Gulag Ork-esta: Gothic 4 Released

By Quintin Smith on October 12th, 2010 at 9:15 am.

A real man, yesterday.

Hold onto your hat/kettle helmet/spangenhelm! Gothic 4, aka ArcaniaA: Gothic 4, has been released on European direct download sites. North Americans will have to wait until the 19th (EDIT: Turns out NA residents can get it now on GamersGate), and I’m not sure about the rest of the world. As I type this I am imagining some furious Mexican RPS fan throwing his morning tequila sour out of the window. So it goes.

Cautious readers should know that Alec’s Wot I Think of Gothic 4 will be with us shortly, and that there’s a demo out. Impulsive, spendthrift readers can probably decide whether they want Gothic 4 based on the latest trailer, which can be found below.

And for anybody who likes their fantasy game trailers set to techno-metal instead of beefy orchestral drums, go check out the trailer on the official Gothic 4 site. It’s something else.

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80 Comments »

  1. JackShandy says:

    Ay Ay Ay!

    *Spits out tequila*

  2. JohnArr says:

    I love that the first 20 seconds of that trailer nails every cliche in the book.

  3. Brumisator says:

    Somehow, every time I play a Gothic game, I think “OMG this is so cool”, and 20 minutes later, I completely lose interest and never pick it up again.

    Doctor, is it me? Or is it the Games?

    • Risingson says:

      It’s you. I lost interest in the first one after 20 hours of gaming, but until that it was really amusing. Once you get to know the mechanics of the game (that amazing part about rpg games, when you really know how to handle the game, you begin to be stronger and kill more creatures), bits of information are given in the right doses, so the world keeps on being intriguing for a long time.

    • MD says:

      Hah, I was going to make a ‘more like 20 hours’ comment about Gothic 2. I didn’t stick with it to the end, but I had a lot of fun with it. (I played the gold edition, for what that’s worth.)

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      @Risington: Is it just me or does that have nothing at all to do with roleplaying games? A particular subset of computer games, sure, but not necessarily roleplaying games (and especially not -good- roleplaying games, I would say).

  4. Alex Bakke says:

    I wonder how many people here are Mexican.

    STEALING OUR JOBS.

  5. tanith says:

    Loved Gothic 1. For me it is the greatest RPG ever (although technically it’s not an rpg per-se but rather an action-adventure with rpg elements). Gothic 2 was good, too – the Add-On made everything far batter though!
    Gothic 3 was okay. It really showed that Piranha Bytes went mainstream with that one.
    Well, they were dumped by JoWood anyway and were free to do whatever they wanted again.
    JoWood wanted to milk the hell out of that franchise and that’s Gothic 4.
    When I read that JoWood hired someone else to develop Gothic 4 I said to myself “It’s going to be a piece of feth.” Others wanted to wait and see. After the demo rolled around and they were able to play it, they agreed. “Yeah, it’s really bad alright.”

    It seems it’s just not Gothic anymore.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      It’s not like Risen was all that great…

    • Al3xand3r says:

      It was flawed, expecially the last 4th of the game (horrible ending “dungeon” and “boss”) but the bulk of the game with the adventure-like quests in the cities was pretty good even if a lack of production values failed them for what they tried to do with certain elements. I certainly look forward to a sequel if they focus on the things they do right instead of try to copy cat big budget american productions and fail due to their budget constraints.

    • Danarchist says:

      I bought Risen recently in a fit of malaise, and it is the most horribly un-intuitive game I have every played. And I started gaming back in the gold box days! Seriously you never really know where your supposed to go, what your supposed to do, and god help you if you accidentally walk on the other side of the wall from someone your not supposed to be near, suddenly your in a “Holy Press Gang” and have to hope you have a save that isnt too far back…
      I dont mind that combat is 90% blocking/dodging and 10% hoping you have someone up against a wall so you can actually hit them, its that its so freaking BORING hehe. Its like oblivion but with double the boredom.

      On the other hand started playing guild wars seriously for the first time this weekend. Other than some sort of weird neurosis that doesnt allow me to play the same character for more than an hour it has been amazing!

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Uh, yeah, it sounds like you should stick to MMO/Diablo-likes and not actual RPGs… Risen may be a bit unpolished but not actually confusing in progression, it’s mostly the controls/inventory etc that may take a bit to get used to, not the actual gameplay…

    • Wulf says:

      I actually felt that Risen and Gothic IV (which I had a nose at) are a massive step back from both Gothic II and Gothic III, this includes general progression. The world is horrible and not as typically open as Gothic usually is, the mechanics are diluted and watered down to the point of being a mere shadow of their former self, and the AI is so poor that it leaves the game feeling artificial and dead, there’s no sense of a living world to it. And I’m not the only one with these complaints, many fans of prior Gothic games have said the same about both Risen and Gothic IV. Not to mention that about 50% of the way through, Risen seems to degenerate into endless dungeon crawling.

      I’m all for supporting good RPGs, but let’s not insult the man to support clearly poor ones that are actually steps back from their predecessors. Both Gothic IV and Risen are like Gothic I Super-Lite. I actually saw more emergent gameplay in the first Gothic than I did when playing Risen.

      Oh well.

  6. Jimmy Z says:

    Jésus! They managed to ram every single fantasy cliché ever conceived AND probably the worst narrator in the history of narrationisms, in the same trailer! That’s an achievement in itself, I’d say.

  7. Freud says:

    I think the main reason they settled on the name Arcania was so they could have a symmetrical logo.

  8. Paul O Malley says:

    The demo was horrible. It’s like they took every unique thing about the Gothic series and removed it, leaving a generic mess that plays like a singleplayer MMORPG (complete with !’s above every quest objective).

    Nope, I’m waiting for Risen 2.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      You can turn the exclamation marks and stuff off, even the mini-map. People should not complain about such things until they check the options menu to make sure they aren’t optional.

      That said, everything else I agree with.

    • Matt says:

      Single player muhmorpuguh? Reminds me of those .hack games on the PS2 back in the day. And not in a good way.

  9. earsauce says:

    I’m actually looking forward to this. I loved the demo; I thought it was a lot of fun. Pretty good combat, gorgeous environments. Although the voice acting was atrocious…

    I guess we will have to wait and see.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Good combat? The enemies just stand there and wait for you to hit them. It’s made for toddlers.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      wow, that’s pretty pathetic AI. I wonder if (and hope) that’s the behavior of only those 3 mob types – not all of them. Otherwise the game will be very pretty, and hideously boring.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Holy shiet I found a glitch and will pretend that’s how the game will be for everybody everywhere and advocate that with a searing passion all over the internet!

      The combat is better than most western RPGs for what that’s worth, though it’s obviously not as fluid and polished as something like say, Zelda-with-level-ups if that’s what people expect. But it’s about the game’s only passable element, The story sucks, the quests suck, there are annoying visual elements that bring the environments down (shadows that tick one frame every second instead of smoothly move with the sun, weird LOD for the speedtree grass and bushes, etc that constantly shift, ugly characters and animations that are in your face in every dialogue and other such stuff).

      I’d never buy it but by the end of the demo I was at least having a bit of fun in the dungeon stretch getting some nice gear and a few spells to use and fighting those skeletons which did kill me once before I realised how the game’s meant to be played.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Bows however were pretty iffy.

  10. Oozo says:

    +1 for the Beirut-reference. You ARE the new Kieron Gillen.

  11. Mudface says:

    From its Steam store page-

    3rd-party DRM: SecuROM™ 3 machine activation limit

    No thanks.

    • Colthor says:

      @Mudface:
      Yeah. Why do they do that? *Sigh*

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Fixed exe and BOOM it works forever.

      Less hassle than Steam in the long run if you ask moi, which you didn’t, but there it is anyway.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      3 Activations? Crazy. Windows restore, a service pack update, buying a new hard drive.. you could burn those installs very quick.

    • AndrewC says:

      The activations don’t reset on uninstall? You can’t get an activation back by an email to the company? Do none of those things work?

      If none of those things worked, that would be very bad indeed.

      Do none of those things work?

    • CMaster says:

      @AndrewC

      I have never once, not once, got an activation back on unistall.
      Not because they don’t work, but because most of the time, my need to reinstall is prompted by a broken copy of windows, or because I’ve say, upgraded my computer siginficantly/got a new computer and I’m not really inclined to sit about unistalling each damn game manually to get a chance of an activation back, rather than a much quicker reformat and reinstall windows.

    • Shaun Maguire says:

      Either you’re getting something different to me, or they’ve changed it:
      3rd-party DRM: SecuROM™
      Unlimited machine activations

  12. theleif says:

    Clearly what that trailer lacks is real german “techno”

    Scooterized trailer
    http://tubedubber.com/#IEW7rk522TU:bybCPvY8rk8:0:100:0:0:true

    Anyway, judging from the trailer, the combat looks nice.

  13. HYPERPOWERi says:

    I don’t want a journey of unspeakable evil.

    I’ll wait — with tender optimism — for Witcher 2′s journey of moral relativism.

  14. Torqual says:

    Spellbound is a nice little game studio. They made some good games in the past. Desperados, Desperados 2 and Robin Hood. I think they can achieve the first nearly bug free release of a Gothic game. Piranha Bytes was totally incapable of delivering a clean software product at release and proved this with Gothic 1 to 3. Gothic 3 is only play- and enjoyable because of fanmade patches. Perhaps its a good thing that another developer gets the chance to work on the Gothic ip. With fresh ideas and good programing skills.

    start;
    print `Have a nice day`;
    end;

    • adonf says:

      I doubt the poor quality of the previous Gothics on release was entirely the developer’s fault. Developers can’t fix bugs unless they know about them and it takes a *lot* of time and thus a lot of money to test this kind of open-world games. In my experience mid-sized publishers prefer to spend money on marketing campaigns than on QA.

      If it’s the same publisher then I guess their QA policy will be the same regardless of the developer.

    • tanith says:

      Gothic 1 and 2 (as well as the Add-On rocked). Didn’t have any problems.
      With that said Gothic 3 was not as good – still.
      I played the first half of Gothic 3 without a single patch and didn’t have any bugs. Incidentally after that time a patch came around and so naturally I installed it. Played the second half without encountering any bugs, or glitches.

      Well, there was one thing. The game crashed every three to four hours but I am used to that from Windows (not that Windows crashes every three to four hours but, for ME, it runs less stable than it does for other people) so it really didn’t bother me that much because I save almost every five minutes.

      I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

      For me Piranha Bytes was more than capable in delivering a good product and a very good game.
      I cannot say the same about Spellbound.

    • Wulf says:

      Gothic III is still worth playing though just to observe the AI across the game’s world. Seriously, do it if you can. Watch the people, the monsters, the animals, everything. With Gothic III, it feels like if you stopped playing, that world would continue going on around you, it lived around you and sometimes it just did its thing without actually taking much notice of you. I’ve actually seen wildlife/safari simulators with much, much more poor AI than Gothic III, that’s just how good it was. Every monster, every animal seemed to have a schedule, it’s just something you have to watch to believe though.

      As a fan of wolves, I really dug how they were handled. They’d migrate from place to place as a pack, sometimes there would be the odd howling session to ward off other packs, and when they got hungry they’d hunt deer and scavengers. They weren’t the stupid sort either that would charge at a plate armoured adventurer, and providing you didn’t go out of your way to annoy them, they’d just go about their own business instead. And that’s the thing, every damn creature in Gothic III had its own business, I was just using that to illustrate it. Every bleedin’ critter had a schedule, and this is why the game was so damn buggy, because it was so incredibly ambitious.

      And there were lots of other nice touches, too. In Risen, you can just thieve and thieve and no one will care, in Gothic III, eventually people will get suspicious and start asking you about it, since you were seen in proximity to where the thefts happen, and the guards will keep a closer eye on you. Of course, they can’t prove anything if they don’t witness you steal anything directly. It really added something to the game though, the first time I cleared out a town in Gothic III, joined the thieves there, and got questioned by an Orc guard for being suspicious.

      Another great thing about Gothic III is that it had a very emergent approach to quests, you didn’t actually have to pick quests up to complete them, and I think this is the only game that actually did anything like this, I really actually think it’s the only one, I’ll explain:

      1. I clear out an old cave and passageway of the goblins and creatures within.
      2. A guard says; “Eh, damn, I wish these old caves were cleared so I didn’t have to stand on duty here all the time.”
      3. I say, “Oh, those caves? I cleared those out!”
      4. “Ah!”, says the guard, “Thank you, thank you very much! Here, have a reward!” [Quest complete!]

      So often you’d complete a quest without actually realising it, and you’d wander through the world and find out that whilst you were just doing your own sort of thing, you were actually also helping people out, and the world could recognise if you’d completed the quests or not. The funny thing is that all the quests worked like this: for example, if you teleported to the tower of an old mage, you’d have done the ‘find Xardas’ quest even before actually picking up the quest to do so. This lead to some very impressive instances of emergent gameplay, where you’d just do your own thing, and you’d find out that you’d found some great secret, or helped some people without realising it. It’s actually what Guild Wars 2 plans to do with its event system: You see a problem, and you go and deal with it, you don’t need to talk to a quest giving NPC to know that, right? And that’s exactly how Gothic III was.

      It’s a shame though that like with Obsidian games, like with Vampire Bloodlines, people can’t look past the bugs enough to be bothered to install a community patch that actually fixes the problems in the game. It’s a truly ambitious game, and it’s the closest a computer game has ever come to a living world. It’s really a shame not to try it with the fan patch, just to see how clever a living world can be.

  15. Ravenger says:

    Limited activations too. No sale for me. I’ve still not finished Risen anway.

  16. Iztli says:

    “As I type this I am imagining some furious Mexican RPS fan throwing his morning tequila sour out of the window”

    I threw my taco out the window.. not some tequila..thank you very much -.-please don’t generalize…. :)

  17. Demon Beaver says:

    For the first half of the trailer I thought the game was about a guy running a marathon if full plate armor…

  18. Mac says:

    I got my copy delievered by Shopto last Tuesday, and I was able to authenticate it on Saturday when Jo Wood opened up the authenticator server.

    For comparisons to Risen – I found Risen to be far more old school and it punished mistakes harshly. Gothic 4 is far more forgiving and it has markers on the map to help you to not get lost. A nice touch though is that the markers do not show up until you have cleaerd the “fog of war” and explored the area.

    I like both games for different reasons … Risen is far more in the style of Gothic 1-3, as you would expect given the dev team. However Gothic 4 is a good romp, which you can really enjoy as you are not getting held up with the fiddly combat, as you do in Risen.

    The day 1 patch is really needed to improve performance … but it is still very playable nonetheless. The combat is far more enjoyable than Risen or Gothic 1-3, but it is definitely on the too easy side. I’m going to restart and try it on Gothic setting.

    Gothic 4 also rewards you for going off of the beaten track – caves with mobs and more loot are hiding away down the path you don’t need to go down.

    The one bit that I do miss is the risk … you can just go into any house and pinch all of their belongings and crack open chests whilst the owners stand by and do or say nothing. In addition, all career routes are open to you from the beginning (level 4 for magic skills) – you do not need to find a guild to learn magic, or someone to train you in fighting … definitely pandering to the console kids!

    The other oddity is that a lot of the NPC’s share the same face … very odd!

    Having said all of that – I find myself getting pulled back in time and time again, and when I look at the clock 2 or 3 hours have passed – so it must be doing something right.

    It’s a different game to Risen, no better no worse, just different.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Is it as linear as the demo? I can suffer through a lot of other “dumbing down” but I don’t know if I can handle a Gothic as linear as that demo was.

    • Mac says:

      It is linear, but it’s not as bad as the starting island – at level 13 I have 6 or 7 quests on the go.

      The starting area on the full game is different too – additional quests, and you do not develop as quickly (good thing) … the demo is just that, a demo …

      In addition, it could be me, but the voice acting in the release doesn’t appear as hammy as the demo … it could be just me getting used to it though. I deleted the demo, so i can’t double check.

  19. VonFIDDE says:

    I really hope this game is great but i somehow doubt it. Beacuse for me the only good Gothic game, was the first one. Did try the second one but it just didnt feel as great, and the 3ed one did a even worse job. Anyway will check the reviews and pray it goes well :O.

  20. Noob says:

    It’s not just you. I’ve tried to like them, but I don’t. They have always seemed to be unfinished to me.

  21. Not-Mexican says:

    Tey tk or jbs!

  22. Latterman says:

    Read the first review on a german site (If anyone wants to try their luck with google translate: http://www.gamestar.de/spiele/arcania-gothic-4/test/arcania_gothic_4,43590,2318415,2.html)

    It’s just a quick summary, but nothing unexpected tbh

    To sum it up:
    Gothic-wise:
    It’s no true Gothic.
    It fails at being no true Gothic (no real factions i.e.)
    It does make the same mistakes as Gothic 3, though (vast, yet dull landscapes, over-ambition, feeling rushed) with less bugs.
    Risen was the better “Gothic 4″*

    RPG-wise:
    promising story that turns boring after the first hours.
    utterly boring quests (nearly no sidequests)
    combat seems to be nice yet simplified (one special attack thats it)
    bad difficulty spike (very easy till near the end)
    very simple and boring character speccing
    it’s a “casual RPG”

    *After Gothic 3 publishr Jowood and gothic-creator’s piranha bytes seperated while Jowood kept the name rights. Thus PB had to name “their” Gothic differently.

  23. Pobblepop says:

    It’s funny how three little words ‘so it goes’ means so much to me, Vonnegut indeed dear boy.

  24. Zogtee says:

    All this just makes me long even more for Guild Wars 2.

  25. Temple to Tei says:

    Goth 4 did let me see my eyeballs from the inside for the first time when I ran near a mountain and the camera altered its focus
    And in the game

  26. tekDragon says:

    “hello foot, meet my shotgun”

    They pushed their release date to the same day as Fallout New Vegas. Real smart. Add to that the Securom on steam and you have a double dose of stupid (fallout has no DRM).

    /me is not impressed.

    I don’t care about the bundle either.

  27. Stitched says:

    Beautiful but ultimately flawed and uninteresting.

    At least that was my impression from the demo released a while ago.

  28. Brumisator says:

    I just tried the demo, and after the 1st training fight, immediately uninstalled it. Good GOD, I thought that fighting video showed here earlier was a bug or something! But no, the fighting AI is on an atari 2600 level.

    • mcnostril says:

      Yes, that demo is terrible.
      I don’t think I even made it to the fight. I got to the town where you’re supposed to talk to some farmer guy, and everything felt so sloppy that I just stopped right there.

      I did kill a bunch of sheep for no reason. Perhaps the game decided that this wanton violence had to be punished and became terrible as a form of retribution.

  29. Alaric says:

    I’m not getting bet because of the offensive DRM, but I’m curious if anyone can answer me this: did they get rid of the ridiculous control scheme that plagued that first games? Is it normal WASD, etc. now?

  30. Benjamin L. says:

    Played the demo, thought it was shit, disappointed but not surprised since none of the old dev team had anything to do with it. Waiting for Risen 2.

  31. Zyrxil says:

    Review coming out say the game is actually extremely linear past the intro area, and screams of tons of cut content. Also combat skills are super-unbalanced, with Archery above all, and the combat AI is balls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6KvSRWs_w4

  32. A-Scale says:

    Looks like third person Oblivion.

  33. Dave says:

    Yes it is.

  34. Collic says:

    Did I detect a Vonnegut reference in there Mr. Quintin? If so, awesome :D

    If I ever get around to having a tattoo, that’s what it will be. So it goes.

  35. Anthony says:

    Seriously…a Beirut reference? Ahh, I love you guys.

  36. Al3xand3r says:

    Beirut?

  37. outoffeelinsobad says:

    WHOA MOUSE SENSITIVITY

  38. The Walker says:

    Honestly, I am even more sick of the same ol’ same o’l fantasy setting that RPGs have been using for the past twenty five years than I am of WW2 games. If anything is played out it’s this predictable high fantasy/sword and sorcery bull feces. Gothic 4 should be instead set in Afghanistan with a bearded man and a assault rifle.

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