ELEX: Trailer & Details On Risen Dev’s New Action RPG

“Eclectic, Lavish, Exhilarating, Xenial”, was how Risen and Gothic developers Piranha Bytes described their forthcoming post-apocalyptic open world RPG ELEX [official site] when they announced it last year. I reckon they were being purposefully tongue-in-cheek, but either way we didn’t have all too much to go on back then beyond the initial idea.

Fast forward the better part of a year, and a website overhaul, a load of new info and a fresh “mood” trailer now offer us a better understanding of what it’s all about. Observe:

Teaming up with Nordic Games this time round, ELEX looks every bit as ambitious as Piranha Bytes’ previous projects and will see familiar fantasy fare clash with science fiction in a world rebuilding itself following a meteor collision. In practice this means the chance to wield swords, bows, axes, shotguns, harpoons, flamethrowers AND plasma rifles and magic and the likes.

It also means touring five freely explorable open world regions from the off by land or by jetpack (yes!), as you level up minus the restrictions of a traditional class system. Which will sound familiar if you’ve played the Risen and/or Gothic games. Here’s the word from Piranha on that:

“Find a companion, choose a faction and influence the world. In Elex there is no traditional class system. Instead you must earn the trust of experienced teachers to develop the skills you select. But, skills alone won’t be enough to survive in this harsh and challenging world.

“Your attitude towards the people you meet will influence those around you. Will you make an ally or an enemy? Is now the time to show emotion or take the course of logic? Every choice will forge the future of your game.”

For more information on the game’s lore and setting, head on over to the ELEX site. There’s no release date just yet, however that might change in the not-so-distant future with E3 just around the corner.


  1. Zallgrin says:

    Piranha Bytes are making a game that isn’t a Gothic reskin? Are… are the sick? Did they hurt themselves? Did they seriously decide – let me count – seven Gothic games later that maybe they ought to try out something new?

    I’m sincerely shocked. I didn’t believe I’d see this day.

    God knows, I love Gothic a lot and enjoyed the occasional Risen, but the constant rehashing and lack of change was beyond parody. Can’t wait for this game to come out!

    • Askis says:

      What makes you so sure it’s not just a SciFi Gothic/Risen? ;)

      • Zallgrin says:

        Hell, a sci-fi Gothic is already a lot more change than they have introduced in all of their seven games taken together. I love Piranha Bytes and find that they have some really good design in their games… but their stubborn adherence to lack of change is dumbfounding.

        This is far more than I’d expected. I wouldn’t be optimistic enough to hope to a female protagonist, though…

        • dr.denton says:

          One could argue that, since not a single one of their games was functional on a technical level, they stick to their one formula, hoping to get it right some day ^^
          And I’m writing this as a big fan of G1. So no PB hate here.

          • Kits says:

            It had flaws, like anything, but I would have said they got it about as close to right as a fan of their games could want with Gothic 2, and especially its expansion. A shame each game following progressed further from that height.
            Still, I do look forward to their games, and despite being previously oblivious to this one, I am now interested.

          • tanith says:

            Interesting. In my opinion Gothic was much better because it had a better atmosphere and story. But I’m also saying that because Gothic is my most favourite game of all times.
            Gothic 2 was good but not as good as the first one. The expansion, however, made it much better. The world in the expansion was really, really cool. Still, nothing compares to the first Gothic.

            Concerning Elex.
            Jeez, FINALLY! Took them long enough. I’ve been wanting a sci-fi game from PB for at least 10 years now. Took them long enough to do it. Really looking forward to it.

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            Ninja Dodo says:

            Piranha Bytes games have always been rough around the edges, some more than others, but Gothic 1 and 2 (maybe not on release but certainly after patches) I’ve always found to be perfectly functional solid games.

  2. thelastpointer says:

    I’ve never seen a sci-fi/fantasy crossover end up good, though I must admit I’d like to see a well executed one.

    • kud13 says:

      Have you played Shadowrun? I love that cyberpunk + high fantasy setting.

      Just stay away from the FPS game.

      • thelastpointer says:

        Yes I have and I loved it. It’s a shame it slipped my mind :(
        And now I’d have to edit my comment to replace ‘never’ with ‘rarely’. I’m up for more suggestions though!

        • kud13 says:

          Arcanum is kind of similar, despite being Steampunk rather than pure sci-fi. Stil, same basic concept of “elves with guns”

          Torment: Tides of Numenera is going for the “technology indistinguishable from magic” vibe with its multiple millennia of history and tech from multiple eras being found in the same place.

          Nothing else really comes to mind, which is a shame, b/c I love the idea of magic/tech mashups.

          • thelastpointer says:

            Yeah, I’m excited about Numenera as well.

            A whole lot of JRPGs (including Final Fantasy) combine tech and magic, though I don’t really like them myself. The old Might and Magic series was playing with weird things, but it was… weird.

            Also: Quake!

      • zbeeblebrox says:

        Technically, Shadowrun counts as low fantasy, because it takes place in “the real world” by virtue of being cyberpunk (to be high fantasy, you have to build your whole world from scratch, Middle Earth style). But yes, it’s a rare good mash-up in an ocean of otherwise terrible sci fi-fantasy mash-ups

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      Nauallis says:

      You may have heard of a little universe called Warhammer 40,000. If you haven’t, I would recommend you try a relatively unknown game called “Dawn of War.” The developer, Relic, did a fairly good job of transferring the sci-fi & fantasy blend of the WH40k universe into an apparently enjoyable RTS. I also concurrently recommend novels in the universe, especially titles penned by Dan Abnett, among others.

      • thelastpointer says:

        WH40K is quite a stretch — it’s like calling Starcraft fantasy because the Protoss have glowy shit and crystals.
        The novels have been on my reading list for ages, I’ll get around them someday, but RTS games are not my cup of tea so I’ll most likely skip Dawn of War. Thanks for the suggestion though.

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          Nauallis says:

          I disagree, heartily. WH40k’s whole story premise is the clash of fantasy and sci-fi, and what that looks like (mostly high technology vs sorcery, but there are definitely the traditional medieval “sword n’ sorcery” stories in the universe). The Imperium was founded on the basis of science and reason, and ran afoul of… well, of magic. Magic corrupted some of the knights of the Imperium and caused a civil war which basically destroyed the concept of the scientific method and deified the leader of mankind. The warp is the literal embodiment of emotion running rampant. Sure, the primary characters that most folks are familiar with are the the Space Marines, who appear to be pretty founded in technology, except that they are all about careful use of “magic” and a [un]healthy helping of dogma.

          It’s not traditional “purist fantasy” in the sense of LotR or Shannara or others, but it’s a hell of a lot closer to it than Shadowrun, and it’s a lot more honest about it to boot.

          • thelastpointer says:

            I always thought that most of WH magic was a plague-like, destructive force, acting more like a natural disaster than standard, er, magic-magic. I’m sure you’re right though, and that’s actually one more reason to start reading the books :)

  3. ZIGS says:

    Jeez, are they STILL using the same engine? Even Bethesda thinks it’s probably time for a new one

  4. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I think I have seen too much faded, brownish and worn colour schemes, because at this point I’d like to see more lively and vibrant colours, especially in a genre like this.

  5. kud13 says:

    Dinosaurs: check

    Giant mutants: check

    Mechs: check

    Jetpacks: check

    Lovely post-apoc Vistas: check

    I’m liking how this is shaping up. PB’s games are still on my to play list (same as the Elder scrolls- I was a late-comer to RPGs by way of Deus Ex, so my interests veered sharply towards imsims, until The Witcher (1) came along). But this looks like it could be really, really neat.

    • TheTingler says:

      I’m exactly the same way, which is why I have no nostalgia for the older isometric point-n-click RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, to the point where I’m struggling to even play Pillars of Eternity or Wasteland 2 and I was excited about both.

      PB’s games will either be love or hate. If you can get into the older Gothics great, but the only Risen I could get into was Risen 3 and that was still a bit janky. Risen 2 especially – forget about it.

      • kud13 says:

        It took me I think 4 tries to ge into Planescape Torment, but I loved it. Haven’t played Baldur’s gate. Bounced off Neverwinter Nights, took forever to get into Dragon Age: origins.

        Pillars I felt was ok, but maybe I just got lucky because I picked a Cipher as my char. Wasteland 2 is gathering dust on my GOG shelf, waiting it’s turn.

  6. rollermint says:

    Its PB. I love them. They make the most “lived” in world.

    Their games are some of the buggiest crap fests I’ve ever played but I love them. Cant wait to hear the same guy voice acting like 60% of the characters tho :D

  7. Flopdong says:

    Is it just me, or does the logo for the game look a LOT like the halo logo?
    Looks like a fun game though

  8. racccoon says:

    I think its ( from the video) a throw everything in you can & have no reason for the pieces to be there, game.

  9. Lintire says:

    Well the production values are in, but if it’s an aRPG they’ve got a bit of a standard to live up and gameplay matters equally as much.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Haven’t tried any of the recent Piranha games after bouncing off the first Risen but still a big fan of Gothic so colour me interested.