RPG Vault have posted the first of their City of Heroes Diaries, this time with Cryptic Studios' Lead Designer Jack Emmert. In this part Jack Emmert talks about designing the game:
We labored for the first couple of years, in fits and starts, towards creating the original vision for the game. We pounded out rules and regulations; we documented the background of everything from the city zones to the super villains. But one thing we never did was consider the big picture. What was City of Heroes going to stand for? What were the organizing principles behind the game?
I'm sure that many in the gaming industry dismiss such philosophical questions as useless - just make a good game and people will play it, right? I have no doubts about that; but when you are making a game - where do you start? Way back in 2000, we started with the list of powers (I think) - then moved on to things such as combat. It never occurred to us to step back and consider... "Well, what sort of powers do we want to have?" Generic ones? Ones specifically tied to the universe of the City of Heroes? Or combat. What was the experience we were aiming for? All of these goals remained silently in the background. We never voiced them. and yet still assumed that they would somehow guide a team of 20-plus.