Captain's Log: The breakup

Captain's Log, Stardate 64903.4...

Hello, computer (and players)! When most relationships come to an end, the dumpee can often feel a sense of abandonment. As Star Trek Online players, we are currently feeling something similar after the announcement that Atari is "parting" ways with Cryptic. As we noted last week, Atari announced during its May earnings report that Cryptic is a now "discontinued operation," which leaves us pondering what will become of the game we are so passionate about.

In an attempt to counter the rumors flying on the internet, I spoke with Cryptic's PR team and can confirm that that there is no official press release yet and there are no comments that have been or can be made by Cryptic. So all the rumors out there about what is going on are currently just that... rumors. All we know right now is that Atari is planning on putting Cryptic Studios up for sale. With that said, and rumors aside, I would like to share some of my thoughts, explore the feelings of the playerbase, clear up some misconceptions, and explain why this could actually be the best thing to happen to STO.

Ensign, warp 10! There is no looking back now...

Before we move on, I wanted to share something that can help any trekker or trekkie STO fan come to terms with the situation at hand (and hopefully turn that frown upside down) -- move over Counselor Troi! As shown in the 5 Stages of Break-up Grief, the first stage we should feel is denial. Currently, many of you may not believe that this is happening, and you're are worried. But all is not lost (more on that in a moment). Some of you have already moved on from your denial and are now feeling anger. On our own forums as well as Cryptic's official forums, fans are outraged -- again, this is understandable. Next comes the bargaining stage, which is followed by depression. Since I strongly believe that everything is going to work itself out, let's fast-forward to the final phase, acceptance.

Let me give you some background on where my passion comes from: One evening back in October of 2009, as I was driving home from work, I remember feeling a buzz in my pocket. Knowing that answering my phone while driving was illegal (Californian here), I picked up my iPhone anyway to check the message that had come in. To my surprise, there was a closed-beta invite from Cryptic sitting in my email inbox. As I began to geek out, I then realized that the next day there was likely to be a news headline that read "San Diegan Gamer Dies in Car Crash After Receiving a Closed Beta Invite" if I did not calm down. Yes, I was that excited.

As a fan since the game's inception, I have strong feelings that STO has a long future ahead. While Cryptic is up for sale, there is a huge opportunity for another game developer to invest and continue growing the studio. I also can see Cryptic once again becoming an independent studio. Having visited the studio and being in communication with the team there, I know that everyone working on STO is dedicated to the project and wants to help realize all of the fans' aspirations for the game. Either way, if the dozens of communications we have received from developers regarding upcoming content are any clue, there is just too much coming, so it's unlikely the game is on its way out anytime soon.

When the news first broke, I asked some of our community members what they thought about what was going on and received some interesting responses. Forum poster pcgneurotic was surprised:
I was surprised too, but I'm not worried since CBS and WOTC won't allow Atari to just screw them over like that. Too much money invested. And really, whatever problems [Champions Online] or STO may have had in the past, the current incarnations of those games are, and have been for a long time now, pretty effing fantastic and only getting better. Otherwise, there'd be no Neverwinter to even speak of.
CursedSeishi was not surprised at all:
With the rather... lackluster is the friendliest way to put it... performance of its current games, who could blame Atari? One has had to go F2P just to stay belly up, and the other? Well... it's probably heading that way too. Cryptic, and Atari in general, have mismanaged the bloody hell out of both games before, during, and after their respective launches... And the C-Store? Don't get me started.
I do have to admit, the first thought that came to mind when I heard the news was "What about my lifetime subscription?" This seems to be a common question out there, so I wanted to pass along a piece of verbiage that was pointed out to me from player @Spark88:
Retail inclusion effective September 23, 2010. Lifetime subscription covers your subscription fee for as long as the game is in service. -STO Terms of Service
With this said, it looks as though our lifetime subs should be honored regardless of who "owns" the studio. Another misconception out there is that the game is now in a state of limbo until the new ownership is in place -- this, again, is not the case; Atari has stated that it will continue to support current titles until new ownership is established. Devs have also told players that development is continuing full-steam ahead, and at this time, there will be no interruption to development schedules.

Well, Captains, we have come to the end of this week's log entry. Overall, no matter what the outcome is, I believe that this change will actually be one of the best things that could happen to STO. Change can always be difficult, but it also opens up new doors and new opportunities. Imagine your favorite game studio investing and adding its own twist to the game. Let me know what you think in the comments and what developer you would like to see purchase Cryptic. Also, I hope you all join me this week as STO returns to Massively's Livestream line-up -- this Friday afternoon I will continue to level my Massively toon, Bojangles, as we play through the first of the remastered missions. Until next time, brace for impact -- it's gonna be a bumpy, yet interesting ride.

Computer, terminate recording.

Boldly going where no one has gone before, Brandon Felczer transmits Captain's Log through Subspace right to your PADD every Thursday. Join him as he discusses the latest news, gossip, and dev interviews about Star Trek Online. Hailing frequencies are always open to his bridge through brandon@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.