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2K to publish Champions Online

Confirms formats, release window.

2K Games, the Take-Two publishing label that brought us Bioshock, has signed a global publishing deal for Cryptic Studio's superhero MMO Champions Online.

The announcement also confirms that Champions is in development for PC and Xbox 360, and will be released in the spring of 2009. The rumoured PS3 version was not mentioned.

When the game was first announced, Cryptic said it intended to self-publish. It seems that Take-Two, keen to take its first step into the lucrative massively multiplayer market, made Cryptic an offer it couldn't refuse.

Or perhaps Cryptic, original developer of City of Heroes, was just in a huff over Microsoft cancelling its planned Marvel-licensed superhero MMO - and it's now decided it's time to move on.

2K president Christoph Hartmann is certainly happy about the deal with Cryptic. "Given stellar pedigree and amazing grasp of the MMO genre, we are confident that Champions Online will deliver an innovative and exciting action MMO experience to gamers," he said.

A little publishing muscle will probably go a long way in making a success of the cel-shaded, action-oriented MMO, especially when it comes to launching on a console - something Crytpic has no experience of itself.

We'll have more on Champions Online from E3 next week.