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Champions Online

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Cryptic Studios
Developer: Cryptic Studios
Release Date: Sept. 1, 2009

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'Champions Online' (ALL) Genesis of the Nemesis Part 1 - Screens

by Rainier on June 16, 2009 @ 3:52 a.m. PDT

Champions Online is based on the popular pen-and-paper Champions RPG, giving players the power of total customization of their hero experience while they explore a vast universe of richly detailed 3D environments.

First published in 1981, the Champions role-playing game is one of the first RPGs to forgo the traditional dice-rolling system of character generation in favor of a point-based system. Cryptic Studios has licensed back to Hero Games the rights to produce Champions RPG books, and the sixth edition of the HERO System and Champions, set to release in 2009, will include rules on how to recreate Champions Online characters and scenarios.

Champions Online is all about total customization -- it will offer a near infinite amount of character customization so that all players will have a unique game experience. Gamers will be able to create their hero's name, back story, costume, powers and abilities as well as design their own personal arch-enemy and his or her back story, which will guarantee a truly unique experience.

Lemuria is a kingdom torn asunder by civil war. A conflict, brewing for thousands of years, has finally come to the surface with the return of the ancient Lemurian gods and their demands for loyalty. Players must navigate the politically fraught waters of Lemuria and avoid its myriad monsters while attempting to prevent the use of an ancient doomsday weapon.

The Genesis of Nemesis

When you’re in the business of building superhero games, your biggest goal is to make your game feel superheroic. That may sound obvious, but it’s a bigger challenge than you might think. Particularly when the game you’re working on is bound to be compared to a prior, successful, project that you’ve done. You want to do an even better job this time around, and take your game to the next level. It was that goal that led to, among other things, the birth of our Nemesis system.

Anyone who’s ever read a comic book, or seen a movie or TV show based on a comic book, is already familiar with the idea of a Nemesis. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Spiderman has the Green Goblin. It makes sense. Any good superhero is bound to upset powerful supervillains, and the conflict between a hero and his Nemesis is part of what makes the story so exciting. It was something those of us here at Cryptic had been thinking about, and certainly something our players were interested in. We used to get tons of requests from players for some sort of Nemesis, but we didn’t have a framework for it in our last project. Champions in particular really lent itself to the whole idea of having a Nemesis, since there was already a framework for that built into the pen and paper version: having an enemy, or nemesis, you can select having an enemy as part of your character background.

We actually decided we were going to create a Nemesis system a couple of years back. That was the easy part of the decision. After that, we had to decide how we wanted to implement it. We pretty quickly narrowed it down to two strong options. The first of those was to allow players to “adopt” a Nemesis from one of the signature villains already in the Champions Universe. As they played the game and developed a superheroic reputation, they would catch the attention of a villain. After fighting that villain a certain number of times, they’d find themselves with a full-fledged nemesis.

The second option, and the one that really excited us, was to build a system for our users to create their own Nemeses. We knew that would be much more complicated and take a lot of work. We’d have to give players tools to create their Nemeses and then find a way to integrate all of that into the overall game while keeping the Nemesis adventures unique for players outside of the regular gameplay.

There were a bunch of us working on the project; it was my responsibility, as Design Lead, to pull all of the best ideas from the team together and come up with a solid design plan. Based on our goal of making player created enemies, we took the player character creator and tweaked it for use as a Nemesis creator. And what is a villain without minions to help carry out their evil plans and thwart heroes at every turn? So we came up with a system of minion powers and costumes for players to select to complement their Nemesis. Finally, we began working in plotlines for Nemesis that would crop up from time to time in the game.

We wanted to start with some basic Nemesis plots which incorporated the Champions Online universe flavor. As we continue to develop the game, we want to develop more Nemesis plots that are more tailored to a player's individual Nemesis. You may also sometimes run into unexpected guest stars in your Nemesis missions. Our Nemesis design and production team have done an excellent job in making the Nemesis system come to life! We also have more plans, post launch, for showcasing peoples’ Nemeses. We’ll definitely be looking for feedback from our users about what they’d like to see with Nemesis!

Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz


  • Hi-Octane Excitement: Champions Online delivers furious, fast-paced encounters previously reserved for action and fighting games. No more boring auto attacks and lengthy recharge times. Champions Online combat is instantaneous — and electrifying!
  • Brains required: Every enemy and super-powered threat in Champions Online has its own unique abilities and combat specialties. Use your head — or wind up dead!
  • Bring friends, make friends: The Champions Online universe will be jam-packed with thousands of heroes, facing thousands of threats. Join up with other heroes, create your own superteam, and prepare to take on the ultimate threats!
  • Total customization, at your fingertips: Choose from hundreds of different costume pieces, colors and body types to create your character's one-of-a-kind costume and look. There are billions of possible combinations, and in a universe brimming with the fantastic and the unforgettable, you can still be completely unique!
  • Your powers, on your terms: There are a multitude of astonishing powers to choose from in Champions Online, and its flexible character creation system gives you total control over your hero's abilities. You can even pick the appearance of your powers. Do you want purple force fields? Green fire blasts? Jet black claws? In Champions Online, you decide!
  • Keep your enemies close: Every hero must have an archenemy. In Champions Online, you design your character's supreme adversary, choosing a name, powers and costume for a superpowered foe to bedevil your hero throughout his or her career.
  • Bigger and better: Vanquish evil, and your successes will be rewarded with costume pieces to enhance your powers and abilities. Then customize the appearance of those rewards to your vision of your hero's look and abilities!
  • Endless exploration: The battle against evil in Champions Online rages across the world into outer space and alternate dimensions. No other MMOG offers players the chance to explore such diverse realms — from the shining skyscrapers of Millennium City and the frozen wastes of Canada to the interstellar gladiatorial arena on the moon, the hidden underwater city of Lemuria and the foul mystical dimension known as Qliphotic.
  • Evil most foul: Battle supervillains, aliens, giant monsters and secret, sinister organizations. Doctor Destroyer is launching new plans to conquer the world. VIPER lurks in the shadows, seeking chances to strike at humanity. The ancient Lemurians are plotting a return to power. And Mechanon won't stop until it has wiped all organic life from the planet. Can you stop these heinous threats to humanity?
  • Make your mark: The story of Champions Online is constantly changing, continually evolving. Villains are defeated. Heroes rise and fall. Cities transform. Your actions may decide the future!

Champions Online is slated for release on Sept. 1, 2009.

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