Cryptic Studios Logo

The current Cryptic Studios logo.

Cryptic Studios is a privately-held, American developer of massively multiplayer online role-playing games headquartered in Los Gatos, California.


Established in June 2000, Michael Lewis and Rick Dakan conceived the idea for Cryptic Studios.

"Rick and I wanted to do an online role-playing game," Lewis told the Los Gatos Weekly Times for an article published January 31, 2007. "We'd been role-playing gamers growing up, and thought that online would be a great way to continue that experience, while overcoming the distances involved. We decided that there were too many fantasy games in development—this was 1999, so we discussed many alternatives. Superheroes quickly rose to the top of the list. It is something people could understand and identify with quickly, versus ideas like science fiction or horror, because it provides an infinite background on which to create adventures of all kinds. And who doesn't want to have super powers?"

At a New Year's party in 1999, Lewis and Dakan met Bruce Rogers, Matt Harvey and Cameron Petty, veterans of Atari's Coin Operated Games division who had begun trying to found a computer game company but lacked funding.

In 2000, Lewis sold his company, Stellar Semiconductor, Inc., to Broadcom Corporation. With Lewis' funding and Rogers' expertise, the group formed Cryptic Studios. Role-playing game writer Jack Emmert joined the team to work on game design.

Cryptic logo old

Cryptic Studios logo, 2000 - 2007

In March 2007, Cryptic Studios moved to a larger corporate headquarters in Los Gatos, California. Plans for the new headquarters include adding a state-of-the-art sound studio to be built by the Walters-Storyk Design Group. At that time the company also adopted a new corporate logo. Cryptic Studios now employs more than 100 full-time employees.

On December 9, 2008, Atari announced that it had acquired Cryptic Studios.


City of Heroes/VillainsEdit

Cryptic Studios' first MMORPG, City of Heroes, was launched on April 28, 2004. On October 31, 2005, it launched City of Villains, a separate game that was linked with City of Heroes through player-vs.-player combat zones.

In early 2002, Cryptic signed a publishing agreement for City of Heroes with NCSoft, which wanted to expand into the United States gaming market.

As of November 2007, Cryptic Studios had released ten free expansions for City of Heroes and City of Villains.

On November 6, 2007, Cryptic announced that it had sold the City of Heroes/City of Villains intellectual property to NCSoft. Most of the City of Heroes/City of Villains development team transitioned over to a newly formed NCSoft NorCal studio in Mountain View to continue development on the game.

Champions OnlineEdit

Cryptic Studios is due to release Champions Online, based on a superhero-based role-playing game, on September 1, 2009. Cryptic Studios had announced this title on February 14, 2008.

On September 27, 2006, Marvel Entertainment and Cryptic announced that Cryptic Studios was developing Marvel Universe Online, the Marvel Comics universe MMO video game to be published by Microsoft Game Studios for exclusive release to Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. February 7, 2008, Shane Kim of Microsoft Game Studios reported that MUO was canceled. Cryptic Studios said development would continue using a new IP license of The Champions (Hero Universe) and became Champions Online.

Star Trek OnlineEdit

On July 27, 2008, Cryptic announced that they had acquired the license to continue development of Star Trek Online, an MMORPG previously developed by Perpetual Entertainment. Cryptic had previously hired several of Perpetual's developers after that company ceased working on the project.

Earlier, on March 13, 2008, Star Trek news site reported Cryptic Studios as the developer for Star Trek Online based on unnamed sources, confirming a several-weeks-old rumor.

Other projectsEdit

On May 9, 2007, Cryptic Studios released the Cryptic Animation Rig (Cryptic AR), a free download that gives animators the same tools used by Cryptic to create its games.

Cryptic Studios' Web site contains several images of concept art from one or more additional games currently in development.


Template:As of, the executives of Cryptic Studios are:

  • John Needham, chief executive officer
  • Jack Emmert, chief creative officer
  • Bruce Rogers, chief technology officer
  • Hindol Datta, VP of finance/ Controller
  • Phil Dean, director of customer service
  • Tricia Gray, director of marketing
  • Shayne Herrera, art development director
  • Shannon Posniewski, director of game programming
  • Bill Roper, executive producer of Champions Online
  • Craig Zinkievich, executive producer of Star Trek Online
  • Robert Westmoreland, director of business development
  • Ed Roffman, chief financial officer

Corporate CultureEdit

According to its Web site, "Cryptic Studios' development process is centered on efficiently structured teams working together in a collaborative atmosphere to create high quality games."

Cryptic Studios actively recruits outside the gaming industry, and executives say they focus on skill, talent and intelligence rather than experience. Employee benefits include full medical, dental and vision insurance, vacation, a 401K, tuition reimbursement, complementary breakfasts twice a week and an on-site game room. The company says it offers a "casual, dynamic environment" and tries to strike a balance between employees' work and personal lives.

External linksEdit