Things aren’t looking too good for Atari but sources say the company has one more big trick up its sleeve – a massively multiplayer version of the hit Dungeons & Dragons game Neverwinter Nights.

MMOG developer Cryptic Studios, which Atari acquired at the end of 2008, has been hard at work on the MMOGs Champions Online and Star Trek Online but was also apparently attempting to revamp older titles from Atari’s catalog, to be released in 2011. Which games were planned for resurrection, however, was unknown.

But sources have now said that what Cryptic is really working on is a massively-multiplayer version of Neverwinter Nights, the BioWare RPG published by Atari back in 2002. A central component of the game was its multiplayer options, which let players create persistent world “mini-MMOs” of their own; translating that to the MMOG space seems like a natural extension of the experience.

It’s a significant risk for Atari, however, which continues to suffer from well-documented cash flow problems and may have difficulty seeing the game through to completion or maintaining it in the crowded, highly-competitive MMOG arena. But with the technology already established and the bonus of a well-established franchise name, Atari may view this as a good opportunity to establish a second-tier MMOG and a regular revenue stream as well.

The sources say this is the main reason Atari acquired Cryptic, so Atari is obviously committed to the gamble. As a D&D fan I’d love to see the creation of a Neverwinter Nights MMOG. I’m just not sure whether Atari is the right company to be doing it.

Source: The Cut Scene

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