EXCLUSIVE: Star Trek Online Producer Talks About Atari Acquisition Of Cryptic

Last week it was announced that Cryptic Studios, the company making the new Star Trek Online MMORPG, has been acquired by Atari. Although all indications were that this would only help the development of this big project, TrekMovie checked in with Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer of Star Trek Online, for an exclusive interview to see how things are going with STO and the new owners.


TrekMovie.com: What effect, if any, does the Atari acquisition have on the development of Star Trek Online?

Craig Zinkievich: The deal with Atari gives Cryptic the funding and the support we need to focus on making great games! Atari is very excited about our games, and the team there will be assisting us to make both Champions Online and Star Trek Online the very best MMOs that we can.

TM: Will there be any changes to the team currently developing STO?

CZ: The team has been hard at work, and we’ve been adding members over the last few months. We’ll continue to do that. We’re keeping to the development schedule that we planned out when we acquired the license. The acquisition hasn’t changed our plans at all – it’s just assured that we have all of the resources we need.

TM: The official [Atari acquisition] press release noted a release date of 2010 for STO, but in the past Cryptic has indicated late 2009, is the change due to the acquisition, and are we talking early or late 2010?

CZ: We have yet to announce an official release date for Star Trek Online. We have a target date in mind, and the Atari deal hasn’t changed it. Don’t worry about missing out – when we announce the release date, we’ll make a lot of noise! We want every Trek fan to know about STO.

STO will take you to the 25th Century of the Star Trek Universe

TM: When will beta [testing] for STO begin?

CZ: I can’t tell you that! We’ll announce more information when we’re closer to the beta launch – join the community at startrekonline.com for the latest updates.
[Editors NOTE: Cryptic Chief Creative Officer Jack Emmert indicated to Massively.com the beta would start in ‘later’ in 2009)

TM: The most recent ‘Path to 2409’ update is beginning Cryptic own take on the future of Star Trek in the post Nemesis era, will future updates (and the game itself) incorporate any elements of the new Star Trek movie or official prequel comic books that take place in the post Nemesis TNG era.

CZ: We’ve been in contact with Bad Robot [JJ Abrams production company] and IDW [publishers of Trek comics], but I’m not at liberty to talk about any possible crossovers or tie-ins at this time.

Could STO be tied to new movie and comic tie-ins?

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Sweet, I hope this game is good!

Look forward to the game, but I’ll be playing SWG in the meantime.

well welcome to duke nukem forever syndrome but they at lest have a relise date. unlike forever

Like I said in an earlier post, this will turn into World of Warcraft for Trekkies.

#5: Of course it will. Every MMO out there is a carbon copy of WoW just with some of them having different level caps. Any MMO you make will be like WoW, and every other MMO ever made.

I’m beginning to lack interest in this game. Mainly because its taking so darn long for it to come out. I dont play WoW or any other online game like that. I was geeked to hear about it, but as time goes on its loosing its luster.

I currently play WoW, and its the only online game that I play. I look forward to playing STO when it comes out and I hope that it runs on practically any computer like WoW does. My computer is nowhere near state-of-the-art. For instance ST: Legacy does not run on my computer because my computer is below specs while some other of the latest games (i.e. C&C3: Tiberium Wars) works but the videos are very slow. WoW does not suffer from these problems and I can play it just as well as someone who has a more advance machine. I hope STO does the same.

8, online games take a long time to develop and come out. It’s the nature of the beast. Patience is a virtue when it come to online games. For instance, in WoW you can level your character to level 80. Unless you play every day for 12 or more hours a day, it will take quite a while to level your character. It can take an equally long time to get into a guild or if you don’t already know people who play. In short, patience is required both in the development stage and the gameplay stage. It also keeps you coming back if you don’t get everything instantly.

9: if you cant play ST Legacy you seriously need to upgrade, I mean that game isn’t exactly AAA eye candy lol if you call yourself a gamer get a decent video card at LEAST!

#9 I don’t know if i would be as harsh as #11, but it is a truth that if you can not run Legacy then there is very little chance you will run STO. Not trying to make you feel bad or anything, just want to inform you.

You know, back when dinosaurs walked the Earth and the annoucement for this game was made, my friend told me that even though they said it would be out (insert date here) that it would be years before it was ready. Delay after delay he preached and I refused to believe. Not now!

I’m excited for this game and what it means to Trek fans and gammers alike, however I wish they could keep a date and stick to it. First 2007 then 2008, and for awhile it was 2009… now 2010? Come on!

I’ll be the first in line when this game comes out but how about the developer keep it’s mouth shut until it’s got some good news to share… like a release date, beta date, screen caps, just no more bad news and delays!

Until then, go WoW!

How more ironic can it get ?? A french company develloping a Star Trek game ?? Knowing how my countrymen dont enjoy Star trek, that sure is fun !! :D


For those complaining, please STOP. Yeah, we’re consumers who want to pay for a new Star Trek product, e.g. this Cryptic MMO. But these products take time to develop.

At least the new Star Trek movie didn’t kill this project. The folks at Paramount could have said, “This conflicts with the new movie” and killed the project. (Think it’s that easy? It is. Try working with Universal Studios with their IP, for example.)

Game development continues to take longer, cost more. Welcome to more detailed graphics and gameplay! It COSTS MORE. It ain’t cheap! Atari is a savour here. They did a lot more to save this game than most realize.

We’ll have our 25th century, non-canon Star Trek game soon enough. Be patient. I am.

Atari… has an interesting connection in some of the computer systems used around the time of TMP.

Wasn’t one of the fonts or something in TMP from Atari too? Damn, makes me wish I had my old Atari game system from the late 70’s… wasn’t there a Star Trek title for it before the crap ET crash in ’83? Wish I could remember that…. maybe someone will recall.

14. At least it won’t be like Duke Nukem Forever *fingers crossed*, or worse, Secret of Vulcan Fury.

I really hope the mention of a 2010 release date doesn’t turn out to be true. I’m more excited about this game than I have been for any other MMO (possibly any game at all)!

I’m glad Atari bought Cryptic. Perpetual had funding problems, and even though Cryptic is much more successful company, I was paranoid about that happening again.

_/|\_ ATARI _/|\_

Have you played Atari today ?

6. Hesht – December 16, 2008

#5: Of course it will. Every MMO out there is a carbon copy of WoW just with some of them having different level caps. Any MMO you make will be like WoW, and every other MMO ever made.

To some degree, you are correct. I beta most games, and there is a degree of familiarity between them all, and this is done for two reasons:

1) It’s a formula that works well, and not only for MMO’s, but more recently for console and PC games as well adapting the “WoW” formula.

2) Familiarity with layout and functionality keeps people in the game (and paying). Learning an entire new system to play an MMO can frustrate a person and result in subsequent quitting (just ask anyone that played pre-nge SWG. How many subscribers did SOE lose?). You’ll find variety in the details and nuances. For instance, Lord of the Rings Online maintains that w-s-a-d, questing-leveling thing neatly. However, there is so much more to the game between the lines that it holds its own just fine. There is enough of a difference that it’s not simply WoW-lite. A few games are good for this.

I try to give every MMO a chance. Even if something is a clone of something else, it may be nothing more than the genre the game takes place in that keeps a person playing, especially if it’s done right. Star Trek Online may be WoW in space, but if I am going to play one or the other, I like space a lot more than I like dungeons. That alone would tip the scale for me. Besides, Now Cryptic is Atari, which for me instills a lot of confidence in their ability to produce.

Green-Blooded-Bastard wrote:

“Every MMO out there is a carbon copy of WoW just with some of them having different level caps. Any MMO you make will be like WoW, and every other MMO ever made”.

I really cant agree with this statement. Its not factual.

COX which Cryptic made was significantly different from WOW on may points. There are some general similarities, which you would expect as you would with, say any rpg, RTS or FPS, they are genre conventions.

I’ve played MMO’s since EQ and I’ve tried most in the market.

Cryptic really don’t owe a lot to Blizzard and I doubt STOL will be a carbon copy of WoW for a number of reasons.

Certainly you will tell me you know better.

I guess the answer is yes then… this one will be deleted to i suppose !!!!!

I would prefer it to be less like World of Warcraft and more like “Earth and Beyond” was.

Before EA pulled the rug out. E&B was the best overall space mmo game in my opinion. The game Eve may be great but it doesn’t have the 3D ship combat control that Earth and Beyond had that made it fun to manuever in space and loot your victim’s wreckage to get upgrades for your ship or items to sell or trade back at a space station.


22. Eponymous – December 17, 2008

Perhaps you should read my post again, but slower. I was quoting #6. Hesht when I put this statement up.

“Every MMO out there is a carbon copy of WoW just with some of them having different level caps. Any MMO you make will be like WoW, and every other MMO ever made”

Read my entire post, I basically said whet you just said. There is a degree of familiarity between then, but there are differences, some minor, some huge, but the foundations of MMO’s are nearly the same. Run, eventually get mount, get quest, perform quest, level, apply points somewhere, join guild, auction house your extra loot, and craft.

You repeated my point when you said : “There are some general similarities, which you would expect as you would with, say any rpg, RTS or FPS, they are genre conventions.”

Read it again my friend.

#22 Unless they do something revolutionary, I can’t see how this game will be any different than 99% of the other mmorpgs. WOW with a Star Trek theme. The principle is the same for all of these games. Get quest, get loot, repeat over and over and over.

The only positive side is that this game will bring all the serious Star Trek roleplayers out of the woodwork, so you might see some very in character serious guilds (fleets?).

i’ve said in other posts that Cryptic handled City of Heroes and the game does vary quite a bit to WoW.
COH wasn’t a ‘Grindfest’ like WoW. It isn’t a “go here and kill 17 wolves” or a “collect 21 monkey heads” type of game.

MMO’s aint everyone’s cup of tea, and if you dont wanna buy it then don’t. Download the inevitble free trial and give it a chance.

I’m also quite happy for Cryptic to take as long as they want developing the game, rather than rush it onto the shelves. Perfection takes time.

I think that people that are working on nanoFX engine and Startrek Excalibur project will make a lot more playable game than this.
It will be more classical space simulator and not some kind of silly WoW.
So I am much more excited about that than the whole Star trek Online thing that has changed his owner for the third time…

HAVE TIMES CHANGED since launch. Have you read the forums? – All the forums? Cryptic is censuring posts and deleting posts on their site, and making promises they have not kept. Cryptic and maybe Atari, has ruined any confidence in playing STO – it’s no fun, it’s not realistic, it is still buggy, no content, no economy that works, most stuff don’t work, repeating content,,, duh, has ancient graphics, lousy GUI, no real 3D, and it’s just not cannon (historically accurate and correct) and I thought it would be otherwise – If Roddenberry was still with us, it would never have turned out like this. :((( They made their money and now we pay for a lame game with repeating scenarios and lots of bugs. I spent over 800.00 bucks up front this time and the whole family is mad. I’ll never again spend a dime on Cryptic and maybe not Atari either. They can go stick it! I view them as greedy and crooked. Gee, and I’m beginning to feel po’ed just thinking about it. I think lots of people feel the same way as so many were scammed like I was – some nice people spent even more up front.