Gothic Will Rise(n) Again

By Alec Meer on April 12th, 2011 at 3:46 pm.

Dancing with joy or shot in the back? You decide

I’ve been travelling for 25 hours, and now I’m in Utah. There’s snow, and buildings made from wood. Why do I tell you this? Because I’m knackered and want to have a little moan. Pity me. Weep for me. Tell me you love me.

Cheery news, however: 1) there’s a big pot of coffee right next to me. 2) Gothic creators Piranha Bytes might be getting their original franchise/universe back, having had to hand over the rights to erstwhile publisher JoWood some time ago.

This story’s waters are far from muddied, however. It began with one of Piranha Bytes’ founders, Mike Hoge (if only he was called Mike Huge), telling fansite Gothicz.net that “We get the rights to Gothic back when we have finished Risen 2. Why? Because we did only sell them to our ex-publisher for a certain amount of time.”

Woah! In case you didn’t follow the background, Piranha Bytes created the semi-great Risen since their (legally-resolved) rift with JoWood, and have a bold, piratey sequel in the works. Meantime, JoWood used their wrangled rights to publish the monotonously stupid Arcania: Gothic IV, the expansion pack for which was recently laid low by unspecified legal problems.

…Which may or may not be related to JoWood’s ongoing insolvency crisis. Things aren’t looking too rosy for those dudes, so I guess the question of what happens to their various IPs in the event the worst does happen is a pertinent one.

However, over on a German forum, another PB blokey, Michael Rüve, attempts to pour cold water on the happy fansplonsion.

Observing that Mike ‘Not Mike Huge’ Hoge is “in no way a lawyer”, Ruve says to take his comments “with a grain of salt”, claiming that “For me there is no need to comment on our contractual position with JoWooD. The fact that we are not currently working on Gothic well known. Jowood currently has other worries. Speculation about the future Risen 2 is just that – speculation.”

Boo to you sir, boo to you.

On the other hand, a name is a name. It’s good that PB can make a Risen sequel: that we’re getting more ambitious, obtuse, semi-free-form RPGs from them is the most important thing. Though admittedly I say that as someone who hasn’t spent much time with the Gothic games (I was a johnny come lately, starting at Risen), so I suppose I don’t have the same attachment to the lore. The guy holding the interview which sparked this story certainly do, however…

Thanks, Blues.

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40 Comments »

  1. tanith says:

    Loved Gothic 1. To me it is probably the bes game I ever played.
    I wish they would do something else. Gothic 3 was already not so great and while Risen was better I am a little bit tired because it’s generally the same setting.
    Gamestar, a German PC games magazine, even made fun of that in a video stating how similar the monsters and others things are in Gothic 3 and Risen.
    It’s a little sad that Piranha Bytes don’t want to try something new. As far as I remember they said in an interview that some of the story writers would like to make something science fiction like but they just cannot do that.
    It doesn’t even have to be sci-fi. Just something different.

    • Morlock says:

      I think that starting with a new franchise, and after the desaster that was Gothic 3, Piranha Bytes did well to stick to what they did best, namely Gothic 2, and bring the concept to a new setting. However, I do hope that for Risen 2 there will be more experimentation.

    • field_studies says:

      Well Risen 2 does promise to bring us a pirate-themed game, replete with all the trappings (guns instead of bows), the return and presumably expanded role of the inquisition, and, according to one video report from GDC I saw, magic that is ‘more voodoo’ and ‘less D&D’. This also seems to suggest that the game is moving through real time (with plenty of creative license); perhaps by Risen 6 you’ll get your sci-fi adventure ;-)

    • dadioflex says:

      I kinda agree with OP. The original Gothic had an incredible opening section – it was like being part of a prison movie. The way you’d get a smack-down if you loitered in the wrong place or if a guard took a dislike to you they’d usually just beat on you and steal your stuff rather than kill you. Haven’t really seen that since, have we?

    • johnweythek says:

      I lost days to gothic 3 despite how HOPELESSLY buggy it was, not to mention it had the WORST melee combat i’ve seen in any games (even worse than in games with primarily gun use). Still it was my first open world experience and i could BARELY make my DELL overheat to run the game. It has followed me to this day where i just bought the gothic pack on steam just to HAVE them all. I did this knowing 3 is unplayably buggy and 4 is a JOKE. it’s a WIDE-CORRIDOR fetch game at best, and the expansion is somehow even worse. Gothic 3 is still a game to look at when making open world games. You couldn’t fast travel unless you found (very hard to find) teleportation stones and that was still limited to where the stones would send you. While so much of the game was horrible, some things should still inspire new games, even makes you feel less involved when you just fast travel from one arrow to another. Now excuse me i’m gonna try playing gothic 3 without accidently losing one of the main objective artifacts to some glitch.

  2. goodgimp says:

    Hey, welcome to Utah. Sorry about the snow, spring’s about a month late this year and still MIA!

  3. Silver says:

    I really enjoyed Risen. Was complete breath of fresh air. Haven’t played Gothic series (yet), so was quite nice for me.
    Now investing my time into MOWAS. Darn, that’s a superaddictiveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee game.

  4. Javier-de-Ass says:

    Gothic 3 is the best game EVER. A proper Gothic 4, with an EVEN BIGGER MAP, would be perfect. Hehe.

    • Tuco says:

      No, it really isn’t. which is sad, cause it had a great potential.
      Gothic 2 with Night of the Raven, on the other hand, is a spectacular game and probably the best action RPG ever made.

    • tanith says:

      Well, I think Gothic 1 is the best of the series or the best overall so it really is just a matter of opinion.
      The sequels to Gothic 1 missed some key aspects of the first one and didn’t have the same atmosphere anymore so that’s why I love 1 the most.
      People who may have played Gothic 2 or Gothic 3 before Gothic 1 will probably see it in a different light.

    • hocevar says:

      I wouldn’t say THE best game ever but certainly a great game. The problem is that it launched filled with bugs, glitches, unfinished quests, terrible combat and horrible performance. But all of that was fixed with the Community Patch, I played it from beggining to end with the CP and it’s pretty damn amazing game, the scenery is awesomely done, you can go from florest to desert to iceland, and all of them are very very well done, there were times that I would just stop and appreciate it. It really gives a great experience in an huge world in a non-linear style of game.

      To anyone that didn’t played it or had it’s experience tainted by the initial state of the game I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try again with the CP Patch, the game deserves it.

      Gothic 3 is Gothic’s Ultima IX, deep down it’s an awesome game but unfortunatelly it was rushed to oblivion.

  5. lhzr says:

    somewhat related, there’s a countdown that ends in about 4 hours on the risen 2 site: http://www.risen2.com/

    • field_studies says:

      Weird–I just took a look and it appears to have 13 hours remaining? I someone winding back the clock?

  6. Lobotomist says:

    First Risen was not semi good , it was great (well except for the last part that was a bit downer , but nothing is perfect)

    Second

    Gothic Shmotic.

    I dont get the obsession with names in games industry.

    When they lost rights to Gothic, they just made the sequel and named it Risen.

    Nobody cares for name. Call it “Henry” for god sakes. But make it a good game.

    • tanith says:

      It was not only the name of the Franchise they lost.
      As far as I know they also lost rights to important characters like Gorn, Milten, Diego, Lester and Xardas. I have no idea how it was/is but I think it was impossible to continue with that story and with these characters and that is probably what they would have wanted.
      I even doubt if they would want to continue with the story after the disaster that was Gothic 4.

    • TheApologist says:

      Even better, let’s call every game Henry.

      Or possibly Phil.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Henry for RPG , Phil for manshooter, and Yvette for RTS

    • Urthman says:

      Really the only reason you need to hang on to a franchise name is if it will guarantee extra sales meaning you can get money and marketing to invest in the game.

      Anyone think Risen would have sold significantly better if it had been named Gothic 4? Did Risen feel like it could have been a better game if they’d had more money to throw at it?

    • Olero says:

      “Son, what is that sound? Is that Phil? You’re not secretly playing with Phil again are you?”
      - “Err, no mum, I’m only playing Yvette on hard. I got bored with Phil a long time ago”
      “Oh, that’s alright then. Watch out for RSI though, would you?”
      - “Yes mum….”

  7. BooleanBob says:

    I pity you, Alec. I weep for you, Alec. I, er, have somewhere to be.

  8. alexdulcianu says:

    Light up a cigarette with that coffee, Sir Alec.

  9. jack4cc says:

    I’d really be pissed off if I had been travelling for 25 hours and I would end up in Utah. I’d probably want my money back.

  10. Jeremy says:

    Utah you say? What’s got you out here? I second goodgimp’s apology, it’s pretty rough out here right now.

  11. Durkonkell says:

    So Alec and John are both on the super-secret RPS mission? Because we know John wrote some waffle about gaming on the move while on a plane bound for the US and we now know that Alec is in Utah. Any developers or publishers based there?

    • Torgen says:

      It’s a RPS diaspora, as they flee the Daily Mail’s assassins.

  12. oceanclub says:

    As a very latecoming fan to both Risen and Gothic 3 (which, let’s face, was only really playable once the Community Patch was released and modern hardware could use sheer brute force to run it without _constant_ stuttering, though supposedly even running it from an SSD doesn’t remove it entirely), I welcome this news!

    P.

    • suibhne says:

      I’m not sure what it means to be “really playable”, but I enjoyed Gothic 3 quite a lot shortly after its release. It was flawed, certainly, but a flawed gem. With the Community Patch, it now seems less flawed and more obviously gem-like.

      I also never had stuttering issues after installing a (then-)new Radeon X850XT, which handled the game with aplomb. The game runs like melted butter on my current rig.

      It’s clearly a polarizing game. For me, I think the spectacular world design made up for all of its shortcomings, but I can see how someone wanting a more narrative game would find it a big letdown.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      I’m playing it now, and on my (admittedly shitty) pc it’s fairly choppy. It’s only bad enough to be annoying in wooded areas, though, and I’m having enough fun to overlook it.

      I’m glad I’m coming into it with fresh eyes and no expectations. I’ve never played it before, and had never even heard of Gothic before Risen came out. Playing it for the first time now, what with it community-patched up nicely, is an unexpected treat.

  13. field_studies says:

    The countdown is over at Risen2.com, and a link to the trailer is posted:
    Trailer at IGN

    See my earlier post re: guns and pirates… and, according to the trailer description, sea monsters. Quite a different flavour–from Risen 1 and the PC-RPG world in general. Fun!

  14. MultiVaC says:

    I hope they continue with Risen either way. I like its setting quite a bit more than Gothic’s.

  15. Zepposlav says:

    I remember drama when people moaned about the poor devs who lost rights to their former evil publisher. Now we know that they sold them. Phew.

  16. Navagon says:

    It does kind of leave me feeling like this is going to leave them locked in a rut. But that already seems to be the case anyway. If we get a good open world RPG with some decent combat and controls out of it then I won’t be complaining.

  17. Cvnk says:

    As a longtime Gothic fan I have the following response to this news: who cares?

    No, really. Gothic’s lore was junk. As long as PB keeps making games like Gothic and Risen I don’t care what the story is.

    So Risen 3 or Gothic 5 makes no difference.

  18. paggo says:

    I discovered Risen first and loved the open world with a good story, the quests were fun and the interconnections between them made them rewarding to solve and continue further, it also had good game mechanics well integrated in the story. The setting was original and the game was fun and challenging. After investing times in the game, it reminded me of playing Ultima Underworld & Ultima 7 which I consider among the best immersive RPG and .
    I tried Gothic 3 with the CP and didn’t like the beginning which felt like a comedy or even a parody of the genre. The lack of seriousness was addressed in Risen. There was some humour, but things were taken seriously which I like in a mature rpg, similar to Bioware’s games.
    I’m just throwing an idea like that, but I would like to see PB remaking Gothic 1 and 2 with a modern engine and polished mechanics and design. It has been 10 years since the original game was released and I guess many players didn’t have a chance to play them. Remake a not a bad thing. Square Enix does it well, Nintendo has given fans what they want with remakes for the wii and the ds, and even the mod community is remaking Half-Life 1 with HL2 level of quality — and my guess is that it would be highly enjoyable game to ‘replay’.
    For Gothic, why change a recipe when players like to play the same game, again and again, as long as the game is fun and the story is new and good. I would be the first to buy them. But if they don’t do a remake, I will still be interested in seeing a new Gothic 5 if they apply the same recipe, but continuing small improves of their game mechanics with an original and well written story for mature players. Go PB! We can wait to play Risen2.

  19. bill says:

    Is the gothic brand really much of a brand though?

    I know it has a core of loyal fans, but those guys will know enough about the developers to move on to Risen or whatever. Other than that, it’s not especially well known and, for me at least, is mostly associated with “average-rated badly-controlling but possibly worth a look sometime” rpgs.

    It’s hardly Lord Of The Rings.

  20. Kong says:

    The brand is really PB. I played Gothic 1, 2, 3, as well as Risen, but finished only 2 of them. Risen became a grind after the first half, I wanted to finish it as quick as possible.
    Sadly, PB are not very imaginative. The guys who did The Witcher showed them how it is done.

  21. thebigJ_A says:

    I actually just started playing Gothic 3 for the first time. It’s been heavily patched by the community.

    It’s like the first half of Risen (before it got linear and mediocre), only much much bigger. So far I like it better.

  22. Talorc says:

    Clearly Jim was blessed with all the whinge writing talent. That is barely even a paragraph of whining! Call yourself a pom??

  23. doglikesparky says:

    Oh bloody hell. Risen 2? I’m only halfway through the first one. And I’ve still got two thirds of the Witcher to play. And about three quarters of Morrowind, Dungeon Siege II and Titan Quest. And all the DLCs of Fallout 3. And I’ve barely made a dent in Fallout: New Vegas or The Precursors. Oh, and not forgetting all the RPGs I got in the last Steam sales madness which I haven’t even downloaded yet: Overlord, King Arthur, Numen and ALL five Gothic games (though I did finish Gothic 3 previously).

    And that’s just the RPGs on PC. Don’t get me started on all the shooters, RTS, third-person action adventures and indie games I’ve got piled up. AND the 4 or 5 unplayed PS3 games gathering dust on my shelf.

    And then there’s the upcoming Witcher 2, Deus Ex 3, TES V: Skyrim etc etc etc

    I wish developers would just bloody well slow down a little and stop making games I want to play to give me a chance to catch up.

    Oh, and now they are talking about more Gothic games? Give me strength (or at least more hours in the day!)

  24. ThE_MarD says:

    Heyyo,

    Am I the only one who thought Gothic 3 was a complete piece of junk? lol.. I understand the “flawed gem” thing… but seriously? The sword combat was retarded as when I played it first time? Blocking didn’t really stop all the attacks maybe the first few and then you died so you were better off just slamming the left click forever, and sometimes you could just fall through the world (happened to me in the first 15 minutes playing when I was on a cliff side.. saw two enemy orcs fall through too lol!!!) and yes it ran like garbage. Morrowind and Oblivion were much better rpg’s and Gothic 4 had way better combat that worked properly. Sure the storyline in Gothic 4 wasn’t the best but the gameplay worked! Gothic 4 was the first Gothic game I ever finished. I have not finished a single PB game cause I just get frustrated of the bugs and quit… same goes for Risen so I’ll be avoiding Risen 2 and I’m waiting on my Fable III preorder on steam to release cause I enjoyed Fable 1 and Fable 2 was also fun… both with good gameplay and the combat mechanics worked great too.. gameplay Piranha Bytes!!!! GAME… PLAY!!!