Atari’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes (See, there’s hope for you, Midway!) continues with the announcement today that they have acquired Cryptic Studios. Famed Marvel Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis, according to Brian Reed’s Twitters, is a big fan of City of Heroes/Villains, Cryptic’s well known entry into the MMO world. Coming up, they have three new MMOs: Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and an as-yet-unnamed one. The similarly-themed superhero MMO Champions Online is first up in 2009. They follow that up the following year (dated for the first time officially here) with Star Trek Online in 2010. The mystery MMO will follow that in 2011, helping the short attention span set continue their MMO habits.
Atari also gets to use Cryptic’s technology in other games, though none were specifically mentioned. A bit under $27 million was the going price for the Studio, with bonuses for performance allowed for along the next few years.
Overall, this is a tremendous move for Atari, and Cryptic is one of the closest to a “sure thing” that exists in the game industry right now. Their base technology has been praised as easy-to-use, with playable internal demos of Star Trek Online, for example, being made in just a few weeks, as opposed to the year or more of development usually required, especially for an MMO. Between this, and the official announcement that they’ll be publishing Ghostbusters The Game next summer, it’s been a good couple months for the company that nearly died completely just a couple years ago.