We first became involved with Star Trek very tangentially. Cryptic Studios was looking around at various investment opportunities in the second half of 2007. We were working on Champions and were trying to decide our next steps. We happened to strike up a conversation with Francisco Partners; a great bunch of guys who introduced us to Perpetual. We’d of course heard of Perpetual and both of its projects (STO and Gods & Heroes). As MMO fans, we were looking forward to playing both games. People from both companies visited one another and showed off technology and development. Believe it or not, it’s pretty common to do this; the game industry is very congenial.
That’s about where things stood as 2007 came to a close. Our president, Michael Lewis, kept in touch with the folks at Perpetual because it never hurts to keep the lines of communication open, and we had let them know that if the Star Trek license ever happened to come free, we’d be interested. Many of us are big Star Trek fans, and a few I’d say are even proud to call themselves Trekkers.
Businesswise, there are very, very few IPs that fit the MMO genre better than Star Trek. It isn’t about a single story or narrative – it’s about a galactic community and how it interacts. Star Trek is a vast world teeming with interesting places and cool creatures. There’s mystery … and conflict. Historically, Trek hadn’t fared well in the video game world, so I think some people wrongly devalued the IP. In our minds, no game had really done justice to Star Trek. Plus, we already heard the rumblings of the forthcoming movie, so we knew interest in Star Trek was going to rise.
I’m not privy to what went on at Perpetual, other than what I have heard third-hand or read on the Internet. I had seen what they’d done in Star Trek, but that was about it. In early 2008, Perpetual decided to sell the license to us. Naturally, we were thrilled, but before we could finalize the deal there were a ton of hoops to jump through.
Unfortunately, it was a pretty open secret (at least online) that something was going on. Several web sites lamented the fact that no one would say anything, and we felt really bad about that. We wanted to let the fans know, but we couldn’t announce anything until everything had been signed.
That’s the story of how Star Trek ended up at Cryptic. Now, what we decided to do next is another story altogether …