Confirmed: Star Trek OL crew laid off

Sources reveal today is MMOG designer team's last day, Perpetual shifting to "engine-only" business model.

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In September 2004, the game industry was taken aback when a small developer acquired one of the most coveted licenses in gaming. That's when indie shop Perpetual Entertainment announced it had landed the massively multiplayer online role-playing game license for the Star Trek film and television series.

However, after an early bout of promising announcements, development of Star Trek Online became more cloaked than a Klingon Bird of Prey. Then, in late 2006, came the first of a series of layoffs, followed one year later by suspension of Perpetual's other title, the mythology-inspired Gods & Heroes. The following month, Perpetual was beamed up by a mystery buyer, which unconfirmed reports claimed wanted Star Trek Online to become "more casual."

Finally, this week saw reports surface on MMORPG-centric site Warcry.com that Perpetual was shutting down Star Trek Online entirely. Sadly, GameSpot has learned this report is completely true. A source with knowledge of Perpetual's inner workings confirmed that today is the last day of work for many game designers, programmers, and other developers at the company's San Francisco office.

The source also confirmed to GameSpot that Perpetual was indeed shopping the game license and art assets for Star Trek Online to "a number of interested" MMORPG developers. The source could not confirm or deny reports that City of Heroes developer Cryptic Studios was bidding on the game. However, one MMORPG developer has apparently passed on the project.

GameSpot can also confirm that Perpetual, now officially known as P2, will remain in business as an "engine-only" company. It is holding onto its proprietary MMORPG technology, which it has licensed to BioWare for work on its unnamed massively multiplayer project, which is rumored to be based on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

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