Thursday, July 10, 2008

Is Cryptic Studios and 2K Games a good match?

Interesting news came out today that 2K Games is going to handle the publishing of Champions Online for Cryptic Studios. Cryptic had previously stated they were looking forward to publishing their own games after parting ways with their previous publisher, NCSoft. It had been rumoured that Cryptic Studios and NCSoft had often butted heads over the direction of the wildly popular City of Heroes MMO. Cryptic eventually sold the game to NCSoft and started working on a new MMO which eventually became Champions Online. I'm surprised to see they are once again joining up with another company to get their game published and I wonder if it hints at financial trouble.

Then again it's a badly kept secret that Cryptic Studios probably acquired the rights to Star Trek Online from the now defunct Perpetual Entertainment. This searching out for a publisher could be a sign that Cryptic Studios wants to focus its monetary assets on development for the game instead of getting into the manufacturing and marketing business. It seems like they have learned from their previous experience since this time they found a publisher which has no experience with MMOs. This may seem counter-intuitive until you realize that it was probably NCSoft's "expertise" in the MMO industry which caused them to constantly butt heads with Cryptic Studios.

Cryptic will probably not have to worry about 2K Games making constant suggestions to their development team on how to improve their MMO. There's no proof that's what happen with NCSoft, but several major changes to City of Heroes/Villains were pushed down the pipeline after the sale of the game. One of them was slightly RMT like and allowed players to purchase additional characters slots on a server. Jack Emmert of Cryptic Studios is a known detractor of RMT practices in the MMO market and I would have loved to see the meeting where NCSoft first brought the idea up. I'm not a big follower of City of Heroes news so I don't know if this has been hashed out in forums years ago of if I'm way off base.

What I do know is that Take-Two will be at this year's E3 and might be showing off some 2K Game products. I doubt they will have anything related to Cryptic Studios, but E3 is often used for surprise announcements. Maybe we can cross our fingers and get a firm release date for Champions Online. The countdown page that Cryptic has for Star Trek Online, ooops I mean its unknown space MMO is set to expire later this month. This probably means no mention of the game will appear at this year's E3. Also on a side note EA is still going after Take-Two Interactive, so theoretically 2K Games could fall under the EA umbrella by the time Champions Online was released. I'm not sure if that would have any effect on the publishing deal, but it would be humorous if EA's logo appeared on Champions Online.

Update: Based on a moderator post at Champions-Online they will be at this year's E3. Even if we don't get a release date, we should at least see some more game play footage.


Anonymous said...

With the previous ownership of City of Heroes/Villains being 50-50 between NCSoft and Cryptic I am sure they had their differences at times, although I think the Microsoft/Marvel experience probably was more influencial in their desicion to do everything themselves.

Learned lessons are probably how to define the relationship and the responsibilities for each participant.

I don't see that the added character slot option would be considered more "RMT like" than character transfers or character rename, which they had before that and which many other MMOGs also do.

The wedding package they sold would probably more "RMT like" in that regard, and the in-game advertisement.

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