Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition out this month

Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, the revamped re-release of BioWare’s 2002 wizard ’em up, is due to launch on March 27th. That’s the news from revampers Beamdog, whose prior retromancy includes revamping Planescape: Torment and overhauling Baldur’s Gate then making a new expansion for it. Like those, Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition has fancier pictures, though NWN being 3D means the overhaul is a little more involved.

Beamdog announced the release date in a dev livestream on Friday, during which they also showed off their revamped Hall of Justice. That’s from about 24 minutes in this archived stream:

I do like that the new style reminds me a bit of 2D environments from the Infinity Engine RPGs, the scale and stress of detail and whatnot.

The Enhanced Edition is fancier on the surface but does still have the same gameguts, enough that saved games and mods from the original will still work in this. The originals are still stocked in digistores so you can always just get those if you’re not interested in modernisation. That’s fine. No harm.

Beamdog are still updating their revamps of Infinity Engine Enhanced Editions, by the way. A new Icewind Dale update is in public beta testing right now, fixing bugs and adding features including Italian voiceovers, while the two Gates Baldur have updates on the way.

36 Comments

  1. Faldrath says:

    I know their story additions to BG and BG2 were controversial to say the least, but did they add anything to NWN? Because the story of the original game was dire, and it could really use some (well, lots of) improvements.

    • oliwarner says:

      Must not respond to easy troll. Must not respond to easy troll. Must not reARGLPHP! How can you say that, you monster?!

      Admittedly, not quite the fantasy ending as BG2:ToB… But solid, balanced and really a very varied set of stories.

      Unlike Skyrim. “You need another dragon word thing. Go fight something in this almost-identical cave system for the fiftieth time”. TES games have good side plots but the main ones are a bit A→B.

      • Asurmen says:

        But it was dire? I can’t remember a single thing about the game other than the very first story quest (something about a plague?). Maybe something about lizards? I could remember all sorts of things about BG1 and BG2 after one play through.

        • malkav11 says:

          Yeah, I didn’t realize it was at all controversial that the original campaign for NWN (not the expansions, where the campaigns were decent to great) was pretty awful. All of Bioware’s worst habits with nothing novel or memorable to contribute, and pretty poorly balanced for several classes as well. Even Bioware appears to have acknowledged its quality because the Bioware-authored Hordes of the Underdark campaign directly follows up Shadows of Undrentide (which was done by a third party) and barely nods at any of the plot or characters in the original game’s campaign.

          • rochrist says:

            The campaign that came was NWN was entirely the point, the point was the tools for making and running your own modules as well as add-ons, and there are literally thousands of them out there, including some spectacular campaigns.

          • malkav11 says:

            I’m well aware. Nonetheless, that campaign was what was sold as the game, and what was being defended in this comment thread. The good stuff came later, and was good despite the OC being quite, quite bad.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        Comparing it to Skyrim seems a bit unfair as it’s an RPG going for a totally different style of play and storytelling.

        That said, Beamdog’s original content isn’t just limited to Dragonspear (which was meh, sorry) – it also includes their additional characters/areas in BG1/2 Enhanced. I mean, Dorn is OK but mostly their writing is just not very good. That Wild Mage was bloody awful. Adding an actual WoW style ‘collect x cats’ quest to BG2? Tone deaf.

    • Harlander says:

      I feel like the main draw for NWN was its DM mode, with sites like Neverwinter Connections, long-running persistent worlds and such.

      Beamdog seem to have put a lot of effort into supporting those aspects of the remake…

    • revan says:

      In my opinion, story wasn’t that bad, and it also had a nice twist midway through. I definitely enjoyed it. It was mostly quest and area design which felt very shallow to me

      • Vacuity729 says:

        That twist was not exactly the sharpest twist in the broken slinky, and if you had a high enough intelligence (wisdom?), it basically told you straight up, which in some ways *was* good writing, except that you couldn’t do anything about it and had to keep following the same main plot despite *knowing* that it was all a sham. Which was very bad writing.
        It’s certainly not up there (down there) as one of the worst stories ever to appear in a CRPG, but it’s not that stellar either. Beamdog’s additional writing is not always that even with the original work, but on the whole I’ve been reasonably happy with the work they’ve done, and I’ve never begrudged buying the enhanced editions despite owning all the original titles they’ve reworked, although I confess I typically wait on sales.

        I was actually thinking about playing through NWN again someday, but I think now I’ll wait, play other things in the meantime and see how the enhanced edition is received.

        • revan says:

          Pretty spot on reply. It’s been really long since I played it (back in 2002)so I don’t really remember particulars about what Intelligence or Wisdom do and how they shape the story.

          I remember playing Rogue/Assassin and at the time thought it was really brave of Bioware to go that way with one of the main characters. I fully expected them to cop out in some way before she turned, but they didn’t. It was a pleasant surprise. Bear in mind that I was 17 years old at the time, so my writing standards were very low too.

          Nothing wrong with waiting on sales. I do that for most games and will do the same for NWN:EE, especially since I still have my old boxed edition and Diamond Edition on GOG.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      Beamdog’s original content is total pap, but their remastering/overhauling of the old stuff is top notch, IMO. Their OC is always easy to ignore, so no harm no foul.

      It looks like with this one they aren’t touching the core content at all and just going to do their own expansion so happy days.

    • Lord Byte says:

      The first campaign was incredibly derivative, but then so was Dragon Age. So if you liked that, you should have no issue with this one.
      On the other hand, the Shadows Undrentide, and Underdark expansions / campaigns (which are included) were absolutely brilliant, so even if you don’t like the first campaign, the other two should tide you over!

      • Premium User Badge

        subdog says:

        The main difference is that Dragon Age had some memorable characters and some measure of choice and consequence.

      • Imperialist says:

        it can also be easily argued that the NWN story structure is the birth of the Bioware Storytelling Template that has been used in literally every single game since. Which is sad because after playing NWN, the Revan/Bastila twists did nothing for me a year or two later. Bioware is remarkably bad at writing main storylines, but somehow struck gold writing their characters as both believable and interesting. NWN had maybe one memorable character in the base game, but after that we got a bunch of companions/side characters so great they have become gaming icons.

    • aepervius says:

      My understanding is that they are adding nothing whatsoever for the original campaign and are solely targeting modded content and world. A shame really i would like to see nwn 1 with better assets, i replay all campaign and the best story mods on regular basis. I never play any of the mmo like world. So that killed all interest for me.ymmv.

  2. RedViv says:

    I guess it really is impossible to improve Aribeth’s Iconic™ jelly bowl armour this time around.
    This actually looks more painful.

  3. Dewal says:

    Is it worth it to play Neverwinter Nights now ? I know it was good when it came out, but the gameplay could have gotten old.

    • sosolidshoe says:

      Good, given that most modern AAA “RPGs” have become either shallow handholding exercises or shells to house DLC and microtransactions. Getting prettied-up versions of older games is pretty much the only way to find proper CRPG gameplay these days.

      If these guys can go on and remaster NWN2 & expansions, KotOR 1 & 2, and Dragon Age: Origins & expansions so they all play nice on modern hardware, I’ll be able to ignore modern “RPGs” hopefully long enough for the classic style to become trendy again.

    • malkav11 says:

      The gameplay in NWN has always been kind of not great. It’s mostly faithful 3rd edition D&D, with one character (sometimes but not automatically, with one or two AI-controlled party members), acting in real time. D&D was never designed to be played solo or in real time, and so it’s pretty rough. The UI is also complicated and obtuse (hoping for improvements here), the graphics awful and repetitive, and so on.

      However, there are some genuinely brilliant worlds and stories to be explored and roleplayed, both official and fan-made, and that’s always been the primary reason to play. So, in short, it’s always been best suited to people who can stomach questionable gameplay for great scenarios.

    • Bombuzal says:

      I really enjoyed NWN when it was first released (2002?). After that I played Dungeon Siege and loved it. It was much more “arcade” style than NWN but the balance was just right IMHO.

  4. Foosnark says:

    There was a time when I would have been really excited for this. I got a lot out of NWN back in the day, despite the incredibly ugly 3D stick figure models. Abusing rules loopholes in the game’s version of D&D to make a kickass dwarven Monk/Rogue…

    I think I’m past that now. I also remember a lot of fighting with the camera angle, a long slow slog full of bland easy fights in some quest areas, and so on.

  5. HiroTheProtagonist says:

    I enjoyed NWN back in the day, but I’ve played too much tabletop 5e to really want to go back to the shenanigans of 3/3.5e. I had semi-high hopes for Sword Coast Legends, but that game was just all-around disappointing.

  6. Ieolus says:

    I hope Beamdog takes a stab at a KotOR enhanced edition next. That would be insane!

  7. Anonymous2000 says:

    Icewind Dale 2 remaster, when?
    Yes I know they lost the code but there must be something they can do… ;_;

  8. Someoldguy says:

    Not sure I’d bother purchasing NWN again for shinier graphics when my issues with it were more about the camera, but it’s good news that all non-graphical mods will keep working. That should mean it has an audience among the players who kept using the toolset long after most of us had played through the campaigns and a couple of the top rated user-made scenarios then moved on.

  9. satan says:

    I wasn’t super interested in enhanced bg/bg2/ps:t because I played them all to exhaustion first time around, but NWN I only played a few times, might check this out.

  10. EatingDirt says:

    I guess they’re just making money off nostalgia at this point, because NWN1 wasn’t really a good game, even when it was released. In modern terms, it’s an inferior Dragon Age: Origins, a game that I thought was merely mediocre, coming from someone who played Baldur’s Gate 2 before it.

    In comparison, all the other EE’s until this were good(IWD & BG1), or great(PST & BG2) when released, and still hold up to this day.

  11. the_anderthal says:

    Gonna wait for NWN2, that’s where the franchise gets interesting with Mask of the Betrayer as it’s crowning jewel.

  12. Samudaya says:

    I think it’s safe to say that Beamdog was unable to secure funding for their own projects. So it’s either more remasters or bankruptcy.

  13. elevown says:

    It’s great that even mods will work with it – but unfortunately the vast majority of mods need all 3 expansions, + the big community pack thingy to run. So you would need an updated version of them too. I assume this remaster does NOT include the nwn expansions?

    Plenty also had their own added content (models/textures/sfx) which I’m also thinking wont work with this. So the only types of mods that will are ones that work with base game and add no extras – which is a tiny fraction of the many amazing mods.

    • ClearSound says:

      I’ve been playing the early access version through Beamdog’s own client and it includes all expansions and premium modules, and is also compatible with every piece of community made content (as far as I can tell from the dozens I’ve tried). The developers have made clear they never want to invalidate old fan made content. I was never into the multiplayer/PW stuff but I’ve spent the past few months revisiting old single player modules and loving it.

      • malkav11 says:

        Just a note: the base $20 version of the game does not include all of the premium modules, just the three that were bundled with the Diamond edition back in the day. You can currently pay more to get a “Deluxe” edition with the other three premium modules, or presumably after launch will be able to buy them as individual DLC.

        And for people like me, who got them back in the day, supposedly the EE will support original copies of the premium modules, though given they’re DRMed I am curious how they will handle that.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      Funny how two people can read the same thing and come to different conclusions; when I read the article I simply assumed that the two expansions would come as part of the remaster. This is the model they’ve used previously, for example BGII EE came with the Shadows of Amn expansion and ID EE came with the expansions Heart of Winter and, uhh, Thingammajig of the Whojimmaflip.

      So I checked the Steam Store. The Enhanced Edition of NWN will contain everything from the Diamond Edition of NWN. Now you know. And as it’s compatible with mods for the original game, it’s reasonable to assume the community content pack will work out the box (off the download?) with no to few problems.