Gamasutra's postmortem of City of Heroes and Paragon Studios says the MMO's development staff did everything it could to keep the game running — including trying to buy it from publisher NCSoft. Apparently, plans for one final update were shot down right before the game was closed on December 1.
Matt Miller, the former lead designer of City of Heroes, told Gamasutra that at first Paragon was brokering a deal to find a new publisher for the game, which debuted in 2004 and moved to free-to-play in 2011. A prospective buyer did enter into some kind of talks, but that went nowhere. A group of 20 Paragon employees then opened talks to buy out the game and keep it alive.
Miller said Paragon, whose 80 employees were all let go when City of Heroes was shuttered, was still trying to buy the game from NCSoft when word was sent in August that it would all be taken down by the end of the year. Paragon was trying to acquire not only City of Heroes but also two other unnamed projects that NCSoft still owns.
The studio also wanted to release one last update, an anniversary celebration that would have given players the mission of repelling an alien invasion. Miller wanted to push out whatever they had just to give players one final thank-you, but NCSoft nixed it because the module was "too bug-ridden and it was going to cause customer-service complaints and they didn't want to have to deal with that."