Atari Cuts Ties To Champions Online Development Studio

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Atari Cuts Ties To Champions Online Development Studio

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As of March 31, Cryptic Studios is a "discontinued operation."

The Silcon Valley-based MMO developer, which Atari purchased in 2008, is the key casualty of the publisher's latest earnings report.

"In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games, the Company has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace," the report explains.

Hoping to reassure an understandably wary playerbase, Atari has pledged to continue support for Cryptic's most recent MMO titles, Champions Online and Star Trek Online, until it has finalized a sale of the developer.

A comment from Cryptic community representative "WishStone" on the official STO forums corroborates that pledge, saying "Support for Champions Online and Star Trek Online will be continuing as normal, our staff is working hard on their projects and there are no planned changes to the way any of our games and projects will operate."

The comment also claims that this news "sounds way more dramatic than it actually is," though there is no word on what, if any future plans Cryptic may have.

It should be noted that this news comes only four months after Champions Online adopted a free-to-play subscription model. It's unknown if that has anything to do with Atari's decision to cut ties with Cryptic, though it seems likely that the developer's $7.5 million operating loss during the last fiscal year played some part in the move.

Source: Gamasutra

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O-Oh my god.

My prayers go out to the entire team.

Wouldn't it be Cutting instead of Cuts, seeing as Atari hasn't quite abandoned Cyptic yet?

OT: I enjoyed Champions Online. It wasn't great, but I wouldn't wish this upon any developer.

Sucks. City of Heroes was magic to me a number of years back. I still go back and check it out from time to time. When they split off and started Champions I was worried COH would suffer but it didn't in my opinion. It kept the same quality, and even added some great features it seems some of the original Cryptic staff was unwilling to, or dragged their feet on.

Champions Online never interested me, and playing the beta and a little retail didn't bring me in the same was COH did. I'm sure many felt the same way, hence Crypic's current issues.

Good luck to the devs. Talented people nonetheless.

Cryptic suffered from trying to do too much, too fast. Champions wasn't ass successful as CoH, and then Star Trek Online got foisted onto them by Atari at the last minute.

This is why I won't be buying lifetime subs to any new mmos. Warhammer, CoH, and Fallen Earth seem to be doing well enough. Not sure what's going on with AoC or Aion. DCUO is already doing server merges. Looks like Champions' ship is sinking and it might drag STO with it. All this, yet old mmos like EQ and Runescape are still making enough to keep going and, in the case of EQ, push new expansions. Lineage 1 is shutting down but Lineage 2 is still going. Here's to hoping TOR does well.

Chuck Hamilton:
This is why I won't be buying lifetime subs to any new mmos. Warhammer, CoH, and Fallen Earth seem to be doing well enough. Not sure what's going on with AoC or Aion. DCUO is already doing server merges. Looks like Champions' ship is sinking and it might drag STO with it. All this, yet old mmos like EQ and Runescape are still making enough to keep going and, in the case of EQ, push new expansions. Lineage 1 is shutting down but Lineage 2 is still going. Here's to hoping TOR does well.

I looked at the lifetime membership more as: "Will this game last more than 18 months?" At this point I at least expect to break even.

They did their free-to-play model so foolishly. You had to subscribe and pay up front to access all the character creation options. And since their character customization was the games biggest selling point...

You hook your customers with the options first, then once they're in you start putting on the fees gradually. That's how it works.

Raithnor:

Chuck Hamilton:
This is why I won't be buying lifetime subs to any new mmos. Warhammer, CoH, and Fallen Earth seem to be doing well enough. Not sure what's going on with AoC or Aion. DCUO is already doing server merges. Looks like Champions' ship is sinking and it might drag STO with it. All this, yet old mmos like EQ and Runescape are still making enough to keep going and, in the case of EQ, push new expansions. Lineage 1 is shutting down but Lineage 2 is still going. Here's to hoping TOR does well.

I looked at the lifetime membership more as: "Will this game last more than 18 months?" At this point I at least expect to break even.

lifetime subcriptions are an indicator for me that a team isn't trusting themselves or their idea, or are in dire need of money. There are exceptions to this, but in general in turned out to be fitting.

Sad, CO was actually pretty fun, and it's chacter creation was much better the COH.

Femaref:

Raithnor:

Chuck Hamilton:
This is why I won't be buying lifetime subs to any new mmos. Warhammer, CoH, and Fallen Earth seem to be doing well enough. Not sure what's going on with AoC or Aion. DCUO is already doing server merges. Looks like Champions' ship is sinking and it might drag STO with it. All this, yet old mmos like EQ and Runescape are still making enough to keep going and, in the case of EQ, push new expansions. Lineage 1 is shutting down but Lineage 2 is still going. Here's to hoping TOR does well.

I looked at the lifetime membership more as: "Will this game last more than 18 months?" At this point I at least expect to break even.

Free to play is an indicator for me that a team isn't trusting themselves or their idea, or are in dire need of money. There are exceptions to this, but in general in turned out to be fitting.

F2P is actually a very viable economic model- more viable then a sub, really. Whenever an MMO comes out subscription based, I snort and roll my eyes, because there's no way they're getting that phat Blizzard cash like they want.

PS: Guildwars, Guildwars 2.Nuff said.

TsunamiWombat:

Femaref:

Raithnor:

I looked at the lifetime membership more as: "Will this game last more than 18 months?" At this point I at least expect to break even.

Free to play is an indicator for me that a team isn't trusting themselves or their idea, or are in dire need of money. There are exceptions to this, but in general in turned out to be fitting.

F2P is actually a very viable economic model- more viable then a sub, really. Whenever an MMO comes out subscription based, I snort and roll my eyes, because there's no way they're getting that phat Blizzard cash like they want.

PS: Guildwars, Guildwars 2.Nuff said.

ah bollocks, I meant life time subscribtions. Of course, F2P is viable.

Does this mean that Cryptic isn't going to be able to destroy the Neverwinter Nights series after all? My birthday isn't for months yet, but thanks anyway.

Femaref:

TsunamiWombat:

Femaref:

Free to play is an indicator for me that a team isn't trusting themselves or their idea, or are in dire need of money. There are exceptions to this, but in general in turned out to be fitting.

F2P is actually a very viable economic model- more viable then a sub, really. Whenever an MMO comes out subscription based, I snort and roll my eyes, because there's no way they're getting that phat Blizzard cash like they want.

PS: Guildwars, Guildwars 2.Nuff said.

ah bollocks, I meant life time subscribtions. Of course, F2P is viable.

I, on the other hand, am always wary of F2P games. They always feel like crippleware scams designed to lure in people who are prone to losing rack of how much money they spend in microtransactions.

Scars Unseen:
Does this mean that Cryptic isn't going to be able to destroy the Neverwinter Nights series after all? My birthday isn't for months yet, but thanks anyway.

That would be the light at the end of the tunnel, if Cryptic didn't release NWN and a quality studio picked it up instead.

I have nothing against Cryptic, but I can see why this went down the way it did. To put it bluntly neither "Champions Online" or "Star Trek Online" really seemed to have any major success. "Champions" had potential, but never seemed able to live up to it. I think STO mostly got as far as it did based on the liscence, I'd tried it twice and all I can say is that while I can see what they wanted to do, they just weren't able to get it to work properly, that game (to me at least) is a giant mess.

I wish Cryptic the best with future project, and hope they are able to find a decent producer/publisher. I have to at least give them credit for trying things that no other developer was willing to touch.

7.5 Million dollars of lost money.

Dear sweet god...

The things I could do with 7.5 million dollars. How does this money vanish so easily from companies? :/

That's what happens when you release 2 MMOs in one year and expect people to be happy.

I mean, you release a superhero MMO, while there's already a successful superhero and suppervillain MMO with a LOT more content, superpowers... and your game only has looks to go for it.

Also months of bugs and optimization problems.

TsunamiWombat:

PS: Guildwars

... isn't an MMO. Even the devs say it's not an MMO. GW2 will be, but GW wasn't.

I enjoyed what I played of Champions Online, but it felt like it lacked a little direction, and was a bit confusing. It was fun, though, at least to start with.

Looks, massively improved character builder, massivley more fluid combat system and a massively moredetailed world. Since it was so throttled for content though it never really stood a chance, it couldn't do a proper F2P setup since there just wasn't enough content to sell. It's a real shame that they didn't just do 1 MMO instead of STO, CO and NWN, they had some real potential but spread so thin they never had a chance.

Atari are one of the worst companies in the industry and they completly ruined Cryptic when they bough it.

CO and STO are problaby 2 of the worst big MMOs to release. Their idea was to release MMOs as fast and as cheap as possible and then make them more expensive than all others = Sub + microtransaction. THey knew fanboys wold pay anything for it even if they were shallow, small and half assed.

So this is great news, hopefully this means Cryptic wont ruin Neverwinter.

theultimateend:
7.5 Million dollars of lost money.

Dear sweet god...

The things I could do with 7.5 million dollars. How does this money vanish so easily from companies? :/

Very easy for a bad business to lose money. In Craptics case it was spending money on developing and supporting (or in STO's case, finish developing) crappy games that people stopped subscribing to.

I hope this doesn't damage Neverwinter's release.

TsunamiWombat:

Femaref:

Raithnor:

I looked at the lifetime membership more as: "Will this game last more than 18 months?" At this point I at least expect to break even.

Free to play is an indicator for me that a team isn't trusting themselves or their idea, or are in dire need of money. There are exceptions to this, but in general in turned out to be fitting.

F2P is actually a very viable economic model- more viable then a sub, really. Whenever an MMO comes out subscription based, I snort and roll my eyes, because there's no way they're getting that phat Blizzard cash like they want.

PS: Guildwars, Guildwars 2.Nuff said.

Thats just the issue with pay to play games these days:
Publishers want WoWs money, but don't want to put down the investment.
Players wants WoWs polished game play and amount of content.
Developers have no clue on how to please either of the other two.

Free to play is probably a very lucrative business model, but it also create a very different game than an pay to play model does. I personally never liked the free to play micro transaction based games, no matter how much money they make :P

Star Trek was dissapointing, but Champions was horrible from top to bottom. I hate to said Star Trek fail because it will be at be about before anyone else can get a chance to work on a MMO using that rich material again.

Jonci:
I hope this doesn't damage Neverwinter's release.

That was damaged the moment Cryptic got their hands on it. I would rather see the project get canceled than released, because if it was released, Cryptic would butcher it.

Chuck Hamilton:
This is why I won't be buying lifetime subs to any new mmos. Warhammer, CoH, and Fallen Earth seem to be doing well enough. Not sure what's going on with AoC or Aion. DCUO is already doing server merges. Looks like Champions' ship is sinking and it might drag STO with it. All this, yet old mmos like EQ and Runescape are still making enough to keep going and, in the case of EQ, push new expansions. Lineage 1 is shutting down but Lineage 2 is still going. Here's to hoping TOR does well.

What, no mention of LotRO and its - seemingly successful, at least from a player perspective - transition from subscription-based with lifetime options to F2P arrangement? ;p

I don't know the business and politics of this situation, but just looking at CO, the game itself on its own merits, I can't say I blame anyone who wants more distance from it.

Femaref:

Raithnor:

Chuck Hamilton:
This is why I won't be buying lifetime subs to any new mmos. Warhammer, CoH, and Fallen Earth seem to be doing well enough. Not sure what's going on with AoC or Aion. DCUO is already doing server merges. Looks like Champions' ship is sinking and it might drag STO with it. All this, yet old mmos like EQ and Runescape are still making enough to keep going and, in the case of EQ, push new expansions. Lineage 1 is shutting down but Lineage 2 is still going. Here's to hoping TOR does well.

I looked at the lifetime membership more as: "Will this game last more than 18 months?" At this point I at least expect to break even.

lifetime subcriptions are an indicator for me that a team isn't trusting themselves or their idea, or are in dire need of money. There are exceptions to this, but in general in turned out to be fitting.

This I agree with, that's why I think lifetime subs are for suckers.

If they thought that people would play for a long enough time to justify the lifetime sub, they likely wouldn't offer it.

Guys, how many of you here actually read the article? Everyone is acting like this is the end of CO and STO but it says quite clearly:

Hoping to reassure an understandably wary playerbase, Atari has pledged to continue support for Cryptic's most recent MMO titles, Champions Online and Star Trek Online, until it has finalized a sale of the developer.

It's true that things could turn out badly if they're sold to the wrong company, but this is far from being the absolute end. It's too early to get worked up.

PhunkyPhazon:
Guys, how many of you here actually read the article? Everyone is acting like this is the end of CO and STO but it says quite clearly:

Hoping to reassure an understandably wary playerbase, Atari has pledged to continue support for Cryptic's most recent MMO titles, Champions Online and Star Trek Online, until it has finalized a sale of the developer.

It's true that things could turn out badly if they're sold to the wrong company, but this is far from being the absolute end. It's too early to get worked up.

Without smashing your opinion into the dust, (like the dreams of Cryptic's devs, amirite?) Atari is a buisness, and thus, would not come out and say "Yeah, those games are getting the axe as soon as we feel we can pull that off."

Naturally, the official releases are all worded very carefully so as not to spook the sheep. I mean paying customers. But Id bet my next Lifetime Subscription fee that "unannounced" and "unexpected" will become part of the playerbases vocabulary within short order.

And Im not an STO basher. I went and got me a lifetime sub, because I honestly think STO is workable, and mercifully free of the types of online personas I dislike playing with. But in the end, it is still a shoddy, desperately under-nourished game. My investigations into Cryptics other MMO's yields similar results. /shrug

In the end, Atari is making a buisness move. Although why everything in life must be so politically motivated is beyond me. Instead of massive legal jargon, why not just come out and say "This studio has lost us alot, alot, alot of money... and we are closing it thusly."? Honesty is hard, I suppose, if you want money.

(And after all these centuries, we still havent figured out that you have to be willing to pay money now, to make money later. There is absolutely no reason why STO couldnt have gone to the top of the MMO world, given the -proper- level of support. If programmers were smart, they would refuse to program and support shoddy franchise milkers, and stick to their guns.)

Whiskey Echo!!
Mythgraven

This doesn't really surprise me. Champions Online was pretty bad when I played it, and Star Trek Online is even worse, from what I hear.

Still, good luck to Cryptic.

Honestly not surprised, Champions Online has the most abysmal "F2P" mode I've ever played. They restrict you to two characters, you can only chose an archetype and not create your own and on top of that you only have access to like half of them. THEN you can't deviate from your chosen archetype AT ALL making leveling even MORE linear than freaking World of Warcraft! I also believe you're restricted to a single inventory bag (out of like, 4-5). There's probably more (Ah right, you can't chose power colors either. And if you do chose to pay the monthly fee for the full experience any characters you used during that that use anything that is beyond the F2P model will be restricted or require you to "devolve" them...

Jesus christ, it's like they took EVERY F2P restriction ever conceived and stuffed it all into one!

Hey Earnest, thanks for all but plagiarizing my write up on this very same story yesterday :/

Atari To Divest Cryptic Studios

archabaddon:
Hey Earnest, thanks for all but plagiarizing my write up on this very same story yesterday :/

Atari To Divest Cryptic Studios

I find it confusing that you're citing "numerous similarities" between two stories both summarizing the same Gamasutra article. Obviously, two news posts discussing the same story are going to cover similar territory. None of the text composed by Earnest duplicates any of your original content, ergo, there was no plagiarism. Earnest did the exact same thing you did; he saw a story of interest on Gamasutra, and wrote it up for readers of The Escapist, providing commentary and context for the news in question. The only difference is that he is a member of our official news team and you are not.

*ahem*

What she said.

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