NCSoft has released a statement to the 20,000 strong petition set up by fans of the original superhero MMO City of Heroes, and the statement is bleak.

A couple of months ago, publisher NCSoft announced that their long running MMO City of Heroes would be closing down at the end of the year. Fans of the game stood up and created a petition, generating 20,000 signatures demanding that the game keep running.

Today NCSoft released a statement regarding the petition and the future of the game. In it, they state simply that the game will not go on, and despite overwhelming fan support for the game there’s nothing that can be done to stop the inevitable closure.

 We’ve exhausted all options including the selling of the studio and the rights to the City of Heroes intellectual property, but in the end, efforts to do so were not successful. City of Heroes has a special place in all of our hearts, and we want to ensure its reputation and the memories we share for the game end on a high note.

City of Heroes isn’t perfect, but it is unique and holds a fanbase that out-lasted its spiritual successor Champions Online. As somebody who played the game at launch and for a few months following, it will be missed. Perhaps more so, I am slightly saddened to see one fewer World of Warcraft clone standing strong in a slowly dying genre.