In January, Atari filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Much like with THQ selling Homeworld to Gearbox, part of the bankruptcy proceedings involved auctioning off old Atari intellectual property to the highest bidder. In this case, the three main bidders were Wargaming, Rebellion (Sniper Elite, Rogue Trooper), and Stardock (Galactic Civilizations, Fallen Enchantress).
Wargaming walked home with Total Annihilation and Master of Orion, both classics in their respective genres. Interestingly enough, Wargaming purchased Gas Powered Games (the studio created by TA lead designer Chris Taylor when Cavedog dissolved) a few months ago as well, which means that they have the capability - thanks to having both the original team and the IP - to create a proper "Total Annihilation 2." This stands at odds with Planetary Annihilation, which is being developed by Uber Entertainment, a company filled with former Cavedog and Gas Powered Games employees. It'll be interesting to see if PA has any competition from Wargaming, or if Wargaming is content to sit on the IP and wait.
Stardock snagged Star Control, which fits snugly next to Galactic Civilizations. GalCiv 2 in particular is interesting when compared to Star Control, as the plot and major themes can be directly tied to the plot of Star Control 2. Stardock was also the back-up bidder on Master of Orion; should Wargaming fail to pay for the license, Stardock also gets the MoO IP. This is very unlikely, though, as Wargaming has lots of capital thanks to the success of World of Tanks.
Finally, Rebellion grabbed Battlezone and Moonbase Commander. Battlezone in particular is a forgotten gem, and fused shooting with real-time strategy long before contemporary games like Natural Selection 2; if we get a proper, fun Battlezone 3 out of this sale, a lot of old-school PC fans will be happy. Given Rebellion's track record, though, this may be a dangerous proposition.
An interesting sale, to say the least. Here's hoping these classic franchises don't crash and burn under new management.