NCSoft will close wholly-owned subsidiary Paragon Studios and its superhero-themed MMO City of Heroes, the developer has announced.
Update: It's official. Here's the full statement from NCSoft's community manager Andy Belford:
This morning we announced that Paragon Studios will be taking to the skies of City of Heroes for the last time.
In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world's first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year. As part of this, all recurring subscription billing and Paragon Market purchasing will be discontinued effective immediately. We will have more information regarding a detailed timeline for the cessation of services and what you can expect in game in the coming weeks.
The team here at Paragon deserves special praise for all that we have accomplished over the last 5+ years. These developers are some of the most creative and talented people in the gaming industry. By now, we've all been given this news internally, but to anyone who may be reading this message after the fact; know that your hard work and dedication has not gone unappreciated or unnoticed. To any potential studios looking to grow your team; hire these people. You won't regret it.
To our Community,
Thank you. Thank you for your years of support. You've been with us every step of the way, sharing in our challenges, encouraging us to make City of Heroes better, more than everyone else thought it could be. We couldn't have come this far without you. I implore you all, focus on the good things of CoH and Paragon Studios. Don't dwell on the "how" or the "why", but rather join us in celebrating the legacy of an amazing partnership between the players and the development team.
Thank you, and I'll see you in the skies, one last time.
All development support for the game has been halted as of today, and servers will be shut down by the end of 2012.
The shuttering of Paragon, formerly known as NCSoft Norcal, is said to affect some 80 employees, 'sources close to the matter' have told Gamasutra.
Founded in 2007, the NCSoft subsidiary was charged with taking over the City of Heroes and City of Villains franchises which NCSoft had acquired from Cryptic Studios.
NCSoft has just released its latest major MMO, Guild Wars 2, which hit 1 million sales even before its official launch.