Bad to the Bone (

By:Troy Roberts
Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2005

NCSoft surprised many people when they released City of Heroes last year. Coming out of nowhere, the game took the online role-playing game genre by storm, taking customers away from many of the tried-and-true such as EverQuest. With the recent release of Guild Wars, NCSoft is well on its way to becoming a household name. Next NCSoft and developer Cryptic introduced City of Villains.

"City of Villains gives players many new options, three things in particular: the ability to be a bad guy, Player vs. Player, and the ability to build bases," explains Jack Emmert, lead designer. "Super groups are now be able to have citadels of justice or dens of evil."

Unlike the previous game, players are able to create characters on the other side of the law and focus on the many things that bad guys tend to do.

"Villains dwell in the City of Villains, the Rogue isles," says Emmert. "The isles are controlled by a villain group called Arachnos, led by Lord Recluse. The isles serve as a training ground for recruits. Of course, villains like conflict, chaos. Anything goes, and everybody is trying to pull something over on another."

"Heroes and villains are able to battle each other," says Emmert. "There are 4 Player vs. Player zones in City of Villains. Both heroes and villains (fight) for something, whether it be some sort of super weapon or something else. You (are also able) to conduct base invasions, where players are able to invade one another's bases to seize items of power, amazingly powerful objects that control the cosmos itself."

According to Emmert, this was the obvious choice for the future of the franchise, as villains remain popular with not just gamers, but everyone.

"Villains are popular because they are outside any responsibility, and they can do what they want, when they want," says Emmert. "Movies like Chronicles of Riddick or Sin City are popular because we like the freedom that it represents, and we can live this vicariously."

Unlike many other expansions, this stand-alone product that doesn't require any previous experience in the City of Heroes universe.

"No one has ever released a massive-multiplayer game like this," explains Emmert. "This isn't just a normal expansion. Most expansions are about retaining customers. However, this is a sequel game, a standalone product. It appeals to both new and existing customers and players. City of Villains (is) a new generation of massive-multiplayer games, which we started."

Emmert adds with a laugh: "2005 (was) a good year to be bad."

The game retails for $49.99.
Platform: PC
Rating: Teen