Goth is dead: Gothic devs go sci-fi with Elex in October

Elex [official site] will launch on October 17th, publishers THQ Nordic announced today. Elex might sound like the name of of an app startup pitching itself with “It’s like Uber for laxatives” but Elex is, in fact, a post-apocalyptic open-world RPG from the creators of Gothic and Risen. German studio Piranha Bytes have sidled away from historical fantasy and gone a bit sci-fi fantasy (sci-fantasy?) for Elex, visiting a world where a meteor strike has trashed the planet and showered it with the magical element Elex. This can only lead to questing!

The official blurb says:

“Elex is a handcrafted action role-playing experience set in a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy universe, and puts players into a huge, seamless open world full of original characters, mutated creatures, deep moral choices and powerful action. From swords and axes to bows, crossbows and harpoons, Elex offers one of the widest selection of weaponry in the history of role-playing. Pick up a shotgun, power up a plasma rifle or unleash a flame thrower – there’s a weapon and combat style for every fighter out there. Then find a companion, choose a faction and influence the world; in Elex, every choice will forge the future of your game.”

And it has a jetpack.

As for how Elex looks, here’s a recent in-game trailer introducing one of the game’s factions, the Berserkers. They’ve found a way to convert Elex to Mana for magic, and are trying to make the world all pretty and green again.

I’m not that interested in Elex itself but I am glad to see Piranha Bytes still occupy that scrappy, quirky middle-ground between mega-budget blockbuster 3D RPGs and 2D doodads.

Oh, and if any angel investors are reading this: I’m willing to sell a 30% stake in my Elex app idea for £500,000.


  1. Stevostin says:

    … aaaand no first person view. Would be a sucker for everything else here but this is a no go.

  2. KingFunk says:

    Actually rather happy to find out about this – I rather enjoyed Risens 2 and 3, despite their jankiness. Preferred 2 because I quite liked the combat aptitude being heavily tied to character progression (which makes sense, once you get over the initial shock of inadequacy). PB games are silly, but in a way that I can go for. Plus, maybe Alec can do another diary series…

  3. twaitsfan says:

    Gothic 2 was one of the greatest video game worlds I ever had the pleasure of playing in. For that reason alone, I’ll buy this and give it a go.

    • BattleXer says:


      Gothic 2 blew my mind when it came out. To this day I carry the phrase “You’ve slept well and feel rested” with me, whenever I wake up in the mornings…

      • twaitsfan says:

        Finding that broken catapult or ram or whatever and getting into the castle while being chased by orks is one of my favorite gaming memories.

  4. Marblecake says:

    Surprised at the muted response, given that Gothic and Gothic 2 were pretty darn awesome RPGs. Basically Witcher 3 before Witcher 3 came around.
    Then again, I never played any of the Risens but heard that they were a bit naff.

    • Hammer1649 says:

      I actually liked Risen and it’s sequels better than Gothic and it’s sequels. Either way, I am excited about this game.

  5. hughie522 says:

    Pretty, but there are so many so-so open world craft ’em ups with a similar premise, I’m not convinced this’ll be any better than average.

  6. vorador says:

    I will keep an eye on this, since Piranha Bytes have always done interesting things on their RPGs.

  7. dualestl says:

    After Risen 2 and 3 I’ve lost almost every bit of faith I had with Piranha Bytes.It’s like you cant even believe they made Gothic 2 and the first Risen,both exceptional RPG’s.

    Elex is gonna be the last straw from me.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    Why make a point out of how this isn’t ye olde fantasy settings with swords, bows and magic (and FUCKING Snappers).
    Because all I see is swords, bows, technology indistiguishable from magic (and MORE FUCKING Snappers!).

  9. Treners says:

    Hmm. Seems like they’re trying to go for a Horizon Zero Dawn sort of thing with the aesthetic, but with less personality to the style (though to be fair I’m sure details will change etc etc.).

    What concerns me more is that the combat looks very floaty and lightweight.

    • instantcoffe says:

      You haven’t played Gothic or Risen, have you?
      (combat isn’t their biggest strength, to say the least)

  10. Turkey says:

    I always said I wanted to run around in a generic medieval fantasy world with a heavy arsenal of modern guns, but now I’m not so sure anymore.

  11. Pich says:

    Looks like top-class Eurojank.

    • grimdanfango says:

      Apparently the more Piranha Bytes change, the more they stay the same. Hacky animation, hacky script, oddly endearing and no doubt surprisingly solid and deep game hiding beneath the wonky exterior.
      I haven’t played one since Risen 1, which was a solid return to Gothic 2 form at the time. Thinking I might pick this one up assuming it’s not an outright disaster.

      • dualestl says:

        You’re not missing much,Risen 2 and 3 were well bellow the first one and had absolutely atrocious animations and combat systems,bad optimization, not to mention a plethora of bugs which is almost a tradition for Piranha Bytes.

        Sure they used to get away with all of those issues ,but as years passed and the modern RPG foundation has evolved with games like Witcher and Dark Souls,its really hard to do so anymore.

  12. haldolium says:

    Elex is very unconvincing so far.

    A long time ago, I would’ve been happy to hear PB exploring SciFi, but after the mediocre Risen series I barely care about another PB game with the exact same world design from Gothic 1 to Risen 3 but way less souls or interesting characters as G1/2. Elex seems to continue the very forgettable characteristics of the Risen series.

  13. DinoSteak says:

    I’m one of those hopefuls (read: dummies) that keeps thinking one of these days Piranha Bytes will nail the Gothic II formula again, and make it more accessible, which is very wishful thinking. Their handcrafted worlds and real difficulty curve is practically non-existent in any other offerings in the RPG/Open-world format.

    • haldolium says:

      How would you see the “accessibility” there? I mean isn’t that exactly what PB did with Risen? The formula for their games hasn’t changed since their very first Gothic but the games became much easier and a lot less interesting as well.

      Granted the G2 entry can be a bit hard, potentially leaving the player a bit lost after the first few nights in Khorinis, but otherwise it’s the perfect game. The combat might not be perfectly motion captured cinematic ninja moves, but the combat system is actually pretty sophisticated when you think about it.

      I don’t think the issue is accessibility, but the other way around. Gothic 2 is so damn great because of a tremendous amount of good design which I don’t think is that easy to recreate (obviously, 4 games later from the same studio and it’s only getting worse).

      I don’t often use YT for game videos, but this guy really explains a majority of the design choices that made Gothic 2 great (and forgets a few, but well)

  14. MushyWaffle says:

    I love games like this :)

  15. April March says:

    So the vibe I got from this trailer is “Skyrim guy goes to Fallout land”. Also there was a dinosaur for a bit. Is there a word for this kind of genre? Kitchen-sink fantasy? I’m quite taken with it. I’d even like it best if you didn’t feel the need to explain it away with an adamantium magic meteor.

  16. Maxheadroom says:

    I loved the 1st Gothic but couldnt get into 2 or 3 at all. One of them (i forget which) was fun for the first 20 minutes then ground to a halt when you reached the 1st town and were bombarded with about 5000 NPCs all wanting to tell you their life story in branching dialogue trees.