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Atari Dropping Cryptic Studios, Moving Largely to External Development

Atari has decided to move on from the prominent MMO developer.

The future of Cryptic Studios is a little less certain, with Atari revealing plans to drop the studio from its internal portfolio. Atari quietly disclosed the move away from Cryptic in its financial results today.

"In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games," said the company, in full-on financial gobbledegook speak, "the Company [Atari] has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace. Therefore, the Company has made the decision to divest itself from Cryptic Studios."

Cryptic Studios has one of the most expansive portfolios of MMOs in the business, achieving early success with City of Heroes and City of Villains. The studio was once working on Marvel Universe Online with Microsoft, but that project was cancelled and became Champions Online. Star Trek Online was its last major release, with several unannounced games also in development, including one based on Neverwinter.

Atari purchased Cryptic Studios in late 2008. Likely in the process of finding a new buyer, Cryptic Studios had no comment on Atari's decision.

"We have no statement to make regarding the earlier press release," the company told me.

Leaving Cryptic comes alongside Atari's move to working almost exclusively with external creators.

"Atari’s games will mainly be developed externally with selected third party game studios to contribute to a more flexible and cost efficient organization," reads one section of the results.

The two companies will continue working with each other, though, as Neverwinter progresses.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek

The future of Cryptic Studios is a little less certain, with Atari revealing plans to drop the studio from its internal portfolio. Atari quietly disclosed the move away from Cryptic in its financial results today.

"In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games," said the company, in full-on financial gobbledegook speak, "the Company [Atari] has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace. Therefore, the Company has made the decision to divest itself from Cryptic Studios."

Cryptic Studios has one of the most expansive portfolios of MMOs in the business, achieving early success with City of Heroes and City of Villains. The studio was once working on Marvel Universe Online with Microsoft, but that project was cancelled and became Champions Online. Star Trek Online was its last major release, with several unannounced games also in development, including one based on Neverwinter.

Atari purchased Cryptic Studios in late 2008. Likely in the process of finding a new buyer, Cryptic Studios had no comment on Atari's decision.

"We have no statement to make regarding the earlier press release," the company told me.

Leaving Cryptic comes alongside Atari's move to working almost exclusively with external creators.

"Atari’s games will mainly be developed externally with selected third party game studios to contribute to a more flexible and cost efficient organization," reads one section of the results.

The two companies will continue working with each other, though, as Neverwinter progresses.

Staff
Posted by Portis

They'll find a buyer -- Cryptic does good work.


But then again, I said the same thing about Bizarre Creations...
Edited by Legend

I wonder what will happen to STO. If Atari is the owner of the Star Trek license, then they'll either shut it down or give it to another studio.

Posted by Robitt

I like Cryptics work. Hope they land on their feet.

Posted by NakAttack

bummer

Posted by lockwoodx

Big surprise after STO.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I think they'll do fine if they're purchased by a company that allows them to develop games with the necessary development time.

Moderator Online
Posted by Mikemcn
@Legend said:
I wonder what will happen to STO. If Atari is the owner of the Star Trek license, then they'll either shut it down or give it to another studio.
I hope they don't shut it down, from my time with it, it did have potential and it was a neat star trek experience. 
Posted by kagato

This isnt good, im assuming a lot of the capital used for Star Trek was put up by Atari, ive really been enjoying the game so i hope it dosent get shut down or worse....bought over by SOE!  A lot of talented and hard working folk work there too, i hope we dont see any of them loose their jobs out of this.

Posted by ApolloBob

Yeah, I don't think much about the quest for replying first (since I was lucky enough to get it a while ago), but I certainly would support getting rid of it if it makes people type "sweet" and "nice" as a kneejerk reaction to any news.  Poor form.

Posted by Jeffk38uk

Apparently it was already in Atari's mind to shift to smaller developments and mobile games, so their decision to sell Cryptic is sorta expected, but no less unfortunate.

Hopefully a buyer for Cryptic and their games as CO recent Free to play transition was quite good, and STO has been doing quite well over the year from what I've read and what they have planned.

Posted by PhatSeeJay

It's a shame if Cryptic won't survive it, I've quite enjoyed STO since the later patches.

Posted by Norusdog

if only they had done this before STO.  Cryptic is balls.

Posted by crusader8463

The first last game they made that was any good was the City of games. They had rumors of a COH 2 for a few years now, but given their track record of destroying all of their games with nickle and dimming, not to mention just making bad games, I don't think we will be seeing it any time soon now.

Posted by coderanger
@Legend: Atari doesn't have the STO license, Cryptic does (that deal far predates Atari owning Cryptic). They do, however, control the Neverwinter license ....
Posted by fisk0
@Mikemcn said:
@Legend said:
I wonder what will happen to STO. If Atari is the owner of the Star Trek license, then they'll either shut it down or give it to another studio.
I hope they don't shut it down, from my time with it, it did have potential and it was a neat star trek experience. 
Yeah, I rather enjoyed STO. Of the MMO's I've tried it's the only one I've been sticking with, even after getting a free copy of WOW. I don't think it's worth 14.99 a month, but then again, I can't think of any game that is. Instead I'm scouring retail stores for cheap STO time cards.
Posted by fisk0
@coderanger said:
@Legend: Atari doesn't have the STO license, Cryptic does (that deal far predates Atari owning Cryptic). They do, however, control the Neverwinter license ....
Doesn't Bethesda still own the Star Trek license, with Atari licensing it from them or getting some special deal with Paramount?
Hopefully they'll work it out somehow.
Posted by Jimbo

I wonder what this means for Neverwinter.  Atari own the D&D rights iirc. 

Hopefully they can figure something out on that, because I think that game has (or had) potential if they're smart about properly incentivising community created content.

Posted by DrWhat

Should have happened a long time ago.

Posted by coderanger
@fisk0: No, it is (or at least was, I've been out of that loop for a few months) just a deal between Cryptic and CBS (Paramount only holds the license for movies, general licensing is still the domain of CBS).
Posted by vinsanityv22

Good for Atari. Cryptic didn't seem worth it. Also, it's nice to see a publisher NOT buy up a studio. I'm sick of guys like Activision acquiring studios like Bizarre, just to shut them down when they turn out to not fit into their particular strategy (in Activision's case, "All Call of Duty, All the Time").

Posted by elcalavera
@vinsanityv22: So what you're basically saying is that you think it's good that Atari gets rid of Cryptic and that you don't like it when publishers get rid of developers they no longer wish to keep hold of? Cryptic.
Posted by masonl87@gmail.com

Can you really blame them? Everything Cryptic has touched since after CoH launched has been garbage. It's a smart move to distance yourself from that.

Posted by MackGyver

I hope this doesn't mean the end of Star Trek Online.

Posted by EmuLeader
@Portis said:
They'll find a buyer -- Cryptic does good work.

But then again, I said the same thing about Bizarre Creations...
at least they used to do good work...champions and star trek were not very good
Posted by Spoonybard37

Cant really say I'm surprised :/

Posted by Gobias_Int

Getting away from Atari is probably a good move.

Posted by SubTact
Champions Online was/is a solid game IMO.  It held my attention far longer than any other MMORPG I've tried.   The major flaw for me, was that I couldn't care any less for the Champions Table Top game's  mythology/story and the world's "main" characters.  

It's a real tragedy that it didn't become the Marvel MMORPG it was initially going to be.

I really hope they'll still exist, Champions had some interesting gameplay and balance  for a MMORPG, and I'd like to see them evolve and apply their philosophy to future games.
Posted by Wuddel

I mean Star Trek online was bad .... real bad.

Posted by Dedlok
@Portis: I guess one good game that they almost screwed over when they they pulled most of the team to work on what became a canceled project qualifies as "good work." Well that and selling the rights to the property to the publisher. Rest of their stuff has been pretty much crap.
Posted by RobertOrri

They had many chances.

Posted by Brodehouse

Goddamn Atari, one of the worst publishers out there and they have the Goddamn D&D license.  What the fuck, Wizards, give it to EA, give it to 2K, even fucking Activision would make better use out of your incredible IP than fucking Goddamn sonofabitching Infogramatari.

Online
Posted by Arrested_Developer

I guess that means STO isn't profitable right?

Posted by Rhombus_Of_Terror

what are the chances of STO going FTP now?

Posted by Nocall

You got what you deserve, Cryptic.

Posted by EndrzGame

"...... with selected third party game studios to contribute to a more flexible and cost efficient organization."
For some reason this statement didn't sit well with me.

Posted by RaisingIndiana

the first two commenters really need to use different words for their tries for "first." Its a messed up article and you guys sound like jerks for those posts. Granted, I understand they didn't actually read the article before posting. "Tragic" or "Bummer" could've been good alternatives.

Posted by Lepton

So long, Star Trek Online. I hardly played ye.

Posted by sins_of_mosin

I recall NWN2 sucking badly.  No wonder they've never came out with a third.

Posted by Example1013

First.

Posted by onimonkii
@crusader8463 said:
The first last game they made that was any good was the City of games. They had rumors of a COH 2 for a few years now, but given their track record of destroying all of their games with nickle and dimming, not to mention just making bad games, I don't think we will be seeing it any time soon now.
it's still possible, considering they sold the rights to ncsoft before champions even came out, so city of... is a whole different beast now.
Posted by crusader8463
@onimonkii said:
@crusader8463 said:
The first last game they made that was any good was the City of games. They had rumors of a COH 2 for a few years now, but given their track record of destroying all of their games with nickle and dimming, not to mention just making bad games, I don't think we will be seeing it any time soon now.
it's still possible, considering they sold the rights to ncsoft before champions even came out, so city of... is a whole different beast now.
Right right. I keep forgetting how that all worked out. All the names ran together to me after a while. Here's hoping we still get another City of game!
Posted by Zohar

I may sound overly harsh here but...

this is what happens when you make bad games.

City of Heroes was/is a good game (now being run by Paragon Studios directly under NCsoft)

STO was seriously lacking both balance and interesting content and was horribly repetitive.  CO was just not a great game at all.

Posted by FMinus

Hey, I liked the miniature star ships models floating 'round when you beamed down to a planet due to lag and bad loading code - I guess everyone felt more immersed in the Star Trek universe that way.  

Posted by Brackynews
@crusader8463
Here's hoping we still get another City of game!
City of Consoles! 
Massively multiplayer console wars. When Words Aren't Enough™

Edited by Krakn3Dfx

What the hell happened to Atari...again?

And then again.

 Nolan Bushnell obviously needs more control over there.

Posted by Kyle
@Brackynews said:
@crusader8463
Here's hoping we still get another City of game!
City of Consoles! 
Massively multiplayer console wars. When Words Aren't Enough™

Get this man a development team!
Posted by Swordfish9

I was playing Star Trek Online for about three months last year, but got bored and canceled my subscription. Good thing I did not buy the lifetime membership.

Posted by Chris2KLee

Cryptic seemed like strong bet a few years ago, but they bit off more than they could chew with two big MMO's in a relatively short time.

Posted by Xymox

I'm still interested in Champions Online: and there *is* room for a F2P comic book MMO on the market seeing as there are none of those except champions. Hopefully they don't close down yet. 

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