Cryptic Studios brought the MMORPG genre out of its common fantasy setting when the company developed City of Heroes, a superhero themed MMORPG released in April 2004. It was followed up with City of Villains in October 2005, a separate MMORPG that was linked to City of Heroes for player-vs-player. Cryptic was next said to be developing Marvel Universe Online, but the project was canceled.
In early 2008, Cryptic revealed that it was developing Champions Online, another superhero themed MMORPG, this time based on the Champions pen-and-paper RPG setting and its HERO system. Atari, the game's publisher, and Cryptic announced on Friday that Champions Online will be released for the PC in North America and Europe on July 14, 2009. The game is also in development for the Xbox 360, though the release window for the console version is still unannounced.
The choices available for character creation in City of Heroes and City of Villains were immense and part of those games' selling points. Champions Online will further that level of character creation with players able to choose from thousands of costume pieces, body types, and modifications for billions of possible combinations. Character power sets can be customized along with the appearance and style of those powers. Using the Nemesis system, Champions Online also creates an arch-villain that is the powerful opposite of each character for his or her storyline. For more information, visit Champions Online's official website.