A price was given and deemed 'doable'. They're working on proving their viability as developers. We're not likely to hear anything before August or later. No news is good news.
(08/13/2014: no change)
Timeline of significant events:
The bold comments are direct communications from the team. I have edited them slightly to remove names and such.
March 6 - I get the information and start working on a way to possibly open source CoH.
March 12 - got letter back from Chris Chung - it showed that is WAS possible to buy the game.
March 13 - the team makes its first contact with me and says this: You are an evil, evil man. I'd given up hope after learning of the tax issue. Now here I am now grinning from ear to ear. Likely going to lead to heartbreak, but damned the torpedos. Full speed ahead.
March 21 - Honestly, we had given up hope. Now, you've given us hope, so we're discussing it.
March 28 - We have been reaching out and putting the proposal together. The concern has been the "Golden Handcuffs" option, being shackled to NCSoft again and having the sword of damocles once again hanging over our heads but this time knowing it is there.
April 5 - Made some headway. Now we know who we need to talk to, and a general idea of price. It is very doable.
April 16 - At the end we'll announce it one way or the other. For now it is just this silly business dance in order to reach [Redacted contact]
April 18 - Second studio expresses interest in the game
April 21 - investor expresses interest and is passed to the team
May 1 - third studio expresses interest in the game.
May 21 - I ask how the talks are going and if they are making the team jump through hoops:Stupid. Stupid amounts of hoops, as far as I know.
June 19 - Slow but not dead. Not a big deal, we were focusing on August anyhow.
June 24 - former paragon Dev contacts me and is forwarded to the team
July 3 - Yesterday, we were directed to the man whose signature is needed.
July 3 - after MY reading WAAAY too much into the first message - Er... we're not days away from anything. We're just now in direct contact, which means we're past another hurdle. We still have at least two months of negotiations left ahead of us, at best. This is where the monsters truly do lie.
July 7 - another investor/studio contacts me and is forwarded to the team
July 11- the fifth studio contacts me and is forwarded to the team
July 24 - Direct quote: "we're working very hard on something to show someone. things will be quiet for a bit."
August 13 - Direct quote: Things are moving along. We should have things worth showing fairly soon, made a great leap forward yesterday.
We have some new efforts under way now and I will try and explain where we are currently with the efforts to return City of Heroes. Some folks have dropped off the stage and it is unknown if they will return. Those members are; VV and Ammon. Quinch was working on a proposal to Valve and it is unknown whether or not it was submitted.
One person was left with all of the work and Rae had some family issues arise that stalled everything further.
Now we start again and while I am do not have the stature of VV or Ammon - I am stubborn. I want this game back and I will float my idea to you folks for your input. Contrary to some things we have heard - apparently NCSoft WAS willing to sell the game. Everything was nearly complete when things went awry. The main point is they were willing to sell the IP in good faith.
Now where do we go? Rae is back in at least an advisory function and then there is myself with my wild ideas. Well guess what? I have another wild idea.
I am going to again speak to the Earth and Beyond folks and see how they managed to persuade EA to allow them to openly use the game. Then I am going to go directly to NCSoft and make our case like this:
The game while open and running had a certain value – with servers running, Developers in place, accounts paying in and players in the game – this value was roughly grossing $10 million a year. The net amount I would say could be in the $3-4 million a year if the game had been directly supported and updated alone with exploration into CoH2 taking only a few programmers.
However, that was then and this is now. Let’s take a honest appraisal as one would for a house for sale. The game was based on a custom made engine that is very dated. The game no longer has servers running, there are no accounts in place and you have no players. IF - a large IF – the game returned some players would not come back feeling it just might close again and waste their time. Others have moved on to new games or have pulled back from gaming entirely (I know a few of these). So what is the value of the game now?
I would honestly say under $1 million.
It has some positives in that a lot of people have good vibes for City of Heroes and would like to see it back – even those who didn’t play it. My pitch then is we ask openly for NCSoft allow the players to either openly reverse engineer the game or to allow us to host it and continue development in an open source not for profit manner much like Earth and Beyond. We can point to that game as an ideal solution to aging software. They retain all rights and IP privileges and the players get to play for a much reduced cost.
In fact I would say all AT’s would be open and yet retain the cash store for items and to raise funds for servers and for developers to make updates. Do I hold out a lot of hope on this?
Honestly no, but it has worked for at least one other game.