Square Enix may be renowned for role-playing game series such as Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, but after its acquisition of Western publisher Eidos, it has found itself publishing a slew of titles in a different vein. One of them is Dungeon Siege III, developed by US developer Obsidian, which will be Square's first Western-developed game in the role-playing genre. We dropped by to meet Obsidian to see how it has been getting on since its last showing at E3.
Obsidian used Gamescom to show off a new section of gameplay especially tailored for the German show, as well as talk about its aims for the project. It's aiming to bring the Dungeon Siege series to a console audience without alienating the PC fan base, which means offering both a deep, nonlinear storyline and plenty of action and loot. Dungeon Siege III is also designed for social play with drop-in, drop-out co-op allowing a second player to come and go as he pleases throughout the entire campaign.
We watched Obsidian play the game as a guardian-class character. The developer was able to adapt the character's stance to wield one or two swords at a time, with the emphasis on being a support character to the other player. The combat seemed straightforward enough--the game would autotarget enemies so that the guardian could perform a blade dash on multiple targets. There are three levels of more powerful special attacks too, including a spectacular "fall from heaven" move where your character rises into the sky and crashes down to earth destroying anything in the vicinity.
Importantly, this is the first game to use Obsidian's brand-new in-house engine called Onyx. The results are impressive from both a technical and an artistic perspective, with dynamic lighting, rag-doll physics, and a smooth frame rate resulting in a handsome-looking game. As an RPG specialist, Obsidian should be able to provide some interesting dialogue to carry the story, and, in fact, the vocal options revolve around an actual tree onscreen in the game. As a result of this, there will be multiple endings depending on the choices you make throughout the story.
Obsidian seems focussed on offering deep RPG mechanics while also making this the most accessible game in the series yet. Little additions, such as the ability to press up on the D pad to point to where you should be going, will hopefully alleviate any frustrations for those who struggle in the genre. Dungeon Siege III is launching on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 in 2011. We'll bring you more information on the game as we have it.