Champions Online: official details

Cel-shaded, self-published, out next year.

Following the Game Informer leak last week, Cryptic Studios has officially announced Champions Online, its next superhero MMO, and revealed the first details on the title.

You can read the press release, look at some screenshots, and start wild speculation in the forums over on the official website, which is now live.

As suspected, the game is licensed from the 1980s pen-and-paper RPG, Champions. It boasts a very comic-influenced cel-shaded look, the "fast-paced gameplay" of fighting or action games, exploration of outer space and alternate dimensions, and a "near infinite" level of character customisation. You will be able to create your hero's back-story, modify the appearance of your powers, and design your own personal arch-enemy.

Cryptic is planning to release Champions Online in spring of 2009, and for the first time, has decided to self-publish the game. Cryptic previously had agreements with NCsoft (City of Heroes) and Microsoft (the cancelled Marvel Universe Online, of which Champions Online is believed to be a direct descendant).

"Bringing the operating side of the business in-house enables us to be more efficent, get our developers even closer to the customer, and ultimately make a better game and long-term experience," said Cryptic president Michael Lewis.

Notably, the press release and website make no mention of formats. However, the Game Informer preview apparently confirms that Champions Online will release on both PC and console (most likely Xbox 360), and feature cross-platform play.

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