ELEX: A Post-Apocalyptic RPG From Gothic & Risen Dev

Bless ’em, you can’t say Piranha Bytes aren’t ambitious. The German studio behind the Gothic and Risen RPG series do make wonky games, but they have a charm. Go read about Alec’s adventures with Risen 3: Titan Lords to get the idea. After tackling fantasy and pirates, their next open-world RPG will go post-apocalyptic.

Piranha Bytes have announced they’re making ELEX [official site] in collaboration with Nordic Games. They refer to it as “Eclectic, Lavish, Exhilarating, Xenial” and I honestly can’t tell whether that’s an earnest acronym or they’re copying MDK with its “Madonna Dates Kylie?” silliness.

About all we know about the game comes from that grey concept art (I am glad to see living trees) and this description:

“ELEX is a handcrafted action role-playing experience from the award-winning creators of the Gothic series, set in a brand new post-apocalyptic science fantasy universe that puts players into a huge, seamless game world full of original characters, mutated creatures, deep moral choices and powerful action.”

Says you. I’ll be glad to see a quirkier alternative/companion to Fallout 4 in the post-apocalyptic 3D RPG sphere. Also, presumably you can blame any wonkiness on radiation.

ELEX is due in the winter straddling 2016 and 2017. Piranha and Nordic plan to show off a slice of the game at Gamescom in August.


  1. GameCat says:

    Elexcellent news.

    I’ve just realised that it probably could be the closest thing to The Dark Tower game adaptation we could get.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Why. Wont. This. Happen? Why? A Dark Tower would be much loved, if done correctly, by a metric ton of people. If only…

  2. minty says:

    “set in a brand new post-apocalyptic science fantasy universe”

    consider me interested.

    • tnzk says:

      I was excited too when Bioware said Dragon Age was a brand new fantasy setting.

      And then Dragon Age happened.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        You mean the part about Dragon Age: Origins being almost universally beloved?

        Because I’m sure these devs would love for that to happen.

        • Jim Reaper says:

          I know exactly what tnzk means. There was all this gumph about being free from the D&D licence, free to create a brand new world of their own crafting, and what did this brave new world offer? Go save the world by killing the same four generic demon blokes again & again & again, or they’ll overrun the world because…well, they’re demon blokes, what else are they going to do? Dragon Age: Origins wasn’t bad, but it was disappointing.

          • Blackcompany says:

            Well said. Bioware were free to make anything they wished in terms of a Fantasy RPG, and we got…Elves, Dwarves, the Deep Roads and…The Fade. Dear god the Fade.

            On a scale of 1/10 the world they built rated about a 2 for originality or creativity, to be honest.

  3. Wowbagger says:

    That cover picture looks like an illustration for the books of the new sun, so I heartily approve of this. Although I haven’t played any of their other games.

    • swiftshlock says:

      Oh yes, Severian and Terminus Est…but that’s no fuligin cloak ;)

      I just imagined a Witcher 3-like RPG where you wander around, offering professional decapitations to villagers and gentry… probably won’t happen. Probably for the better.

      • frightlever says:

        Jesus, what a universe that would be for a video game. Would make the Souls games look manically cheerful by comparison.

      • Wowbagger says:

        It would be wonderful I imagine, I’d like an avern duelling game to be a thing :) This is partly why i’m so looking forward to the Torment:Tides of Numenera game as they cite Gene Wolfe as a big inspiration.

      • Blackcompany says:

        That would be an awesome Universe for a game indeed. As with the Dark Tower setting, what I would not give…

    • vahnn says:

      That’s exactly what I thought. If there’s one universe I would like to see artfully and expertly adapted into some sort of open-world singleplayer RPG experience, Book of the New Sun is it.

    • Shiloh says:

      Precisely what I was thinking – except Terminus Est didn’t have a pointy end, it was squared off…

      I’ve been wishing for an Urth game setting for years, I reckon it’d be an astonishing place to play around in.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I’m intrigued. I didn’t get on with Risen as much (and didn’t try 2 and 3) but Gothic 1 & 2 are still among my favourite games.

    • Harlander says:

      Mm, ditto. Gothic 3, though not without its charm, didn’t quite work as well. Too many repetitive bits, too big (surprisingly) and also it ran worse than Gothic 4 did on the same machine.

      But if they can capture the best bits about the Gothic series (how about bringing the original’s implementation of rain back, huh?) this should be something good

  5. Jokerme says:

    Risen was great, Risen 2 was good, Risen 3 was nice. I hope they make something along Dark Souls lines in terms of difficulty and combat design this time around, because their games always lacked in those areas. Then this new game would be epic. They do know how to create big nice worlds.

  6. Love Albatross says:

    Good shit. PB games are always at least interesting, and can usually be relied upon for some really nice map design. The much maligned Gothic 3 still stands out for me as one of the nicest spaces in a game that I’ve seen.

    • Cvnk says:

      Same here. Gothic 3’s map was so expansive and immersive that when I finished the stuff in the north area and finally wandered back south again I was momentarily disoriented because all the other areas were such a distant enough memory that they felt like they should have been from another game.

  7. Peregrin says:

    They’ve posted a bit more info on the german forum. Not much, but here’s what PB responded to questions:
    There will be a completely new combat system. (meaning not the one from Risen or Gothic)
    There will be ranged weapons, crafting and some form of skill tree.
    No loading screens, just one big open world, that will be accessible after a short introduction. But not generic like assassin’s creed, an open world to collect hundreds of flags and other useless stuff, everything that’s in this world has to have a purpose.
    They are working on a stealing system and making NPCs and the player character loot-able. Meaning the player character will be looted by NPCs. Which hints at the great old system in Gothic, where people don’t all die if you beat them up, but are knocked out.
    I’m already excited for this, as an old gothic fan who has no taste for pirates.

  8. Wulfram says:

    I can’t really believe in a game that self describes as “edgy”

    • Don Reba says:

      Hey, have you seen Microsoft’s edgy new browser? It’s called Edge, and its not Internet Explorer at all.

    • Jac says:

      Now if only someone owned the legal rights to this word to stop such wanton usage.

  9. Saarlaender39 says:

    Quote Alice: “…or they’re copying MDK with its “Madonna Dates Kylie?” silliness.”

    Never heard this “Madonna Dates Kylie” – line.
    Confess…you made that up. ;)

    The only (assumed) meanings for MDK that I can remember, were “Murder Death Kill” and “Max, Dr.Hawkins, Kurt”.

    I believe, there were some others, but the two I already mentioned, were the most reasonable ones – or at least the ones, my friends and I always referred to, when we talked about MDK.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Would I lie to you?

      • Jac says:

        Alice is confused, rather than fibbing.

        It was always a Neighbours reference Madge dates Kylie. Every young boys dream.

      • NMorgan says:

        You, or anyone at RPS, would lie in a heartbeat if you believed something good would come out of it. It’s OK, though. You don’t have to give us the truth. We can take it from you. (through the processes of extrapolation, option elimination, analysis, research etc.) We let you lie to us only because it makes you happy, Mother.

  10. Kabukiman74 says:

    I really love post-apocalyptic RPGs, but “…from the award-winning creators of the Gothic series…” really is a turnoff.

    I’ll wait till about 2 years after release to see, if it will be half-playable until then…

    • floher says:

      As far as remember only Gothic 3 was bugged to unplayability.

  11. Lanessar says:

    It actually sort of reminds me more of the Shannara setting, or perhaps The Book of Swords by Fritz Saberhagen. Either way, very interested. It hasn’t really been done for fantasy before (magic, fantasy, dead sci-fi civilization) that I’m aware of.

  12. Rumpelstilskin says:

    I’ll give them eclectic, but “lavish, exhilarating, and xenial” is not something I’d expect from a post-apocalyptic setting. German humor?

    • Harlander says:

      I wouldn’t expect “xenial” from anything, but then, I’d never heard the word before

      • jrodman says:


        From ancient Greek, we have ξένος, meaning things like “people receiving hospitality” or “guests” and secondarily “stranger”, or maybe “foreigner”. From this we end up with ‘xenial’ meaning hospitable.

        From the adjective usage, we have ξένος meaning “foreign”, “strange” or “unusual”, from which we end up with the prefix xeno- referencing foreigners, driving words such as for xenophobe.

        link to en.wiktionary.org

      • Rumpelstilskin says:

        Well, I didn’t know the word either, of course, but I looked it up, and didn’t seem like something applicable to a post-apocalyptic society. Unless they want to turn it up side down and create a post-apocalyptic setting where people are not at each other’s throats but instead cherish and try to preserve what’s left of the mankind. Which, come to think of it, is not an unreasonable thing to imagine; just that the game would probably be a little dull.

  13. MattMk1 says:

    I liked Gothic 2 a lot (despite the fact it probably had the worst-balanced combat of any RPG I ever played, and that I was never able to finish it because both times I got past the halfway point – out of 4 or 5 times I tried playing it from the start – my saves got corrupted), and I kept on wanting to give their other games a chance.

    I’ve stopped at a certain point, though, because it was becoming obvious that these guys were only interested in (or capable of) making the same game, over and over, only dressed up slightly differently. And the concept art really doesn’t do much to convince me this one will be any different. It’s a problem a lot of game developers have, but these guys really take it to a whole new level.

  14. Lionmaruu says:

    welllllll lets see… I always tought their games were close to great, even if that meant I coudnt really play them. if they can make that jump to “bethesda” level it will be a great game to play after having spent two years of my life on fallout4 by then.

  15. Holysheep says:


    Gothic was an excellent license, ruined by an idiotic publisher forcing releases, which explains the terrible debacle of Gothic 3 that Jowood wanted to force to compete against Oblivion.

    Risen 1 was an excellent game, ruined by the 2 clusterfucks that followed, made with consoles in mind, and simplified to a point it had no more reasons to exist (along with the ridiculous choices, like how Risen’s average, unliked, refugee hero, who still somehow managed to get sympathy from me, became a terribad emo pirate I just wanted to bitchslap to death in risen 2, game in which patterns went also dumbs and less moves were possible)

    If they know what make Risen 1 and gothic good, and what they fucked up, especially in Risen 2 and 3, it could be a great game.

  16. tonicer says:

    Don’t be bad! Don’t be bad! Don’t be a console game with a PC port!

    In my dreams i see more PC only games, i hope this is a dream come true.

  17. Raja Blast says:

    Not much information to go on here, but the concept art is appealing. It reminds me of The Age of Decadence (a great, albeit somewhat limited, post-apocalyptic RPG that should be getting a full release in the near future [currently in EA]) and the Broken Empire book series written by Mark Lawrence. I’m sick to death of post-apocalyptic games set in deserts, or the aesthetic equivalents of deserts.