Wow, that should help make Champions Online stand out:
Cryptic Studios Hires Industry Veteran Bill Roper
Los Gatos, CA – November 3, 2008 – Cryptic Studios™, one of the leading independent developers of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), announced today that Bill Roper has joined the company as Design Director and will be working on Champions Online™.
“Bill brings a ton of creative energy to the Cryptic office and we’re thrilled to have him join our team,” said John Needham, Chief Executive Officer for Cryptic Studios. “His years of gaming and online experience are huge assets to all of our projects, and Bill will assist us in furthering our studio’s vision to create innovative, exciting MMO gameplay.”
“Cryptic has experienced huge growth over the past year and has exciting opportunities ahead of it,” said Bill Roper, Design Director, Cryptic Studios. “The company knows how to choose compelling IPs that have rich histories such as Champions and Star Trek. I’m looking forward to working with the team.”
As a 14-year game industry veteran, Roper has worked directly on numerous top selling titles, including the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series. He joined Blizzard Entertainment in 1994 to work in sound, music and voiceover, eventually being appointed as Vice President of Blizzard North and a Director of Blizzard Entertainment where he managed all external projects and coordinated internal development teams. In 2003, Roper co-founded Flagship Studios and Ping0 where he held the role of CEO for five years and oversaw the launch of Hellgate: London and development of Mythos.
Cryptic Studios, headquartered in Los Gatos, is currently in production of two highly anticipated MMO action games, Champions Online and Star Trek® Online. Champions Online, based on the popular Champions™ pen-and-paper RPG and published by 2K Games, will give players the power of total customization for their hero experience while they explore a vast comic book universe. Set in the year 2409, Star Trek Online will allow players to immerse themselves in the future of the Star Trek universe, exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations in an ever expanding vast universe.
Sounds like good news for Champions Online (though I don’t care at all about that title), if you ask me. Just because FSS was a clusterfuck doesn’t mean Roper doesn’t add immense value in certain roles (including design director).
I was thinking in Internet world this would be lame, but in the business world this is probably a great move because he can share all his lessons learned, telling them what not to do. On the other hand, Cryptic already has City of Heroes under their belts.
After it was clear that HGL was not the game it was hyped to be people claimed that Bill didn’t do that much at Blizzard and mainly was famous because he was the one talking to the press over there.
If that is true or not I don’t know.
I mean, you do some very successful work with a very successful group of people for many years. Then you spend some years on your own vision with your own set of people… The group you left continue to enjoy success in your absence, but the project you lead fails. It’s just not exactly a shining course of events.
Yeah, it isn’t like he wrote many successful novels, and the last one flopped. Nowadays games are the product of gigantic teams of people, so it is hard to tell, from the outside, exactly who or what is responsible for the result.
While bashing one guy can become pretty tiresome (I know, I’m guilty of this. I’m sorry.), I do agree that crediting someone for the work of entire teams is just as bad. In this case it’s especially evident, being that Blizzard Entertainment didn’t fall apart at his departure, and the company he founded happened to achieve the exact opposite of what anyone would expect.
Whether he truly “learned from his mistakes” remains to be seen, and anyone who spent money on a lifetime subscription or believed the PR he was talking up before, and even after Hellgate’s release has every understandable right to be skeptical about his latest venture. 150 dollars is no small amount of money – that’s a year’s worth of subscription for a full fledged MMORPG like World of Warcraft or Warhammer Online, or the price of three major games: Fallout 3, Dead Space and Little Big Planet. All of these games have more value (even replay value) than a lifetime subscription of Hellgate: London.