BioWare and Infogrames will announce two new expansion packs to Neverwinter Nights tomorrow, but we've got details on them today.
The long-awaited Neverwinter Nights was finally released earlier this year, and for role-playing game fans everywhere, it was certainly worth the wait. It combined BioWare's masterful storytelling ability with a beautiful new 3D engine, along with the latest 3rd Edition rules for Dungeons & Dragons. Soon after the game's release, however, BioWare started talking about supporting Neverwinter Nights with a future expansion pack.
Tomorrow, the Edmonton-based developer will announce not one, but two add-ons for this ambitious role-playing game. The first one is called Shadows of Undrentide, and it's being codeveloped with FloodGate Entertainment, which is composed of many ex-Looking Glass designers. To find out more, we sat down with Paul Neurath and Rick Ernst, creative director and lead designer at FloodGate, respectively, as well as BioWare's joint CEOs and coexecutive producers on the project, the good doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk. You can find out more about the second expansion in a separate
GameSpot: The announcement of an official expansion to Neverwinter Nights comes as little surprise, since you've always stated your intentions to expand upon the core game. What are the biggest changes that players can expect from this expansion?
Paul Neurath: Well, we're really not trying to change the game so much as expand it. The initial Neverwinter Nights game covers a lot of ground, but even so, the Forgotten Realms is an amazingly rich fantasy world. Most everyone who's played Neverwinter Nights has a favorite monster, spell, or weapon that they'd like to see added to the game. So what we're doing with Shadows of Undrentide expansion is adding a stack of new material and then building a new campaign to show it all off. The biggest additions would have to be the three new tilesets we've cooked up, a winter version of the rural tileset, plus a new desert and ruins tileset.
Ray Muzyka: Definitely, we've always planned to build and expand on the original game. One of the things that we have found at BioWare over the years is that our sequels and expansion packs are usually even better than the original game. This is because our teams are experienced using the tools, and we have tools and design frameworks available to use that allow our designers and artists to make progressively more complicated and interesting content. We're looking forward to this partnership with FloodGate on the first expansion pack to Neverwinter Nights. It will set the groundwork for the second expansion, which is also in development, exclusively at BioWare.
GS: What does the title "Shadows of Undrentide" refer to?
Rick Ernst: In the Forgotten Realms there was once a nation of powerful wizards called Netheril. So great was Netherese magic that they lived in massive cities that would float through the air. Unchecked ambition destroyed their civilization and sent their cities crashing into the ground (doesn't it always?). Generations later the ruined cities are still filled with powerful magics and fell beasts. Undrentide is one of these cities.
GS: Will players be able to import their high-level Neverwinter Nights characters into the game, or will they start over with a new character in the expansion?
PN: 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons has a built-in level cap at 20th level. Since most people who've played through the original campaign have hit that cap (or nearly so), the expansion campaign is intended to start from first level with a new generation of adventurers. However, the expansion is broken into three chapters and designed such that a player could start the game at the beginning of either the second or third chapter with a preexisting midlevel character.
Greg Zeschuk: Exactly. The first expansion is intended as more of a lower- to midlevel adventure, while the second expansion is aimed at mid- to higher-level characters.
GS: Will the hireling system remain as is, or will players have control over more characters this time around?
RE: We're sticking with the dynamic-duo style of play for Shadows of Undrentide. That being said, we're adding a number of improvements to the henchmen themselves. We're working on allowing the player more control over a henchman's actions, and we're giving the henchmen a more active role by allowing them to interject with criticism or advice. The goal is to give your one henchman more character.
RM: In addition to the design wizardry of FloodGate, the programmers at BioWare are working to implement several improvements to the henchman system, some of which will be in the first expansion, and some of which will be in the second expansion (mainly because some features will take longer to develop). One other important addition in the first expansion (no promises until we implement it) is that we're hoping to be able to allow players to access their henchman's inventory, and we plan to continue to build further enhancements to henchmen in the second expansion.
Avalanche Studios co-founder says developer's ambition is for action, not moments that make players cry; steampunk-style game on hold. Full Story
- Posted May 15, 2013 6:33 am PT
4A Games creative director Andrew Prokhorov thanks Jason Rubin for telling the studio's story, but says, "We deserve the ratings we get." Full Story
- Posted May 16, 2013 12:44 pm PT