This weekend, I got the chance to speak with project leaders over at Missing Worlds Media who are working on City of Titans and the result is a bunch of awesome stuff that we can expect to come out of the game. Much of the interview focused on narrative and story progression because aside from the Project Lead, Chris Hare, I also spoke with the Lead of Composition, William Strickland—that means that he has the position of wrangling writers to produce content, quests, story lines, and develop the way players “read” the game.
Also consider giving to the CoT Kickstarter (only 10 days to go!) which has nice rewards for early participants.
If you’re interested in the blow-by-blow you can read about the exclusive interview over at SiliconANGLE; but here’s what we can take away about City of Titans:
Player Centric Content
Hare and Strickland want to build a game that immerses the player in the city and the world of the game. This includes the first 20 levels of content will be designed around centering the player and giving them a unique impact on the world. Examples of games that try this right now happen to be Star Wars: The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2. Hare explained that the game will provide a sort of “pathed” content, permitting players to choose what is essentially a career—detective is the only one he mentioned, but it’s easy to speculate it might run into mad scientist, inventor, vigilante, bruiser, etc.
Honoring City of Hereoes Without Being Just-Another-Clone
During the interview, Strickland brings up that he never played City of Heroes. “Blasphemy!” You say? Perhaps not. City of Titans is dubbed the spiritual successor to the lost CoH but it wouldn’t be a service to the gaming audience or players if it became just-a-clone of CoH—and having leads who never played the game but are aware of the comic book history, the narrative of super heroes, and the evolving way that players interact with superhero games can make sure that it keeps a perspective that’s not tied to the past.
During the interview Hare and Strickland both spoke about the lessons learned from other MMO games on the market—we’re looking at you Champions—in venues such as how to appeal to players and how not to appeal to them.
The Story Grows With the Player
Strickland went on at length about how the story of the game should evolve and progress with the player as well as be immersive. Just as in City of Heroes each zone told a bigger part of the story about the city; Strickland wants City of Titans to evolve the story about the player. While the first 20 levels are unique content to the player—the next zones and levels would expand how the player’s career (or path) leads them into ever increasing danger and with them their contacts from earlier zones.
For example, a contact in the first zone might be a beat-cop assisting a detective hero. As each zone progresses instead of a brand-new contact, that same contact gets promoted up their organization. Becoming a sergeant, a lieutenant, a detective themselves, finally reaching police commissioner in later zones and higher levels to guide the player throughout the city.
An interesting twist on how City of Heroes handled this is that players also will receive a path of morality in a Fable-like sense. Both heroes and villains have moral codes—to kill or not to kill; to piss off the boss or not; allow for collateral damage or not. As a result, the moral actions of the player might affect what path they end up taking (and might even lead them into adjacent careers, here’s hoping.)
The example given is that when there’s a vigilante hero and the information has been frightened out of a particular goon schlub, who the hero just happens to be dangling over a ledge: do you pull him up and leave him tied up for the police to arrest? Or do you drop the scumbag to his death? Leaving him for arrest will make the cops happy (less work for them) but dropping him would cause some dismay in the local police and not to mention sanitation or crime scene cleanup who have to deal with your mess.
A Living-Breathing Dynamic City and Story
From the interview, we can take away that City of Titans wants to produce a living, breathing dynamic city that lets players not just produce amazing costumes; but also guide the path and the story of their very characters through comic-book arcs. One of the reasons why people care so much about their characters is that they can imagine them as part of the world and having an impact or an effect.
It’s really early in the development of City of Titans (the Kickstarter isn’t even over yet) so there’s still a lot that’s up in the air.
That said, it looks like a very good project in the making. Something worthy of the City of Heroes community.