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Neverwinter Nights 2 Preview
developer: Obsidian Entertainment
PIV 2000, 512MB RAM, 5.5GB HDD, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 31, 06 (released)
|» All About Neverwinter Nights 2 on ActionTrip|
Most of us here at AT love playing Neverwinter Nights. Personally, I've gone through the original and both expansion packs, and I still hanker for more (more I tells ya!). Well, we're finally getting some more tangible info on the sequel, and my fanboy meter is shooting through the roof. We all know that Bioware gave Neverwinter Nights 2 over to the talented people at Obsidian Entertainment. After our feature on NWN 2, we became even more intrigued with the game, so we went directly to the source to learn more about this promising D&D RPG.
Obsidian's Ferret Baudoin (Lead Designer) and Tony Evans (Senior Designer), took the time to disclose some of the features that await players in Neverwitner Nights 2. Although these guys are still determined to conceal specific aspects of the game, they were eager to discuss other important elements such as prestige classes, races and sub-races, spells, and more.
Yaar, she's a fine sea bird!
Look, perhaps we can talk about this. You seem like a reasonable bunch.
ActionTrip: How long has your team been working on Neverwinter Nights 2?
Ferret Baudoin: Obsidian started pre-production work on Neverwinter Nights 2 in July 2004. We were doing conceptual stuff before then, but July is when we had our core team assembled and starting laying the groundwork for all the fun that would follow.
AT: Neverwinter Nights gave players an opportunity to take many different paths as they progressed through the main single-player campaign. Does NWN 2 follow the same principle, or are you taking a more linear approach in terms of story telling?
Tony Evans: The Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign is replete with branching paths, expansive areas to explore and hidden secrets to uncover, which makes for a lot of replay value. The campaign is just linear enough to allow us to tell an epic story, but packed with enough optional content to keep players coming back for more. Playing through the Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign will leave the player satisfied, but not inundated and drowning in a sea of meaningless choices.
AT: The original NWN game was pretty complex - there were four huge chapters to go through. How many can we expect in NWN2?
Tony: The Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign is divided into three large Acts. The Acts are huge, comprised of several modules each (with the player's stronghold almost a game within itself, separate from the Acts). Also, because there are many different ways to play the game, many players will want to start Neverwinter Nights 2 anew. And even players who manage to play the campaign enough times to suck all the marrow from it will be able to continue their adventures in Neverwinter Nights 2 by creating their own modules, or by downloading modules crafted by other fans.
AT: Are there any new regions or characters from the Forgotten Realms universe?
Tony: Most people who have heard the name of our game, Neverwinter Nights 2, will not be surprised that the game centers around the famed city of Neverwinter. Beyond that, players can expect to explore several different regions from the Forgotten Realms universe, and meet many characters from Forgotten Realms canon and from the original Neverwinter Nights campaign and expansion. We are keeping many of the specific regions and characters under our hat. (Bugger, nearly had him there... - Vader)
AT: Will you be following the D&D 3.5 rules strictly, or has the team made a few moderations in that respect? Does the game allow players to adjust the intricacy of D&D 3.5 rules like in the first NWN title?
Ferret: We've been following 3.5 as closely as we can. Wizards of the Coast made a lot of great changes from 3rd edition based off a ton of experience and feedback. So those changes help make the game more fun and balanced, things we definitely want in our computer game. Not everything can be ported over directly, but we try to keep the spirit of the rules intact. We talk with Wizards regularly and go over our rules, story, and other aspects of the game and they've been very helpful.
AT: Are we going to see a comeback of some prestige classes from the NWN expansion packs (such as the Assassin, Arcane Archer, Pale Master, Champion of Torm, Red Dragon Disciple, etc.)? Can we expect to see a few new ones?
Ferret: One great thing with starting with the Aurora engine is that keeping the prestige classes from Neverwinter Nights and its expansions was doable. They still needed some work to update them for 3.5, but we got all of them for NWN 2. Plus, we've added some prestige classes that should make the fans very happy. We added prestige classes that allow spellcaster characters to continue their spell progression, which makes prestige classes far more tempting for casters. We've also worked closely with Wizards of the Coast to make a brand new prestige class specific to our game that they'll later put in their books (as a D&D geek that was such a rush to work on :). More details on that class will be released in the future.
AT: The previous game featured an amazing variety of spells. Approximately how many spells are you guys working on? Could you elaborate on some of these?
Ferret: There is a staggering number of spells in the game - think hundreds. We'll probably have a comparable number of spells as the first game and its expansions. So by the time expansions to NWN 2 roll out it'll be icing on a very large and yummy wedding cake.
As far as some specific spells, doing new effects for everything that's already in the Neverwinter Nights games is quite a task for our capable artists. Expect all the classic D&D spells like Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Heal, Meteor Swarm, and dozens of others. There are new spells in NWN2, too, and we'll go into more depth about those later.
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