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 & DragonsĀ® 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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39.
 
No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 16:01
39.
No subject Aug 5, 2004, 16:01
Aug 5, 2004, 16:01
 
Rather than say "in my opinion" a lot of times, please just note that all of this is just my opinion, and I have no problem with other people thinking differently.

I'd be interested in a game that worked like a real GM, with consequences to all sorts of actions you come up with on the spot, but also with it massaging the situation so you're never completely screwed by accident.

Morrowind may have had a story - the reason I tend to discount it is because it was terrible at delivering that story. For me, it was like picking up a badly written book that might have had some great stuff in it, but was too much work for me to try and trudge through to find. I believe a game, as a story, should grab you in the first paragraph and thereafter push you along towards the end like a particularly large and brutal bouncer.

As you've said, at the moment it's a sort of balance between two things you'd get both of with a good human GM / DM / ST - a strong and involving storyline and choices. At the moment, I feel that the strong storyline games are the better ones, and that they've made far better progress over into having a good amount of choice as well as the strong direction. (VTM:Bloodlines is what I'd think of as a storyline CRPG with more choices, and KotR, BG2 (especially ToB) have also shown this) where as I've been unimpressed with Morrowind which I felt was a CRPG designed around choice that failed to deliver its storyline well enough for my liking.

Fable may indeed make good an approach which comes from the side of choice and delivers a story, but I really feel that the best progress is at the moment being made from the other side.

Dunno if any of that made sense.

38.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 12:47
38.
Re: No subject Aug 5, 2004, 12:47
Aug 5, 2004, 12:47
 
Let's flip the script: You give money to the character, and return later to find that character has become a great merchant. Tyrannical or Benevolent, these are meaningless things to begin with, but they can blossom.

This is scripted, and completely meaningless. In fact, the FF series has been using this gimmick for years, and it always plays out the same way :

1) You give him money, he becomes a massive merchant and gives you shit for cheap.
2) You give him money, but not enough according to the insane arbitrary standard where giving 1,999,999 gold pieces is not enough, but 2,000,000 is, and so you're fucked, AND out of your 2mil-1 gold.
3) You tell him to get a job, and nothing happens.

The only way this would become something impressive is if it becomes emergent, and can happen at random to random characters, EVEN characters that are deemed critical to a plotline. (and then there has to be a way around).
In this aspect, Morrowind almost succeeded, because they DID give an alternative to finish the main storyline in case you fucked up somewhere.

To give an example of what I'm talking about, I'd like to see an RPG where as a kid I cut someone's leg, and when I come back 15 years later to that same village, the guy has a limp, has not been able to get a job because of that, is now a beggar, and hates your freaking guts, and refuses to lead you to the cave of the Mountain Troll King, on account that he can't walk that far.
Alternatively, you are just rude to the guy as a kid, and he'll still take you to the cave, but demands a share of the loot for it.
Or you're really nice to him, and he shows you a shortcut to get to the Troll King himself (which nobody would ever take anyways, MUST KILL STUFF!!!)
Or you're really nice, but still steal his purse, so he'll take you to the cave if you pay him his gold back, and he just show you the main entrance.
Now, all of this has to be programmed for, you can't expect an AI simulation to be able to do this on the fly, but it would be more fun to do this based on, for example, reputation. The character takes your global reputation into account, then your personal reputation, and decides based on that. Then special factors such as you chopping his leg off as a brat come into effect.
THAT would be impressive.

This standard A / B crap we're getting in today's RPGs is just contrived, and quite frankly, I could do without it.

Emergent behavior in RPGs is presumably still half a decade away though...

I personally like what Bioware is doing. KOTOR was great, and Jade Empire looks like it will be good fun too. So does Dragon Age (a seeming next version of the engine that drives KOTOR and Jade), although it's too early to tell. However, Bioware being able to design its own IP and a set of computer rules that evolved around that design, rather than a port of P & P rules to a computer has me filled with giddy glee.

Sure, it's not as heavily involved as Baldur's Gate 2 was, but I think there is a market for both type of games.

Morrowind was generally critically acclaimed, and sold like hotcakes, so it's obvious that there are gamers who prefer the KOTOR style of play, and who prefer the Morrowind style of play.

I'm still wondering, however, why no PC developer ever seems to be able to combine the two. A great example is Vice City. Completely open ended, but ALSO with a good storyline and a good set of missions in that storyline. If the fucking PS2 can do it with its 32megs of memory, why can't my damn five thousand times more powerful PC?

Somewhere in another thread, someone said that over the past few years, all the PC gaming industry has done is churn out sequels and new engines, and all the true innovation lies on the consoles. I'm sad to say that this is mostly very, very true.

Creston

This comment was edited on Aug 5, 12:56.
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37.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 11:15
37.
Re: No subject Aug 5, 2004, 11:15
Aug 5, 2004, 11:15
 
Guess we will have to agree to disagree, because I didn't think what Bioware did in the 90s was hot s@#$ but think what they are doing today is amazing.

Two generations of gamers I suppose.

And I agree with pretty much everything Tanto said.

While Morrowind was open ended it wasn't dynamic. You could slaughter an entire town and nothing would happen, nothing would change; now that might have been fine for the Fallout days but I find it pretty sad for todays gameplay.

I want my worlds to be dynamic and my actions recorded by the other npcs in the game... that is why I pray Fable does not suck.

This comment was edited on Aug 5, 11:21.
36.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 10:04
36.
Re: No subject Aug 5, 2004, 10:04
Aug 5, 2004, 10:04
 
I loved Morrowind, and must have put a couple of hundred hours into it. I just enjoyed the freedom of it. The OC of NWN was OK, and the expansions were fun, but they were a bit too linear and simplistic IMHO.

Tortured Hearts suits me just fine. It has a strong plot, but there's no rush. It gives you time to explore the world.

Kittens!
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35.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 07:47
35.
Re: No subject Aug 5, 2004, 07:47
Aug 5, 2004, 07:47
 
I also had one of the main-story agent types in it tell me to come back when I'd levelled up, for which I have no forgiveness in a true RPG.

You're probably referring to a guild quest (eg fighter's guild), where you have to be a certain, in-game ranking in order to be assigned a quest. I see no problem with this.

In my opinion, morrowind so far has been awesome. I also enjoyed NWN very much (have only just started on that - linux woot!), but I really like morrowind's main storyline.
This comment was edited on Aug 5, 07:50.
34.
 
No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 04:34
34.
No subject Aug 5, 2004, 04:34
Aug 5, 2004, 04:34
 
Fair enough, Morrowind did lack in the 'fun' category unless you were willing to get right into the game, but I did play and complete the game on XBox before I played it on PC.
To me, it was the only truly openended rpg to date.
Not that it was necessarily a good thing, because as you stated, they were mostly meaningless choices. Then again... what open ended RPG is truly open ended without dozens of meaningless choices?

My point is this: Some people prefer a game built on choice, and some people prefer a game built on story.
I prefer choice. And contrary to many beliefs, Morrowind did have a very in depth story that has evolved across numerous games.

Don't quite follow this?
Here's a point: When Fable comes about, we're told that we can hurt a person early in the game, then return at some point later on and that person might remember our character for our actions.
This seems meaningless, but what if it sparked an alternate storyline?
Let's flip the script: You give money to the character, and return later to find that character has become a great merchant. Tyrannical or Benevolent, these are meaningless things to begin with, but they can blossom.

If Morrowind fell short on any front, it was such that there was no 'time'. People didn't age, flora didn't grow, the world didn't 'live'. Hell, the NPC's barely had schedules, and you're right, when an NPC states that you must gain a level, that's harsh. Though I must admit, I don't recall any NPC ever saying that I need to go and gain a level.

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33.
 
No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 03:55
33.
No subject Aug 5, 2004, 03:55
Aug 5, 2004, 03:55
 
Oh gods no, please don't mention morrowind in an NWN2 thread :/

I *loathed* morrowind, partly because of the hideous slowness of running anywhere with a character that wasn't maxed out on agility, and partly because it really proved to me that I much prefered a strong storyline with important key choices than something with very little good story and a huge number of almost meaningless choices. BG, BG2 and HotU were all far more enjoyable for me.

(I also had one of the main-story agent types in it tell me to come back when I'd levelled up, for which I have no forgiveness in a true RPG.)

32.
 
No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 03:23
32.
No subject Aug 5, 2004, 03:23
Aug 5, 2004, 03:23
 
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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31.
 
No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 00:21
31.
No subject Aug 5, 2004, 00:21
Aug 5, 2004, 00:21
 
All I want from it is first-person play.


30.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 5, 2004, 00:19
30.
Re: No subject Aug 5, 2004, 00:19
Aug 5, 2004, 00:19
 
Planescape and Fallout2 were good games, but these guys didn't make those. They have some of the team that did, but it's a different company entirely.

It's not the exact same team, no. The key people remain the same. The team that developed NWN1 is not the exact same team that developed KOTOR but again the key people remain the same. The core talent is there (Chris Avellone, Darren Monahan, etc.) like at Troika but what seperates Obsidian from Troika is that Obsidian has an excellent producer and team leader, the same guy who produced FO2 and PST: Feargus Urquhart. Now maybe the folks at Obsidian have completely lost touch with how to make good games, but I wouldn't bet on it.

And if you didn't notice, Planescape and Fallout2 were 2d and are really, really, old.

So? If Black Isle and IPLY had had money to develop AAA titles you would've seen more titles of the caliber of PST and FO from BI before they folded.

Just because some people made something cool back in the 90's doesn't mean they can make something cool today in 3D..

I've never been that impressed with the stuff that Bioware has put out but they did "make something cool back in the 90s" with Baldur's Gate. Most people seem to think Bioware has also made "something cool today in 3D" with KOTOR and NWN.

29.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 4, 2004, 23:44
29.
Re: No subject Aug 4, 2004, 23:44
Aug 4, 2004, 23:44
 
Planescape and Fallout2 were good games, but these guys didn't make those. They have some of the team that did, but it's a different company entirely.

And if you didn't notice, Planescape and Fallout2 were 2d and are really, really, old. Just because some people made something cool back in the 90's doesn't mean they can make something cool today in 3D... if that was true Garriots new game wouldn't look like crap.

28.
 
NWN2
Aug 4, 2004, 23:39
28.
NWN2 Aug 4, 2004, 23:39
Aug 4, 2004, 23:39
 
I still have NWN 1 sitting on my shelf, waiting for me to play it. That and Planescape. Maybe after I finish FarCry. Then Doom 3. Oh, then Half-life 2.

Someday...someday...

27.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 4, 2004, 22:23
27.
Re: No subject Aug 4, 2004, 22:23
Aug 4, 2004, 22:23
 
So "raw talent" means making concept art that looks like it belongs on an 80's fantasy novel staring Fabio?

So "raw telent" means making a sequal to a gorgeous game look hideous with crappy player models and horrible lighting.

If so they couldn't shovel more "raw talent"

I disagree with you. Seeing as how most of the artwork that we've seen thus far seems to be reused from the first I'm not entirely sure what you're complaining about.

I mention raw talent because of Planescape:Torment and Fallout 2. If Bioware ever makes a RPG even remotely as good as those make sure to tell me. Until then I'm much more anxious to see what the creators of the above to games can do than I am to see another Bioware game.

26.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 4, 2004, 21:34
26.
Re: No subject Aug 4, 2004, 21:34
Aug 4, 2004, 21:34
 
Because they have more raw talent among their ranks than Bioware does?

So "raw talent" means making concept art that looks like it belongs on an 80's fantasy novel staring Fabio?

So "raw telent" means making a sequal to a gorgeous game look hideous with crappy player models and horrible lighting.

If so they couldn't shovel more "raw talent"

25.
 
NWN 2
Aug 4, 2004, 19:29
25.
NWN 2 Aug 4, 2004, 19:29
Aug 4, 2004, 19:29
 
But no Bioware. Which ties in neatly with what Bioware has been saying all along, that they would NOT be doing a NWN2. With Atari apparently now r(e)aping all the profits out of the franchise, I wonder if Bioware can be arsed to continue supporting it as well as they have been doing.

On the other hand, it's seriously reaching the end of its ability to be stretched, I mean, even this guy

www.adamandjamie.com/nwn

is running out of things he can do with it.

With Obsidian at the helm, I would at least expect a better single player experience, though that's not SUCH an accomplishment considering that the OC was really really bad (good expansion packs though), and hopefully a better engine, a non tiled editor, and MUCH MUCH more attention paid to the DM client.

When I first loaded up the DM client and saw you were basically a player in Debug mode with Invulnerable 1 toggled, I was severely pissed off. (Anyone remember those fun days when a first level cleric would cast darkness, and the DM would go blind....?)

Personally, I am much much much more interested in Bioware's new RPG Dragon Age.
And KOTOR2, ofcourse

Creston

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24.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 4, 2004, 19:27
24.
Re: No subject Aug 4, 2004, 19:27
Aug 4, 2004, 19:27
 
Considering the mileage that is STILL being ridden out of NWN1, this is great news.

23.
 
Re: No subject
Aug 4, 2004, 19:14
23.
Re: No subject Aug 4, 2004, 19:14
Aug 4, 2004, 19:14
 
yeh i cant believe i bought into the "be your own DM" hype... they didnt put NEARLY enough dummy scripts in the editor.. much less make it accessible - heres a hint: perfect that fucking editor first

They did put in enough scripts, just like all things it takes a little bit of effort to learn something. Also Lilac Souls script gen allows almost any newbie to control the internals of their module with zero script knowledge.

Most of the restrictions people found with the editor have been removed these days. You can make almost anything if you attack the editor with the same frame of mind as attacking a Quake mod.

22.
 
Re: feature request
Aug 4, 2004, 18:36
22.
Re: feature request Aug 4, 2004, 18:36
Aug 4, 2004, 18:36
 
Yep, if they had made DS an actual RPG that would have rocked. I love teh donkehs!


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21.
 
feature request
Aug 4, 2004, 18:19
21.
feature request Aug 4, 2004, 18:19
Aug 4, 2004, 18:19
 
No loads going in and out of 10'x10' houses. ;[

Dungeon Seige engines was really great that way (though the game was boring and got to be a management clickfest)


20.
 
No subject
Aug 4, 2004, 17:36
20.
No subject Aug 4, 2004, 17:36
Aug 4, 2004, 17:36
 
Guys, if you haven't picked up NWN in the last few months, you should definitely give it another try. I hated the original single-player campaign, but since then the game has really evolved. It now looks great, and plays great.

Some of the user-created modules are excellent. For example, Tortured Hearts brings Morrowind-style freeform gameplay to the table. It has a storyline that takes 60-100 hours to complete, and its overall quality is truly outstanding.

Kittens!
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