Today’s date – 26 September – should mean something to the fans of CoH/V. Why? Because on this day in 2001 Cryptic Studios first released the news that they were creating City of Heroes, a superhero MMOG. The official site and forums were opened for the public. I joined sometime in early October (after seeing the news on Gamespy’s email newsletter), so I wasn’t there from day one exactly, but I was pretty close.

In honour of this anniversery, I’m going to pull out something special. Something I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else in a long time (which is your cue to email me to say it’s available everywhere and I’m a n00b who should lern2google) – it’s the City of Heroes E3 2002 movie (Update: link to video removed at the request of Cryptic Studios due to copyight concerns) which was the first time most fans got to see what CoH had in store for them. Jack Emmert aka Statesman talks through what’s going on while Rick Dakan (unseen) controls the hero on screen.

You’ll notice lots of little differences in the video to how CoH eventually turned out. The icons on the top right of the screen were for targeting individual body locations, the attack system required Dakan to use the mouse to target enemies via the cursor, there’s no contact system – missions were given out at computers, there are actually screens that allow you to tweak your hero’s stats and powers, and a whole host besides. However, for 2002 things do look pretty good and the bones of what the game became are definitely there.

I’ll not talk about what happened after E3 2002 and how CoH came to be released in its current state – there is enough info out there about that already (plus I might save it for another column!) – but the E3 2002 video serves as a great reminder of the plans the devs had for CoH, some of which are still yet to be realised.

But enough chat – download the movie and take a look at what CoH was like at one point in its development lifecycle. It’s kinda like a glimpse into an alternate universe… I mean, seven different origins? Characters requiring items to be effective? Crazy, man, just crazy…

– UnSub [@UnknownSubject] unsub@warcry.com 26 September 2006

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