NCsoft has announced the impending termination of inventive and long-running MMO City of Heroes.
Servers will be switched off by 30th November.
City of Heroes developer Paragon Studios will be closed.
"The continued support of the franchise no longer fits with our long-term goals for the company," explained Lincoln Davies, NCsoft West director of corporate communications.
A more emotional and expansive farewell was given by City of Heroes community manager Andy Belford on the game's website.
"In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world's first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year. As part of this, all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued effective immediately. We will have more information regarding a detailed timeline for the cessation of services and what you can expect in game in the coming weeks," he wrote.
"The team here at Paragon deserves special praise for all that we have accomplished over the last five-plus years. These developers are some of the most creative and talented people in the gaming industry. By now, we've all been given this news internally, but to anyone who may be reading this message after the fact; know that your hard work and dedication has not gone unappreciated or unnoticed. To any potential studios looking to grow your team; hire these people. You won't regret it.
"The game was, and still is, alive and vibrant with more new players joining the fight every day. It's important to know that Freedom wasn't a failure. This really is a refocusing of direction from NCsoft and unfortunately, Paragon didn't fit into that vision."
Andy Belford, community manager, City of Heroes
To the community, he wrote: "Thank you. Thank you for your years of support. You've been with us every step of the way, sharing in our challenges, encouraging us to make City of Heroes better, more than everyone else thought it could be. We couldn't have come this far without you. I implore you all, focus on the good things of CoH and Paragon Studios.
"Don't dwell on the 'how' or the 'why', but rather join us in celebrating the legacy of an amazing partnership between the players and the development team."
City of Heroes flew the flag for the Western NCsoft expansion - now a huge operation betting big on Guild Wars 2. City of Heroes, originally developed by Cryptic Studios, launched in February 2005, days before World of Warcraft arrived in Europe. Kieron Gillen reviewed them both for Eurogamer, and ended up preferring the City of Heroes. John Walker re-reviewed City of Heroes in 2008.
City of Heroes turned free-to-play in September 2011, as part of an update dubbed Freedom.
"Freedom brought a new life to City of Heroes," commented COH community manager Andy Belford in a separate farewell post. "The game was, and still is, alive and vibrant with more new players joining the fight every day. It's important to know that Freedom wasn't a failure.
"This really is a refocusing of direction from NCsoft and unfortunately, Paragon didn't fit into that vision. Collectively, we hold no ill will towards NCsoft and thank them for many years of support."
Nearly 10,000 people have added their name to a petition hoping to prevent NCsoft from closing City of Heroes.