Champions Online

James Batchelor

Champions Online

Aside from spending a fortune on spandex, video games are the only way to make yourself feel like a superhero.
Atari offers a more cost-effective solution with the latest title from MMO expert Cryptic Studios, Champions Online. Drawing on its experience from established superhero MMO City Of Heroes/City Of Villains, the developer’s reputation alone is enough to get gamers excited about this new release.

“Right now, there is a fantastic groundswell of excitement for Champions Online,” says UK product manager Lauren Bradley. “It is dominating the PC pre-order charts – at the time of writing, it is No.1 on Amazon and No.2 on Play.com. Alongside that, Cryptic has achieved very high registration numbers on the community, which is growing exponentially on a daily basis.

“Fuelled by Marvel and DC Comics’ huge film productions, the superhero genre has never been more popular and looks like it is set to remain this way for the foreseeable future. And given Cryptic’s legacy, you could say that our expectations are very high indeed.”

Players can completely customise their superhero in every detail. Not only do they choose the name and design the costume, they also get to select which powers their character can use and even what colours those powers are. If that weren’t enough, they can even design and customise an archenemy for their hero to battle throughout the game.

Once done, aspiring heroes must explore the world of Champions Online, fighting evil and generally being a do-gooder across cities, mountains, forests and even in outer space and alternative dimensions.

A key difference between this and other MMOs on the market is that the combat system is much more active than the usual slow, calculated iterations in rival titles. There is more of an emphasis on frantic attacking than waiting for powers to recharge.

“This is the first ever action MMOG,” says Bradley. “We all know there is a huge and growing MMORPG market and Champions Online is set to also appeal to RPG players who will be converted to the world of online gaming.”

Atari has really pushed the boat out on this title, with a comprehensive marketing campaign ensuring awareness of Champions Online’s arrival is as high as possible.
Throughout August the company is launching various demos and beta promotions, and a 12-month PR campaign has made the game prominent in key PC gaming publications. Additional advertorials will run in non-gaming specialist press, such as SFX.

Online, a massive pre-awareness beta campaign will see activity across a range of leading sites, such as IncGamers, VG247, Eurogamer and Google’s content network.

Takeovers have also been arranged on major gaming sites closer to launch, and a beta key giveaway through online publication PCGamerZine saw 10,000 beta keys claimed in the first hour.

The publisher has also been utilising a range of social media, with Champions Online news appearing regularly on Facebook and Twitter. The game also has a dedicated blog, developed in association with Intent Social Media.

Key retailers are helping to promote the game with UK exclusive pre-order offers, giving early adopters head-start access to the game’s content and unique in-game items. Finally, Atari will be sending promotional emails to more than 30,000 users in its database, as well as those of on various retailers.

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