Unforgotten: Neverwinter Free, Delayed

By Jim Rossignol on October 6th, 2011 at 1:41 pm.


It’s not quite clear what IGN’s source is for this, but according to them the Dungeons & Dragons online-RPG Neverwinter, which Cryptic said originally was “an old-school tactical Western RPG”, but online, is apparently an now MMO more “closer to a game like Nexon’s Vindictus”. So a free-to-play one where action dominates. Quite how this contrasts against what Cryptic’s Jack Emmert told us previously is detailed in part through the link (and mainly consists of learning the lessons of Star Trek and Champions going free), but it doesn’t actually seem like that a big a change to me.

Nevertheless, word is that the game has been delayed to the end of 2012 to make the necessary changes. It would seem that these changes might have come about thanks to Cryptic’s acquisition by expanding F2P giant Perfect World, who also bagged Runic, and are planning to make a Torchlight MMO at some point.

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64 Comments »

  1. Pathetic Phallacy says:

    Oh Dungeons and Dragons, you used to be involved in such awesome games. What happened?

  2. empfeix says:

    I’m confused.

  3. Zeewolf says:

    Seems like a pretty big change to me.

    They said it was going to be like Dragon Age: Origins, but with coop basically. Now it’s something else entirely. Too bad.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Nobody really cared when they came out with their original marketing strategy and since then Dragon Age and Bioware style games have taken a big hit to their reputation.

  4. icupnimpn2 says:

    ” combat is controlled by mouse clicks, and where pattern recognition and reflexes are the keys to successfully murdering hordes of monsters. ”

    Wizardry is out of tears at this point

  5. Jajusha says:

    If tomorrow they announce Baldurs Gate 3, the next gen FPS, i won’t be amazed.

    • sneetch says:

      Well we’re all big fans of Baldurs Gate here at RandomStudio and we believe that it’s the setting, Baldurs Gate, that’s really important, so we’ve tried to stay true to that, you will see (and shoot) many familiar faces and places as you play the role of an amnesiac; wise-cracking; cybernetically, genetically and magically engineered; ninja assassin dwarf called Grogar in an epically, cinematically, epic quest to shoot thousands of orcs, zombies and evil mages in an epic and cinematic fashion.

      Just to confirm: he assassinates ninjas!

      Edit: actually, I’d like to play that.

    • Jumwa says:

      Nice job Sneetch, except you should know people only like Drizzt or Legolas style elves for their shooting. Dwarves just aren’t popular except as comedic relief. Gotta dock you points there.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      I thought BG3 was being handled by Zeboyd

    • HermitUK says:

      Pretty sure it’s Baldur’s Gate Online now. You and your Facebook friends become Bhaalspawn and must band together to save the Social Network Coast… or destroy it!

  6. caddyB says:

    I seriously dislike Cryptic.

    • Wulf says:

      To the contrary, I think they’ve done some amazing things.

      I seriously dislike judging things before we’ve even actually seen with our own eyes what they’re doing with it as of yet.

    • caddyB says:

      I’d like some examples.

    • Wulf says:

      Champions Online being a grind free game and having a lot of what Guild Wars 2 is going to do already in place is a pretty nice example. And their character creation technology is amazing. The Foundry in Star Trek Online as I’ve mentioned elsewhere is really, really impressive in regards to giving players impressive tools with which to create their own content.

      And they’re just really good at games which are both fun and funny. I can definitely see a place in the world for Cryptic if one has a sense of humour, on that merit alone, even disregarding the rest of it. But I do think that having a sense of humour is prerequisite with Cryptic’s games. It’s necessary. If you don’t have a sense of humour, then you’re missing out on half of the charm.

      But yeah, the technology they roll out in their games is often amazing. And they keep doing unique and original things. Another great example of this is customisable hideouts in Champions Online, which allows you to have your own home, picking and choosing from various pieces in order to set up your living space as you like it, without having to spend months in a soulless grind for just a table, or something.

      That’s another merit in their favour: Their games are strictly anti-grind. A lot of MMORPG developers could learn from them.

      Really, there’s a lot to praise in regards to Cryptic.

    • Unaco says:

      lqtm Wulf… That’s a joke, right? You are perfectly happy to judge things before we’ve seen anything of them.

      As for this, haven’t seen anything too promising from Cryptic myself… on this or their other games. I’m not that big on MMO’s anyway, but I’ve always said, if one really caught my attention, I wouldn’t be averse to it. Cryptic seem to make quite standard, generic MMOs… nothing too risky or different to them. It is a bit early to judge, however… maybe this one will be decent.

    • caddyB says:

      Unaco raised all the points I have against Cryptic. Thank you good sir.

    • Quinburger says:

      I think Cryptic has good intentions, and a lot of good ideas.. but they seem to fail on the follow-through.
      Take Champions for example. Awesome customization, great setting and engine, good combat mechanics… but a piddly amount of content that most people blew through in under a month.

  7. Nim says:

    Please do not confuse this with Neverwinter nights.

  8. JohnArr says:

    I was just thinking the world needs another fantasy MMO.

  9. radioactivez0r says:

    There can’t be possibly be room for all these sort-of-samey-but-have-little-nuances games, can there?

  10. Lobotomist says:

    “is apparently an now MMO more “closer to a game like Nexon’s Vindictus””

    Vindictus (also Rusty Hearts) is not MMO. Even the company distibuting them doesnt qualify them as MMO.
    They are simply persistent online Beat Them Up arcade games.

    As for NWN by Cryptic.
    Making it as described above, puts it in the same boat as Turbine DDO.Actually it sounds exactly the same now ( arcade , twitch based , version based on D&D rules )

    Turbine DDO is probably best what can be done in this format. And the game has years worth of content, and is very sucessful too.

    What gives idea to Cryptic that they have any chance to compete ?! (especially after Turbines constant sucess over the years , and Cryptic constant string of failures)

    Oh, some decisions. They are simply retarded

    • Wulf says:

      Failures like one of the most successful free to play models currently out there, one that sees them on a rising curve of profit rather than a falling one (unlike some other free to play purveyors that I could name)?

      You have a strange definition of failure.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Bill Roper – fired
      Dan Stahl – fired
      John Needham – fired

      Champions Online subscription game – failed to reach expectations
      Star Trek Online subscription game – failed to reach expectations

      Cryptic on verge of bankruptcy – bought in complete by Atari
      Cryptic loosing money to Atari – sold in complete to Perfect World

      NWN – delayed for 1 year
      NWN – complete redesign

      And in all that there is one good news – Going F2P had improved revenues of Champions Online (and not made it most sucessful F2P MMO , dont know where you got that information)

      Every MMO on verge of closure went F2P , so did Champions. That doesnt mean “being best”

      And they compete with Turbine
      That holds most profitable F2P MMO in west , that used to be second most profitable P2P MMO in west.

  11. povu says:

    I don’t suppose this game will have the ability to have custom made campaigns and such?

    • Gundrea says:

      Ahahahaha. Good one.

    • Wulf says:

      Once again, don’t dismiss this possibility out of hand. They actually have technology in place for just that.

      In Star Trek Online you can create missions using something called The Foundry, and the result of this is actually pretty damned incredible! They’re bringing this to Champions Online, soon. And it wouldn’t surprise me if similar technology will either be available in Neverwinter at launch or sometime after launch to–yes, shock, surprise, et cetera–actually allow people to make their own storylines and quests.

      Really, snark combined with ignorance just makes you look silly.

    • Torgen says:

      You mean the player made mission system they copied from City of Heroes?

  12. Xercies says:

    Oh so basically the game that I thought I was getting which sounded actually quite interesting has turned into a completely different game that sounds like every other F2P game out there.

  13. BeamSplashX says:

    I was hoping for a game like Phantasy Star Online, but that’s involves quite a specific set of characteristics that probably wouldn’t converge in the same way these days.

    • Dominic White says:

      Phantasy Star Online 2 is actually shaping up quite nicely, is PC-only (no, really), and initial previews/hands-ons have been really positive.

      RPS should give it some coverage – not often that Sega develop a high-profile, first-party title specifically for PC.

    • Wulf says:

      I have to admit, I’m seriously looking forward to Phantasy Star Online 2. I’m a massive fan of just about everything Phantasy Star put out by SEGA, and in years and years of them doing so, they’ve never put out a bad Phantasy Star game. (The story was a touch silly in PSP2, I’ll admit, but overall it was still a damned good game. And featured a beastman so secure in his sexuality that he wore a pink trenchcoat.)

      It’ll be interesting to see what they do with this, really. From what I’ve seen of the trailers though, I’m really excited, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      Yeah, PSO2 is one of those rare cases where you suspect a company mindreader passing you on the street and feeding that info back to the development team.

      I hope they include some kind of offline mode (since it’s still not an MMO, after all) and splitscreening. Being able to play in splitscreen online would be marvelous; I was way less excited about getting my friend to play the Gamecube version of the first game online when I found out we could only do it one character at a time.

      EDIT: And you should be able to play it offline without a subscription. As much as I enjoyed and played the heck out of Blue Burst, I would’ve never bothered on a paid server.

  14. Wulf says:

    I can only hope they use their character creation technology with this game. I think that being able to put together one of the races in any way I like, using a number of pieces, and with the armour looking how I want it, could be reason enough to try it alone. At least for me. :P

    I could likely just spend hours knocking out character designs. I love that stuff.

  15. nimzy says:

    Being invited to the beta test of the other Neverwinter game (Heroes of Neverwinter, which happens to be on Facebook), I stopped to think about how feasible it would be to sit down and develop a platform for running tabletop games like D&D on a social networking service. The idea proved so compelling I just might have to do it.

  16. Quinburger says:

    What ruleset are they using? If they move to 4e it could help distinguish it from DDO (which uses 3.5)

    • vecordae says:

      4E would be much easier to turn into an action game, seeing as how it’s driven entirely by powers on a cool-down timer and has enemies specifically designed to be cut like wheat before a magical, elf-shaped scythe.

    • pipman3000 says:

      D&DO should just convert to 4th edition already it’s better then 3.5th in pretty much every way that matters

    • Quinburger says:

      @pipman3000 I agree. The biggest reason I don’t play DDO is because I play 4e in my home game, and so much feels like a step back.

    • vecordae says:

      I hope not. 4E is a fine system, but it gives up much of the complexity, flexibility, and internal consistency of the base 3.5 rules in favor of simpler, more streamlined combat, and faster play time. For some folks that means fourth edition is better, but the two approaches are so vastly different from each other the comparison is of little value. DDO’s adapted 3.5E mechanics are certainly harder to grasp, I think, but the huge number of options available when building your character is something I find very pleasing. Also, no one is doing anything quite like it, which means DDO doesn’t really play like anything else out there in the market today.

      I am certain that 4th edition would be much easier to adapt to an action mmo, but I am also certain that it wouldn’t play fundamentally differently than something like City of Heroes or the ground combat from Star Trek Online. I don’t think homogenizing the MMO scene would really do anyone any good.

  17. Wizardry says:

    What the hell has happened to D&D computer games? From the majestic Pool of Radiance, the first official D&D computer adaptation released way back in 1988, to the junk we see today. It has headed continuously downhill and continuously more real-time action as time has gone by. It’s almost unrecognisable now. From RPG greatness to MMO action.

    R.I.P.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      WotC wants lots of money for the license, and publishers think they can sell more action games, forgetting why they bought the D&D license in the first place?

      I would guess.

    • Unaco says:

      We all get it Wizardry… Modern day RPGs suck, games from the ’80s were awesome. You really, really don’t need to repeat it on every RPG related article that gets posted.

    • Kaira- says:

      As much as I’d like to second what Unaco said, I have to agree with Wizardry. The latest… let’s say decent D&D game that I’ve played was DDO, and before that… ummm, I guess the Infinity Engine games? When I want a D&D game, I don’t want arcade-y action-RPG, I want something that is either turn-based (ToEE, aforementioned Pool of Radiance) or something epic and engaging (Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment).

      My 2 cents.

    • BeamSplashX says:

      Alternatively, you can play D&D itself. Though trying to do so in real time would be hilarious and result in d20 bruises all around.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      It’s the d4′s you have to watch out for. Those high-level Magic Missiles are dangerous.

    • vecordae says:

      I, for one, welcome our new button-mashing-RPG overlords with open arms and a bright smile. When the day comes to purge the heretics and appoint positions of power over the milling, shell-shocked survivors, I can only hope you will look favorably upon my sycophantic overtures.

  18. RyuRanX says:

    Teh button mashing again! D&D games are ruined.

  19. vecordae says:

    Given the reaction to Cryptic’s earlier foray into slower-paced, tactical combat (see STO), this does not surprise me at all. People complained that it was too slow, too boring, and took too long to resolve. People who find your game boring, won’t put any money into it, so they added a secondary combat mode that made the game run more like a TPS than tactical ground combat game. This worked out OK, because both modes can coexist. All of the combat occurs in instanced areas. IF this new Neverwinter Game also relies mostly on instanced areas, it’s entirely feasible there could multiple types of game setups available.

    But probably not.

    For every person who perceives tactical combat as “deep, nuanced, and rewarding to those who invest the time to learn it” you have four more who perceive it as “slow, boring, easy to screw up and when you do you have to start over again”. That second group is where the money is.

  20. .backslash says:

    Somebody give the DnD license back to Bioware, they’re the only surviving studio*, that’s managed to make something beyond mediocre with it.

    *Never played the Gold Box games, but heard they were good for their time and quite liked ToEE, though it suffered from the Troika disease.

  21. pipman3000 says:

    Well 4th Edition is already like a stupid MMO for babbies so this is no surprise :D

    j/k pretending to be a grognard is my only way of coping :(

  22. Dachannien says:

    If it’s anything like Vindictus, then it’s a free to play MMO where gold spam dominates. Ugh.

  23. kennycrown says:

    thanks for you post!

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