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Cryptic Reveals  Neverwinter  PC RPG

Cryptic Reveals Neverwinter PC RPG

August 23, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

August 23, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Cryptic Studios has pulled the lid off its latest project: a new Neverwinter PC game based on the titular city and the world of Dungeons & Dragons, to be published by parent Atari. The studio says it's been working with D&D owner Wizards of the coast and author R.A. Salvatore on the fiction and its authenticity.

The news comes as only half a surprise to fans: Cryptic, also creator of Star Trek Online and City of Heroes/Villains, has been rumored for some time to have a Neverwinter project in the works -- except the rumors concerned an MMO, and the new Neverwinter, slated for 2011, is an RPG that incorporates co-op but is not massively multiplayer.

Atari, which has been getting a significant share of its revenue from Cryptic's online games, faced a lawsuit last year from Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine, with which it had an agreement to publish Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons MMO Stormreach.

At the heart of the dispute is Turbine's allegation that Atari purposely withdrew marketing and publishing support in favor of an internal Dungeons & Dragons MMO, then rumored to be Neverwinter. There's no confirmation that Neverwinter's non-MMO format is related to the lawsuit, but the correlation clearly exists.

But Cryptic says it's excited about the project: "We're beyond thrilled to develop a brand new version of Neverwinter. It's been years since the original became a gaming icon and we're honored to work with such a great franchise," says Cryptic COO Jack Emmert.

The Neverwinter property has a long PC gaming tradition, beginning with one of the first graphical MMOs in 1991, Stormfront's Neverwinter Nights, and continuing from 2002 with BioWare and Obsidian's two successors. Cryptic Studios' imagination of Neverwinter brings players to the classic city in an environment of instability following multiple disasters.

Atari says the game's fourth-quarter 2011 release "is part of a multi-platform event" that will also include a book trilogy by R.A. Salvatore and a tabletop RPG from Wizards of the Coast. The first of Salvatore's books will hit shelves October 5, and it will aim to lay the foundation of the Neverwinter storyline leading up to the PC game.

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