Atari’s Cryptic Studios picked up by Perfect World

By Brenna Hillier, Tuesday, 31 May 2011 07:06 GMT

Atari has sold Star Trek Online and Neverwinter developer Cryptic Studios to Perfect World.

VentureBeat reports Perfect World has dropped $49.8 million for the studio, with the deal now in the final stages.

Cryptic developed City of Heroes for NCSoft, but later produced Star Trek Online and Champions Online – which recently went free to play – under Atari’s banner. It was slated to produce an online co-op title based on the Neverwinter Night Dungeons & Dragons property. The studio is also working on an unrevealed project.

It’s not yet clear which company will end up holding the rights to these properties; we’ve asked Atari for more information.

Perfect World, the Chinese publisher behind the eponymous MMORPG, has developed and published a number of online titles in China and Europe, including Jade Dynasty and Forsaken World. It owns a majority stake in Runic Games following its global publication of Torchlight.

Atari announced its intention to sell off Cryptic last week. The publisher acquired the then-independent studio in late 2008, but is getting out of the triple-A MMO game.

“In line with the previously stated strategy of fewer but more profitable releases and further expansion into casual online and mobile games, the Company has determined that external development creates more flexibility in the changing marketplace,” Atari wrote in a statement.

Cryptic is based in Los Gatos, California, and employs around 100 staff. prior to Perfect World’s acquisition, a spokesperson stated the studio expected no changes to its operations as a result of the sale.

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