City of Heroes’ resurrection and preservation efforts are big news this month, but we’ve covered similar stories about playerbases rescuing video games from certain doom, proving there’s more than one way for the CoH story to play out. Readers will recall that last year, Pirates of the Burning Sea was in a bad place, having long since lost the support of its original publishers, then it lost the primary coder necessary to maintain the game, and plans were made for a sunset. But studio Portalus also offered the game up to any player-led non-profit corporation willing to take over the title and keep it running for the players, which is what happened, as Portalus then kept everything running while plans were formalized.
In January, on the game’s 11th anniversary, Portalus announced that Vision Online Games, led by a software development executive, was taking over POTBS, replacing the servers, modernizing the game’s infrastructure, and attempting to increase the game’s dev staff and playerbase through a marketing campaign – it’s not just maintenance mode. They’re even keeping existing characters and accounts.
PC Gamer ran an interview over the weekend recapping what’s happened in the last few months, via an interview with Portalus’ Brian Taney, who likens the game to Firefly’s Serenity. “Older games like this, they’ve gotta have some champions,” Taney says. “They’ve gotta have some people who are willing to bleed for them.”
Yes, they do.