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Cryptic's Bill Roper on Champions vs. DCUO

Posted Thu, Feb 19, 2009 by Savanja

With City of Heroes already tapping the super hero market and DC Universe Online soon to come, will Champions Online have some stiff competition? MTV Multiplayer's Tracey John poses this question to Champions Design Director Bill Roper who seems to think there is enough to go around for everyone!

MTV Multiplayer: How’s the console development coming for “Champions Online”?

Bill Roper: We’ve got it running on Xbox [360]. But to a degree, it comes down more to the business side stuff. There’s no technology-based reasons we couldn’t be playing [PC] at the same time with Xbox right now. We definitely want to be on consoles. It’s easier to move to Xbox than PS3, but we would love to be on as many places as possible. I think that consoles are ripe for a good MMO, just in general. And then superheroes, the genre is just doing so well. …

It’s just going to be getting the license … Obviously, we [Cryptic Studios] were just acquired by Atari. So that changes all the publisher relationships and the distributing. So on our end, we’re just like, “Great, we’ll make it for whoever we get to make it for,” and hopefully that’s everybody.

MTV Multiplayer: I don’t want to beat a dead horse, how do you feel about but competing with “City of Heroes” and “DC Universe Online” coming up? Can multiple superhero MMOs co-exist and thrive? Because it’s questionable right now whether fantasy ones can.

Roper: I think it can. I mean, multiple MMOs have evolved and different genres exist. I think that the huge upside is that MMOs are more popular than ever and the superhero genre is more popular than ever. We’re coming out in the spring. We don’t really know when “DC” is coming out, unless you believe the rumors on the web or not, but they’ve neither confirmed nor denied a release date. And “City of” has been out for a long time. So I think we’re in a great window to get out there where people want to try a new superhero MMO but they don’t know how long they’re going to have to wait for whatever’s next.

And I love the fact that everything we’re doing is based off the four-color concept, the artwork, the flavor, the powers, the fact you can build anything you think of. I think It’s really unique when compared to the “City of” games or what “DC” is doing. Trying to make a classless type system, one where you can choose an archetype if you want — but if you have in your head, “I want to make this cool power-armored electricity guy who flys but also have force powers.” OK, great; you can do that. “But I want to use white beams instead of yellow beams. I want it to come from my chest and not my head.” Great. We’re going to give you as many tools as we can to make exactly what is it you want to play.

MTV Multiplayer: How do you feel about the MMO landscape right now?

Roper: It’s really good. I think that everybody has to be glad that there are so many more players in the MMO space now. It’s gotten very competitive much more now than before.

I think we’ll see that MMOs actually getting onto the consoles is going to be really positive, and that we can get in front of more players, different players than on the PC. And the PC market is still huge for MMOs. I just think it’s a better and better time for the MMO space. And it’s something that people are realizing that it’s such an incredible value, even in tougher economic times. …

I think video games in general are a really good value, but I think MMOs are the king of that. It’s a good relationship between developer and player, too. It’s like,”What do you guys want? OK, we’ll make more of that.” And if I want to go see a movie, it’ll be 10 or 15 dollars. Well, I could pay for a whole month to play an MMO, where I can chat with my friends, hang out and be more social than just “I went and saw one film this month.” People are staying closer to home, they’re looking for better values. I think MMOs give them all of that, which is pretty cool.

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