A post over on the City of Heroes website reveals that the long-running super hero-based MMORPG will be closing its doors by the end of the year.
According Community Manager Andy Belford, the closure is the result of NCsoft shutting down developer Paragon Studios as part of a realignment in focus and publishing support. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease, and the studio will begin preparing Paragon City's final sunset. That said, all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued effective immediately.
Additional information regarding a detailed timeline for the cessation of services and what fans can expect in game in the coming weeks, the post stated.
"The team here at Paragon deserves special praise for all that we have accomplished over the last 5+ years," Bellford said. "These developers are some of the most creative and talented people in the gaming industry. By now, we've all been given this news internally, but to anyone who may be reading this message after the fact; know that your hard work and dedication has not gone unappreciated or unnoticed. To any potential studios looking to grow your team; hire these people. You won't regret it."
The blog goes on to thank the City of Heroes community for their support over the years. "You've been with us every step of the way, sharing in our challenges, encouraging us to make City of Heroes better, more than everyone else thought it could be. We couldn't have come this far without you. I implore you all, focus on the good things of CoH and Paragon Studios. Don't dwell on the "how" or the "why", but rather join us in celebrating the legacy of an amazing partnership between the players and the development team."
"Thank you, and I'll see you in the skies, one last time," the blog concludes.
City of Heroes originally launched for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X back in April 2004. It was originally developed by Cryptic Studios, but the rights were purchased by NCsoft back in 2007 and the CoH staff moved to a new location in California. The new studio became Paragon Studios in April 2009 which currently shares credit with Cryptic for the developmental work. City of Heroes switched to a hybrid free-to-play subscription model in 2011, but apparently that didn't keep the MMORPG afloat.
We've reached out to NCsoft for additional information. So long City of Heroes, and thanks for the spandex-clad memories.
UPDATE: Here's the response we received from NCsoft from NCSoft:
Both NCsoft and Paragon Studios are incredibly proud of the success of City of Heroes, but unfortunately, the continued support of the franchise no longer fits within our long term goals for the company. All employees at Paragon Studios are affected by this decision, including the management team.
We will begin the City of Heroes sun setting process immediately with the goal to officially stop our service offerings for the franchise on November 30, 2012.
This was a very tough decision to make and wish the best for all Paragon Studio employees in their next ventures.