Behind the Scenes of the Paragon Studios Shutdown
April 10, 2013 Page 3 of 3
The team had actually been planning seeds for the Battalion for the past six years, hinting to players a big threat was on the way, but never clearly spelling it out.
"We were like, 'Hey, we finally get to bring that big threat and make good on all the promises that we made'," says Miller. "So it was actually sad that we didn't get to follow through on that."
Instead, the team revealed the plans to fans via the game's forums -- in an "Ask Me Anything" style chat after NCsoft announced the shutdown.
That relationship with the fanbase was a unique one. When news of the shutdown broke, in fact, players offered to contribute their own money to keep the game and studio alive.
Had the management buyout occurred, Paragon had planned to retain ownership of not only City of Heroes, but the two other IPs it was working on. Miller declined to discuss those, citing NDAs, since they're still the property of NCsoft, but he did say plans were in place to fund their development.
"We did want to do a Kickstarter," he says. "And we had some fantastic ideas for that Kickstarter, but at the end it just didn't work out. It was funny because the players were in as much shock as any of the developers -- and they were like, in all the forums and on private messages on Twitter, 'Why don't you try X, or Y, or Z? Have you thought about doing a Kickstarter?' Things like that.
"Of all of them I've read, none of them were something we didn't already try. It was fantastic that they were willing to try and help us out in any way they could by giving us ideas, but all those ideas were stuff we had tried and we were planning on in some way, shape, or form. It just didn't work out."
Fans didn't stop there. Some community members put together a pitch package that they presented to Disney. Others mailed cakes to NCsoft's Korean headquarters to protest the decision.
While Paragon itself was shut down, there was nothing stopping the team from simply banding together to launch a new studio. Miller says that while that's a good idea in theory, the realities of the industry and the economy made it a little less likely.
"Anyone who was a full-time employee got 60 days of pay," says Miller. "So, a lot of people took that and said, 'Wow, I can actually go and take the time I need to find a great job.' ... A lot of people got severance as well on top of those 60 days. So, a lot of people went out and found jobs to start on November 1st to basically have stuff lined up. Within a couple weeks people were already lining up their own careers. Getting that new studio started just got harder and harder the longer time went on."
They might no longer work together, but the Paragon team hasn't entirely broken up. Some have moved to other states for new jobs, but they keep in touch via a private Facebook page. And some who are still in the Mountain View area still get together -- though not as often as they did in the immediate aftermath.
"There were some core groups of close friends who would get together for coffee, go to the movies, get together for game nights and stuff," says Miller. "We continue to play games -- board games and stuff. ... It's become less and less [frequent] nowadays but there are still several of us who keep in touch."
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