Star Trek Online dev beamed up by mystery buyer

[UPDATE] Perpetual Entertainment liquidates assets, is acquired by "media company"; conflicting reports say the game may become "more casual."

It's been a rough year for Perpetual Entertainment. On October 10, the San Francisco-based developer announced that Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising, its Greco-Roman mythology-inspired massively multiplayer online role-playing game, had been put on "indefinite hold."

The promising project was effectively canceled so Perpetual could focus more on another MMORPG, Star Trek Online. The studio was formed in 2004 shortly before it landed the coveted license based on the iconic science-fiction television and film series. At the time, the company announced it had also acquired $6.5 million in financing to develop the PC project, which had been rumored to be coming to the Xbox 360. In 2006, South Korean publisher Gravity Ltd. invested a further $9 million in Perpetual for a stake in the company.

Unfortunately, it now appears that Perpetual's sources of funding aren't perpetual at all. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing made by Gravity shortly before Thanksgiving, Perpetual quietly liquidated its assets the day it canceled Gods & Heroes. "Gravity does not anticipate recovering any portion of the Company’s original investment of US $9 million made in Perpetual in 2006," read the filing.

Does that mean it's game over for Perpetual and the Star Trek MMOG? Not exactly. The SEC filing says that Perpetual Entertainment's assets were transferred to a limited liability company, Perpetual LLC. The filing called for Perpetual LLC "to liquidate the assets, wind down Perpetual, and distribute the net liquidation proceeds to creditors of Perpetual."

Today, the plot thickened when Shacknews learned that since the SEC filing, Perpetual has been acquired by an unnamed media company. Citing an e-mail from an anonymous source close to the studio, Perpetual's mystery owner "is looking to use Star Trek Online to make its first major inroads into the video game market."

Perhaps more disturbingly, said company is also interested in making Star Trek Online "more casual." One possibility is that the project would now emulate free-to-play Korean MMOGs, which derive revenue from in-game item sales. According to Shacknews' source, this change in direction has led to a number of resignations at Perpetual, although its management team is apparently still in place.

[UPDATE] However, GameSpot has learned that a recent showing of Star Trek Online at Perpetual's offices was of the original MMORPG, and not a more casual model. A source close to the studio said that to his or her knowledge, the game has remained largely unchanged since the buyout.

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104 comments
Gawran
Gawran

well first off i LOVE star trek have ever sence i was like 9 years old and no im not a geek with glasses i seriously hope that they break the curse of bad games for star trek and that they REALLY seal the deal with this game im worried about the casual part but i hope that that means its not so complecated that only star trek fans can enjoy it. now for soem comments ''who takes out the trash in star fleet headquaters'' COMON?!??!?!?!?! what?? is that even something to ask about i mean humans have space travel and yet they still have ppl that are garbage men???? im sorry but that is just a stupid thing to say and lastly star trek TOS>Voyager>TNG>DS9>Enterprise

jogunther
jogunther

I really hope they don't completely mess this up. I do hope its free I shelled out enough cash already for LotR:O. I would love to see some play for free for once. Lifetime membership worked for my game I dont know on the others.

killallewoks
killallewoks

I was looking forward to see the interior o well it may still turn out good.

Overseer76
Overseer76

well said, rinks. It's great to see someone put the time and effort into a well-laid out opinion (though you should stop sticking apostrophes in where there is neither possession nor contraction. It's Dungeons & Dragons and Gods & Heroes to name a couple.) I too am worried about this IP. The Matrix Online had the potential to be so much better than it turned out -- it's a pretty good MMO, but beyond the cyber theme, too little of the movies are reflected in typical gameplay. "More casual" to me means that hardcore fans (who are most likely to shell out a monthly fee, mind you) are most likely going to be disappointed with the lack of detail that the developers will incorporate. As said previously, they will spend most of their time, money and energy securing the rights and very little on the production and development of the piece. I hope I'm wrong. P.S. Sometimes a true artist's first work will be the one he or she spent the most time and energy lovingly crafting. If this new company wants to enter the game development market with a bang, they had better do this right the first time.

Overseer76
Overseer76

well said, rinks. It's great to see someone put the time and effort into a well-laid out opinion (though you should stop sticking apostrophes in where there is neither possession nor contraction. It's Dungeons & Dragons and Gods & Heroes to name a couple.) I too am worried about this IP. The Matrix Online had the potential to be so much better than it turned out -- it's a pretty good MMO, but beyond the cyber theme, too little of the movies are reflected in typical gameplay. "More casual" to me means that hardcore fans (who are most likely to shell out a monthly fee, mind you) are most likely going to be disappointed with the lack of detail that the developers will incorporate. As said previously, they will spend most of their time, money and energy securing the rights and very little on the production and development of the piece. I hope I'm wrong. P.S. Sometimes a true artist's first work will be the one he or she spent the most time and energy lovingly crafting. If this new company wants to enter the game development market with a bang, they had better do this right the first time.

rinks361
rinks361

STO is STILL going to be completed. STO has been long awaited, just like people have been awaiting a Dungeon's & Dragon's MMO, Neverwinter Nights MMO, and an Elder Scrolls MMO. From what I learned in my business classes, when a company quietly sells out to another company, it is, in this case, usually because they are losing money working on multiple projects at once. It takes years to make a game and that time takes money to pay the people making the games. Closing God's & Heroes was probably an attempt to save money, but at this point too much was spent. Since they do not have enough money to pay back the creditors, turning the company over to an LLC is a smart move because the company will not be liable for that $9 million loss, and since it was picked up by another unnamed company, the debts of Perpetual will not affect the new company. This protects people from being sued for not making what was paid for. Would any of you like to be sued for $9 million? I don't think so. As far as EA, SOE, and Bioware is concerned, I do not think they would be a good match for creating this game. We all know that Bioware makes great role playing games, but they have not created an MMO. Bioware games involve a deep story line, amazing character customizaion, and innovative game play mechanics. If you seen the special on Bioware on G4TV, they explain the types of games they make and if it does not have these elements, it's NOT A BIOWARE GAME! I don't think EA would be a good match either. When you think EA you just don't think MMO. First thing that comes to my mind, as a PC gamer, is The Sims. As a console player, sports games. They are a great company for making simulation games, but I don't see them as becoming an epic RPG creating company like Bioware. SOE...I think they would work well in creating this game, but a majority of their games are based upon already successful genre's. EQ was the WoW when it came out, with millions of players all over. EQ2 is not as popular as WoW is now, but it is definitely much more visually pleasing to those with rigs that can handle the high graphics settings. With Star Wars Galaxies, they just ventured into space exploration with the Jump To Lightspeed expansion so I don't think they are quite ready to handle the intricacies of STO. If anyone has played SWG and used some of the space crafts, then you know what I mean when I say the piloting just is not as realistic as you would expect a Star Wars game to be. Honestly, I think 3000AD would be a good company to integrate into this project because of their games Battle Cruiser and Universal Combat. They have a great grasp of what space exploration, combat, and interaction should be, be it that 100% of the game has to be role played if you are playing the Roam scenario. So, as an avid star trek fan, business major, and over all video game fanatic, I can confidently say that STO will still be coming out. Remember all the problems that first arose with Everquest 2? No one ever thought it would be created, but lo and behold, there it is and with several expansion packs and added content. The same goes for Final Fantasy 13. I THOUGHT it was coming out December of 2006, but it got pushed way back. I also thought I would be enjoying Devil May Cry 4 this past holiday season, but it's on it's way. I been waiting for it for years! Just hold ur panties on like I'm doing because it will be coming out, if not this year, then the next. What we do need to hope for is that the game will hold up to what Star Trek is truly about: exploration, conflict, and strategic yet Engaging battles. Let's just hope they put the player directly involved in each one of these areas, kind of like in Star Trek Bridge Commander (which I still have and play to this day thanks to the many mods for the game to keep it fresh!)

starmanuk50
starmanuk50

they always mess up classics like this, this could and should be one of the best online games but i suspect the software developers will do star trek no justice as per the usual trend and just end up with another failed attempt at making a popular tv/film tie in into one giant pile of poo.spend most of the budget on acquiring the licence and leave very little to make the game.

Chaad_Losan
Chaad_Losan

Such a cluster you know what. STO is going down. Corporate mismanagement from the start. I'm sick over this. It's amazing that no matter who has tired to make a Star Trek MMO it's always end in failure. It's been tried 3 times before. With the recent allegations of fraud. STO is doomed. Would someone please answer me this? Why is all of God's green earth would paramount licence Star Trek online to a nothing no body company who has totally and utterly screwed up all aspects of the game development to date? Who was paid off? Why not Bioware?, or SOE, or EA. Why a bunch Ex-EA refugees? My God this was such a comedy of errors. Yet no one is laughing now. If the allagations of fraud are true someone maybe looking at criminal charges. Remember Enron? Not Pretty.

russellcjohnson
russellcjohnson

nooo! more casual means another lame ST game. I really wanted to know what all those buttons on engine control pannel did.

V-Nine
V-Nine

....hmmm. This isn't what I wanted to hear. Hope this new company doesn't louse things up...please please!

amerus
amerus

ffs, i was looking forward to this game and now. hmm... il go on that tclvis, give it to bioware. ah well allways got eve online

WombatGuy
WombatGuy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

tclvis
tclvis

Can we petition Bioware to take this one over?

Ben-e
Ben-e

We want a game that will go justice to the licence. A company making their "first major inroads into the video game market" does not bode well.

GrimBee
GrimBee

MMORPG -- A genre that I HOPE will soon fade into nothingness and only have one or two prolific titles out that do the genre justice. Warcragt - thats a game which has literally grown into massive proportions, but its immitators are meaningless. More choice, obviously, will give people other places to go. But Star Trek fans have spent YEARS watching the programmes, now, to enjoy the next game they have to dedicate their lives to yet another mmorpg. I think the best way that a star trek game should go is the way of a cinematic game. Instead of making a new series of star trek - how about having it as a game. Graphics could be realistic enough to tell a really good story, and you can interact with alot of things. Imagine if you were just in the starfleet academy or something, and you worked your way up to being on the enterprise (or similar) and this gaming world (story arc) goes on around you, and depending how you did at he beginning of the game, you have different tasks and roles to play whilst the ship and its crew go about their lives. Imagine seeing the story progress from several different angles, each time you start a new game, you could do things differently in the academy, which earns you a different position on the ship. The better you do, you could be captain, or, you could be an engineer. Gameplay possibilities could reach quite far with something like that. But a simple mmorpg? I think this is taking the franchise back a few hundred lightyears :(

Peltz999
Peltz999

They beamed Scotty into supernova, oh well, sh*t happens!

MxO
MxO

Huh.

fluffebunnie
fluffebunnie

Yay, that's all we need. More online games and more casual games. I mean, it's not like there aren't already a ton of those being pushed on me already. I love Star Trek but wow they have been ramming the name into the dirt for years now.

Maverick128
Maverick128

I want it for my PS3. If not, I guess I'll settle for PC. Hope it doesn't get TOO casual. I too want an Elite Force 3, and a Bridge Commander 2, and a Birth of the Federation 2.

King_Wii
King_Wii

Wow that would be great if X360 gets STO, my PC is way out date but my 360 is alive and kicking haha. Seriously I'm getting Conan for 360 so why not STO, please PE give us a 360 version!!!

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

Interesting, hope the 360 gets some love!

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

So basically what we have here is a company who is going around trying to acquire money to finish a game that is supposedly in development. No problems there but all that has been shown so far is a little bit of smoke and mirrors padded with a lot of vague, lofty sounding ideas. Perpetual reminds me of the shady company that was (supposedly) developing the Gizmondo but in reality they just pocketed all of the invested money from rich, naive people who wanted to get involved in the gaming industry. Am I the only one seeing parallels here or am I too paranoid?

jorgepimp321
jorgepimp321

sounds interesting but never played a trek game or seen the show, but I have seen star wars,LOL does that count,LOL

Gruug
Gruug

I had been interested in this game but now I have no interest whatsoever. Especially if it is going the "more casual" route. To bad as this title had a lot of potential in the MMO realm. Now that STO is effectively dead, guess I may go back and check out EVE Online. Doesn't have all the features that STO would but is actually pretty good...even better that it is getting a graphics upgrade.

glhx2112
glhx2112

I'm all for a Trek game, as long as I can play as a borg, and kill liberals

jogunther
jogunther

Since noone cares about the story. I grew up on TNG. Any resistance is futile.

-supercharged-
-supercharged-

Why would any company wanna waste millions of dollars on something that they would be lucky to even get 500k sold on?

indigoAK200
indigoAK200

I'm on the Deep Space Nine was the best train. It was the most human out of all of them and was the only one that touched on real-world issues in its plots while those issues were going on in real life. Besides, there isn't a single scene in all of Star Trek that will ever live up to Sisko decking Q. Not now, not ever.

rejjie151
rejjie151

This game has all the potential to be great or to suck immensely. TNG>TOS>VOYAGER>DS9 I'll never forgive DS9's writers for turning Worf into a complete wuss...the dominion wars were cool, but could not salvage the weakest of all Star Trek series.

led_zeppelin_19
led_zeppelin_19

Yeah IMO DS9 is the best. Anyway, this game looked so promising, hopefully that won't change.

Fenriswolf
Fenriswolf

Someone should make Elite Force 3

ssjdagas
ssjdagas

I've seen every episode of Star Trek there is and DS9 is the best, but we all have our diffirent oppinions. I hope this game will come out and that it will be good. I don't have any high hopes for it though since most Star Trek games suck =(

The_Praetor
The_Praetor

I wouldn't buy Eve, only because of the complexity of the game... casual sounds nice, but TOO casual becomes MySims in Space. Which is not what I'm interested in. I want LOTRO in space.

DudeX01
DudeX01

Wait a minute management is still in place after they wasted 15 Mil on a project? Gut management first. Employee resiginations? No kidding when they have no money that is easy to see. A star trek lic is an expensive and complicated project for junior company to get working on. Even sony online only managed moderate success with Star Wars. And they have real experience in the market.

tsb247
tsb247

This news has made me nervous. I am wondering what will become of this game.

Cobra5
Cobra5

yet another good idea down the tubes, we get more crap instead.

maxxorz
maxxorz

Star Trek Online.... casual game? *heart breaks*

LordSpleach
LordSpleach

@ john1912 If you want to watch a real space station show, see Babylon 5. Also I would want to play a sci-fi MMO without any fighters.

Killer2401
Killer2401

Lets hope they can put ST to good use.

john1912
john1912

DS9 sucked, the only thing worse was Voyager, the only good startrek series was Next Gen.

HarlockJC
HarlockJC moderator

I agree with OremLK DS9 is the best series ever. A hate when prople call them self Big Star Trek fans but have never watched DS9. I can't wait for a Star Trek MMO.