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Cryo Interactive Entertainment is a French video game development and publishing company founded in 1992, but existing unofficially since 1989 as a developer group under the name Cryo. In 2008 Microïds acquired Cryo.
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 collapse 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, 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).
Cryo Networks was dismantled in 2002, shortly earlier than its parent company, leaving its then-ongoing project DUNE Generations unfinished. The SCOL technology was subsequently released as an open source project.
In July 2002, not long after Frank Herbert's Dune flopped, Cryo's situation was no longer sustainable, and the company was declared bankrupt. After much negotiation, most of the assets and development teams of Cryo Interactive were absorbed by DreamCatcher Interactive, forming the base for DreamCatcher Europe.
On 20 October 2008 Microïds acquired the brands and intellectual property of Cryo Interactive. Microïds have also said that they intend to distribute Cryo's older games digitally, and that they are developing new games based on Cryo's IPs.
Notable games published or developed
Below is a selection of video games and series thereof, which were published or developed by Cryo Interactive or Cryo Networks during their lifetime. The list is in chronological order and non-Cryo developers are mentioned where appropriate.
- Extase (1991)
- Dune (1992)
- KGB (1992)
- MegaRace series (1993–2001)
- Dragon Lore series (1994–1996)
- Commander Blood (1994)
- Lost Eden (1995)
- Timecop (1995)
- Versailles series (1997–2002)
- Atlantis series (1997–present) continued by The Adventure Company
- Mankind (1998) developed by Vibes Online Gaming
- Riverworld (1998)
- Black Moon Chronicles (1999)
- The Devil Inside (2000) developed by Gamesquad
- Hellboy: Dogs of the Night (2000)
- Frank Herbert's Dune (2001) developed by Widescreen Games
- Interview with Ghislain Pages, Commercial Director for DreamCatcher Europe at Adventure Gamers (2003-03-07)
- Cryo Interactive profile on MobyGames
- SCOL at SourceForge
- Microïds Official websitefr:Cryo Interactive