The Rikti are Back!

A Second CoX Issue 10 Dev
Log by Matt "Positron" Miller

Every once in awhile
a pre-written developer log falls into
our laps,
complete with screenshots and a full-bodied text. This is just such an
occasion and the developer in question is Matt "Positron" Miller from
Cryptic Studios! In his dev log, Matt takes a look at turning
literature into content, which is exactly what he did when the Cryptic
team was developing Issue 10 for CoX. The dev log discusses the Rikti
invasion, the return of Hero 1, and much more! style="font-style: italic;">(Warning: Spoilers ahead!)

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The Lost are attempting to turn Earth's humans into
Rikti mutants.

With the decision
made to use the Rikti for Issue 10, and bring Vanguard into the
limelight, we knew it was the perfect opportunity to bring Hero 1 back
from the Rikti homeworld, albeit a little changed.

In the late game of City of Heroes, you learn that the
government of
the United States is hiding a secret about the Ritki. That secret is
that the Rikti are highly evolved human beings from an alternate
dimension, and not “aliens” as the public
perceives. This is tied directly into the Lost that populate the lower
level zones in City of Heroes. The Lost are the Rikti attempting to
turn Earth’s humans into Rikti mutants. Many heroes with the
“Omega Level Clearance” souvenir know all this

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Miller was interested in turning literature into
content in Issue 10.

What they don’t know is that it’s not just
Rikti on Earth that know how to mutate humans, but those on the
homeworld do as well. Hero 1, the leader of the Omega Team that ended
the first Rikti war, was never heard from again and lost in the Rikti
home dimension. Way back in City of Heroes development it was decided
that Hero 1 was captured and was undergoing “Lost-like
mutations” while in captivity. We had no opportunity to
reveal this information to the players until now.

With the “big reveal” decided for the Task
that being the unexpected return of Hero 1, I needed to decide how to
get there. How do I tell this story and have the build up that a Task
Force of this magnitude deserves? I wanted an apocalyptic storyline,
and what better place to look than the Apocalypse itself?

There are many “end of the world” myths
out there,
Ragnarok is one, but we never really had a strong Norse theme in our
universe. I looked at the Book of Revelation for inspiration as it has
always been a subject of interest for me. There is a lot of poetry in
that book in the Bible, which leads to a lot of different
interpretations of themes and images.

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The Rikti have several key concepts from the Book of

Interpretation is where a designer can really get to play. I
did a
quick refresher on the Book of Revelation on Wikipedia, and grabbed a
couple of key concepts: The Four Horsemen, the Dragon, the Beast from
the Sea, the Abyss, and the false Prophet. I then looked at the Rikti
and figured out where everything would work out.

For the Four Horsemen, I wanted a group of Rikti Elite Bosses
that had
powers that played off one another. We had the Rikti Heavy Assault
Suits that we could modify with the necessary powers and make our own
version of Famine, War, Pestilence and Death. The mission itself plays
out fighting one, then two, then three, and finally all four at the
same time.

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Players are allowed to take on Hero 1 in the final
Rikti battle.

The Dragon was modified into a Rikti boss called the
in fitting with the Rikti theme. I basically wanted the Rikti war to be
coming to a point where the Rikti were trying to bring their best
generals and soldiers from the Rikti Homeworld through semi-stable
portals. Dra’Gon is one of those generals.

For the Beast and the Sea the choice was nearly obvious. We
already had
a “sea” zone with a Revelation-esque name, called
The Abyss… and in this Abyss resided one of the biggest
beasts the game has, Hamidon. In order for a team of at most eight
characters to even have a shot at defeating Hamidon, we needed a
weakened version of him. I decided that the Rikti were stealing
Hamidon’s power with their pylon technology, and thus leaving
a weakened version of the Hamidon for the players to defeat. Upon
defeating Hamidon, the characters are granted the Power of the Hamidon,
which would allow them to fight the Rikti commander known as the
Honoree in the final mission.

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Miller didn't want to be too blatant with his
references, but players should still appreciate the homage.

The Honoree is actually the Lost-mutated Hero 1 (Honoree being
anagram of Hero One), this makes him the symbolic “false
prophet” and must be defeated in order to stop the Rikti from
establishing a powerful foothold on our planet. While bringing such a
popular hero back as an unredeemable bad-guy may seem like a bad idea
to some, we stand by the decision and when this Rikti war moves into
its final stages in the years to come we hope to give some really good
closure to the character and the storyline… the end of the
Task Force is not necessarily the end of the story.

So there you have it. While it doesn’t follow the
source material to the letter, it does draw inspiration from it. Some
players were quick enough to deduce the origin of the Task Force during
beta and were very happy with how we pulled it off. It’s
definitely not blatant (and I didn’t want it to be), but I
wanted those who knew the source to be able to recognize and appreciate
the homage.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016