Risen & Gothic creators go post-apocalyptic with Elex

From the first Gothic games through to Risen, German studio Piranha Bytes have made fantasy RPGs. Today that changes with the launch of Elex [official site], taking the open-world RPG antics to a post-apocalyptic with jetpacks and guns. Oh okay, it is a little bit fantasy still, with technomagic, monsters, swords, and thatched cottages. But in the future.

Elex goes down on a technologically-advanced planet after a mysterious meteor has smashed into it and ruined everything. Handily, the meteor does at least bring the promise of great power through the eponymous element elex, which can power fancy technology or give magic powers if you huff it or something. And from there a conflict between factions and orders and all that unfold.

In we come to explore, quest, make friends and enemies, collect odds and ends, make decisions, and duff up baddies and monsters. It’s an open-world RPG, yeah?

I’m hopeful our Alec will have a crack at Elex, seeing as his times with Piranha Bytes’ Risen series have variously been exciting, frustrating, surprising, and awful (do read about his adventures in the first, second, and third game). He is on holiday this week, mind, with no idea that I am volunteering him for a task he will likely find as irritating as it is rewarding. Ha ha.

Elex is out for £40/€50/$50 on Steam and GOG.


  1. Tulos says:

    Second last paragraph states “I’m hopeful our Alec will have a crack at Alec…”

    Just wanted to point out that encouraging your co-workers to challenge and therefore better themselves is very supportive of you. Fine work.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Here’s to that kaisin in the workplace! ..who said that..?

    • April March says:

      The only one strong enough to better Alec is Alec.

      Wait… sorry, it was a smudge. I meant Alice.

      • 7vincent7black7 says:

        Shipped! There, it’s done. We can never go back now. This is happening.

  2. N'Al says:

    What a weird trailer.

    • April March says:

      What’s weird about it? It’s pretty much pandering to the Fallout crowd. I don’t know about the game, but a pretty standard piece of marketing.

  3. Nauallis says:

    This snuck into full release. I heard about it this summer and honestly thought it was another MMO, but the premise was intriguing. I had no idea it was releasing this year.

  4. alienryes says:

    I’m really in two minds about this one. I loved the Gothic and Risen games for all their faults (apart from Arcania and Piranha Bytes can’t be blamed for that one). Optimistic me wants to grab this right now but sensible me says wait for a few patches to be done first. What to do?! What to do?!

    • Nauallis says:

      It’d be prudent to wait for a review, at least. That’s my plan, since this blindsided me.

      • Lobotomist says:

        • alienryes says:

          Yep – that sounds like a typical Pyranha Bytes review. Ambition always seems to outdo ability with those guys. Oh well, back to another play through of Infra.

          • Lobotomist says:

            Its really tricky to decide if its good or not … For example, Risen 1 was amazing until 2/3 of the game where it suddenly dropped, clearly unfinished. Than Risen 2,3 were just crap.

            However there is just something in PB games that is absent from any other RPG, that open world and real choices.

            I am cautiously optimistic here…

          • Someoldguy says:

            I think I’ll wait for Alec to give us the full review, since he’ll be able to compare and contrast it with what has gone before. I’ve usually enjoyed my time with the Gothics and Risens despite their flaws, but D:OS2 is going to be occupying my RPG space for some time to come anyway, so it makes sense not to buy just yet.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      I wait for the patches as I hate broken quests and I’ve known PB since Gothic: they’ll never release something unbroken.

  5. Companion Pube says:

    I have a soft spot for German RPGs and Pyranha Bytes specifically, but since the original Gothic from 01, all their games have shared the same uninspired, button mashing combat system.
    This game doesn’t seem to be an exception judging by the gameplay trailers they’ve released.
    Also Risen 3 was pretty awful and Risen 2 was just ok. Think I’ll pass on this.

    • aepervius says:

      I hated most of the fights, as the AI was awful, all it did was jump back a little bit back further than you hit, and jump further forward to hit you , more than yourself can. That is simply incredibly cheap and annoying, especially since once you found out the “jump sideway” tactic, no fight ever was challenging or interesting.

  6. Sin Vega says:

    Forty bloody quid for a download though. Lord.

    • Sakkura says:

      Blame Brexit. It’s the usual 50€ in Europe, and you’re kinda lucky they didn’t translate that to £45.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Mikemcn says:

    The player character running it’s hand along the car was pretty cool.

    I appreciate small details.

  8. racccoon says:

    Downloading this now..:)

  9. noiseferatu says:

    The only prominent woman in the entire trailer is a pole dancer :) :) video games, y’all

    • Risingson says:

      Piranha Bytes, to be fair. The guys that said that they did not introduce female characters because they did not agree on when a female was beautiful.

  10. syndrome says:

    Whoever was responsible for this sucking fucking bullshit of a trailer, wasn’t counting on my wallet anyway. Such an ugly post-apocalyptic shitfest with goddamn horrible “music” showing nothing but bad taste that’s borderline with vomit. I’m staggered.

    I’m usually not that terrible or critical, but there you go. I had to snap at some point. I hope there is a circle in hell dedicated to this blasphemy (should be somewhere between the sixth and the seventh).

  11. ChrisT1981 says:

    So far so bad I gotta say.

    Was super looking forward to this and got it yesterday. And my god the opening of ELEX is disastrous, especially after playing the excellent introduction of D:OS 2 about 7 times since it came out I have to say that this is the worst possible first impression a game could make.

    First cutscene greets you with textures you’d expect to see on a PS2.

    First real fight I died 7 times because the tutorial fails to mention there is a Stamina Limit and where to find the UI element indicating your Stamina, thus leaving you wondering why the heck your character does not swing his weapon when you push the button.

    First real dialog with a NPC: Tells me of a city of his faction and they’d take me in if I wanted to. Asks me whether or not I want to join him. No way to tell him I don’t want no business with him or his gang. Either agree to follow him or end Dialog (this technically counts as telling him to piss off but isn’t elegant).

    Didn’t play much further than this. The melee combat pretty much is quick time events without indicators. Wait for the enemy to make the move on you, side step him, do some attacks, rince repeat. Though the timing is tricky, as I said the indicators are missing. You can’t wander far off from this starting point without running into enemies you aren’t able to compete with yet.

    I know meeting hard enemies is to be expected in PB games, but if my memory serves right you never met them this early in the other games.

    Don’t wanna misjudge the game though. I only played about 40 minutes so far and most of the Evaluations suggest there is some good game to come, but the first Impression made me go back to another playthrough of D:OS2.

    Really considering a refund right now to go and buy either AC: Origins or Shadow of War instead..

    • ChrisT1981 says:

      After going about it for another few minutes I now decided it isn’t my Cup of tea and refunded. Will wait and see if and what they Change with patches and maybe pick it back up later.

  12. Iskariot says:

    Thematically the game looks like an unattractive mess to me.
    I love scifi and fantasy, but from the 3 hours of gameplay I have seen this combo does not work in Elex at all.
    The game feels incoherent to me and the design is at best second rate.
    There are too many well made games for me to spend anymore time on this.

  13. biggshoson43 says:

    Sadly I made the mistake of buying this game for PS4 and now I can’t get a refund. As for the game, hot smelly garbage. In the first 10 minutes of the game Duras will say, “Trust me you’ll “ at least three times. Rat/Animal things ignore all NPCs and only have murder boners for you. I died five times by a rat thing simply walking by it, lengthy load time and then… dead again. No falling animations. Jump off a cliff and your guy just looks like someone having a smoke leaning up against a pillar. Facial animations remind me of ventriloquist puppets. The “wind’ that blows all the plant life around was probably just a path drawn by a toddler on an etch-a-sketch, then the plant assigned to follow that path. Graphics are terrible. The voice acting, especially the main character, is terrible, everyone tried to be good and thought the were, but the truth was they weren’t even close. After about three four hours I uninstalled and spent an hour looking for loopholes in Sony’s return policy. Nope.

    • brucethemoose says:

      To be fair, I could say those exact same things and more about the last 4 BGS RPGs. But I, and many people, still love them.

      However, 1 common thing I’m NOT seeing among these comments is a hint of redeeming qualities. You trudge though all the mediocrity for… Well, more mediocrity, it seems.

  14. racccoon says:

    After playing this yesterday I found it to be a direct revamp of their older games, smartened up, polished a little, added some modern looking ui & inventory, add fair’ish fight scenes, a short power jump, a little theme of old future mix every tech we can. The idea is there, but the engine isn’t as its the same one as old, the cut scene dialogs are in your face & if want to go bad lanes, it stills makes you do stuff with a surprise reaction to your answers!…wtf.
    I’m giving it a few hours more of play, I live in hope.
    I love these types of rpg games with open worlds.
    Problem with some game developers is revamping old code to look newly themed.
    Think of all those build games, the code is out & everyones gone to hell with them. as with this its the same old, same old.
    Seems this developers studio is on a roll of constantly re using their code which tells a story of no thought to originality or fresh starts anymore. Just a passion or conquest for continuous pasting & trying to make a dollar out of it over again.

  15. engion3 says:

    This is the most 6 out of 10 game I’ve ever seen.