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.