E3 06: Neverwinter Nights 2 dated

Atari will ship the long-awaited sequel to its popular D&D-inspired RPG this September worldwide; official Web site now online.

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Right now, most PC role-playing game fans are likely burning the midnight oil playing marathon sessions of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Given the fact the game has 200-plus hours of scripted gameplay--and the potential for near-endless wandering--it's possible it will occupy many players' time until later on in the year.

Luckily, PC RPG fans who finish Oblivion a few months from now--but are afraid of getting readdicted to World of Warcraft--will have another AAA high-fantasy fix. Atari has announced that that Neverwinter Nights 2, the sequel to its popular 2002 RPG, will ship worldwide in September 2006. Previously, the game only had a nebulous "2006" release date.

Like the original, NWN2 will be based on the Forgotten Realms line of Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games. It will also be based on the latest version of the Aurora Engine from Canadian studio BioWare. However, development duties for the sequel have been handed over to Obsidian Entertainment, the independent studio formed by former Black Isle Studio staffers. It is the second sequel Obsidian has handheld for BioWare, after Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. (The shop is also working on a next-generation RPG for Sega.)

In addition to the release date, Atari and Obsidian also relaunched the official Neverwinter Nights 2 Web site, www.nwn2.com. The site is now fully fleshed out with features, including screenshots, gameplay movies, trailers, and interviews with developers. It also retains the previously active forums for fans of the site.

For more on Neverwinter Nights 2, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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