Cryptic Studios knows that its recent games haven't been all that great, but it's promising to turn things around with Neverwinter Nights.
Cryptic Studios' last couple of games haven't exactly been critical darlings, with unpolished/unremarkable gameplay being their biggest stumbling blocks. In a recent interview, Cryptic's Chief Operations Officer Jack Emmert acknowledged the legitimacy of these criticisms and stated that his company needs to "dramatically" improve things for the recently announced Neverwinter Nights game it's working on.
According to Emmert, the biggest problem with both Champions Online and Star Trek Online was that the games contained, "hundreds of hours of mediocre (some would say even worse than mediocre) content ... nothing was polished. We ended up having lots of half-done features in some quarters. What I forgot was, inasmuch as a consumer or a player, if it isn't there at launch it might as well not be there, well if it's in half-done or half-done well, that's what you get remembered for. "
As a result, Cryptic is aware of the fact that things have to change for the upcoming Neverwinter project. A big part of this change is Cryptic's desire to focus on making a game that emphasizes "rich story-driven multiplayer" content.
"Super-fast doesn't mean super-good," said Emmert, in regards to how Cryptic has become a company known for efficiently making deadlines, but not for making great games. "And that's what the reviews said, that's what the players said. The type of game that we made before World of Warcraft ... City of Heroes was great for its day, but we can't just keep repeating the same methodology over and over - we've got to make stuff that's great."
The interview also details how the upcoming Neverwinter Nights title will be less of an MMOG and more of a co-operative RPG in the same vein as Guild Wars and Phantasy Star Online, which sounds pretty interesting. It's certainly encouraging to hear that the developer is aware of its problems and is taking steps to overcome them, but I refuse to get excited about this next project until I spend some hands-on time with it.