What’s In A Name? ArcaniA: Gothic 4 Footage

By John Walker on May 6th, 2010 at 1:19 am.

Slap-fight.

It’s been a while since I’ve remembered there’s a Gothic 4 coming. But no, not Gothic 4. It’s ArcaniA: A Gothic Tale we were told in 2008. Except, um, now it seems to be ArcaniA: Gothic 4. Not developed by previous Gothic devs, Piranha Bytes (who of course made last year’s Risen), it’s instead coming from Spellbound. It was delayed last year when JoWood announced they wanted to make some significant improvements and put lots more money in. Now it seems to be re-emerging with a couple of new in-game trailers.

Here’s what’s described as “ambience”, which I think is Gibberishese for “running around”

And here’s some combat:

It’s due out this Autumn.

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79 Comments »

  1. Bleh says:

    Hopefully won’t be as broken as the previous ones… Always wanted to like those

    • Lobotomist says:

      Did you play Risen ?
      That was not broken and was probably RPG of 2009 ( even though the heavy competition )

      Anyway. Arcania ! Can not wait !

  2. Soobe says:

    I need an RPG like a mofo right now, so bring it on.

    But well, as excited as I am to dip into the classic German RPG experience, did anyone else get an extreme sense of Déjà vu with that first video and Risen? I mean seriously, I actually had to check the video title, as that part where he runs on the beach was almost exactly like the start of Risen.

    More generally though, is anyone else starting to feel a bit on an anti-climax with footage like this? It looks lively don’t get me wrong, but it just feels like I’ve done what this games offering so many times before.

    • sassy says:

      Piranha bytes really didn’t stray far from the tree when they created Risen. Without any research I would say it was made in the same engine (improved dramatically though) as Gothic 3, the game uses the same basic structure and has the same basic problems. For intensive purposes Risen is Gothic 4.

      So now that the official Gothic 4 is due out soon it is absolutely no surprise that it looks a lot like Risen. The game should be near identical but (un)fortunately that wont be the case. Gothic 4 has changed a number of systems which has had gothic fans complaining since the initial announcements, these include skill trees, combat that sounded like the witcher and big damage numbers (fortunately removed, the early screenshots made it look like an MMO).

      I really want to like this but I have absolutely no faith it is going to be any good … at least Piranha Bytes will still be working on true gothic styled RPG’s.

    • oceanclub says:

      “Did not care for The Witcher combat. Even though it never made it onto consoles, it was a console system. Good game though.”

      Great game, and I thought it was a good combat system for _fighters_. Playing fighters in Dragon Age, for example, is very dull (there’s a reason I sometimes have a party of 3 mages and a fighter), where you essentially have a set of “Hit Him Very Hard” buttons.

      The best bit about the Witcher as the potion system; potions were actually meaningful and almost essential to fights and you had to think in advance which ones you wanted to create and take. Rather than in DA, where I end up selling most of them and simply spamming health ones occasionally. I hope future RPGs take up some of the Witcher’s mechanics.

      The Witcher has been cruelly unappreciated, and I say that as someone who cruelly unappreciated it for over a year ’til I got it on a Steam sale.

      P.

  3. Morti says:

    looks like Risen 2. Don’t get me wrong, Risen was a quite decent RPG, being german and whatnot… but this looks like the -exact- same game. Not even a graphics overhaul….

    I hope this time the story doesn’t drag so bad toward the last third of the game. I never got through Risen… That goddamned dungeon was way too tedious

    • Grumpy Moose says:

      That’s a strange thing to say, as both games have nothing in common technical-wise. The games don’t use the same engine, Arcania has a completely different combat system, totally different art style, somewhat different structure and a lot more. I don’t think the two games will end up feeling all that similar.

  4. Cvnk says:

    I’ll be honest, these pique my interest far more than the previous trailers. They seem to have done away with the silly action RPG elements we saw previously. Now that this looks like a proper RPG I honestly don’t care if it’s a true Gothic descendant (since Risen deserves that title).

  5. Divebomb says:

    Spellbound the devs behind the Desperados series and Robin Hood Legend of Sherwood that is. Superb games.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I’m replaying Robin Hood right now, actually. Took Commandos and made it clear and fun again. Too bad it’s nearly forgotten.

  6. mcnostril says:

    After getting gothic 3 because of wulf’s post somewhere in the forum, I’m actually interested in this.

    Gothic 3 with the community patch is quite the game (so far. For all I know it’s going to make me projectile vomit after enough hours, but I’ve already got like 15+ and still enjoying it).
    Still has a bunch of technical issues and some gameplay quirks, but a very enjoyable rpg nonetheless. I hear Risen was a bit of a step backwards so I haven’t checked it out yet, but hopefully they fix their previous mistakes in this game. Perhaps the fact that it’s a different perspective (considering it’s another studio) might be just what the series needs to get rid of the more flawed elements – or perhaps they’ll just cock it all up. Gaming is exciting!

    • mlaskus says:

      Risen? A step backwards? It was fleshed out, stricken of all the unnecessary features added in Gothic 2 and 3 and really nicely polished. The only thing I didn’t like about Risen was how it put more constraints on the player’s actions. In Gothic’s you could try to outsmart the developers, solve problems completely differently than intended and get away with it. In Risen there are quite a few moments when this is incredibly tempting but so doing can break your game if you don’t keep some backup saves or don’t use cheats to get back on track.

    • mlaskus says:

      There was a series of articles about Risen here on RPS by Alec, you could check them out Risen report #1

    • Wulf says:

      Choice is an unnecessary feature in an RPG? I disagree.

      Choice is the core necessity in my opinion, the singular thing an RPG must have which everything is built around. Freedom of choice is the purest element of the Western RPG, it can diverge a plot, it can open up new possibilities, and it can–as you said–allow the player to complete quests in various ways. By comparison, I felt that Risen was a bit dumbed-down compared to Gothic. Yes, Gothic is complex and filled with umpteen billions of choices, but the more choices there are, the more enjoyable the RPG is. At least, I think so.

      What I liked most about Gothic III is that it cleverly scripted choice into the world, too, which was an interesting thing to watch. A pack of wolves are hungry, what do they choose to attack? A lone orc is scared of you after taking a beating, but he might choose to join in on a fight if he has some buddies backing him up. Just killed a bunch of stuff? No worries, someone will be surprised that you helped clear up one of their problems and reward you retroactively for your work, without even needing to have picked up a quest.

      Then there are various dialogue choices, paths of advancement, different skill sets, and everything leading to a very defined character which went down a particular path to reach where they are. I felt that Risen was watered down in this regard, the choices were far fewer and simplified, and the world didn’t really feel like it wanted to show you like it was living, and it all felt very static. This is just my opinion, mind you, but I think that Gothic III (with the full community patch, not one of the tiny old ones) is a far superior game, and a better accomplishment on all fronts.

      I’m sorry, but I was more than a bit disappointed by Risen for being Gothic-lite. We have different ideas on what’s necessary for an RPG.

    • GT3000 says:

      Nice work, you got Wulf all riled up now.

    • mlaskus says:

      Where the hell did I write that choice in not important in RPGs? I just loved Risen for dealing with issues Gothics had since the beginning. Many features in Gothic 3, even in 2 were implemented in such a way that they were no fun at all. Without them and the basics finally done very nicely, the game felt really polished. Seriously try to understand what are you reading before you rant about it.

    • Sarlix says:

      Only Wulf could do a mega rant over something that was not even said. Happy days.

    • Wulf says:

      If there’s one thing that Wulf does, it’s that he marches the local anti-opinion militia out, yep! Oh by God does he do that, because someone can’t have a different opinion about games, nope! That’s forbidden! Shhh!

      And it looked like you were saying choice was bad to me, you said that Risen had some of the ability to do things differently stripped out, that’s choice, see? Or maybe you don’t. I don’t really care, to be honest.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh for the love of, fine… I’ll at least show respect by spelling it out…

      “It was fleshed out, stricken of all the unnecessary features added in Gothic 2 and 3 and really nicely polished.”

      So what did Gothic 3 have that Risen didn’t?

      “The only thing I didn’t like about Risen was how it put more constraints on the player’s actions. In Gothic’s you could try to outsmart the developers, solve problems completely differently than intended and get away with it. In Risen there are quite a few moments when this is incredibly tempting but so doing can break your game if you don’t keep some backup saves or don’t use cheats to get back on track.”

      See, this is what I’m getting at, you say you didn’t like it, but you also say that it had all ‘unnecessary’ features stripped out from Gothic 3. This says that the choice present in Gothic 3 that wasn’t in Risen was an ‘unnecessary’ feature.

      Bloody hell, I wish I didn’t have to do this, it makes me feel like shit when I have to do this.

  7. mlaskus says:

    Gah! The combat looks terrible. I can’t look at it, it just so consoleish. Risen is the true Gothic 4, not this abomination.

    • ulix says:

      You mean action-oriented, vivid and immersive? OH NOES! How horrible!

    • damien says:

      the combat looks (granted, its hard to tell with certainty, due to the quick cuts and editing) identical to risen’s combat. even the player rolling animation looks the same.

  8. ZIGS says:

    If anything, the graphics look way more polished than Risen’s

  9. DarkFenix says:

    Risen was horrifically dumbed down and was all too easy to break. I would welcome Gothic 4 going back to the way Gothic 3 was. I thoroughly enjoyed Gothic 3, though it was seriously flawed in its own way.

    My main gripe with Gothic 3 was the apparent lack of thought that went into balancing the various possible character archetypes. Some were frustratingly impotent while others effortlessly cleaved through the game. I felt the same way with Oblivion, a great open world with a sufficiently deep levelling system, but sorely lacking in the combat department.

    • Chiller says:

      And on the other hand, you’ve got other fingers. Er, I mean – myself. I loved Risen from the first moment and played it to the end 3 times having so much fun along the way (bar the very uninspired final fight) , while I couldn’t stand Gothic 3 for more than 15 minutes (admittedly, it an early, probably buggy version, although I don’t think I played long enough for that to be an issue anyway).

    • Wulf says:

      I can agree with the lack of balance. And it seems to be that different classes do better/worse at different points of the game.

      I just liked Gothic III because it was about more than just the combat, and it had all the things that Risen lacked; that huge, open world, the ecology, the properly diverging plot, the incredibly ambitious level of player choice (which I felt that Risen dumbed down beyond reason), and so on. That’s why I couldn’t get into Risen, really, since it just came over as ‘Goffik 4 Kidz’. You know, it’s like when a partly adult anime is taken, cut up, dubbed with a completely different plot, and made suitable for a Western kiddie audience.

      If something could do Gothic 3 with all the complexity and better balance, then that’s what I’d want, but I feel like that’s wishing for the moon.

  10. bhlaab says:

    If you hated Gothics 1 thru 3 you’ll LOVE Gothic 4!

  11. captain fitz says:

    The ‘ambience’ trailer really looks like a Gothic world to me, I’m down. And the main character doesn’t even run like he was made with claymation!
    The combat trailer is a little worrying though.

  12. Chiller says:

    Looks like something I might enjoy. The combat seems very Risen-like (or maybe that’s just because it’s Gothic-like, but I didn’t play those) which was a nice system, built on a solid foundation, but which could stand some improvements – specifically, reducing the gap between melee and ranged, possibly by giving you effective ways to break through blocks.

    I totally see myself playing this, though.

  13. qrter says:

    In an industry overflowing with utterly stupid titles and names, ArcaniA deserves a special mention.

    • MultiVaC says:

      Agreed, and they could easily make passable by losing the uppercase “A” and switching around the subtitle. “Gothic 4: Arcania” sounds decent, maybe a little cliche, but not bad. “ArcaniA: Gothic 4″? That sounds like one of those awful budget games from Activision Value or something, complete with a Metacritc score of 55.

      I’m hoping this will be as good as Risen, though. That was an excellent game.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ll definitely agree that it’s a painful name.

      They should have just stuck with ‘Gothic 4′. Maybe they will do that for the UK release. (I can but hope.)

  14. Zogtee says:

    Gothic 3 was an astonishing mess, an absolute pain to attempt to play on release. I gave it another go a while back, as I figured all the patches and the community patch would have turned it into a decent game. While improved, I still couldn’t justify wasting much time on it, when there were other far more superior RPG’s around. If G3 had been an indie game (which it frequently came across as), it would have been easier to forgive it’s awkwardness and foolish design choices, but a commerical and presumably professional product? The *third* in a series? Bugger off, mate.

    I still can’t believe how devs sometimes just piss away great opportunities and franchises like this.

    • Wulf says:

      You should try the new ‘complete’ patch, the one that even CD Projekt helped out on, it really makes all the difference. It’s a completely different game.

      There are so many games that take years of patching in order to realise their true potential, and I’m never afraid to dig Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines into this, either. Because a number of years back I was having exactly this argument with a bunch of people who played Vampire on release, and thought it was a crappy, buggy game.

      Some RPGs are just like that, they come out of the oven too early and you just have to wait for them to be really fixed up. And speaking of Vampire, I’m playing it once again. These old, buggy, ambitious RPGs were always the best.

  15. Tei says:

    Can I import my Risen character and continue exactly where I left?
    Risen was awesome.

  16. AndrewC says:

    It isn’t really Gothic unless the main character is a swarthy, sarcastic shit with piles.

    • Wulf says:

      Which is infinitely better than playing Joe Farmer Saves the Fantasy World (Again)™!

      Though despite having a bit of a lip, if you play it right he can still be a really, really nice guy. He’s just not all po-faced and humpty-dumpty.

    • Urthman says:

      It isn’t really Gothic unless the main character punctuates half his sentences with an awkward close-fisted Hitler salute.

    • Wulf says:

      Does he do that? I must’ve completely glazed over it if he does. Probably in Gothic II, since my memories of that game are incredibly vague, with the first and third games being the ones I’ve replayed recently.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      It’s more like punching the air.

  17. Mac says:

    Why do Developers & Publishers think it’s a good idea to waste 25% of the video showing me their fucking names?

    It’s really starting to piss me off whenever I watch gameplay footage, trailer, etc that a large propostion of the video is taken up with the names of the companies – show me the fucking product you want me to buy morons.

    • Sarlix says:

      At least they gave some actual in-game footage, rather than just a bunch of fancy pants cut-scenes, that really gets up my nostrils.

  18. Chaz says:

    One thing I really like about the Gothic series and indeed the Fable games, is that the worlds look lovingly handcrafted from scratch and have a more natural feel. Rather than some of these big open world games like Oblivion, that look like they’ve been auto generated with the click of a button and then had all the buildings and what not plonked down where they thought it would look nice.

    • Cvnk says:

      G3′s world was just massive. There was something really special about coming back to the starting area after playing for so many countless hours in the southern desert and then the northern ice canyons. It almost came as a shock — like I had completely forgotten those areas were in this game.

      Gothic 2 also did a great job of expanding the world beyond your expectations when you got access to what was essentially the map from Gothic 1 (minus a few areas).

    • Urthman says:

      Yes. Handcrafted landscapes. If you took out all the monsters and items, the Gothic games would still be fascinating landscapes to explore, whereas Oblivion would be pretty but mostly very boring.

      Risen seemed to have that same feel judging from just the demo and the ambiance trailer of Gothic 4 shows a few hints of it as well. I was worried that it was a thing Piranha Bytes had a particular talent for and that Spellbound’s Gothic 4 wouldn’t have that same handcrafted feel, but maybe it’s more a matter of the developers making it a priority than a handful of genius designers on the Piranha Bytes team.

  19. Wulf says:

    It’ll be interesting if Gothic iV turns out to be another Gothic III/Bloodlines.

    It was years before the rest of the world seemed to catch on and understand what the VTMB fanbase did, that it was actually a good game that just needed more love in order to reach its potential. I feel that this is what will happen with Gothic III eventually too, though perhaps only in non-UK European countries (they seem a bit less set in their ways, less stubborn and all).

    If Gothic IV is another Gothic III, just with better balance and slightly better combat, without being any less ambitious, even if it is as buggy as hell then I’m all for it. It’s just going to be another one of those games I’ll be championing for years before the rest of the world catches up. ;p

  20. AndrewC says:

    Also a killer cyborg.

    • Sarlix says:

      A killer cyborg from the future, an original concept if ever I did hear one.

  21. Sidorovich says:

    Whist its always nice to evangelise about certain buggy games that, despite their glitches, deliver on their promise of a compelling and unique world – Gothic 3 was just plain broken. Awful combat and horrific graphical errors is all I remember of it, and that was 3 patches in….

  22. /V/endetta says:

    “Fast paced combat system” = Left mouse clicking spree

  23. oceanclub says:

    Gothic 3 was the most comically broken demo I’ve ever played. I recall most of the scenery of the game was clipped. I felt vicariously embarrassed for the developers who released it. I’m all for giving buggy RPGs a fighting chance (hello, Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, you two-faced cutie) but there’s limits.

    P.

  24. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    Look, another one of those.

  25. Bobzer says:

    I think we can trust Spellbound….. We can probably trust spellbound….. I hope we can trust spellbound.

  26. Anach says:

    I’ve just attempted to play Gothic 3 yesterday, after quite a long break, and it’s still broken, but at least it’s playable now.

    Risen is something I’d like to play, but It’s been removed from Steam, and I will only buy my games from Steam these days.

    Gothic 4 might be good, yet it might not. Depends how serious they get into the RPG elements and how the story, dialogue and controls are. Those things we wont know from trailers and will simply have to wait and see.

  27. blargh says:

    Wow, looking much more improved than when I first saw this last year. I guess dumping more cash into this might have paid off. Let’s hope it’ll turn out to be a good game.

  28. Klaus says:

    ArcaniA?? What? Maybe if it were a palindrome…

    I just can’t get into Gothic for some reason, only played a little bit of the first one, before I had to restore my hard drive and then lost the game somewhere. Meh.

    • mcnostril says:

      Now that you mention it, AinacrA sounds much more interesting.
      Like some sort of terrible elven disease.
      Probably sexually transmitted.

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