NCsoft Acquires City of Heroes IP, Opens New Studio, Plans 'Major Reinvestment' in City of Heroes

MMO publisher NCsoft has obtained complete ownership of the City of Heroes intellectual property for an undisclosed sum and is opening a new development studio staffed by members of the game's original team in Mountain View, CA.

The company's plans for the superhero PC MMO include new expansions and sequels. NCsoft claims it acquired "key members" of the City of Heroes team--including lead designer Matt Miller, lead engineer Aaron Brady, and lead artist Ken Morse--from Cryptic Studios, which originally developed the game and previously split ownership of the IP with NCsoft. All members of the City of Heroes team have been offered jobs at NCsoft, according to Cryptic's FAQ on the sale.

"We're happy to announce that NCsoft has acquired full ownership of the City of Heroes IP," said NCsoft executive producer and new studio manager Brian Clayton. "Our plans are clear. We are now in a position to make a major reinvestment in the City of Heroes product line."

The new office represents the second studio NCsoft has formally announced in less than a month. It officially unveiled Carbine Studios in early October, which is staffed by numerous industry and genre veterans and promises to "break new ground in massively multiplayer gaming."

Earlier this year, NCsoft--which also publishes and controls the Lineage and Guild Wars franchises along with the recently launched Richard Garriot's Tabula Rasa--partnered with Sony to develop for the PlayStation 3 and PSP.

"With our existing Cryptic and NCsoft team as the core," Clayton continued, "we will be able to run our current service without any interruption to our players, expand our studio to deliver triple-A content, and take City of Heroes to new heights."

"City of Heroes and City of Villains players should be assured that Cryptic Studios will be working closely with NCsoft to ensure a smooth, seamless transition," noted Cryptic pesident and co-founder Michael Lewis. "The decision to sell the franchise allows us to focus resources on our soon to be announced first-party projects." The next effort from Cryptic is another superhero MMO, this one set in the Marvel universe and planned for both PC and Xbox 360.

"All parties involved want whatÂ’s best for the franchise," Clayton wrote in response to the news.