Some good news and some bad news today, let’s start with the bad news first.
Up for Sale
Interesting news day for Cryptic, Champions, and STO today. Apparently Atari has decided to get out of the development business and is putting Cryptic Studios up for sale. I have to admit I’m surprised, but I really shouldn’t have been. There’s been a lot of movement towards social and mobile games, so it’s not too surprising that Atari’s headed that direction.
Naturally Twitter, game blogs, and STO’s forums have been buzzing with the news. I was pleasantly surprised by the mostly positive reaction on the STO forums. There were two dev responses I wanted to highlight:
Wishstone – The headline is chosen a little unfortunate by the colleagues at Gamasutra and makes it sound like we’re a kicked puppy standing in the rain. That’s not the case.
Right now I have no further details other than what has been mentioned elsewhere. Support for Champions Online and Star Trek Online will be continuing as normal, our staff is working hard on their projects (and the folks from the Champions team deserve an extra cheer for their new stuff by the way) and there are no planned changes to the way any of our games and projects will operate.
So Stormy is here, I am here, Dan and the gang are here, your GMs and QA staff are working hard. It sounds way more dramatic than it actually is.
Dstahl -btw… several of STO’s new devs are starting in June – so that is one reason they haven’t responded yet.
Now of course the dev team is always going to put a brave face on things, so we’ll have to wait and see how the situation pans out. Personally, I’m not sad to see Cryptic and Atari part ways but I’m even less happy about the thought of EA or Activision acquiring the studio. There’s been some chatter on the forums about CBS, and I guess if Warner can get into the publishing business then so can they. There are lots of open questions about the situation though. Cryptic owns the Champions IP and CBS owns Trek, but I’m not clear on what Atari acquired when they bought Cryptic or who CBS actually granted their IP license to. Plus there’s the who question of Atari Points vs. Cryptic Points for the C-store currency. Interesting times indeed.
Regardless, I hope that Cryptic’s future gets resolved quickly and leaves the company in a stronger position to continue improving their games.
Update – Sente over at A ding world has some good background on the fiscal aspects of the situation.
Aside from all of the corporate drama, there’s a new thread related to ground combat prompted by comments made by Al Rivera (Captain Geko on the forums) in the latest Stoked podcast (it’s an excellent interview by the way, you should watch it). Salami_Inferno jumped in on the thread and offered to answer any questions (have I mentioned recently how much I love the STO team’s communication?) and yielded some interesting tidbits:
- The optional aim mode will probably be something you want to turn off if healing, otherwise you’ll have to aim first to determine who gets affected by your Medical Tricorder. post link
- Pressing ‘Z’ will swap weapons and ‘X’ will switch aiming mode (from shooter to RPG and back). post link
- All weapons have a zoom, no head shots (maybe later, just didn’t work with their current code). There’s no cover system like Gears or Mass Effect 2, but they’ve made line of sight more significant. post link