By admin @ June 15, 2009 at 7:34pm
This week, we’re going to be delving into the dangerous world of your Nemesis in Champions Online. This three-part feature will be published throughout the week, detailing the entire development process of the Nemesis system in our game. Today’s article was written by Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz, and gives some background on how the Nemesis system came to be. Enjoy!
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!