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Neverwinter Nights 2

Atari Announces Neverwinter Nights 2 (thanks Frans) is the press release that makes good on recent hints (story) that the inevitable announcement of a sequel to the hit RPG was imminent. The announcement, which tabs Obsidian as developer on the project, heralds the coming of the game in 2006, plenty of time to check out the Neverwinter Nights 2 Project Page, which includes a link to the Neverwinter Nights 2 Forums. There is also a bit of concept art on the Neverwinter Vault, and here's a bit from the announcement:

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 4, 2004--Atari Interactive, Inc., Obsidian Entertainment and BioWare Corp.(TM), under license from Hasbro, Inc., have announced plans for Neverwinter Nights(TM) 2, the sequel to BioWare Corp.'s best-selling and genre-defining role-playing game set in the popular Dungeons & DragonsŪ Forgotten Realms(TM) universe created by Wizards of the Coast. Atari, Inc. will publish the title. Originally developed by BioWare, Neverwinter Nights has set a new standard in the role-playing genre with a deep and engrossing storyline; immersive character development; stunning graphics; and, an expansive multiplayer experience like none other.

"Neverwinter Nights is one of the most beloved RPG's of all time and we're pleased that Obsidian has taken on the challenge," said John Hight, executive producer, Atari. "Feargus and his team at Obsidian Entertainment are the best people on the planet to take up where BioWare left off and bring this great game to new levels. They are intimately familiar with what makes Neverwinter Nights special, they know what it takes to make a great game and they have the respect of the RPG community."

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32. No subject Aug 5, 2004, 03:23 Tanto Edge
 
Don't forget that with Jade Empire, Bioware has already advanced their original engine beyond that which KoToR had, which was a step up from NWN.
This isn't as Core did with Tomb Raider (shudders as the words slip out). This is true advancement, in both graphics, and interface.

While I won't pretend to be an absolute guru on NWN technology, after reviewing the tech demos for each game and witnessing the screenshots (there are no tech demos) for KOTOR2, I have to say, Obsidian isn't about more raw talent, it's about BioWare having standards.

They know that producing a sequel in this industry is near suicide, and while they may be a solid company, their solidity is built off a quicksand community. If they changed the wrong feature in NWN for NWN 2, all of a sudden they lose thirty percent of their profits.
Their projections become muddied, and business fades.

Not only is it about business, but let's be honest, how much Dungeons and Dragons does a company have to put out before it's time to change gears?
Jade Empire is the kind of game a lot of people have wanted to see for a while.
Up until now we've had to contend with whatever Namco, Acclaim and most recently, Midway have been putting out, in terms of fighter RPGs.
Those game weren't even true RPGs.
Then again, in my opinion, neither were a lot of the 'rpg' games that we've seen in recent years.
Subsequent to all I've said, BioWare has made a smart business move in gearing for a new style. Anybody who has watched the movies I'm referring to (E3 demos and the like, available upon JE's site) can see that they're advancing. They're evolving the design.
While it's too soon to say whether they'll create a proper martial arts simulator within the RPG framework, I'm sure BioWare will create something worthy of their track record.

As far as Obsidian Entertainment goes, their graphics do in fact look dated, and while I don't agree with it looking 'eighties' (Fabio or no), I do think they're bastardizing the Star Wars universe in terms of content. Take a look at the listings for force powers. Already traditions do not apply. Something that irked me concerning NWN was that the gameplay could not accurately portray the true ruleset of v3... or v3.5
Then again, I agree with those among us that say, pencil and paper games do not belong on the computer, lest the ruleset be changed to make it more... fun.

Fallout was a classic example of this. A game that built its own ruleset which could allowed for infinite growth. Now THAT is a true role playing game. One where you are not limited to levels, but are allowed something as broad a scope as a skill set. That initself is a thousand fold more realistic then any level system. Last I checked, I don't advance levels as a person. I become stronger, I become more skilled, I adapt. That's how growth should occur in games who claim to be 'RPG's.

 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705LEH3j2g0&t=0m24s
http://www.youtube.com/user/tantoedge
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