Turbine sues Atari over D&D MMOG

Speculation of a Neverwinter Nights MMOG reemerges, as Dungeons & Dragons Online creator files suit over publisher's efforts to terminate licensing agreement.


Between two massively multiplayer online games launching within 12 months of each other, Cryptic Studios has a lot on its plate. However, that load seemed to increase in June, when Variety reported that Cryptic's parent company Atari was tasking the Los Gatos, California-based studio with an MMOG based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe of Neverwinter Nights.

The bailiff for these proceedings...
The bailiff for these proceedings...

One more piece of evidence pointing to that game surfaced today, though that clue comes from an unlikely place. Courthouse News reports that Turbine Inc. has filed suit against Atari in New York, arguing that the publisher breached an agreement related to the D&D license. In 2003, Turbine licensed the rights to make D&D MMOGs from Atari, and it currently operates Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach.

As it pertains to Cryptic's rumored D&D MMOG, Turbine claims that Atari is deliberately under-promoting the relaunch of D&D Online under its new free-to-play business model as part of a licensing-agreement "termination" strategy. The suit claims that this termination strategy is being pursued in bad faith, as Atari plans to launch its own competing product.

Turbine also alleges through the suit that Atari breached its contract by continuing to accept payments related to the licensing agreement. That, despite the publisher's plans to deprive Turbine of its D&D license and proceed with its own online D&D game, the suit contends.

The Courthouse News report does not specify what Atari's competing product might be. Atari had not yet responded to requests for comment as of press time. A Turbine representative declined to comment on the matter.

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