A couple of weeks ago, we posted word that recent Atari acquisition Cryptic Studios was working on breathing life into several Atari legacy titles. Now we’ve got a few more details to share.
Sources tell us that the developer is working on a massively multiplayer online (MMO) version of “Neverwinter Nights” with an eyed 2011 release.
Details about the project are unavailable, naturally, as it is an unannounced title. But this reportedly was the primary reason Atari was interested in acquiring Cryptic late last year. (The developer is currently working on “Champions Online” and “Star Trek Online”.)
Based on the third edition Dungeon and Dragons rules, “NWN” is a well-loved franchise. The first installment of the role-playing game was developed by fan-favorite Bioware in 2002. A sequel, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, came out in 2006 to slightly less favorable, but still solid, reviews.
Part of what made the game unique was its robust multiplayer component. Many players built persistent worlds, capable of hosting up to 75 players – in essence, mini MMOs of their own.
The new game represents a very big bet for Atari – perhaps as big as the company’s continued existence.
MMOs take a lot of time to develop properly and cost a lot of money to create. And Atari’s cashflow problems are well known. The company could currently be financing the game with the recent sale of its of a sales, marketing and retail distribution business to Namco Bandai.
Once it’s finished, though, things get even harder, as the “Neverwinter Nights” MMO will face some stiff competition.
“World of Warcraft” holds the dominant position in the MMO genre by a country mile, with over 10 million subscribers. The MMO graveyard is filled with titles that have tried to go up against it (see “The Matrix Online,” “Tabula Rasa,” etc.)
Additionally, with Bioware now owned by Electronic Arts, the company will not have any hand in the game’s creation, which could cause doubt among the franchise’s fans.
What say you? Does a “Neverwinter Nights” MMO hold appeal for you? And does Bioware’s lack of involvement make you wary? Sound off in the comments below.
if this will be pay to play it will fail, if it will be free to play it has some chances.