So farewell then, City of Heroes, and all who battled in it. The online mega-metropolis was shut down on Friday, November 30, after eight-and-a-half years by NCsoft. But like all things superhero, reports of the city’s death may be premature, with operation Hail Mary in action.
How many heroes (and villains) were evicted is unknown to all except landlord NCsoft, and to date the South Korean firm has been mighty silent on its move to end the City of Heroes. But the last census, taken in 2008, listed 120,000 subscribers, and that’s before it became free to play.
Videos of vigils held in multiple versions of Atlas Park have sprung up on YouTube chronicling the final minutes of players’ procrastination in Paragon City.
A joint statement from NCsoft and developer Paragon Studios said: “After hosting the final heroic battle between good and evil the City of Heroes servers have been shut down permanently."
“We've taken to the skies of City of Heroes but the game and community will forever remain in our memories and hearts. We thank our fans for their years of support. We couldn't have gone this far without you.”
Leading lights from the Save COH campaign have now appealed to a higher authority to swoop in and bring the franchise back to life: Mickey Mouse. A 31-page report has thudded onto Disney chiefs’ desks explaining why the House of Mouse should buy up and move into City of Heroes.
Lending her pen to the pitch was fantasy author of the Valdemar series, Mercedes Lackey. She said: “We believe that Disney and City of Heroes is a perfect match. Disney now owns Marvel and two impending Marvel MMOs (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games) which are slated to be mirror opposites of the cooperative, community gameplay fostered by City of Heroes."
“By reviving City of Heroes, Disney will be able to satisfy the gaming desires of every player of MMORPGs. In addition, Disney has the reach to effortlessly give City of Heroes the exposure it never had under NCsoft’s regime of benign neglect - and City of Heroes will provide Disney with some extremely unique cross-marketing opportunities.
“We believe that acquiring City of Heroes will provide Disney Interactive with the logical extension of their games for kids and teens, offering a game that literally the whole family can play.”
Now Mickey’s ears are to get a bending by the disenfranchised fans left without a city to live in under Hail Mary, where campaigners hope to tap into the strong letter-writing spirit summoned up during the fight against NCsoft. Will the mouse hear their roar?