Going Fourth: Neverwinter Announced

By Kieron Gillen on August 23rd, 2010 at 5:00 pm.

Here comes the summer!

Confirming rumours from a previous point in our temporal existence, Cryptic are “do”ing a new Neverwinter game. Specifically, called “Neverwinter”. From the details in its press release and about page, it’s a persistent world Neverwinter Nights (Including content creation tools) based around co-operative groups of five (with the computer controlling the NPCs if you haven’t got the right number) plus fourth edition D&D rules (which is a definite plus for Co-op groups, I suspect) and all the character customisation that Cryptic excel at (though you are kind wonder how much variety can you get out of dudes wearing leather). Interestingly, it’s also a “multi-platform event”. Except it doesn’t mean consoles. It means a trilogy of novels and a tabletop roleplaying game. Man, I hope we don’t have to dumb the game down for those readers. It’s planned before the end of next year and I find myself tentatively excited. Yay? Yes, yay.

, , .

83 Comments »

  1. Simon Dufour says:

    I like R.A. Salvatore Novels.
    I love RPS.
    I love RPGs and CRPG.

    Therefore, my heart is broken by your baseless assumption that people that like to read Forgotten Realms books are slow.

    • radomaj says:

      I think Kieron is just poking fun at people who say that when a previously PC exclusive franchise goes multiplatform with releases on PC and consoles it becomes “dumbed down” or “consolized”. (Simpler UI, less buttons etc.)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I’m deleting the name of RA as I think it makes it clearer that I’m not digging at these novels, but novels generally.

      KG

    • Alexander Norris says:

      FR is terrible. I am still waiting for an Eberron game, and no, DDO does not count, being set in what basically amounts to the most boring, generic fantasy setting with warforged and a few names pilfered from Eberron added.

    • dadioflex says:

      “I’m deleting the name of RA as I think it makes it clearer that I’m not digging at these novels, but novels generally.”

      You don’t like people who read novels?

  2. Jez says:

    Oh dear… Cryptic are bad x a million. This doesn’t look good.

  3. Jez says:

    Oh derrrr…… Cryptic are bad. :/

  4. derella says:

    I’d be excited if someone else was developing this… I have no faith in Cryptic’s ability to release a decent game.

  5. Dominic White says:

    Interesting. So, this’ll be the first D&D 4.0 computer game. Hopefully their interpretation of the rules turns out well – with any luck, things should be nicely paced and balanced at the very least.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      except it’s still 4th edition which turned it into a video game so really if they do it right this is how it should have been in the first place with the pen and paper version scrapped because they obviously only care about money now

    • sebmojo says:

      Pitch perfect simulacrum of angry nerd! 9.2.

    • sebmojo says:

      More constructively, my issue is that any non-pausable D&D game is going to be some variant of Diablo.

      The closest comparison for 4e is actually not WoW, but something like Fire Emblem – and the ruleset would slot just beautifully into that kind of game. Perfect for a handheld (say).

      But realtime play would seem to lose all the benefits of the intricate (and excellent) system, in exchange for some vague D&D flavour. And the wholesale (but necessary) gutting of sacred cows that led to 4e has diluted that flavour considerably.

      Plus, Cryptic.

      So, cautious pessimism. But who knows? Might be awesome!

  6. Navagon says:

    On the bright side, it would seem to mean that the D&D legal fiasco is over and Atari still has the license.

  7. Garg says:

    Is this game not being identified as an MMO then? “Persistent world” isn’t quite the same.

    • derella says:

      According to Jack Emmert, it’s not an MMORPG. He described it as an online multiplayer game, and a co-op RPG.

      I’m interested in what business model they intend to pursue.

  8. W Main says:

    I can’t say I have much faith in Cryptic getting it right to be honest. :(

  9. Premium User Badge

    James G says:

    Never played anything by Cryptic, so don’t want to judge too quickly, but from what I’ve heard about STO I’m not hugely optimistic. The presence of content creation tools sounds promising though, although I’m not sure how they plan to tie this in to a persistent world. (Although the original NWN did persistent worlds, so I’m sure they’ll work something out.)

    I must admit, I’m not hugely interested in the co-op aspects of NWN, although recognise that they were a core part of the game for a significant proportion of the fanbase. If the content is provided in such a way that well crafted single player campaigns are also available, then I might end up taking a look.

    • Paul B says:

      People forget how good some of the Neverwinter Nights single-player campaigns and add-ons were. I’ve always felt that this aspect of both Neverwinter Nights games were under-loved by RPG fans.

      Mask of the Betrayer & Horde of the Underdark were both excellent expansions, and I thought the starting NWN2 campaign was also good, tracing your rise from peasant to Knight of the Realm. (If I recall, John Walker gave NWN2 a glowing review in PC Gamer too).

  10. Armyofnone says:

    “It means a trilogy of novels and a tabletop roleplaying game. Man, I hope we don’t have to dumb the game down for those readers”

    Bwahahaha! Oh man. That’s an amazingly accurate cut to the core of “Console games suck cuz they’re dumbed down PC games!” Well played Kieron!

  11. Hallgrim says:

    I’m really excited at the thought of a NWN game that will provide what the community was asking for in NWN2.

    Looking at the FAQ and press release it looks like there will be tools to create adventures, but I’m getting the impression that the “persistent world” will be controlled entirely by Atari. Which sounds pretty lame.

    Also, the bit about 5 classes. That means fighter, thief, cleric, wizard and one another I assume. Is there a new 4th edition core class? I’m assuming monk is out (animations) as well as druid (shapeshifting + spell effect complications).

    • derella says:

      It’s ranger. There is a Gamespot interview that confirms it.

    • Garg says:

      Gah that’s not good at all. Something I enjoyed about NWN 1 and 2 was all the different class choices and hybrids you could make.

    • Froibo says:

      There will no doubt be an expansion adding new characters. When the 4th edition rules first game out there weren’t many to choose from but they more than doubled if I’m not mistaken.

  12. Cinnamon says:

    I’m disappointed with this news since I can’t see the musical pun in the title. I would have gone with Neverwinter is True: Rumours Confirmed. A pretty clever reference to the song Winter is Blue by Vashti Bunyan, even if I say so myself.

  13. Xercies says:

    Hmm could this be a computerised version of D&D like many people want1. If so that could be very interesting.

    • Xercies says:

      The persitant world could just mean that the world you create is persitent and on Atari servers so you can go back to it. So i wouldn’t worry just yet.

  14. laikapants says:

    Hrm, even if I don’t ultimately play it I shall remain intrigued. Particularly so since Neverwinter got Magic-Nuked off the face of the Forgotten Realms when it transitioned from 3.5e to 4e. Or are they dropping that bit?

  15. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    I have no experience of Cryptic and their games. I’d have prefered a new Neverwinter single player game as I’m not too keen on MMO persistent worldy type majigs. But I’ll certainly be keeping an interested eye on this as I thoroughly enjoyed the previous Neverwinter Nights games, despite knowing next to nothing about Dungeons, Dragons or the combination of them.

  16. Fumarole says:

    The persistent world + toolset vibe is definitely a plus. Maybe this will finally get me to try out the 4E ruleset.

  17. Sarlix says:

    Is it a good thing or a bad thing they’re going to be using the 4th Edition Rule Set? I know very little about the subject, but I have read other people saying 4th edition is not so great. Well in fact they said it was shit. Any thoughts?

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      Gameplay-wise, I doubt it will be a huge deal. 4th Edition in a video game will more or less play something like Dragon Age.

    • TeeJay says:

      That doesn’t sound good :(

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      4th edition basically makes every class as interesting to play as spellcasters of earlier editions. Everyone has various usable skills right from level 1, some of the more arcane rules got streamlined, and a number of rules additions made it easier for players and dungeon masters to fit freeform play into the game.

      However, I find choice of edition is really just a question of personal taste(and habit and money).

    • Zenicetus says:

      Today’s Penny Arcade (“Traditional Values”) is the perfect comment on this:

      http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/

  18. TotalBiscuit says:

    Zero faith in Cryptic at this point, since they’ve not given anyone any reason to think otherwise. Star Trek Online will haunt me to my grave.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      ST:O was absolutely horrendous. To this day I will never understand how the fans can possibly defend that game. I think it’s a combination of denial and buyer’s remorse. People who don’t want to admit the Star Trek game they were waiting for is terrible and that they wasted money on it. I feel sorry for the people who bought a lifetime sub before the game launched. Then again, not really, because if anybody buys a l lifetime sub before a mmo even launches, they deserve everything they get.

    • Choca says:

      The fans will defend the game because they know that it’s likely to be the only MMO they will ever get on the franchise in the foreseeable future.

    • bob_d says:

      @ ScubaMonster: To be fair, it was pretty amazing what did they in the short amount of time they had to get it done (they had about a year and a half to do the whole thing when the property finally ended up in their hands).
      When I first heard that a Star Trek MMO was being developed, I didn’t envy whoever ended up as the developer: it’s impossible to “do it right” and satisfy all the fans. I would argue that the expectations were more impossible to deliver on than Star Wars. Think about all the elements needed to make it “work,” that aren’t part of your standard MMO: ship-to-ship strategic combat (including fights between massed fleets) plus person-to-person combat, exploration of unknown space and whole worlds, combat and infiltration/stealth missions as well as diplomatic intrigue, deep story and shoot-em-up action. Oh, and even though S.T. is all about cooperation and group action within military-style hierarchies, the game also had to work as a completely single-player game, both because all MMOs have to function that way to a degree, and because there haven’t been any Star Trek single-player space games lately, so this was filling that role as well.
      Given $75+ million dollars and five or six years dev time they might have come close, but they also wouldn’t have made their money back.

  19. Mondomau says:

    From what I’ve seen 4e is, if anything, *better* suited to a computer game than 3 /3.5 was. One of the principle ‘ complaints’ about 4e being that it is too streamlined and combat orientated (note: for a pen & paper rpg, that is).

    Matter of opinion, obviously.

    • Fumarole says:

      One of the complaints in the pen and paper crowd is that 4E makes D&D more WOW-like. So it would seem to be better suited to computer gaming, though I have only browsed the rulebooks myself.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      From what ive seen, this would be the case. 3.5 was a mess though, and I personally felt it limited the ‘roleplaying’ aspect by having so many bloody rules. 2nd eds the charm.

  20. ScubaMonster says:

    Cryptic and fourth edition? This game already failed.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Correction: 4e probably doesn’t matter for a video game. But Cryptic is enough of a reason why this game won’t do well.

  21. Karrius says:

    I’m curious as to if they’ll be using D&D 4e rules as printed originally, D&D 4e rules after errata, D&D 4e rules after errata done to make them fit with D&D Essentials, or D&D Essentials, all of which are rather different. I’m also curious as to how they’ll land on the side of some interactions, like Implements and Flaming Spheres, that the official rules interpretations have outright disagreed on.

  22. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    Has anybody tried the Dragon Age pen&paper RPG yet? We created some characters and played the adventure that comes with the box, and we thought it was pretty good, actually.

  23. Chris says:

    Wow talk about a quick way to destroy a great title, by having Cryptic develop it. Every game they have made totally sucks and has no depth.

    Guess it doesn’t matter anyway, most people will be playing Guild Wars 2.

  24. TeeJay says:

    Personally I am more interested in the various NWN modules I haven’t played yet and in replaying the BG games. Although I have never played pen-and-paper and initially found it hard to understand what exactly was going on part of the attraction was researching stuff and discussing it on forums etc – I grew to like the complexity and choice of the (2.5 > 3 > 3.5) system and have felt disappointed about all the stuff that feels like it was ‘missing’ from Dragon Age.

    Because I am not a ‘dedicated’ AD&D player I have just about got my head around the BG and NWN systems and really don’t want to have to “relearn” anything. It was aready simple enough to turn the game onto ‘easy’ and bash your way through using brute force if you really wanted to (ie “accessible”) or conversely you could be really clever with magic or do crazy soloing or some strange character or group build (ie challenge).

    I’m not in principle against making things more “accessible” or “streamlined” but the best way of doing this is to have an “easy” setting, a bit of hand-holding and a simple option (eg vanilla fighter) rather than gutting all the complexity and not allowing fine tuning and crazy or experimental game styles.

  25. DK says:

    Well I hope they keep Bill “Fuck up Projects” Roper away from it. And make it turn based.

    The former is the more important part.

    • Manley Pointer says:

      The guy was involved in making Warcraft, Warcraft II, Warcraft III, Starcraft, Diablo, and Diablo II. And then two bad games. But I guess you’re only as good as your last one, right?

    • laikapants says:

      @DK

      Well, that’s one thing I can assure you of seeing as he announced he was leaving Cryptic a week ago. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/29939/Cryptic_Studios_Chief_Creative_Officer_Bill_Roper_Announces_Resignation

    • bob_d says:

      @Manley Pointer: If by “involved with” you mean “was a public-relations guy during the development of” then you are spot on. For some reason everyone thinks Bill’s a designer or producer or something; he isn’t. He’s really good at what he does, but he’s not on the development side. I guess the fact that he was given the symbolic title of “Creative Director” at Cryptic while he was there helped spread that misinformation.

  26. Dreamhacker says:

    I’m going to sound like a rerun here, but it has to be said: Cryptic? As in the dirt-rep, crap-dev, zero-success Cryptic? My hopes are floored, might as well stick to NWN multiplayer mods.

    I mean, some dev studios have one’s respect from day one. Cryptic is one of those that never had mine. However, I will praise them on being a “rather-than-well”-studio.

    Okay, okay, I’ll be nice now: Even just digging large holes and filling them again stimulates the economy, right?

  27. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’m finding it interesting how Cryptic have such a low rep now. City of Heroes was really one of the best MMOs of its generation, and the first to actually try and add something approaching atmosphere to its game world. There’s absolutely no memory of that now.

    I know why, of course, and that’s without the standard Gamer response of a company only being as good as the last game they made. But still.

    KG

    • Choca says:

      Yeah, well, when I look at Cryptic’s recent games I can’t help but think that City of Heroes was to Cryptic what Event Horizon was to Paul W.S. Anderson, i.e. a single speck of gold in a pile of mud.

      Plus they are really horrible at communicating and gamers tend to remember that. That’s pretty much why they hired Roper back in 2008, because eveytime Jack Emmert opened his mouth, virtual riots ensued.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Event Horizon was also nob!

      KG

    • Tei says:

      CoH was good, but CO is a clone of CoH and Star Trek Online is another clone!. So it looks like Neverwinter will be a clone of CoH all again!.. You can’t imagine how wrong that sounds.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      @KG You are wrong. That is all.

    • Antilogic says:

      I think they would have a considerably better rep if they spent more time making 1-2 truely great mmos- and they didnt make city of heroes while making several others, then split accross multiple mmos, Champions Online, Star Trek Online, and they must have been making the early stages of this game at the same time, resulting in all titles being poor at best.

    • Legionary says:

      Was just thinking that myself, reading through these comments. They really trashed their reputation, didn’t they?

      All of the City of Heroes live team moved over to Paragon Studios when NCSoft bought Cryptic out. Prior to this NCSoft had acquired other Cryptic developers like Sean ‘Manticore’ Fish.

      I wonder if this was Cryptic allowed the best of their talent to drift on to other companies. Was ST:O partially the result of brain-drain?

    • Jimbo says:

      STO and Champions didn’t play too badly, but they just felt half-hearted. Like they made a decent game and then didn’t have time / couldn’t be bothered to make any decent content for it.

      This seems like it could be an issue for a D&D game, where content quality is pretty much everything. I guess getting the player to make your content for you is one way to go about it, but there needs to be a decent amount of it there at launch.

    • bob_d says:

      @Legionary:
      STO was the result of only having a year and a half to do the game with a relatively small team and huge (unreasonable even) player expectations.

  28. Cinnamon says:

    @Choca; Event Horizon is the Citizen Kane of Paul W.S. Anderson movies.

    • Choca says:

      Putting Paul W.S. Anderson and Citizen Kane in the same sentence should be illegal.

  29. Tetragrammaton says:

    An enormous amount of hate for cryptic. After some research it would seem they’ve only released 3 games. 1 good, 1 average & one sub par due to production issues. Justified rage?
    (Although Ill admit that im not holding my breath for this one, slightly relieved its not being done by obsidian though.)

  30. Rhalle says:

    An online only game with subscription fees, whoring out an old franchise for the name recognition.

    Gaming Business Model 2.0 suck.

  31. DestinedCruz says:

    Ugh. Fourth edition.

    However, fourth ed. might translate to a computer game better than a real D&D system does.

  32. Arglebargle says:

    D&D 4th edition should transfer to the computer well, since it was pretty WoWzerized already. Having played D&D and RPGs from forever, I have to say 4th Ed., even with it’s problems, was much better organized than any of the previous versions. D&D had always been slap-dash, haphazard, and wobbly, so this could only help.

    The Cryptic end? One can only hope that they’ve been secretly working on this for years, as their quickie MMOs have been released unfinished. Given that City of Heros got better when Cryptic split, that’s two and a half strikes against them. And their slavish adoration of RA Salvatore does not give cause for hope. Maybe he got better as a writer over the years, but it sure doesn’t leave me with a good impression. Maybe Salvatore’s good with the GM plots?

  33. Schrodinger's Lolcat says:

    I think that’s a little un-generous to some of our intellects, Kieron. It’s pretty clear that both CO and STO were half-baked releases – products that were buggy, only partially featured , and a bit dry in the gameplay department. Of course, “a bit dry” when were talking about MMO gameplay might as well be mouldering year-old bread… the whole genre is still trying to figure out how to be played for “fun” rather than just “achievement.”

    Is it unfair to the studio to bemoan their focus on getting the product out the door rather than getting it right? It would be one thing for them to have simply screwed up along the way – it’s a completely different one for them to have shipped something largely incomplete, knowing full well that it was a half-hearted attempt to cash in on a franchise. Isn’t that why Marvel pulled out and Champions Online became an “original” IP? And weren’t they also selling lifetime subscriptions to their fans before shuttling these releases out the door? That seems a bit… cold.

    Saying that there’s no memory of CoH seems a little drastic. If anything, there are very strong memories of CoH. Ones that contrast so drastically with the last two games Cryptic has slapped together that the community is beginning to wonder if the company is still the same one that released that title not so long ago…

    • Schrodinger's Lolcat says:

      Your reply function time’s out or something :(

    • Choca says:

      “If anything, there are very strong memories of CoH. Ones that contrast so drastically with the last two games Cryptic has slapped together that the community is beginning to wonder if the company is still the same one that released that title not so long ago…”

      I think you kinda hit the nail right on the head with that comment.

  34. Deevian says:

    But, ‘ya know, the developers actually aren’t the same. Quoting Wikipedia:

    “All of the City of Heroes/City of Villains development team transitioned to work under NCSoft under the working title NCNorCal (NCNC), which later became the NCSoft-owned subsidiary, Paragon Studios.”

  35. lePooch says:

    An entire site full of gamers and not a SINGLE person who actually plays Dungeons and Dragons? ITS MY TIME TO SHINE!!

    Almost everyone here is correct that the new DnD turned what was a great way to spend an entire day in simulated combat into a much more action focused game that feels like a computer game. I lamented it for a while, rebelled, went away to other systems, and then came back when I realized that it was great for kids, and my relatives have children that must be inducted into geekhood.

    There are tons of improvements that seem directly ripped off from MMO’s. The “action point”/epic point/magic point system, where you can spend a point to get a unique advantage for that round/action/whatever. Though it should be pointed out that Shadowrun(pen and paper) did that first.

    Just like MMORPG’s, they have four generic archetypes now – striker(DPS), controller(AOE), leader(healing/buffs) and defender(?cant recall currently – the Tank). The split of fighter/rogue/mage/cleric do not apply anymore – i mean they can be considered a ‘complete’ party, but there are much better class mixes than that.

    Despite all of you moaning about Cryptic, who I have no real quarrel with, there is still hope for this game because of one more thing: the pen and paper game itself has a online dungeon creation component that people pay a monthly subscription for. It allows you to create characters and scenarios. I have never tried it, but the preview videos were oh-so-pretty.

    In fact, most of the game can be built directly off the work that Wizards of the Coast has already expended on their pen and paper dungeon master’s tool.

    So with an established ruleset, half the rules already in code somewhere, and a system that is heavily influenced by PC RPG’s, I really do not see how they can mess this up. All they have to do is get the

    @Destined Cruz: I definitely giggled at that underhanded insult to 4th Ed.

  36. DangerousDan says:

    Disappointing. NWN is a game that has given me countless, countless hours of fun and no one has yet been able to replicate well something that Bioware did nearly eight years ago.

    I want to be able to design a persistent world that isn’t cosigned to maybe ten regular players a week, not play what basically amounts to an MMO with a gimmick.

    Alas.

  37. Spartan says:

    In an interview about the press release about the game JE made the following comment:

    “we made City of Heroes in about a year and a half, City of Villains in nine months. We made Champions in two years and STO in a year and a half, so we’re an incredibly efficient studio, you obviously know — there’s no one in the industry that’s as prolific as we are, it’s not even close.”

    Woozers!!! I would not be braggin’ about that shit to be frank; especially STO and to a lessor degree CO. It is exactly because of that the company is looked at so negatively by gamers. Prolific piles of hot steamy shit wrapped in silk coverings is still shit once one digs their hands into things. He should have talked about how they are implementing the new development “philosophy” into their existing titles.

    • Choca says:

      JE is also the guy who said when releasing Champions that the gameplay in City of Heroes was horrible and that everyone who enjoyed it (basically everyone who gave him money for years prior to him running away from NCSoft) was pretty much too far gone to see it.

      There’s a reason why people get paid to speak to the public, it’s because it takes training and a surprising amount of skill. When you don’t have that, you should just not speak up because you’re going to sound like a douchebag.

    • Choca says:

      And seriously, bragging about STO ? He got to be kidding.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Emmert had the inspiration for City of Heroes, but he turned out to be kind of a clod, who couldn’t really see beyond HIS ideas of what was fun. Really, the big hope for Neverwinter is that they’ve actually been working on it for years now, in the background; and that they’ve learned something (other than snagging popular IPs) about doing a better job of it.

      And yes, they should never let Emmert open his mouth in public, because bad things fall out.

  38. Vanilla Ice Jr. says:

    cool i like nwn1 (2 sucked) and i want to give 4th edition d&d a shot without actaully playing d&d because that’s for dorks who like to pretend they’re some elf named drizzle dust urine or something whats that dudes name drisst do’odin, dorzzle fuck’shit, derple grownfart, r el’salvador, fritz don urkel, blargh why bother i don’t need to know his name to know how much be blows.

  39. -Spooky- says:

    No Bioware on NwN MMO, what a shame..