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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > Cryptic Studios. Interview with Jack Emmert

Название: Star Trek Online
Разработчик: Cryptic Studios
Издатель: Atari
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
Core 2 Duo 1.8, 1 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card
Core 2 Duo 3.0, 2 GB RAM, 512 MB 3D Card
Игра вышла: 02.02.2010
Рейтинг: 7.1

Cryptic Studios is one of the leading developers of MMORPG-games. The team created the innovative and successful City of Heroes that garnered numerous awards. Cryptic Studios' development process is centered on efficiently structured teams working together in a collaborative atmosphere to develop high quality games. Their goal is to deliver an unparalleled gaming experience appealing to a wide range of audiences. Cryptic's belief in balancing valuable family time with work provides a positive environment, promoting team work, creativity, and the exchange of ideas and opinions.

Cryptic utilizes a proprietary MMO-engine that contains all the tools needed to efficiently build and operate massive online games. Developed in house, the engine continues to be upgraded and adjusted to improve its versatility and functionality. In addition, efficient content generation tools have been incorporated to streamline the development process, allowing real time testing of art assets within the game environment. The team is dedicated to building strong player communities and developing challenging yet accessible games with deep and enjoyable gameplay. In early February of 2010 Cryptic Studios will release its very promising Star Trek Online. If you want to know additional details about this game, you can read our recent Interview with its producer.

This time we caught up with Jack Emmert, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Cryptic Studios, who is also a longtime gamer and a comic book aficionado. His first foray into gaming was Dungeons & Dragons. His professional career in the hobby game industry started at a comic book store in the outskirts of Philadelphia, Showcase Comics. He earned his first Master's degree (Ancient History) from the University of Chicago, and his second Master's degree from Ohio State University. During this period Jack also wrote supplements for a variety of gaming lines, including Deadlands, Hell on Earth, DC Universe and Marvel Superheroes. He left academia in July 2000 to co-found Cryptic Studios, and design City of Heroes. Read on to find out a lot of intriguing details about the company that makes great MMORPG-games letting everyone play them with excitement.

- Greetings! Please, introduce yourself.

My name is Jack Emmert. I'm currently COO of Cryptic Studios and I was one of the original founders.

- When did you join the company?

I began when Cryptic started – July, 2000. There were only 5 of us then, and now we're about 240.

- Share some recent news about Cryptic Studios with us.

We have finished the development of Champions Online and are just about to release Star Trek Online.

- What achievements are you proud of the most?

Only one other studio, Turbine, has released as many MMORPG's as we have, at least in North America.

- What are the most notable features of your games?

I think Cryptic is known for two things. With Customization we give players the ability to make characters that they want. While providing Fun we think the moment to moment gameplay should be as enjoyable as any console game.

- Why did you pick "Cryptic" as your brand name?

Honestly, Cryptic has nothing to do with "secrets". Originally, there were two of us: Rick Dakan and myself. Rick had the idea for a superhero MMORPG and his childhood friend had put up the investment money. Since Rick and I had met at a graduate school during an ancient history seminar, we thought it'd be cool if the company we started had that feel. We settled on Krypteia, which was the name of the Spartan warrior society. However, when we joined with some others (who had the know-how to make the game), they felt that the name we picked wasn't good. After a lot of arguments, we settled on "Cryptic".

- What are the advantages of being an independent developer nowadays?

- We're no longer independent! We were purchased by Atari last year. Though I think the key difficulty is simply paying the bills while always trying to find the next project and ensuring the Hope that you've got enough money to get you there. Obviously, the advantage is that you're theoretically in charge of your own future. Not depending upon other teams in the company to pull their weight.

- How has a global economic crisis affected your business and its development strategy?

Not much, to be honest. The real decision was to sell to Atari. We were looking at a variety of methods to fund Star Trek Online last year (2008). Then October hit and suddenly money simply wasn't available.

- How many people are working with Cryptic Studios now? How do you keep up the corporate spirit?

Around 240. We have a game room, numerous gaming leagues, a hockey team, a Warhammer 40K League while providing a lot of different out of work activities.

- How and when was your MMO engine made and what are its capabilities?

We created a brand new engine to power Champions Online, Star Trek Online and other projects for the foreseeable future. It's a flexible engine capable of working in multiple genres, but, most importantly, the engine does two unique things:

  • 1) Allows us to create content quickly. Star Trek Online was developed in 2 years.
  • 2) Is ready for user generated content.

- Where do you think the modern game industry is heading?

PC gaming is way down, sales wise. It's hard to say if that's either the dominance of World of Warcraft, the Worldwide recession or the growth of console market. The future to me is in devices like the iPod or the Kindle. Devices that are so convenient and are so close to what we need to do everything. The Kindle already has Internet access. It's just the screen that they'd need to improve in order to make games. The iPod still lacks better user tools. In terms of design, Browser-based games are easily played being something that someone can get into quickly and what doesn't require hours of time.

- The MMO genre has been developing rapidly. What are its current weak points?

- All the MMO's are pretty static, design wise. I haven't seen a truly original title in a while. Large zones, character classes – all pretty standard. If you play one, you've played them all. There's also a real focus on fantasy. Admittedly, that's the most popular, but I'd like to see some more variety. The great thing is that Star Trek Online really breaks the mold.

- What can you say about Cryptic Studios future plans?

- We're fully committed to bringing MMO-games to consoles. That's a wide open field. What is more important, we think our future is all about User-generated content. We'll provide our players with a version of our internal tools and they can add new assets to our MMORPG worlds.

- Have you ever been to Russia?

- No, but I'd love to.

- Your favorite computer game?

I've been playing the heck out of Star Trek Online!

- What do you do during your vacations?

- Outside of the normal holidays, I haven't taken a vacation in years. I'm thinking of travelling to my hometown after Star Trek Online ships.

- Thanks, Jack!

12.12.2009 12:07, Unicorn


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