Gothic IV Gets New Name, Needs Another One

For Europe this will be a bleeding moon, cutting itself with a razorblade.

Gamespot reported some peculiar Gothic 4 news this weekend. Not least that it’s no longer called Gothic 4.

The series, while huge in mainland Europe, hasn’t managed similar success in the UK, and hasn’t really managed to break North America at all. In an attempt to address this, and hopefully relaunch the franchise for the Anglos, it’s to be called, Arcania: A Gothic Tale. More strangely, the US and European versions of the game are going to be different colours.

Gamespot explain,

“The team invested months of research into the differences between European and American gaming preferences, so much so that there will be two different color palettes for Arcania: North American (bright and beautiful) and European (muted and gritty).”

Bright colours for the Americans! America: feel a bit patronised now.

I’m not sure about the title change. Clearly “Gothic 4” isn’t going to sell a single copy to a region that ignored the previous three. But if I spent my evening building a PERL script that generated the most generic fantasy-fiction name imaginable, I don’t think it could beat Arcania. (That, and I’d have to learn PERL, and figure out what a PERL script is).

So what should they have renamed Gothic 4, readers? I suggest: THE BLACK BLADE OF GOTHORIA.

(We’d link to a game site, but someone needs to remind JoWood that they’re publishing it).
[Via Shacknews]

63 Comments

  1. Brother None says:

    Arcania might not be the best pick, but since they’re clearly going with a different type of game than the first two (and the third one, I suppose, never played it), a name-change makes sense.

    Arcania is pretty much the most bland name you could come up with. Fitting perhaps?

    I’m not sure imitating US AAA products or trying to reach the same market is the best approach for European AA products to take, though. The Witcher was successfully especially by not doing that, Arcania and Drakensang are running risks by doing that.

  2. Pidesco says:

    They should start a spinoff series called Baroque. 1, I guess.

    Romanesque could work too.

  3. grumpy says:

    Wuh? Bright and beautiful in the US?
    Just like all the great American games like Gears of War, Quake 4 and, well, every other US game I can think of.

    It seems to me that the bright and beautiful games generally come from Europe (and Japan, of course), while all the grey/brown (I’m sorry, “realistic”) games come from the US. Why is that?

    In any case, I certainly would rather have bright and beautiful than muted and gritty. Guess I’ll have to import the US version if I want to play?

    Then again, I only played the first games for a combined 10 minutes (actually, played one of them for 10 minutes, but can’t remember which one).

    I guess I’m just not Gothic’s intended audience… I like the wrong colours for a European.

  4. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Hahaha, what the fuck! I mean, there was one other good RPG series from Germany, and that one’s name was then translated as Realms of Arkania. That was in 1994 or something! And that was a totally different setting, which is as popular as D&D in Germany. Also, that franchise (Das schwarze Auge) will soon release their own new game. Are there really only 3 names still available, and will they really have to cycle between German RPG developers forever?

    And by the way, after a rather short and dirty fight, the publisher took the Gothic license from the studio. The original developers will develop a new background now.

    Also None, the DSA fans pressuring Drakensang are 10 times as batshit devoted as NMA, so no worries, all the compromise will probably go into replacing historical person X in the storyline as sourcebook Y says he was in a totally different continent in that time.

  5. Frosty840 says:

    Well, maybe the new devs will FINALLY fix the damn combat.

  6. Brother None says:

    Hey Jochen,

    Actually, I mentioned a bit back Fallout is not my favourite game, as that would be…Realms of Arkania II.

    I’m a big fan of DSA, even though I dropped out prior to 4th edition and stick mostly to 2nd edition. I was pretty excited about Drakensang (though the pants-peeing excitement has been tuned down a bit to just somewhat looking forward to it), still work on drakensang.info/.net.

    I get the nagging over details that rub the wrong way with known info, from DSA-fans. I mean, that’s just what fans do. What I never got for Drakensang was this: Drakensang was announced and clearly intended to not be a sequel to RoA III. Instead, it’s just another game in the DSA setting. Yet so many still kept comparing it to the Northland Trilogy and basing expectancies on that.

    I realise that NLT set the bar pretty high, but honestly…it’s a game in the same setting. It’s like expecting NWN to be BG III just because they both use to AD&D license. It doesn’t work that way.

    (sorry for the off-topic)

    Also.

    Well, maybe the new devs will FINALLY fix the damn combat.

    Plus 1. Though combat is mostly a problem in Gothic III, from what I hear. Gothic I/II didn’t have great combat, but it was serviceable, and as good as any other RPG (like Oblivion).

    I’d rather they stick to what makes the originals great, though. Duh lots of people won’t like the game and it might again not be a hit in NA, but stick to your strengths, honestly.

  7. sluzzuls says:

    they only thing i didnt like about g3, other than not being able to finish it because of missing freakin goblets, was that they made the unnamed hero all buff. he was cool in 1 and 2 as a skinny dork. i could relate :P
    combat didnt bother me. there was always a way

    i think the whole color palette thing is weak. americans are a mix. we like the bright and the gritty. a mix of euro and jap.
    research analysts are always the most useless people. its like a prerequisite. you cant be in tune to research whats in tune. and what you come up with is like ‘that sounds good’

    anyway
    second favorite rpg series after FF

  8. AndrewC says:

    I have such a soft spot for Gothic since i blind bought the first one, having never heard of it and thinking that whole open world thing they described on the back cover sounded nifty. As it was a ‘discovery’ I feel like I own it, and get very protective about it. Then I discovered the Internet. I can’t say I’ve bought a game since without knowing absolutely everything about it months before it was released.

    I may wait until the community patch reaches at least 1.5 before I get this next one, though.

    American titles:

    Fury Of War 3: The Might Of Glory

    Dark Quest

    DoomQuake: Oblivion Found

    And a picture of a huge breasted lady wearing a belt.

  9. ggregg says:

    Frosty:

    WTF is wrong with gothic’s combat? G1’s was a bit buggy; I didn’t play G3 (’twas too buggy to run last time i checked), but G2’s was one of the best implementation of melee I ever seen in a cg that is not a dumb twitch contest. RU serious?

  10. AndrewC says:

    Well in 3 you can twang an arrow at them from a hundred yards away, carry on twanging a half a dozen times as they run slowly in a straight line towards you, retreat about 20 yards so they forget about you, then repeat until they’re dead. I find it endearing.

  11. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Bright and colorful! I is patronized.

    But in the age of greys and browns, it’s nice to see more reds, greens, and fabulous.

    Now, if only I actually wanted to play the Gothic series. I still remember horror stories of players getting pummeled by constant, unending waves of little attacks, all of which cancel any attack attempt the player might make. Did they ever fix that?

  12. restricted3 says:

    More stupidity from publishers. Bad.

  13. Jochen Scheisse says:

    None: Realms of Arkania II was AWESOME!

    I remember going too far into the Orklands by accident, my party dropping left and right due to a combination of an unknown sickness and tough ork patrols. I move into the mountains, out of the swampy forrest, in hopes of being able to hide, but the partols somehow grow larger and more experienced here. I barely survive one attack I can’t run from, decide to hide in the caves so I can heal the Hunter who’s my sickness specialist and could also sustain the group due to his high hiding and hunting skills…and that’s when I find the secret Dwarven Stronghold under the mountain.
    If I remember correctly, it was totally irrelevant to the main plot.

    The producer of the series, Guido Henkel, seemingly went on to produce Planescape Tornment, before dropping out of the team some months before the release over an argument with Interplay, and then became irrelevant.

  14. milieu says:

    : THE BLACK BLADE OF GOTHORIA.
    Am I the only one who read this as gonorrhea?

  15. Marcin says:

    I thought it was great that you had many solutions to quests in Gothic 2, since the combat was so atrocious I couldn’t kill ANYthing.

    So yeah, here’s hoping for combat improvements.

  16. Lake says:

    Gothic: The Cudgel of Xanthor

    (blatantly ripped off from Jeff Green)

  17. Riotpoll says:

    It’s not grey/brown enough for America

  18. Pidesco says:

    In Gothic 2, at least, combat was absolutely awesome once you mastered it. However, its difficulty curve was like a brick wall covered in sharp spikes, and slightly tilted in your direction.

  19. spd from Russia says:

    Gothic 3 was a horribly unfinished, unbalanced and buggy game. With a great potiential.
    They need a proper publisher with good budget and enough time to make better game than the last one. Coming up with some silly names wont change a thing, neither the color schemes will.
    Also PC games dont sell well in USA. So going multiplatform is the important move here.
    And the new developer … Will there be anyhting left of the old Gothic? I doubt it

  20. luminosity says:

    but G2’s was one of the best implementation of melee I ever seen in a cg that is not a dumb twitch contest

    Any combat system where you get RSI in the duration of one combat, is far, far from perfect.

  21. wcaypahwat says:

    I uninstalled gothic ii after the first fight. Im just picky I guess. And yes, fabulous is a real colour

  22. Marcin says:

    Mount & Blade has awesome combat. It is reactive, intuitive, requires timing and knowledge of your weapon, and behaves appropriately based on such. Blade of Darkness has awesome, yet difficult action-based combat. It’s intuitive yet punishing, very difficult to master, and very rewarding once you do.

    Gothic 2’s combat was neither of these. I did not get any sense of weight, reach, or reaction from anything I fought, and I didn’t feel like I was learning anything. After making it to the Seeker and getting two-shotted I figured I gave it a decent try and gave up*. Pity, because the world is one of the freshest ones out there.

    It’s still installed. One day when my tolerance is higher and backlog diminished, perhaps.

    *actually I took him out with a dino scroll, but I was outclassed by everything after that, and no way to make up the level difference. Damn “Chapter” structure.

  23. CakeAddict says:

    I yust hope they actually finish the game before releasing it this time around.
    Gothic 3 was unplayable having almost constant lag even if u had a high end pc.

    And yes.. stupid name choice I find it hase more a negative influence then positive it sounds like some cheap ass game.. well it might be even, if history repeats. x)

  24. CLLMM says:

    I have to say as a US resident and Gothic fan, it gets a bad rap. It’s not a hack and slash, so action gamers do not enjoy tearing monsters limb from limb, and it is not turned based, making old school gamers complain about it being to “fast paced”. It sucks that it must be pigeonholed, but there are not many people in between. Seemingly, your either Gold Box or Fable (an example of a bright and cheery, if crap, US made JRPG). Honestly, though I do not anticipate much love for this game over here anyways, and if they really aim to take the game in a new gameplay direction, I may just skip it. Baldur’s Gate is calling out to me for another play through anyways.

  25. Rook says:

    I kinda wished they just fix Gothic III, I can put up with some pretty broken games, but GIII was just unplayable with crashes even after all the fan patches.

    As for combat, I actually really liked it in G1 and G2, there’s this great levelling up mechanic where your trainer will tell you how to hold the weapon properly, and then how to weave moves together and you see your character pick up those exact changes in his fighting style. G3 wasn’t really that much worse but the instant stunlocks from many wild animals was stupid.

    Hopefully the colour pallete thing will just be a default option tweaked on the US version and EU version which will be interchangable. Although seeing as this one is hitting the consoles, I’m not so sure.

  26. Mr. Brand says:

    I wanted to like Gothic, but it does not like me.

    The first game, I played and played till I got a hang of it and could actually progress towards the end. It took unofficial patches to even BE ABLE TO SAVE back then. The final insult was when I spoke to the wizard, and he looked at the cool sword I was going to use to kill the foozle, or whatever. He kept waving it around, then the conversation ended with him telling me to go out and use that sword now and end the damn problems.

    Except he kept the sword. It stayed on his back, like he was the one setting out to kill the foozle. Ruined the fucking 24-hour story progress completely for me. My heart was just not into anymore of this masochism, so I deleted the fucking game and broke the CDs.

    I’m looking forward to the next big American CRPGs. They might be buggy, especially Bethesda’s releases, but nothing will be as game-breaking as the bugs I’ve encountered in Gothic.

    (Don’t get me started on #3 – never ran well enough for long enough that I could get one uninterrupted playsession to get a feel for it)

  27. K says:

    It wasn’t the bugs that bothered me about the third (I wasn’t affected as badly as others, though, it would seem), it was the lack of memorable characters. After they introduced NPCs so well, as guards that outclass you in the prison and such; Diego feeling like a real friend, and just seeming awesome. NPCs may as well have been called “Rebel Leader 5”, “Orc Leader 17” in Gothic 3. Bring back personality, even if it means a smaller World.

  28. Andrew says:

    I thought the ‘different colours’ thing was for the game’s cover, first of all.

    I remember Thief 3 had a green cover in Europe and a blue one in the US.

  29. Mr. Brand says:

    I’ve always seen blue covers for Thief 3 here in Europe. I could live with a cover change, if the other games hadn’t turned me off in various ways.

    Lucky you, K, who got as far as discovering the lack of personality :)

  30. Leeks! says:

    I just know that in the meeting where they announced the findings for their months-long study, at least one Jr level executive stopped scribbling notes, sat up and said to himself “Holy shit, I have to change my life.”

  31. D says:

    Gothic 1/2 is the only game I can think of that had the incap first, death secondly system for npcs. It was great beating the shit out of some would be thief, taking a nap, then following the blood trail and repeating.

    I also really liked the scarcity of skill points, forcing some tough decisions. And the multiple quest lines, begging you to replay the game.

    The melee combat was the best I had seen at the time. I think it was different in G2, but you had the option of going back to the classic method IIRC.

  32. ScubaV says:

    Speaking as an American, I hope they and other Euro developers don’t try to pander to our market. Frankly, American gamers are mostly a bunch of dumbasses who can’t tell good from bad.

    Gothic I and II are RPG classics; anyone who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to call themselves an RPG fan ;) Gothic III, on the other hand was mediocre at best, and blew chunks at worst.

  33. Blackhat says:

    Fuck, this means I need to get the euro version now. Damn Canada getting American versions of games. (I’ve played enough bloom infested American games, thanks.)

  34. Alex says:

    I’m changing my name at RPS.

    From now on it’ll be *furiously checks polls and other made-up documents*.. PCeus: MetaGod Of PC Game Related Opinions!

    (PCeus to be pronounced as P-Zeus but with a soft S instead of that Z, I mean, it’s blatantly obvious, but you never know in these muted and gritty lands..)

  35. malkav11 says:

    Jeez. What is with publishers and their desire to randomly crap up the titles of their games for the American market. Newsflash: games with stupid names that aren’t part of some hugely popular American lineage (and don’t prominently feature monster trucks etc) don’t sell. Furthermore, disassociating the game from the Gothic series removes its only real chance to sell. There are a number of American gamers who really love the Gothic series. Not a very large number, certainly, but more than are likely to pick up some generic titled RPG they’ve never heard of, with dubious provenance.

    See: Kult: Heretic Kingdoms (Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition, in America). Disaster Report 2 (Raw Danger, in America), etc.

  36. Vollgassen says:

    this new title sounds like the Uwe Boll movie version of Gothic

  37. Lavitz says:

    Looking forward to it. I loved gothic 2, but gothic 3 was a bit iffy. To much of the same from gothic 2 but worse.

  38. Bobsy says:

    On Thief 3: Wasn’t the XBox version in green and the PC version in blue?

  39. Alex McLarty says:

    Vollgassen says: this new title sounds like the Uwe Boll movie version of Gothic

    Don’t let Uwe hear you say that. He might fight you.

  40. fluffy bunny says:

    The new game is probably just for the US. The DreamCatcher guys have a long history of renaming everything for the US market.

  41. randomnine says:

    Seemingly, your either Gold Box or Fable (an example of a bright and cheery, if crap, US made JRPG).

    Close – Fable’s by Lionhead, which is a UK developer.

    I assume there’ll be a patch or something to swap the palettes if you don’t like what you get. The Internet’s a global medium so people will see screenshots from both… they’d be daft not to let you pick.

    Ultimately this isn’t for the fans, it’s for the people who’ve never played a Gothic game before. If it helps them sell more copies then more power to em!

  42. Mike says:

    I’ve never even heard of this game, or the other 3…

  43. Schadenfreude says:

    I really did love Gothic 3, as hideously broken as the combat was (And my goodness it was broken). There was some really nice visuals (I thought it was a lot prettier than Oblivion).

    What won it over for me was after aligning with the mercenaries in the first two games I was able to storm the king’s palace with Lee and put the regent to the sword; something that had little or no bearing on the plot as far as I can tell but Lee had been talking about for two games at this stage so it was nice to able to do it.

  44. AndrewC says:

    You sided with the Orcs? You bad man.

  45. Chaz says:

    @ Marcin
    Severance: Blade of Darkness, now that was how to make a cool hack slasher. I remember the graphics in that game were pretty darn impressive for the time too. I’ll never forget fighting that skeleton king in his near pitch black tomb. He rose out of his sarcophagus in flames like a fiery Phoenix and then proceeded to chase me around the dark tomb, with practically the only light being provided by his burning skeletal frame, which cast dancing shadows all around the walls as we fought.

    As for the Gothic series they really need to do something about the terrible combat. I bought the previous two and really wanted to get stuck into them, as I really liked the look of the world they had created. However the impenetrable combat system just made it near impossible for me to get anywhere in Gothic 2, and Gothic 3 wasn’t much of an improvement either. A real shame because it looked like that there was a good deal to see and explore, but I just got fed up of dying all the time when fighting even the lowliest critters. Saving before every single little combat encounter was a must. The spell system in Gothic 3 seemed a bit bugged too, for example using a potion still took from my mana reserve, why? That could’ve been overlooked if only the mana reserve regenerated over time, which it didn’t. Instead it relied on mana potions to constantly top it up, making the magic user route just as bad as the melee.

  46. Ian says:

    “but I just got fed up of dying all the time when fighting even the lowliest critters.”

    That reminds me of Alec’s comment in his “The Worst Ninja” series on RPS (which we need more of, by the way) when saying how his llama could beat up mongbats better than he could. :D

  47. Chris says:

    “I mean, there was one other good RPG series from Germany, and that one’s name was then translated as Realms of Arkania.”

    I finally found Shadows Over Riva a couple of months ago (played it 10 years ago but had to stop for some reason while the party was underwater), but I’m having real problems getting going this time: I guess I really want my old party back, or at least an experienced party from 1 and 2.

    Don’t suppose anyone has a party they’ve played through 1 and 2 with sitting on an old floppy or something somewhere that they’d be willing to email/post to me? Also, does anyone know if characters from the German version work in the English one?

  48. Schadenfreude says:

    You sided with the Orcs? You bad man.

    Nope. Slaughtered every orc there was and pretty much wiped out the Hashashin down south too, keeping the world safe for humanity (of a non-Arabic nature). But I also killed the king, ’cause he’s the prick who sent everyone to the prison colony on trumped up charges in the first place. Prick.

    “but I just got fed up of dying all the time when fighting even the lowliest critters.”

    Using a Halberd is the trick. With the longer reach and the way it swings you can hold off whole packs of critters with it; save your swords for orcs and humans.

    That could’ve been overlooked if only the mana reserve regenerated over time

    Later on in the game you can unlock an ability to regenerate mana and when you do the game becomes a walk in the park. As with the previous two games once you can cast Firestorm you’re nigh on unbeatable.

  49. Michael says:

    I for one am looking forward to it. Gothic 3 was a bit disappointing in the beginning as it was pretty buggy, but the story was great for the most part.
    As for the name…. thats a name you’d expect to find at some pound-shop shelf or free web game. Seriously…
    Different colour scheme? How about having different zones, some bright and some dark? Seems to work for WoW.

  50. Kris says:

    Grabthar’s Hammer (Galaxy Quest steal), Everlaria, Eternal Travails in Darkness, Cilia Karnivoria. Any thing with extra ‘i’s, ‘a’s, x’s and deliberate substitution of letters such as ‘k’ for ‘c’ would fit the bill for this or any game with a fantasy setting. Traditional vanilla spelling cannot alone convey the awesomeness of these games! (sarcasm definitely intended).