Risen 2: Dark Waters Impressions - First Look

We take our first look at Piranha Bytes' sequel to Risen and the spiritual successor to the Gothic series.

If there's a better reason to attend the 2011 Game Developers Conference than the opportunity to take a first look at Gothic developer Piranha Bytes' role-playing sequel Risen 2: Dark Waters, we don't want to hear it. This sequel takes the high-fantasy world of Risen, which took place on a besieged island, and will become a full-on, full-fledged, full-featured, full-monty pirate role-playing game, where you play not only as Piranha Bytes' established "Hero" character, but also as a seafaring adventurer in a fantastic age of sail.

Risen 2 will be a full-on pirate role-playing game.

Risen 2 takes place some in-game years after the events in the first game. Specifically, the Hero has vanquished the powerful titan monster that threatened his island home after first defeating the evil inquisitor and claiming the villain's magical eyepatch--an artifact that let the Hero identify the titan for what it was--a malevolent creature disguised as a natural disaster. Unfortunately, bigger problems are afoot--other titans are awakening near other islands in the area, and worse yet, hideous sea monsters have emerged from the deep, completely disrupting trade routes and generally causing the few survivors who exist in the world to be very, very grumpy.

And as it turns out, the Hero is the grumpiest of all. In a first for a Piranha Bytes game, the Hero does not suffer from amnesia and does remember his hard-fought battles and narrow escapes perfectly well, thank you very much. However, his cool reception by an unappreciative populace has made him bitter and frustrated, though he still seeks to save the world by finding some means to rescue the other islands from their impending doom.

While we took our first look at the game during a hands-off demonstration session, Piranha Bytes representatives took a great deal of time to address the specific complaints from Risen's fan community, including bland-looking character models, flat-looking environment textures, a lack of variety in enemies to fight, and technical problems in the console versions. The studio is addressing every single one of these concerns by creating highly detailed character models with varied animations and modular apparel that can be more easily mixed and matched, enhanced environment texturing that makes the environments seem much more realistic, simultaneous PC and console development to ensure all versions of the game are created in lockstep, and lots of new enemies to populate the islands.

Yes, islands. While the first game took place on a single landmass, Risen 2 will take place across a series of different islands. The developer isn't commenting on exactly how your swashbuckling pirate Hero will make his way between these beleaguered areas, but given that Piranha Bytes suggests that the game will be "the perfect pirate RPG," it's not hard to guess how you'll be getting from point A to point B. And you won't be going it alone, either; like in Risen, you will from time to time have companions join your side. At least one of the companions will be a mysterious woman practiced in the dreaded art of voodoo magic. This character appears in one of the game's early video trailers and rescues the Hero by means of a voodoo doll and a lit match, just as he's about to be finished off by a group of attackers.

Be ye a scurvy enough pirate to rescue the world? Find out later this year when Risen 2 is released.

We then took a brief look at a pre-alpha version of the game in motion and found it to already look considerably better than the previous game. In addition to featuring beautiful water effects (which allow for underwater vegetation and darting schools of fish), Risen 2's environments seem highly detailed and will be populated by townspeople who have their own daily schedules and tasks that they'll attend to whether or not you happen to be in the area.

The game is still very early in development but already looks extremely promising. Risen 2 will offer better graphics, a bigger world, and an all-new story. The game will be released later this year.

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Discussion

33 comments
milesreesspear
milesreesspear

there were actually cannons in gothic 2, wierdly enough cause they just sat on the walls and were never a part of the story or anything

Snyper22
Snyper22

awesome there hasn't been a decent pirate game in a really long time, this kinda looks like what i wanted two worlds to be like, minus the medieval feel. Risen seemed like it was rushed and poorly tested but regardless i enjoyed what little it had. so the sequel won't be anything but an improvement.

BloodFelix
BloodFelix

I have to be honest, I wasn't the most impressed with Risen 1. I say that because although it had me absolutely hooked by the end of it (and definitely wanting more), it took too long to get into, due in part to the fact that I didn't connect with the character I was playing, and the combat system wasn't the best. Hopefully if they fix those things (and add more sets of armor and customizable aspects to the game), then this will be an excellent sequel.

GhoX
GhoX

Risen 1 was disturbingly good, especially when compared to Gothic 3. I'm looking forward to this game.

Kaapola
Kaapola

Gothic 1 & 2 were definitely the best RPGs ever made so far, as they had enough to do for a high replay value but too little to get sandbox-like (like oblivion and morrowind). The only thing I didnt like about risen 1 was that it was too small and short... comparing it to gothic 1 & 2 you will notice both of those had more chapters, and imo the chapter lengths were rather similar. I liked risen 1 for everything else, so as long as they just make this one longer it will be good.

Xroalia
Xroalia

I loved Risen so I'm really looking forward this game. Gothic 4 was a big disappointment so I'm glad Piranha Bytes is making this game.

tanerb
tanerb

is this game released? there is a review in ign

esmaeil_mix
esmaeil_mix

great. this really made me happy unfortunately gothic 4 disappointed us,i'm sure this will filling the gaps in gothic 4 as it did in risen 1 !

Traviankocsog
Traviankocsog

Risen was one of the best games , it was as good as dragon age in my opinion . I hope this time gamespot will give Risen 2 a proper rating

Supabul
Supabul

Risen on 360 was not a good port, I hope they really are going to put the effort into the console version, I felt so ripped off after buying Risen for 360

opossa
opossa

hope this will be similar to the sega's "thepirates of dark water"!!! i love that game.....

Aetherian2
Aetherian2

quote: Targzissian Posted Mar 6, 2011 1:23 pm GMT "The game is still very early in development... The game will be released later this year." Isn't that a contradiction? I'm suspicious of any RPG that can be completed in less than two or three years. I'd rather have a highly polished experience without quest bugs and graphical glitches, thank you very much. Excuse me, but they have been working on this new game since the release of the original Risen 2 years ago, thank you very much. The release date is still uncertain, by the way. It's only a guess at the moment.

hellwisp
hellwisp

Don't really like the pirate concept, but the first one was ok so this one should also be worth while.

Cataclysmm
Cataclysmm

the first one rocks,definitely getting this one when it drops.

Crossel777
Crossel777

How can it be very early in development and be due to release some time this year? O_O

P8rt
P8rt

Guns?Pirates?Any other developer making such big changes to an IP and I'd be worried.PB says "walk the plank" and I get excited and ask "will there be sharks?"

Targzissian
Targzissian

"The game is still very early in development... The game will be released later this year." Isn't that a contradiction? I'm suspicious of any RPG that can be completed in less than two or three years. I'd rather have a highly polished experience without quest bugs and graphical glitches, thank you very much.

TheDragonManiac
TheDragonManiac

I liked the first one but this one: I dont think many will like this one too bad the developers have made it a pirate game. Iide like the game will continiut from the prevouse one, not to chnage into another diffrend game

Anti-Skub
Anti-Skub

Looks interesting. Risen wasn't the best game ever but it's island was spectacularly well made. I've yet to play another game that achieved quite the same feeling of exploring a jungle. It felt like there were so many nooks and crannies

BlackCanopus
BlackCanopus

I hope more islands means more varied environments. Risen had a gorgeous island, but the environments were not as varied as they could be. Adding the guns to the game doesn't seem like a bad idea either, because the medieval setting was getting tedious. It seems many years have passed in the world of Risen (just look at the hero, his older face and his blind eye) and naturally, their worlds has gone through a renaissance.

Ivars1980
Ivars1980

OdinssonThor Don't worry about guns. Everything will be fine. ;) By the way real life pirates had guns, so it would be only fair to give them the guns in game as well. Check Captain Morgan on the rum bottle and you will see pistol behind his belt. ;)

omidsaint
omidsaint

I LOVE RISEN ... I LOVE ROLE PLAYING

DEATH775
DEATH775

I hate the first game I hope this one is better

Prostakma
Prostakma

@OdinssonThor, as far as I understood you're saying that guns will ruin the gameplay. Think of the crossbows that PB games had previously. I think they will use similar combat system with guns in Risen 2, at least I hope so :)

OdinssonThor
OdinssonThor

Pirates? guns?...lol this used to be medieval!!!! they just have to crap all over it...Gothic 1&2notr and Risen were cool...but guns!!!! no not for me...it's like Skyrim having guns all of a sudden!!!

RyuRanVII
RyuRanVII

Very early in development? Piranha Bytes said Risen 2 was 80% done. The game will most likely to be released this year.

Vincecyc
Vincecyc

My favorite gothic maker is back with risen 2,(gothic 1-3 only,NOT gothic 4 Please), this year is great, first i heard ES5 Skyrim, then risen 2, i will buy them both!! this game remind me of cooking raw meat at camp fire & drinking booze.

GK007
GK007

great. looks promising. I love hardcore RPGs

Astro-Effect
Astro-Effect

wow.....the spiritual successor 2 d gothic series has again Risen.......and this time frm Dark waters....lol. graphics n plot of various islands sounds quite good.

klez86
klez86

yes!!....the first one was a blast