Statesman's Return Was Master X Master Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski's "Passion Project"
If you've paid attention to practically any MMO-focused site at all this past week, you've probably heard something about the drama surrounding City of Heroes' iconic character Statesman returning as a playable hero in Master X Master. Many fans of the well-liked superhero MMORPG who were previously scorned by NCSoft's rash and poorly-explained handling of the game felt that Statesman's return was somewhat of a slap in the face. The same company that shut down their beloved game while it was still profitable, and yet continues to keep WildStar online at much lower profit margins, seemed to be acknowledging that the game was well-liked while simultaneously trying to take advantage of the fact that people liked the game quite a bit to bring more people into Master X Master and masking it as some sort of olive branch to the City of Heroes fanbase.
It turns out that Statesman's return was a "passion project" for Master X Master Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski, who has been with NCSoft for "about 7 years now," which was revealed in an interview with Lorehound. He had previously worked with various people at Paragon Studios, one of the development teams behind City of Heroes, and had actually worked to bring him back with a proper lore explanation and everything.
Here's the explanation about why Orlikowski wanted to bring Statesman back.
Let me start by saying that including Statesman in MXM has been my passion project for the last 2 years. I’ve personally been working on including him in the game because I saw MXM as an opportunity to add him to a universe with our other characters. I’ve read a lot of different theories over the last couple days as to why we included him, but the real reason is simply that he works in this setting and I saw it as a way to include a game I loved into my current project. Now that’s the quick response, but I promise to go into a lot more detail in your other questions.
And here's the lore explanation for how exactly Statesman is returning.
The Statesman you see in MXM is not the same man who wore the mask in Paragon City- not technically, anyway. He is Tyrant, who happens to be the Marcus Cole from an alternate universe called Praetorian Earth. Fans of City of Heroes obviously know who that is but for readers who do not, he was an alternate universe version of Statesman, with the same powers and abilities, whose different choices and experiences would eventually lead to him becoming the power-hungry Emperor of Earth who then set his sights on also conquering Primal Earth, the main setting for City of Heroes. I knew that the CoH devs had plans for Tyrant redeeming himself one day in their story line and donning the guise of Statesman to help Earth in its hour of need, so that was the main basis for his return in my story.
So there you have it. While it's still not an ideal situation, it seems that Orlikowski genuinely loved City of Heroes and wanted to pay homage to it in his latest project.
You can find the full interview over at Lorehound.