When Atari first announced the PC role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter, the publisher did so under a cloud of uncertainty, thanks to an ongoing legal dispute with Hasbro over the seminal pen-and-paper RPG license. While Hasbro and Atari today announced a settlement to their dispute, Neverwinter has been delayed after all, due not to legal wrangling but to the publisher selling the game's developer, Cryptic Studios, to Perfect World Entertainment.
Neverwinter was revealed last August with a generic 2011 release date attached. As a result of the Cryptic Studios sale, the game is now set for release in late 2012, with Perfect World "investing in a more immersive experience" for the game.
As originally announced, Neverwinter would let players choose from five traditional D&D character classes. Gamers could then join five-man squads composed of other online players to venture forth into the city's dungeons, completing quests and gathering items along the way. Neverwinter was also intended to offer a single-player component, in which players could recruit computer-controlled allies to accomplish the same missions.
Neverwinter aside, the settlement between Hasbro and Atari brings to a close a legal fight that had been waged since December of 2009. As part of the agreement, Hasbro will regain the digital licensing rights to the Dungeons & Dragons franchise. However, Atari will still be able to sell and develop a selection of games under the license, including its recently released downloadable action game Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale and the upcoming Facebook game Heroes of Neverwinter. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.
For more on Neverwinter, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.