Atari Announces Neverwinter Nights 2 Expansion
Taking place shortly after the events of Neverwinter Nights 2, which culminated in a successful battle against the evil King of Shadows, Mask of the Betrayer will offer a new campaign in which pre-existing characters can be imported from the original game to achieve epic levels with new feats and spells, while undertaking further adventures that will reveal the player's true destiny. New items, monsters and questing companions will feature prominently, and enhanced modding tools will also be included.
The expansion will be set in the mysterious eastern realm of Rasheman. Although familiar to Baldur's Gate fans as the home of Minsc, Boo and Dynaheir, this will be the first videogame representation of their native land.
"Mask of the Betrayer's engrossing campaign will conclude the storyline that began in the original Neverwinter Nights 2," said Obsidian Entertainment CEO Feargus Urquhart. Along with focusing on the typical Dungeons and Dragons staples of combat and exploration, Urquhart added, "We're also making new advances in story and character development as well as improving upon the acclaimed companion Influence System used in both Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords and Neverwinter Nights 2."
The original Neverwinter Nights, developed by Bioware, was released in June 2002, while Neverwinter Nights 2, by Obsidian, came out in October of 2006. Collectively, the games and their expansions have sold over three million copies.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is also being developed by Obsidian, and is scheduled for a Fall 2007 release.
I was extremely dissapointed with Neverwinter Nights 2. Maybe I didn't play it far enough, but I absolutely hated it. No challenge, no real penalties for death, rediculous, stereotype driven story, etc. Basically, there is nothing in the game that poses a threat to you; no reason to ever run away or cause the least bit of excitement. That's what I loved about the Baldurs Gate games; the idea that you were actually fighting, with success or failure dependant on effective use of strategy and planning. There were numerous "oh shit" moments where you would run into something unprepared and everyone in your party is dead within seconds, and then reload to think of a way around the situation. It was actually worth it to memorize spells that didn't just do damage. Not so in NWN2, where you simply walk through killing everything and don't really have to worry about planning ahead or problem solving your way past obstacles.
When I read first read this announcement I thought to myself, "Was this game really that successful?"
The critics couldn't stop raving about this game and the gamers couldn't stop bashing it. However, the minorities of the gamer population tend to yell the loudest in most cases.
It'll be interesting to see if Obsidian takes over another Bioware franchise in the future.
I think this is at least at least partly due to the fact that there are two types of RPGers in the world: those who played the Infinity Engine games, and those who did not. The most enthusiastic NWN-bashing seems to come from those who were fortunate enough to have played the Baldur's Gate games, Planescape: Torment, and the Icewind Dales when they were new; they know what Bioware has done in the past, and they know that as a single-player game, Neverwinter Nights doesn't really match up.
Newer RPG players don't have that counterbalance, and they don't see NWN's flaws highlighted quite so brightly without the harsh glare of Baldur's Gate. They're less inclined to be critical, simply because there's less to be critical of.
I enjoyed the Neverwinter Nights games (yes, even the single-player campaign of the original) and I think they were a pretty fair single-player RPG experience. Do they compare to Baldur's Gate or Planescape? Of course not. But what does? Very few games are going to compare well to two of the finest single-player RPGs ever, so I don't really see the point in making the point. Even on its own merits, the NWN series is imperfect, but it seems much less so without the insurmountable competition of the Infinity Engine games.
Malygris: First, please don't put the Icewind Dale games on the same level as BG and P:T, as they are far from equal.
Second, P:T was developed by Black Isle and not Bioware.
Third, with modern games, such as Oblivion, KotoR and others, I don't think newer gamers have nothing to compare against.
ChickenOfDoom: Did you play at the highest difficuly level? I found my entire party dead several times (although often from their own area-of-effect spells, or pathfinding errors) during the game. NWN2 might not be perfect, but it is a challenge.