Cryptic To Make Neverwinter Nights MMO?

By Kieron Gillen on June 11th, 2009 at 11:12 am.

In the realm of rumour right now, but Variety are reporting that sources have told them that the now Atari-owned Crytic are working on a Neverwinter Nights MMO for a 2011 release. In fact – I quote – “this reportedly was the primary reason Atari was interested in acquiring Cryptic late last year”. This would make three MMOs currently in development at Cryptic, which is quite the workload. This doesn’t actually surprise me that much, as last year when interviewing Jack Emmert about Champions, he talked about how it’s totally possible to make an MMO in 2 years – just not from scratch. He talks about lessons learned and knowledge, but here’s an interesting quote: “Here’s a business tip. Don’t keep building new engines. Take an engine, and improve it. Make three, four, five games out of it before you need to reboot. That’s a business thing”. More as it emerges, but it’s an interesting one to speculate on. NWN was never just a D&D RPG – level creation and virtual DMing was very much part of it. If they’re developing it, surely Cryptic will have to push this angle?

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30 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    Although I’m much more interested in NWN single player games, this could be great fun. I’ve never actually played an MMO, but the setting and story behind NWN could tempt me in on this one.

  2. rei says:

    If they go ahead with the virtual-DM thing, I’d definitely be interested. Just a bit worried that if they’re making three MMOs at the same time, they’ll just be retextured versions of each other with superficial differences, to say nothing of support once they’re actually out.

  3. Sartoris says:

    When will this MMO fad end already? Yeah, I know, it’s where the money’s at right now, but still, people, the band wagon can only hold so many bland and mediocre MMOs at a time.

  4. Sinnerman says:

    NWN MMO eh? That sounds just like the sort of game that a game company would start working on then make an announcement about. I wonder if this means that the Baldur’s Gate 3 rumours are true and if so what the odds are of it being a console only God of War clone?

  5. idmmao says:

    I’d personally be ecstatic if they’d just take NWN2 and fix the multiplayer enough to allow a stable user-run persistent world, like there are for NWN1. The small, tight-knit community, the freedom to experiment with the basic unstated rules of MMOs on a server-by-server basis leaving players with real choices, the lack of monthly fees. Well, no, I’d be willing to pay a normal MMO monthly fee if that would go towards people working on the engine and the toolset and generating content for players to build with full time, but still let players run their own servers and build their own worlds. Unfortunately I suspect that’s just me and maybe a couple thousand other people. Still, it would make for a radically different pseudo-MMO in a world saturated with MMOs that are fundamentally similar.

  6. Wacky says:

    Does this exclude Obsidian making an NWN 3?

  7. Jonas says:

    If this is true, and they do include a DM client, I will have to forcefully FORCE a friend of mine to play it (by force). He is a smashing DM, and to play an MMOG with your own personal DM running the show… oooh it makes me salivate.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    With all respect. I just hope Obsidian will stay as far away from NWN as possible

  9. BigJonno says:

    I’m more interested in Bioware being kept away from it. The NWN single player campaign was the worst thing they’ve done.

  10. Jonas says:

    How about a collaboration? BioWare does tech and interface, Obsidian does story and design? Then maybe we’ll get the perfect RPG :P

  11. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    Wacky, I believe Obsidian are still doing stuff for NWN 2 (patches and there’s the possibility of another expansion). I’m assuming that an MMO would be a separate project to any (hypothetical) NWN 3. But there is nothing but speculation about an future 3rd game.

  12. Tei says:

    But… but… NWN was just a framework to able writters tell a good history. The world was bland, the engine whas bad, the gameplay was bad, the camera a pain, and the multiplayer on it was limited. Sure, It was much better than other games at the time, probably even beter than some today games… but is not a game that deserver “enlargement” to a MMO. Theres nothing on the game that deserve it, its not the code, and is not the gameplay, … is the writting.

    Hell.. I remenber with joy the scene with the dwarven on the inn, wen a few outlaw entered breaking the door (or something) and the dwarven was happy because that was like a “gym”. That dwarven whas hilarious.

    I don’t see a reason to make a MMO out of NWN other than, I don’t know.. brand recognition? forcemove all the playerbase from DDO?

  13. Jonas says:

    Tei, you’re talking about NWN2. NWN1 was radically different in the interface and engine department, its engine was great and its camera was perfect. The official campaign could be played in 8-player co-op AND with a DM, and people used it to make semi-MMOGs called Persistent Worlds.

    NWN2 was significantly worse in the tech department, but its official campaign was way better in terms of story and character. I always felt that the characters in the player’s party were generally too stereotypical though, as if they were designed specifically to embody their class. The dwarf was a highlight, but he was almost like a parody of a dwarf rather than a believable character. Being a Chris Avellone fanboy, I blame this on the fact that he wasn’t in charge of the story or the characters XD

    But NWN was brilliantly designed (if poorly written, which is odd for BioWare), and certainly has potential for MMOG-dom, as its many many persistent worlds prove. In fact utilising player creativity in the same way could lead to incredible results. Picture an MMOG world which is in fact a multiverse of worlds created and run by players within the framework of the game rules – a chance to become a god of your own little realm that players can visit from the game’s official areas.

    It could be amazing.

  14. Lobotomist says:

    “How about a collaboration? BioWare does tech and interface, Obsidian does story and design? Then maybe we’ll get the perfect RPG :P”

    Right on!

    This is how the things should have been…

    There is no denying Obsidian are absolute masters of stories in RPG.

    Unfortunately they have no clue about programming or animation

  15. Markoff Chaney says:

    Hrmm. I thoroughly enjoyed some persistent worlds in NWN the first and, with actual people being able to GM in there, it would be nigh on impossible to top that experience. Truly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had CRPGing. I don’t know how they could hope to one up it, unless they want me to pay them monthly to have less freedom, of course.

  16. roBurky says:

    Didn’t Cryptic say that they had built their MMO engine to make in-game level design by players possible, they just weren’t including the feature in Champions at launch?

  17. Asper says:

    I’m sure there are folks out there who will appreciate this but personally I’d expect riots and bloodshed from the persistent world folk. Given the unrestrained hatred some have expressed for NWN2 methinks a MMO is a step too far. Unless they essentially release a dev kit allowing near total customisation with folks paying for the servers.

    The question being if you are changing the type of game why use an existing brand. Made more confusing as D&D is into 4th edition and Neverwinter has been smashed to pieces in that and you’d imagine that Hasbro will require the new ruleset/setting and that brings more negative from many of those who concern themselves with pen and paper.

    But what do I care don’t think I’ve played an online game for more than an hour and there are pleanty of other failed MMOs to keep it company.

  18. Sal says:

    sooo…what will happen to ddo? This sounds cool…this could turn into something small, eve online like.

  19. Vinraith says:

    Another franchise falls into the black pit that is the MMO market. That’s a real shame, I’d have cheerfully bought an NWN 3, but fee-based MMO’s are simply of no interest to me. Fee-based modesl fundamentally impact game design in deeply negative ways.

  20. Dave says:

    @ Sartoris:

    When will this FPS fad end already? Yeah, I know, it’s where the money’s at right now, but still, people, the band wagon can only hold so many bland and mediocre FPSs at a time.

    When will this Sims fad end already? Yeah, I know, it’s where the money’s at right now, but still, people, the band wagon can only hold so many bland and mediocre Sims titles at a time.

    When will this fake musical instrument fad end already? Yeah, I know, it’s where the money’s at right now, but still, people, the band wagon can only hold so many bland and mediocre fake musical instrument games at a time.

    When will this iPhone fad end already? Yeah, I know, it’s where the money’s at right now, but still, people, the band wagon can only hold so many bland and mediocre iPhones at a time.

  21. CakeAddict says:

    I would prefer just more singelplayer..
    Why does everything has to be a MMO these days?
    It doesn’t even seem to pay that well if you look at how many mmo’s are taken down the last year or two.

  22. Darkling starr says:

    ohhhh gods the last vestiges of my free time vanishing! I play a lot on Isle of Styss a NWN server already. just love to test out some of my builds on a bigger server!

  23. Alex says:

    Mask of the Betrayer certainly had a good story, but if I was going to play a D&D MMO, I’d prefer it not be in the Forgotten Realms setting.

  24. Jockie says:

    I used to be an admin & DM on a fairly prominent Nwn2 Persistant World, so i’m looking on at this with a degree of curiosity and a healthy dose of scepticism.

    I personally would not be interested in this if it was just another MMO, in the FR setting. If however they integrated ways of user content creation and a robust DMing type tool it would be another matter completely, as much fun as I had with NWN2 it was really badly lacking in multiplayer features and still struggles after a multitude of patches. If something were created that could allow us to realise our visions and have a certain amount of creative control over the world, and most importantly a fluid DMing system for storytelling this could be amazing. But it sounds more like a hopeful pipedream on my part. I’m guessing it will be a pretty bogstandard MMO, with a CoH type create your own mission system.

    Also, Neverwinter was kind of destroyed in 4th Edition and I can’t imagine WoTc sanctioning a 3.5 edition game, because it makes no snse to give all that exposure to a now obsolete system. That and 4th Ed lends itself far more eaisly to an MMO’s style of play. So DnD FR MMO perhaps, but don’t really understand why they’d use the NWN thing, it’s not even a particularily important or big city in the FR setting. I guess just because the name is familiar.

  25. Sartoris says:

    @ Dave:

    It’s almost like you’re…IN MY HEAD.

  26. Tem says:

    Here’s the simple part for both the “Singleplayer only plz” and “I r mmo playr” crowds:
    NWN1 was the pinnacle of player-created content online multiplayer. Short of changing the interface itself, the amount of things that can be done (I’m playing online right now) with it are still amazing. My install is currently 14gb, which rivals WoW’s for content.

    If they screw this up, I won’t be surprised. Obsidian boned NWN2 in every way but story.. If they make it MMO with AE (CoH), I’ll just skip it entirely. Full control needs to be given to the builders.

    But it has that possibility of being great.

  27. Heliocentric says:

    NWN online play was amazing because it wasn’t the focus tested grind driven tosh subscription platform mmo’s are. Be it a persistent world with persistent death, heavy rp or an exercise in story telling. Nwn(& 2) will always be special.

  28. Tei says:

    @Jonas: “Tei, you’re talking about NWN2. NWN1 was radically different in”

    Absolutelly, you are right here. I mixed both titles. Yea, NWN1 was like more fun. I finished it. NWN2 was more a “fight the interface” thing, but..he!… the scenes It remenber are from the NWN2 and maybe some feeling with the NWN1 loading screens (good feelings).

  29. Tei says:

    I also have like buy like 4 box (of more) of NWN1 game, as a way to support the company doing Linux support. NWN1 is one of the best games you can install in Linux.
    Another one is Sid Meier Alfa Centaury. This are two titles with a native client, where the native client is “happy” to run on Linux. Other games have a native linux client, but feel like “angry” to run on linux.
    Other than NWN1, Alfa Centauri, all the Quakes, some StandAlones,… theres not much* real AAA gamming in linux, that is sad, because we (The gamers) are forced to use something like XP.

    *: or not as much as in XP.

  30. Ken says:

    Tei: NWN1 also had Mac support for a while. I never tried it under Linux, but play on a persistent world server (Avlis, in the website link) that has moved from Windows to Linux recently. Some things were fixed for the Windows server side that weren’t fixed for the Linux side. Also, “No toolset” was kind of disheartening for non-Windows users.

    Still, it’s one of the very few games that held my attention for longer than a week (Age of Empires II was the other, I loved that game too).

    -Ken

    P.S. If you’re still interested in playing NWN1, check Avlis out. It’s been going ever since it went live about a week after NWN was released. It’s a Roleplay server, and has like 8 connected servers of it’s own, plus 3(?) other worlds attached to it with their own staff running them. Actions and speaking are in-character, no griefing, etc. and there’s a nice DM staff and players to help out. The experience there is also why I don’t pay money to MMOs :)