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|Industry||Computer and video games|
|Founded||Paris, France (1992)|
Atlantis: The Lost Tales
|Subsidiaries||Cryo Studios North America
The first game developed under the Cryo Interactive moniker was the hit Dune, which granted the newly formed software company both publicity and funding for further games under Virgin until 1996, when Cryo started self-publishing inside the European market, and in North America through then partially owned Canadian publisher DreamCatcher Interactive.
Cryo made its name mostly through adaptations of already existing stories (such as Riverworld, based on Philip José Farmer's novel and Ubik by Philip K. Dick) or those based on historical scenarios (like KGB, a game set days before the dissolution of the Soviet Union and several games based in Ancient Egypt, Qing Dynasty's China and Louis XIV's France, developed with Cryo's Omni3D engine). Although most of the post-Virgin games managed to capture and stay true to the original settings, poor interfaces and the lack of worldwide distribution turned little profit from each game.
A Cryo Interactive subsidiary called Cryo Networks, aimed at developing and publishing online applications exclusively, was established in December 1997. Aside from online multiplayer games (Deo Gratias, FireTeam,Treasure Hunt 2001, Mankind and Scotland Yard being some of the titles released under this label), Cryo Networks also maintained a proprietary online multimedia development framework named SCOL (Standard Cryo On Line).
Demise and aftermath
By July 2002, not long after Frank Herbert's Dune flopped, the value of Cryo shares had plummeted and the financial situation of the company, who had closed its North American branch Cryo Studios the year before, was no longer sustainable. Cryo failed to negotiate a deal with its creditors, consequently filing for insolvency and making over 80 percent of its workforce redundant. Subsidiary Cryo Networks ceased operations shortly thereafter, leaving its then-ongoing projects DUNE Generations and Black Moon Chronicles: Wind of War unfinished. In October 2002, the parent company was put on liquidation, but subsequent negotiations ultimately caused DreamCatcher Interactive to absorb most of its assets and development teams, thus forming the base for DreamCatcher Europe.
The SCOL technology developed by Cryo Networks was released as an open source project in late 2002. Also following Cryo's bankruptcy, its partnership with Italian developer Trecision fell through and Trecision managed to acquire publishing rights to its co-developed games Popeye: Hush Rush for Spinach and the Windows and PlayStation 2 versions of Zidane Football Generation. However, the former was cancelled and the latter was stripped of its Zinedine Zidane license and released as Calcio 2003 in Italy and Football Generation in the rest of Europe, the PlayStation 2 version not being released until 2006, three years after Trecision itself had filed for voluntary liquidation.
Between 2003 and 2006, DreamCatcher division The Adventure Company released Salammbo: Battle for Carthage, in development at Cryo Interactive at the time it went bankrupt and completed posthumously, as well as new sequels in the Cryo trademark series of Atlantis and Egypt. DreamCatcher also completed the PlayStation version of Hellboy: Dogs of the Night, originally developed for Windows by Cryo Studios, and released it as Hellboy: Asylum Seeker in 2004, to coincide with the release of the first feature film of the franchise.
In March 2007 Austrian publisher JoWooD Productions, who had acquired DreamCatcher four months earlier, downsized DreamCatcher Europe to a publishing brand only and laid off its remaining development staff, effectively ending the Cryo legacy.
On 20 October 2008 Microïds acquired the brands and intellectual property of Cryo Interactive. Microïds also stated that they intended to distribute Cryo's older games digitally, and that they were developing new games based on Cryo's intellectual properties. Since the acquisition of Microïds by Anuman Interactive in November 2009, one game from the Cryo franchises that Anuman has planned for release is a sequel to Egypt 3. As of December 2013, GOG.com had seven Cryo-developed games made available under its digital distribution service, namely Dragon Lore and the MegaRace and Atlantis series.
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- "Microïds acquires the Cryo catalogue and brands". Microïds. 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
- "Cryo's properties revived in Microïds acquisition". Adventure Gamers. 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
- "Microids acquired by Anuman Interactive". Worthplaying. 2009-11-29. Retrieved 2013-12-11.