In a piece of news that comes out of nowhere, Atari has announced that they've bought Cryptic Studios, the developer originally responsible for creating City of Heroes. Right now, Cryptic has three upcoming games: Champions Online, Star Trek Online and a third unannounced title. As part of the acquisition, Atari will have access to Cryptic's technology for use their games as well as for their website portal.

However, the most interesting part is that after an initial USD 26.7 million upfront payment to Cryptic, they stand to earn even more money through a performance-related bonus. How much? Try another USD 20 million in cash or stock, so long as the 2010-11 revenues of Champions Online and Star Trek Online outperform specific undisclosed targets. It would appear that Atari is expecting Cryptic's upcoming games to perform fairly well, and to launch fairly promptly. We can only hope, Star Trek and Champions fans.

Phil Harrison, director of Atari, has said in the past that the company's main focus would be online games and digital delivery. So while this news isn't out of the ordinary in that respect, it certainly came out of the blue. This also may fuel the fire of the rumor that Cryptic is bringing both of their upcoming titles to the PS3. There's no word yet on whether or not this affects the 2k Games publishing deal made for Champions Online.

[Thanks, Stan]

This article was originally published on Massively.