The tragic tale behind the death of City of Heroes and Paragon Studios
The death of any MMO is a sad event for its community, but the demise of City of Heroes is particularly perplexing. There was debate, even post-closing, whether the game was profitable, and developer Paragon Studios was in the middle of a major update when the hammer came down. Community members offered to donate. A Kickstarter was suggested. Nothing worked.
This Gamasutra piece is one of the first, on-the-record looks behind the death of City of Heroes, and the shuttering of Paragon Studios. The tales are so heartwrenching, the near-successes so numerous, that it feels like a VH1 "Where are they now?" special, and I mean that in the best way. If you're a CoH fan and feel like torturing yourself over knowing how very, very close the game was to being saved, give it a read. Hell, give it a read even if you don't care about the game, because the article shows how, despite our best efforts, not all of our creations get a happy ending. It's a sobering thought, but an important one.
This story also highlights a fear many share over the upcoming generation(s) of gaming: if always-on and cloud-based games are the way of the future, what happens when a game's continued existence outweighs server maintenance cost? I can still bust out the old Genesis and slap in a copy of Mortal Kombat, but once, say, SimCity stops being profitable, will we still be allowed to play?