Cryptic revealing new MMORPG late summer

Design director Bill Roper confirms Atari-owned studio will announce next online game in some months--declines to say whether it's Neverwinter Nights.

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Cryptic Studios has been on a release bender of late, putting out not one but two massively multiplayer online role-playing games in the past seven months. And while neither Champions Online nor Star Trek Online proved to be a particular hit with critics, Cryptic design director Bill Roper has confirmed that the Atari-owned studio will be charging on with a new MMORPG, one that will be announced this summer.

Champions Online and Star Trek Online will soon have a new little brother.
Champions Online and Star Trek Online will soon have a new little brother.

"I can't speak to the specifics of what we're doing, but it's true that we have another game in the works," Roper told enthusiast site MMORPG.com. "We won't be making an announcement until late summer, and we're still a ways off from launch. I can say that this is a game and a franchise we're very excited about.

"I think people are going to be pleased and a bit surprised with what we're doing in terms of the game, how we make it, and even how we sell and support it," he continued. "The game is being developed around new design principles merged with Cryptic's community-first approach to ongoing development."

The industry veteran--who gained notoriety at Blizzard working on the seminal installments in the Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft franchises--tailored his response to whether or not Cryptic was at work on a Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG. That rumor arose in June 2009, when Variety reported that a primary reason for Atari's purchase of Cryptic was to bring a Neverwinter Nights-inspired fantasy MMORPG to market in 2011.

Further support for the Neverwinter Nights MMORPG rumor emerged in August 2009, when Dungeons & Dragons Online creator and recent Warner Bros. acquisition Turbine sued Atari, who holds the video game rights to the license. In its suit, Turbine claimed that Atari deliberately underpromoted the relaunch of D&D Online under its new free-to-play business model as part of a licensing-agreement "termination" strategy. The suit claimed that the termination strategy was being pursued in bad faith, as Atari planned to launch its own competing product.

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