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Obsidian Entertainment


Neverwinter Nights 2 Introduction

Neverwinter Nights 2 Product Highlights

Rise in Power, Responsibility, and Renown - In NWN2, the player's journey not only expands their personal power, but also their political power. The protagonist rises through the ranks of Neverwinter society and can even become a lesser noble of Neverwinter - a full knight with land and title. The player lords over a mighty stronghold, he commands a small army, and he is the last line of defense for Neverwinter itself.

Cities Are Alive - The cradles of civilization in NWN2 are teeming with life. Children play through the street, farmers lead their animals around, and passersby walk on their mysterious business. Players will even stumble upon numerous one-time events, such as a thief robbing a commoner. In addition, frequented locations, such as the city of Neverwinter itself, will change rather dramatically between chapters.

Epic Battles - NWN2 will introduce a number of new and exciting boss battles to the RPG genre. There will be plenty of creatures that simply require brute force to defeat, but strategically placed throughout the story are a few more memorable boss battles that will provide defining game moments. This variety will ensure that epic key boss battles will be more challenging, more memorable, and most importantly, more entertaining.

Continuation of the Original Game?

You will start from the first level, and it's going to be a whole new story that won't be connected to the first Neverwinter Nights game. There will be some returning characters, but mostly those who are known in the Forgotten Realms. The sequel is set sometime after the first game, and Neverwinter is trying to recover from the epic siege and battle that it endured. You will create a completely new character, born in the swamp village of West Harbor, which itself was the site of a cataclysmic battle.

3e to 3.5e Rules Transition & The Warlock Class

Check out our interview on the subject.

Graphics Engine & Getting Rid of (Exterior) Tiles

Obsidian wrote an entirely brand new rendering engine, which gets rid of the generic "tile-based" look and replaces it with an up-to-date graphics engine, so outdoor environments look a lot more natural and organic. For example, you can have hundreds of trees, and you can make each of them unique by just changing the numbers in the editor that determine their appearance. There are now hills and folds in the terrain, along with intricate lighting and particle effects such as ground mist and a day/night cycle with real-time shadows. The visual difference between Neverwinter Nights and the sequel are like night and day. Meanwhile, indoor environments, such as dungeons and building interiors, still have a "tile" look, mainly because indoor areas tend to have lots of 90-degree angles to begin with. However, it's important to keep in mind that Obsidian separated objects from tile sets, which means that you can mix and match objects and interiors to your heart's content, and also hand-place objects anywhere you want. This means that you can put grasses and plants inside dungeons to give it an overgrown look, which is something you absolutely couldn't do in the first game.

The largest change (pun intended) is that areas are now 32x32 in size with each of those units being 9m×9m. X-y-z scaling and scaling is possible and apparently does not have any effect on processor use.

Various Planned Improvements over the Original Game

  • All of the dialogue will be spoken and lip-synched; they'll change a lot of the controls. They'd also like to create different control structures -- not to make it arcadey, but to include things like hotkeys for feats that will make regular encounters less of a hassle to deal with.
  • Day and night cycle is astounding and gradual with the moon and stars following a logical path. The day’s light gradually dims as the sun goes down moving to the full darkness of night and then the sky lightens as day approaches.

Toolset Improvements

There will be more camera control in the toolset. You'll be able to set a camera anywhere in the world and put it on a path, or set it on a trigger. They're also looking into ways to help the beginning toolset user get up and go a little faster. Right now, you're given a blank slate without much to go on, and one thing they're thinking about is a random module generator where you can set some parameters and play an automatically-generated module. It'd set up the structure for you, and then you'd be free to modify it. Also, monsters can now be scaled, and the rendering engine supports gigantic creatures.

They think it'd also be great if they could make access to the modules a little bit easier. Not that it's hard right now, but when you download a module off Neverwinter Vault or wherever, you get a pack, and you have to drop things here and there. They're thinking about having the top 10 most popular games on the Vault available in the game menu and just have them install automatically once you click on them, making it instantly available. It'd make it easier, and it'd help make more people aware of all the stuff that'll be out there for Neverwinter Nights 2.

Henchmen - Companions

We also want a henchman system that works better and makes it feel more like you're in combat. Your henchmen could base their behavior on your current status -- what's attacking you, how strong they are, and so forth -- and they could shout at you, asking if you need help. Again, that would make it an easy process instead of one that requires lots of clicking. Or maybe you could just have a "help" button, and when you press it, the henchmen could figure out what would be the best way to help you. That's what we're playing around with right now. We want to make the battles less... I don't want to say stuttered, but we'd like to help the player have more control and make the NPCs more lively. We'd like to take a page from older RPGs where your NPCs had more of a role in the story and were just generally more interesting.

Neverwinter Nights 2 will let you have three companions, and each one will be far more interesting than any of the henchmen that you encountered before. For example, each companion has his or her own motivations, as well as a detailed history, and your path through the game will vary depending on the companions that you choose to adventure with. You will be able to control companions directly (that is, you'll be able to "switch" between your main PC and your NPC companions at will), as well as control their inventory, which is something you couldn't do in the original game. You won't be able to choose a different class for a companion when they level up, however. Each companion will have a specific level-up path (e.g. an NPC will always level up in Fighter). You will be able to choose skills, feats, and spells for your companions, so only their classes are predetermined. You will also be able to choose which spells your companions memorize, if you want to. You won't be able to get them to choose a prestige class, however. Except for very special cases, accessible through conversation, you won't be able to influence which classes your companions choose when they level up.

Spell/feat/skill progression has been tailored, to some extent, for all companions. Some companions will be very picky about the spells and feats they choose, while others may follow a more generic path. This is largely determined by their personalities (for example, certain spellcasters are particularly fond of certain types of spells, while others are less eccentric).

Of course, you'll be free to override this, if you want to choose their spells and feats yourself. But if you make use of the "Recommended" button, you'll find that most companions will make choices based upon their preferences and personalities.

Companions will choose spells at level-up based upon their own predetermined package (which Obsidian has designed, in most cases, to fit their personalities).

The conversation system in Neverwinter Nights 2 has also been completely overhauled, and now there are cinematic-style camera angles that can zoom in on faces, instead of the static portraits used in the first game.

Single-player Campaign

Obsidian's focus is on the single-player campaign. They want to take what they've learned from Fallout and Planescape: Torment, and really make a great single-player game. They've been thinking about a lot of older RPGs, and have this feeling that something has been lost with recent RPGs. Their goal with NWN2 is to have the world behave almost like a character in the story -- have it evolve and change.

The single/multiplayer campaign does have branching in parts, but there are a number of chokepoints throughout the game the player must pass through to progress. The faction and class choices should allow for a different experience for the second, third, or more times you play, and once you're done exploring the single-player campaign, you can start building adventures of your own with the toolset.

Persistent Worlds

Persistent worlds will be more limited in NWN2, as the module sizes are much, much larger than in the original game. While the developers are examining ways to make this work, they cannot guarantee they can reduce the sizes much more than they already are.

Crafting

There is a detailed crafting set up in the game, using a series of items and special workbenches you find scattered throughout the game, all of which make use of your crafting skills of your characters.

Short Story Synopsis

Bards sing tales of heroes from ages past, but never have the Forgotten Realms so desperately needed a champion. Years have passed since the war between Luskan and Neverwinter, almost enough time for the wounds of war to heal. But the brief peace the Realms have known may be at an end. Tension growing between the mighty city-states means the Sword Coast again teeters on the edge of open war. Unnoticed, a greater danger stalks the City of Skilled Hands. Unbeknownst to the denizens of the North, deep in the Mere of Dead Men, dark forces from across the Realms have been rallied under the banner of a legendary evil. If left unchallenged, all of the North is doomed to fall under its power.

Even in this darkest hour, hope remains. A mysterious relic is borne to Neverwinter in the hands of a lone hero so that its secrets may be unlocked - secrets that carry the fate of all the North. So begins an epic tale of shattered alliances, noble acts and dark deeds to be told across the Realms for generations to come.

Neverwinter

Obsidian is focusing a great deal on the city of Neverwinter. They want the city to be a place that you really "play" around in and return to for almost the whole game. To do that they need to have it feel like the city evolves and that the people you meet in it are interesting and remain interesting. They will still be basing it off the D&D books, and the important people in Neverwinter according to the Forgotten Realms will be in the game. They also plan to bring Lord Nasher back and make him an important part of the entire game.

Game Length

The campaign should take between 40 and 60 hours; 40 hours if the player is just trying to crush their way through it, and more than 60 if they are stopping to smell the flowers.

Features

  • Experience the long-awaited sequel to the game that revolutionised creating and playing computer role-playing games.
  • Use the completely rewritten, powerful Obsidian Neverwinter Nights 2 Toolset to create your own adventures, share them with friends, or run them through your adventure directly as the Dungeon Master.
  • Play online with other gamers and enjoy limitless adventure.
  • Explore the Forgotten Realms in greater graphical splendour than ever before with a completely new, cutting-edge graphics system and an overland map.
  • Employ new spells, feats, and advanced prestige classes, based on the exciting Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition rules.
  • Recruit up to three companions to assist in your adventures. Improved party control allows for more dynamic tactical decisions in combat and more personal interaction.
  • Rediscover familiar locations and meet old friends from the Neverwinter Nights series.

Quick Facts

Publisher: Atari
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Rule System: D&D 3.5 edition ruleset
Single Player: Yes. 40-60 hours. One Character. Multiple henchmen/companions (3). Fewer NPCs. More Depth. Less linearity.
Multi Player: Yes. Around 64 players max. Emphasis on MMOs controls.
Toolset: Yes. Import function from NWN. Will use tilesets for interior and painting tools for exterior.
DM Client: Yes; after the release of the game.
Horses: Not rideable.
Subraces: Yes.
Stronghold: Yes.
Romances: Yes.
Cloaks: Yes.
Use NWN Content: They are looking into it but nothing is certain.
Requirements: PC. No Mac or Linux support at this time.

System Requirements

Please see here.

Projected Release Date

The game is expected to be released in the US on October 17 and in Europe on October 20, 2006.

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