to see this game go, as I really enjoyed it for a good long stretch between '04 and '07. From camping Paladin spawns in Kings Row to power-leveling people off the Drek 'mish', CoH will always hold a special place in my heart. It's too bad they were never able to innervate life back into this game; though, the later issues only seemed to make the enhancement system more complicated than fun.

Posted by TheCowman

I was in the beta for COH. I got City of Villains and Going Rogue as soon as they came out. When it went free to play I kept making the monthly payments for the VIP perks. The amount I played over the years fluctuated, but I never quit playing, right up until today.

I love City of Heroes.

Now its going and I'll have to look elsewhere for superhero MMO fun. I took a look at DC Online and was rather underwhelmed. Then again, I think just about every character creator has been spoiled for me by COH now.

Posted by Xeirus

@DeviTiffany said:

NCsoft owns both Paragon Studios and Arenanet, so I wonder if NCsoft canned they guys at Paragon and their game so NCsoft could focus more on profiting from Guild Wars 2.

Well they will profit either way from GW2, but I have to imagine they were losing money on CoH, no one plays it anymore. But yes, I'm sure they're throwing a little more focus to the new, shiny, MMO. It's smart too, GW2 is going to go far as long as they keep up on it.

Posted by Xbox420

One of the best MMOs ever. Good night, sweet prince.

Posted by Redhorn

Damn. I fucking loved City of Heroes. I'm really sad to see this happen.

Posted by Sayishere

Aww quite sad, I played this abit back in the day, all my fav mmos are dieing/dead :/ (swg, coh)

Posted by Jack_Lafayette

The super-powered movement skills will always be this game's greatest achievement in hilarity and mindless entertainment.

Posted by DeathInstinct

Dr. Sanguine RIP level 50 mastermind. You will be missed

Posted by Deusoma
@TheCowman said:

I was in the beta for COH. I got City of Villains and Going Rogue as soon as they came out. When it went free to play I kept making the monthly payments for the VIP perks. The amount I played over the years fluctuated, but I never quit playing, right up until today.

I love City of Heroes.

Now its going and I'll have to look elsewhere for superhero MMO fun. I took a look at DC Online and was rather underwhelmed. Then again, I think just about every character creator has been spoiled for me by COH now.

My condolences, friend. Did you ever try Champions Online? I dabbled in that for a bit and seem to remember character creation being absurdly robust.
Posted by tankintheair315

This sucks, City of Heroes is a great MMO.

Posted by SPACEDAD

This is my favourite MMO ever. It's a shame that the whole studio has to go down with it. :(

Edited by djames216

Terrible news. I've never played a lot of MMOs, but City of Heroes was my second one (after Anarchy Online). I signed up to play from the very start. I remember getting up at 6am (which is very unlike me) on launch day so I could play it for an hour or so before I went to work. I also remember following its development prior to its launch. I was excited to see an MMO that had a different theme instead of yet another fantasy one. I'll miss that awesome character creator too. I saw some hilarious costumes and hero names at times. I eventually joined this awesome British guild but unfortunately almost all of them jumped ship to play this newly launched MMO called World of Warcraft. Have you heard of it? :P

Edited by geirr

The worst thing about MMO's shutting down is that they're gone for good. You can't really sit down and have a nostalgic day playing SW Galaxies or Asheron's Call 2 because they're just gone. Private servers are too much of a hassle and while I didn't play CoH I sympathize for those who did and really wish the Paragon guys the best of luck. They had some crazy ideas and I sure hope they will continue to in their future ventures.

Posted by MackSterling

Was looking forward to the day I could build a better pc and play Guild Wars 2 and maybe 1. After this it looks like NCsoft is going on my ever increasing list of companies to avoid.

Posted by TheCowman

@Deusoma said:

My condolences, friend. Did you ever try Champions Online? I dabbled in that for a bit and seem to remember character creation being absurdly robust.

Very briefly, quite awhile ago, yeah.

Actually, I DO remember it having some cool stuff in it. Still not on par with COH, but not bad. I'll have to look into it; see what the game's like nowadays.

Posted by perilator666

not like this

Edited by Addfwyn

@MackSterling: I don't see why it's a reason to avoid them. Sure it's sad that a good MMO is shutting down, but you can't really expect a company to operate at a game at a loss, can you? Presumably, they weren't making money maintaining CoH (or they'd have just kept it up).

Being angry at a company for acting in their best interests seems a bit off. An eight year run is certainly a respectable life for an MMO

Posted by DukesT3

Sucks seeing people lose jobs and this was an MMO that I've always wanted to try out just never go around to it.

Posted by galloughs

and nothing of value was lost

Posted by gsquirrelgo

CoH had a good run and still stands as one of the best MMOs. I was constantly surprised how it could weather the market changes and still remain a completely playable and enjoyable experience.

Posted by SeanFoster

Unfortunate for those who enjoyed the game and those employed by it but GiantBomb's "end of an MMO" features are some of my favourite stuff they've ever done so I look forward to that coverage.

Edited by Seeric

@Addfwyn said:

@MackSterling: I don't see why it's a reason to avoid them. Sure it's sad that a good MMO is shutting down, but you can't really expect a company to operate at a game at a loss, can you?

Honestly, I'd say this isn't quite as black and white of an issue as it may seem. Shutting down a single game, even one which has been as influential as City of Heroes, is reasonable if it has been costing money and any attempts to make it profitable again have failed. However, if a company makes a habit of shutting down 'unsuccessful' games people will begin to be afraid of bothering with their more successful or newer games in the first place (Aeria, GPotato, and to a lesser extent NCSoft themselves are becoming notorious for this).

In other words, it may be worth keeping a game around even if it barely makes a profit or even if it costs a little money to maintain (if it's costing a massive amount of money it should still be dropped of course) because this helps to solidify a company's reputation as a 'good publisher' and will help to attract players looking for a long-term game to their other products and (if the game uses the free-to-play model) will make them feel more secure in investing money into a cash shop because they won't have to worry about the game they just sunk several dozen/hundred dollars into spontaneously shutting down, resulting in a net profit for the company.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Amazing that City of Heroes managed an 8-year run. Congratulations to the developers at Paragon for making such a beloved game; may you all find new work in a timely manner.

Fans of the game, keep writing your stories. I never got the chance to play, but MMO shutdowns always fascinate me.

Edited by welshguy

Damn it, I just went on to level up my character and see the notice. Screw it, I am pretty upset by this. Must be close to five + years I've been playing city of heroes and with the incarnate system and everything else it all seemed so damn good. I've got more characters than ever befre past lv30, i've made a bunch of good chums and its never, ever dull. I loved this game and I'm glad to see others did too. There was always something for me to do, even if it was creating another character I would always find a few hours a week to spend on it. Pretty much ruins my enjoyment of it now knowing it'll be gone in a few weeks.

R.I.P Mister Millennium, Necronaught, Jebidiah Drake, Captain Arachnos, Operative Mayers, Nemesis Doom etc.

Posted by jonano

This is weird, I feel sorry for all the people losing there jobs but happy that we can see another End of a MMO feature .

Posted by Undeadpool

Only MMO I ever hit the level cap in. Stopped playing right around when CoV rolled out, but I'm still sad to see it go.

Edited by SpartanHoplite

what a shame

Posted by Solh0und

It's always say to hear about people losing jobs. Regardless if it's game developers or not.  
RIP to my Lvl 30 Villian Freya Frigid.

Edited by Carousel

My first MMO and the only game I knew I could always come back to. It was like home.

6 years I played this damned game. Was a big part of me and my friends' lives.

I think this is the first time I've felt sentimental about a video game.

Here's to you, Ambigram, the Illusion/Force Field Controller.

Put so much work into his backstory.

Posted by PoisonJam7

It's been said before, but this is such a major problem with today's games; especially MMO's.

With almost every game made these days have some form of online component, that effectively puts an expiration date on those games. It costs money for the publishers and or developers to keep the servers up and running, and once a game ceases to be profitable they yank it and it's gone, forever.

Five, ten, fifteen years down the line when you have an urge to play a retro game, (say, some Call of Duty Black Ops perhaps?) you can't. It's gone. You can't even play it offline if you wanted to because most games have some form of online verification system that you have to go through before you can even launch the damn thing. (Like PS3's Trophy system, as we all found out trying to play Heavy Rain during the PS3 outage last year)

The problem is compounded with MMO's, but at least we know going in that it won't last forever. This is the second MMO being shut down this year that has really hit me hard; the first being EQOA, my first ever MMO. Next thing you know it's going to be DAoC.

The times where you can pop in an old cartridge that's been sitting around for years and years and still play the same Super Mario on your NES or even Pong on your Atari, are gone; and that makes me sad.

Posted by Aleryn

That's a damn shame. I never played it but it seemed that a lot of atypical MMO people really liked this one.

Posted by Ulong

Sad news. I really liked this game for the period that I played it back in the day.
Of course, when I played it I was very new to mmo's (it might have been my first actually, can't quite remember. I don't know if the jaded burnt out on standard mmo's me of today would have found it enjoyable.

Posted by vinsanityv22

I wonder how Champions Online and DCU Online are doing these days? I mean, if City of Heroes is going offline, I'm assuming it's because the player base had migrated to those two games.

I don't get why NCSoft would shut Paragon down though - why not begin work on City of Heroes 2 or a new IP or something? I mean fuck; they made an MMO that lasted 8 YEARS. It's as old as World of Warcraft. Yeah, they're not Cryptic, so they didn't create the thing, but they successfully took it over and did a good job. It's gotta be worth something. Something more than getting fired, anyway.

Sorry Paragon employees. Hope y'all land on your feet at another MMO studio.

Posted by Gruff182

Really enjoyed this when I played it. Personally preferred CoV, the instance/dungeon missions were much more fun, going around destroying a section of a city, robbing a bank and then beating up a hero. Great stuff.

Posted by JesterPC238

That's really sad. I love CoH, haven't played for a couple years, but that and original SWG were and really still are my favorite MMOs. I really hope those guys land on their feet.

Posted by Kombat

This is unfortunate. I have to admit that City of Heroes' appeal for me was nothing more than its character and costume creator. The gameplay itself often left me wanting. There were plenty of folks who really enjoyed getting in there and leveling up their heroes, and I'm aware of at least one massive role-playing guild that seemed like a lot of fun to hang around with. I suppose there is always Champions Online, which is not at all dissimilar.

Edited by KaneRobot

This is pretty sad. This is always the MMO I felt like I should have played (and I don't play MMOs).

8+ years is a pretty damn good run for an MMO though.

Edited by Shadowgamer

Oh man, its sad to see all those people laid off and all the fans that supported City of Heroes are sure to be disappointed. I played CoH when it first came out and it was P2P, the good ol' days. Anyway, I think the popularity of DC Universe contributed largely to the demise of this MMO. It's a sad day in the land of gamers!

Posted by Roddykat

Like most here, it was my first MMO. Before that, I thought paying a monthly subscription for a game was a stupid idea. Thanks to this game and a couple of friends, I was shown otherwise. Though I hadn't plaed it in a while, it is sad to see that this will be going away....

Office Maxwell: You and your toner based powers had served me well. You will live on in memory, good friend.

Posted by DuffO

One of my favorite MMOs. Sad to see it go.

Posted by MariachiMacabre

As someone who played City of Villains for around a year it's sad to see the games die because they really were cool games.

Posted by Bunny_Fire

i stopped playing this when all my friends stopped playing ... still a great game

Posted by mewarmo990

Wishing the best of luck to the Paragon employees. CoH was the only MMO I kept coming back to over and over.

Posted by Crash_Billiams1985

It's been a wild ride CoH. Though your time is coming to an end do not fear, for Doctor Sciencetron will answer the call for justice once again one last time!