Risen 2: Rise Harder

I want to be the one with the gun. Not the other one.

Also on the comeback trail this week is Piranha Byte’s RPG Risen. Piranha were the chaps behind the Gothic series, but having lost the license in a disagreement with former publishers JoWood went off to make a spiritual sequel instead. While JoWood’s Gothic 4 was about as much fun as eating mildly poisonous cardboard shoes, Risen was 50% a genuinely brilliant game (and 50% a slightly tedious one) – here’s my series of diaries on it, in which you can see my early surliness quickly become excitement. Risen 2 sounds like they’re determined to fully go for it, rather than lurk in an awkward middleground between past successes and future ambition. Pirates! Guns!

Risen 2: Dark Waters pushes the timeline a few years on, and following the devastation of the land by Titans. It’s all a bit messy by the time you start playing, with some manner of sea beasties trashing all atttempts at naval fun. Which is where the pirates come in. If it’s anything like Risen 1, there’ll be some element of choosing whether you ally with them or fight ’em. I will attempt to fight them until they embrace me as one of their own, and give me a free parrot.

Sounds as though Risen’s surly protoganist will return as the playable character, now a member of the Inquistion and doing the whole Save The World thing. The game’s described as “the most immersive RPG world so far” (it did say “RPG game world”, but I took it out because roleplaying game game world is silly) and will feature expanded choices and abilities.It “aims to combine the most loved classic RPG gameplay mechanics of the original Risen with a fresh theme and setting on a huge variety of themed island locales and offers “multiple approaches to every challenge allowing players to shape the game world based on their own decisions.” All that good stuff from the first game but more so, hopefully. I’m very much looking forward to this – these guys know what they’re doing, and hopefully they’ll have the time and budget to do it here.

I don’t know if these pictures are screenshots or art as yet by the way, but they don’t look a million miles away from the first game. An awful lot brighter and more characterful, though.

There’s no release window as yet, but Neogaf whispers claim it’s 80% complete already and that there’ll be boat travel. Honestly – Risen has its problems, but this just crept pretty damned high up my nerdly Big-Want list,


  1. Hoaxfish says:

    “Rise Harder”

    strike one for esoteric porn conversations

  2. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    “RPG gameplay mechanics”

    Department of Redundancy Department.

  3. Turbobutts says:

    Good news, everyone!

  4. Kid_A says:

    If this doesn’t have a massive ship-to-sea Titan battle, I shall be sorely disappointed.

    • Navagon says:

      Third person naval battles with boarding raids, dammit! Hell yeah!

  5. Teronfel says:

    Great news!!! Risen was good shit,one of my favourite rpg’s but this one with guns and pirates is gonna
    be awesome!!!!!!!!!


    I can’t waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

  6. malkav11 says:

    From what I understand, they’re not screenshots. That said, they look well within the realm of possibility.

    • SirKicksalot says:

      These are target artworks, the real screens are in the German PC Games magazine.

  7. pompousporpoise says:

    The goblins in Risen were the best part. Pirates are great, but if there isn’t a hobbled-together ship crewed by the munchkins, then I’m not playing.

    • Soon says:

      And a captain goblin with a peg-leg.

    • Kryopsis says:

      You don’t mean the gnomes, do you? Those pack-rat little things?

    • leeder krenon says:

      pirates are shit. people who like pirates are normally cocks who think things like “international talk like a pirate day” is the fucking funniest thing of all time. fuck ’em.

  8. nofing says:

    TBH, I didn’t even bother trying either Gothic 4 or Risen, but this looks surprisingly refreshing and almost like a must buy to me.

  9. WMain00 says:

    Quite good news. Risen did have its charm, and I would like to see whether they improve upon it in a sequel. Much like Two Worlds 2 successfully improved upon the first.

  10. Soon says:

    It’s seems like pirates will have a pleasingly large presence. They often show up in RPGs and, well, everywhere as a bit of fan service. But they aren’t usually given a major role. I am excited! Pirates! Guns!

    • Skyvik says:

      Time to fasten my buckle of +3 swashing and get on board for a ya-harrrrPG.

  11. Astalano says:

    If there is not the equivalent of a Greg the pirate captain character in the game I will be sourly disappointed.

  12. Batolemaeus says:

    I’m not usually optimistic about new games.

    This one is a pleasant exception.

  13. westyfield says:

    “RPG game world”

    Oooh, exciting, I’ll preorder – just gotta check my PIN number

  14. Blakeland says:

    Guys, I’ve never played the first one. I kind of want to, but I’ve also never played Two Worlds or Gothic 3 or the Witcher (I realize one of these things isn’t quite like the other) and I just don’t know which one to play first…


    • Batolemaeus says:

      Well, since I’m a bitter old fart (at 22, of course!), I’d say start with Gothic 1, then Gothic 2 and the addon, and then Gothic 3. Skip 4, it’s not a Gothic. Then Risen.
      Also, squeeze in the Witcher. And Two Worlds. And stuff.

    • Blakeland says:

      I think I have Gothic 1 downloaded from GOG. I was a little irked by the controls at the beginning, but I’ll give it another shot.

    • suibhne says:

      It’s true, the controls are tough to get used to – especially if you’ve played, oh, any other game at all in the last 10 years. But the game is otherwise brilliant, and learning the controls in Gothic 1 means you can then fire up Gothic 2 (plus expansion) and cannily appreciate the minor control improvements. ;)

  15. jti says:

    I hope this one hits the jackpot. The first one was nice but not quite there. I am excited about the news.

  16. omicron1 says:

    …now I’m divided in my future-affections – half towards Skyrim, and half towards Risen 2.

    Waitaminute… guns? Open world? Immersive? Shape the world?

    Guys! You know what this means?

    If they succeed (and I have no doubt that they will) they’ll have beaten Peter Molyneux at his own game!

  17. James G says:

    Pirates? Dark water? I know we’ve got quite a spread of ages here, but surely I can’t be the only person remembering a certain cartoon.

    Was quite interested in the first Risen, but the demo dissuaded me from buying the game, just felt a bit bland. Will keep an eye on this one.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      Yes yes. I hope we can have some high adventure with these pirates of dark water.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Holy bejeezus, id totally forgotten about that show. Did they ever finish it?

    • James G says:

      I think it was cancelled before the end, TV Tropes seems to agree on that. It also appears that Risen 2 is already getting a mention on that page:
      link to tvtropes.org

  18. RyuRanX says:

    The first two chapters of Risen were great, reminding me a lot of the first two Gothic games. But the last two chapers were short, linear, empty, rushed…

    I hope Piranha Bytes gives a lot of attention to Risen’s flaws. The good thing is I trust they will try to improve the game RPG-wise and not dumb it down for Call of Duty players like Bioware and Bethesda are doing with their titles.

    • Astalano says:

      Well, PB are only doing the PC version and outsourcing to another company to make the console versions…which could be as much a mistake as with the first Risen.

      So I doubt they care too much about dumbing down anything, seeing as how they’re catering to an entirely hardcore crowd.

  19. thebigJ_A says:

    I had a lot of fun with the first half of Risen. Then it became linear and kind of dull, so I stopped.

    It was odd in the way it got less open as you went along. Definitely a different approach, but for someone like me, who’s favorite RPG ever was Morrowind (and who CAN”T WAIT for Skyrim), it ruined the experience. I wanted more interesting choices like in the beginning, not less.

    • CTRL-ALT-DESTROY says:

      I’d say, with the exception of Gothic 3, all of PB’s games go in this direction, which means the end game is always way less fun than everything else. Especially so in the case of Risen… I mean seriously, that was awful. But hopefully they’ll work on some better late game content this time around. Here’s hoping. Either way, I’m friggin’ stoked! A new Gothic (you know what i mean)! Woot!

  20. Kryopsis says:

    I was wondering when will information on Risen 2 finally appear. The first game was very enjoyable but the linear dungeon crawling at the end was disappointing. Piranha Bytes can do better and hopefully the financial success of Risen will insure that the sequel is properly financed.

  21. oceanclub says:

    I really enjoyed Risen; it was a surprise for me since I’d never gotten into Gothic 1 or 2 (which admittedly I only played several years after release), and found the Gothic 3 demo a buggy nightmare. In fact, I just checked last week to see if Gothic 3 (which I got as part of the Steam Gothic pack) would run with my new graphics card and, while there’s still the occasional stutter, I’m really enjoying it. Just a shame that the engine took 5 years to catch up with hardware (the Risen engine was much better, hopefully the Risen 2 engine is just as forgiving).


  22. Chaz says:

    Funily enough I recently likened Gothic 4 the other day to being about as fun and exciting as eating a dry plain cream cracker. Not as bad as mildly poisonous cardboard shoes, but pretty dull stuff none the less.

    Divinity 2: DKS gets my vote for best single player RPG I’ve played recently. Good quests with plenty of puzzling (i.e. no boring fetch me 10 of these type quests) backed up with some genuinly witty dialogue. I even enjoyed it more than I did Fallout: NV.

    • CTRL-ALT-DESTROY says:

      Personally, I liken Gothic 4 to a tasteless box of mashed potatoes. Or T-BOMP for short.

  23. James T says:

    “Rose Harder”, clearly.

  24. WombatDeath says:

    here’s my series of diaries on it, in which you can see my early surliness quickly become excitement

    I enjoyed those diaries and look forward to the final instalment in January 2010!

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      god yes, these diary entries were what let me fall in love with RPS. So these news are good in so many ways, more Meer Diaries and even more Pirates, an element present in all the gothic games in one instance or another, but never satisfyingly pursued.

  25. outoffeelinsobad says:

    I think we’re long overdue for an interview with Piranha Bytes.

    • CTRL-ALT-DESTROY says:

      Yeah, good god! Other than the Meer diaries and columns by Desslock from PCG US, the mainstream media hasn’t written more than a paragraph or two for anything PB has ever done (not counting reviews). An interview would be so awesome… and way easier than learning German.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      Ich weiss Deutsch schon, aber ein Interview ware toll.

  26. JonasKyratzes says:

    Finally a new game I can really look forward to! It’s been a while.

  27. cpeninja says:

    Man, I guess I’ll be the one over in the corner saying ‘Risen was kinda boring’ and ‘Arcania was pretty fun.’

    • Batolemaeus says:

      You mean the one being stoned by gothic fans?

    • Renzatic says:


      My response to your post, presented in Emoticonivision.

      :| ‘:| :o :O :( >:( >:P

    • cpeninja says:

      Luckily, the stones throne by Gothic fans were too buggy to actually hit me, and I sent my dog after them which made them pee their pants in fear of being stun-locked to death and flee. So far so good.

      I mean, I understand their annoyance with the game in regards to the Gothic universe, but… well, I always found the Gothic games to be pretty terrible. I mean, I tried – REALLY tried – to play through all of 3. I think I finally gave up after I ended up stuck under a mountain in the snow area.

    • JonasKyratzes says:

      Gothic 3 is in no way representative of the first two games.

  28. oceanclub says:

    I really enjoyed my play of “Risen” so far (still haven’t finished it) and I even went back to try out Gothic 3 as a result. I was scathing of that game at release because of the ultra-buggy low-performance demo, but improved hardware and the community patch means it’s now playable for me (albeit still with an annoying stutter). So it turns out I was a closet Gothic fan all along.

    (Sorry, sounds like I’m repeating myself, but I just noticed my original comment from yesterday which I thought got lost in the aether has actually appeared!)

  29. Talorc says:

    I think Risen very much benefited from a constrained financial scope – don’t try and do everything, do a few things (first two chapters) very well.

    Too much scope and it can get kind of unfocused (like some of Gothic III), without one thing standing out.

  30. Jackablade says:

    They look a little skinny for Piranha Bytes charaters.