Star Trek Online MMO Maker Cryptic Acquired By Atari

It was announced this morning that Cryptic Studios, the maker of the new Star Trek Online MMO, have been acquired by French game publisher Infogrames, the parent company of Atari. Earlier this year the license for STO transferred from Perpetual Entertainment to Crytpic Studios after Perpetual ran into trouble, however this acquisition looks like it will have little effect on the game itself.  

According to the official release STO is part of the deal and will continue to be developed:

The transaction encompasses all of Cryptic’s proprietary IP, tools, technology and work-in-progress and integrates all members of the leadership team and employees into Infogrames. This acquisition is a critical step in the implementation of Atari’s strategy to become a leading online game developer and publisher.

Cryptic is currently developing three unique MMO franchises, planned for release over the next three years on PC and next-generation consoles, including Champions Online to be released in 2009 and Star Trek Online to be released in 2010. A third game currently in development will be announced in the near future.

Of the Acquisition, Cryptic’s CEO John Needham sated:

We share a common vision with Atari and their leadership team. With our game development and online platform technology skills, we’re very excited about the opportunities that this unique combination with Atari creates. I am committed to helping Atari grow into a leading online game company and look forward to being part of the team.

Based on official statements and other reports in the game industry media the acquisition appears to include the entire staff currently at work on Star Trek Online and the game should continue in development, but the acquisition does put Cryptic in a strong position financially with greater resources going forward.

The official statement does note a release date of 2010 for STO. In past statements, Cryptic had indicated that it was shooting for late 2009 for a release, however it is unclear if the date slipped before or after the acquisition, so this change may not be related to the Atari takeover.

Meet the STO writer
In other STO news, Cryptic has also published another one of their ‘meet the team’ updates, this time featuring writer Christine Thompson:

Q: What do you do on Star Trek Online?
A: I’m the writer for Star Trek Online, which means I handle the story, characters, plotlines, episodes, dialogue, item text – anything that needs words is my area. I’m also one of the researchers, who can dig through piles of material to find the reference images for the artists or help answer questions like “do we need beaks?” I work with the designers on the content – the things we’re making are very cool and very Trek.

Q: How long have you worked in gaming, and what did you do before Star Trek Online?
A: I was a writer and editor in the newspaper industry for about 13 years before coming to Cryptic Studios. I wrote everything from movie reviews to crime stories, and as an editor I did a lot behind the scenes for the production of the daily paper – laying out pages, coordinating coverage for events like the 2000 presidential election, fact-checking, editing and trimming stories and writing thousands of headlines.

I joined Cryptic in 2007 to write for the web sites and work with the community team. After we got the license for Star Trek, I volunteered to help with some of the writing of the storylines and then I joined the STO team full-time.

Q: What part of Star Trek Online are you the most excited about working on?
A: There is so much about this game that is awesome, but I’m really excited about our episodic mission structure. We’re creating content that’s not “typical” MMO quests – we want to reflect what you’ve seen in the shows, with a variety of locations and actions in each one. I want people to be excited during episodes and eager to find out what happens next, not just wanting to finish quickly so they can get some XP and move on.

Q: What is your favorite Star Trek storyline from any of the series or movies?
A: If I have to pick just one I’ll say “Yesterday’s Enterprise” from TNG. It was such a fabulous story, and it was one where you knew that everything wasn’t going to turn out OK in the end. There would have to be sacrifices. And then the writers spun it around a few seasons later and brought in a new character who changed everything you thought you knew.

Q: Who is your favorite Star Trek character and why?
A: I’m a fan of a lot of the female characters in the series – Uhura, Crusher, Kira, Dax, Janeway, Torres.

Star Trek has never shied from creating characters that are strong and multi-faceted. Trek was one of the first things I could watch where the women weren’t just plot devices, moms or damsels who needed rescuing, and that’s part of what hooked me on the shows in the first place.

Q: What is an interesting fact about you that players would be surprised to know?
A: My focus in college was medieval literature. I’d love to use elements from Beowulf in an STO episode. Oh, and I knit my own socks.

Q: As a writer, which books would you always have on your bookshelf?
A: A good dictionary and thesaurus, at least two grammar books, the collected works of Shakespeare and a copy of On Writing Well by William Zinsser. These days I’ve added the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Star Charts and a big pile of Trek novels.

I’m big into researching any topic I’m working on. I like to immerse myself in a world. I’m rewatching everything Trek (including the animated series!) and I try to read at least one Trek-related book a week.

Q: Would you make a good pirate?
A: I think I’ve got the ruthless streak and I know which end of the sword to point at the other pirates, but I’ve got lousy balance. I’d probably fall out of the rigging and break my neck.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into the gaming industry?
A: Be patient, persistent and professional. Creating videogames is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. So be prepared to put your heart into it.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?
A: Ad astra per aspera.

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first yay really looking foreward to this game

“the acquisition does put Cryptic in a strong position financially with greater resources going forward. ”

If you think that, during a worldwide recession, this puts Cryptic into a better position going forward, you’ve got another think coming. The project will most likely be stalled as the French bosses look to understand it. It will thus miss the “JJ bump.”

I’ve worked for companies where this happened, and the same exact announcements were made months before the management of the bought company were all given packages after ramping up their new masters.

Of course, one silver lining would be that since “Atari” is only a household name for 40+ year-old people, that they may want to revive the brand through the acquisition of smaller gaming firms.

I just want an old TOS Constitution to explore. Make it a lost relic and boarding action for some reason. I love the old TOS look the best…

“Star Trek Online to be released in 2010”

WTF? The Game Informer issue said late 2009! I am NOT happy.

Whoo, thats news!

Let’s trink Earl Grey and look forward to what will happen now. I do not think that Atari will cancel the ST:MMO, ’cause they just bought some other Games in development – for example “Ghostbusters” and will publish them in 2009. Like I think this is a good step for ST:MMO and Perpetual …

Hope so ;)

Um, I mean it’s a good step for Cryptic ;)

I’m still not convinced this game is EVER going to happen. It seems like every time I read about it, the release date is further and further away.

i cant wait for this game i really cant , i am a big gamer (i have played every star trek game in the last 20 years (windows ,xbox , dos ) BOTF is still the best :) ) but could never get into mmorpgs , hopefully this will be the one to get me into them.

I’ll play it whenever this game drops, through its inevitable death 4 months later when the 5th WoW expansion comes out and everyone bolts to go level their Death Knights to lvl 110.

If they make it RIGHT that might not be the case..they need to do what JJ is doin and bring in a wider audience while still appealing to long time fans.
In other words..MAKE IT NOT SUCK.

Thats how WOW Is so successful, its captured the social networking scene pretty damn well and made it easy to connect to other people even when your not necessarily ‘IN’ a campaign or mission there’s still stuff to be doing and this could be happening easily in a trek world..traders, places to visit & hang out when ‘off duty’ perhaps..whatever

I really wasn’t expecting this game to come out before 2010. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets pushed back further but 2010 seems reasonable. I just hope this isn’t bad news for the game. This is the first MMORPG I was looking forward too.


Infogrames/Atari has been losing money for the past 10+ years. It is only recently that they have gotten rid of the Infogrames name in an attempt to turn the company around.

Cryptic needed better sales/distribution if they were make a go of it. This helps, but we will have to see if this actually benefits the gamer or not.

LCDR Arch — said

“I just want an old TOS Constitution to explore. Make it a lost relic and boarding action for some reason. I love the old TOS look the best…”

They have talked about customization of your ship wouldn’t that be sweet to customize it retro style with modern abilities?!?!?!

Wow. Atari is still around?

Being bought by Atari, eh? Does this mean Mac users will be able to play STO? Hope so.

Star Trek Star Charts is on her bookshelf. That’s a good sign!

That’s one of the few books I’ve got 2 copies of.

Now I just hope that Atari/Infogrames (or whatever they want to call themselves) doesn’t end up taking Cryptic and STO with them to the grave.

16, yes Atari is actually a large game company. They don’t make game consoles anymore but they do make games. Most of them are excellent and perform superbly. I think that this is a good thing.

Star Trek Online coming out in 2010 makes perfect sense. Because the movie comes out in 2009 and it takes about six months for the DVD/ Blu-ray Disc to come and that would be around early 2010. Also, in ’10, Trek will be back on the air like crazy 24/7 and the tension for a video game will grow larger as the months go by. Atari, after falling out from the industry in 1994 to about 2006, is statring to make a name for themselves again. This game, alone with Ghostbusters: The Video Game, will convince Atari to work very hard on their new games.

“i cant wait for this game i really cant , i am a big gamer (i have played every star trek game in the last 20 years (windows ,xbox , dos ) BOTF is still the best :) ) but could never get into mmorpgs , hopefully this will be the one to get me into them.”

I never could get into “Birth of the Federation”. Bridge Commander is my all-time favorite game.


Star Raiders on the Atari 800 was great!

I think the MMO is in good hands.


While I usually don’t care for remakes, a well made remake of Star Raiders would be awesome. That is definently one of the sweetest 8-bit games from that era.

Of course when you look at Atari’s history, they always had a soft spot for space games, even up through the Jaguar (their last console). With their new structure it hopefully will work out well.

Atari is officially my new Favorite company. They Saved the Ghostbusters game, now they’re bringing me Star Trek too. It also brings me back to my early gaming days on my Dad’s old Atari 800xL computer.

Atari Rules!

Some past Atari games that quickly comke to mind are, for instance, the entire series of The Matrix games, omg were those horrible!

I’ve got a bad feeling about this….

Perhaps there will be a planet of all Pac Men.

And you’ll beam down to a planet and to save the princess to get dilithium, you’ll have to climb up a scaffolding structure as the evil Kong throws barrels of plasma as you that you have jump over.

A jungle planet full of pits to jump over with accurately timed swinging ropes.

Perhaps a lot of asteriod belts to blast through.

We’ll see.

It’s all good, some of it’s better. I only think of the importance of keeping Gene Roddenberry’s dream alive, the aspect of how he knew there would be changes, but none that would change his views. Far ahead, being there is so much, I fear the world of Star Trek becoming big, as it will and should be, and I mean really big, and too much is too much. I ask the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth to guard and protect this creation inside Creation.