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There is considerable cross-over between nerd sub-cultures like comic books and gaming; so it should be no surprise that there were three superhero MMORPGs on display at the New York Comic Con this weekend. Paragon Studios, the Developers of City of Heroes held a panel promoting their forthcoming updates, Sony Online Entertainment unveiled previously-unseen features for DC Universe Online, and Gazillion Entertainment was showcasing their upcoming MOG based on Marvel’s kid-friendly franchise Super Hero Squad.
Sony Online Entertainment gave attendees a first look at the character creation system for DC Universe Online. Jim Lee, the game’s Executive Creative Director was on hand at a panel and explained how the costume design didn’t offer quite as many options as other hero games, but that all the pieces would fit together for a cohesive sense of aesthetics. While costume parts are limited when the character is first created, additional pieces will be unlocked as characters level up. The logic being: Batman’s costume slowly evolved over his career as a crime-fighter and each player will show the same growth as they level up. It’s coming to PS3 and PC in early 2011. People who pre-order before November 15th will have early access to the beta test.
Gazillion Entertainment had a playable demo of Super Hero Squad Online. It’s a free-to-play browser-based version of this kid-friendly franchise that already has toys, a cartoon, and a console action game. In this version, players can choose from a selection of googly-eyed Marvel characters and explore Super Hero City, with the free-roaming and socializing elements of a MMORPG, but a card-based combat system. Players also have a customized hero headquarters and can fill it with trophies. A collectible card game that replicates the card-based combat in the game was also being shown.
Adult gamers might not be interested in the cartoony Super Hero Squad, but Gazillion Entertainment is also making the upcoming Marvel MMO. Marvel has been trying for years to get an official MMORPG off the ground; first it was through City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios (Who released it as Champions Online after Marvel dropped out). Now the Marvel MMO is in the hands of Gazillion, and the cutesy Super Hero Squad game will give some insight into the people who will soon develop a proper Marvel online game for grown-ups.
Paragon Studios released the City of Heroes expansion, Going Rogue less than two months ago, and they are already preparing for the next update. Issue 19: Alpha Strike will finally expand the end-game experience for characters that have reached the maximum level. This “Incarnate” system will add a new power slot for extra-powerful abilities which can only be earned the mightiest of heroes. Two new Task Forces (CoH’s special missions) will be available to challenge characters with the Incarnate powers. Paragon also revealed that the alternate universe from Going Rogue will be available to all characters, and will have additional missions suitable for up to level 29. The new material will include new Zone events in all three zones of Preatorian Earth. CoH fans will also be excited to hear that the popular “Fitness” power pool is going to be an inherent power for all characters.
We’ll be covering the development of all of these games in the coming months. Keep an eye out for updates about your favorite super-powered online universe here.