Atari Dropping Cryptic Studios, Moving Largely to External Development

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Posted by patrickklepek (4571 posts) -

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 Online
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (4571 posts) -

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 Online
#2 Posted by Portis (1287 posts) -

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


But then again, I said the same thing about Bizarre Creations...
#3 Edited by Legend (2659 posts) -

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.

#4 Posted by Robitt (350 posts) -

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

#5 Posted by NakAttack (1289 posts) -

bummer

#6 Posted by lockwoodx (2479 posts) -

Big surprise after STO.

#7 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6190 posts) -

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
#8 Posted by Mikemcn (6988 posts) -
@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. 
#9 Posted by kagato (920 posts) -

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.

#10 Posted by ApolloBob (570 posts) -

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.

#11 Posted by Jeffk38uk (715 posts) -

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.

Online
#12 Posted by PhatSeeJay (3322 posts) -

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

#13 Posted by Norusdog (346 posts) -

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

#14 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

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.

#15 Posted by coderanger (2 posts) -
@Legend: Atari doesn't have the STO license, Cryptic does (that deal far predates Atari owning Cryptic). They do, however, control the Neverwinter license ....
#16 Posted by fisk0 (4103 posts) -
@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.
#17 Posted by fisk0 (4103 posts) -
@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.
#18 Posted by Jimbo (9809 posts) -

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.

#19 Posted by DrWhat (284 posts) -

Should have happened a long time ago.

#20 Posted by coderanger (2 posts) -
@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).
#21 Posted by vinsanityv22 (1064 posts) -

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").

#22 Posted by elcalavera (344 posts) -
@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.
#23 Posted by masonl87@gmail.com (12 posts) -

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.

#24 Posted by MackGyver (545 posts) -

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

#25 Posted by EmuLeader (558 posts) -
@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
#26 Posted by Spoonybard37 (300 posts) -

Cant really say I'm surprised :/

#27 Posted by Gobias_Int (6 posts) -

Getting away from Atari is probably a good move.

#28 Posted by SubTact (49 posts) -
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.
#29 Posted by Wuddel (2092 posts) -

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

#30 Posted by Dedlok (35 posts) -
@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.
#31 Posted by RobertOrri (1129 posts) -

They had many chances.

#32 Posted by Brodehouse (9949 posts) -

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.

#33 Posted by Arrested_Developer (717 posts) -

I guess that means STO isn't profitable right?

#34 Posted by Rhombus_Of_Terror (2101 posts) -

what are the chances of STO going FTP now?

#35 Posted by Nocall (353 posts) -

You got what you deserve, Cryptic.

#36 Posted by EndrzGame (323 posts) -

"...... 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.

#37 Posted by RaisingIndiana (76 posts) -

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.

#38 Posted by Lepton (41 posts) -

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

#39 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

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

#40 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

First.

#41 Posted by onimonkii (2441 posts) -
@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.
#42 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -
@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!
#43 Posted by Zohar (116 posts) -

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.

#44 Posted by FMinus (394 posts) -

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.  

#45 Posted by Brackynews (4083 posts) -
@crusader8463
Here's hoping we still get another City of game!
City of Consoles! 
Massively multiplayer console wars. When Words Aren't Enough™

#46 Edited by Krakn3Dfx (2490 posts) -

What the hell happened to Atari...again?

And then again.

 Nolan Bushnell obviously needs more control over there.

#47 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -
@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!
#48 Posted by Swordfish9 (165 posts) -

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.

#49 Posted by Chris2KLee (2335 posts) -

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.

#50 Posted by Xymox (2088 posts) -

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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