Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Neverwinter at E3

Neverwinter Nights 2 E3 trailer

For those of you who don't cross-pollinate much in the gaming community, the E3 convention is going on and all sorts of interesting bits of news and marketing (hard to tell the two apart in the console and computer gaming industry) are leaking out. This is the one I was most interested in: Neverwinter.

 Now, I used to dislike Cryptic, as they seemed to be doing a good job of rushing product to market before it was really ready to go. When Champions Online went free to play earlier this year I came back and gave it a try; it might have just been my very nice newer computer, but Champions Online turned out to be a lot more polished and fun than I remembered it on the original day of release, and numerous fixes, patches, and even a few outright changes were evident. I further tried out Star Trek Online for a month and found it to be a perfectly serviceable game (if not as exciting or engaging as I would have liked), so that experience did help alleviate fears that Cryptic would muck up Neverwinter...sort of....

For one problem, there's the announcement that Atari seeks to offload Cryptic, and I have no idea how that will affect the quality of Neverwinter. Will the company really put its all in to this game, knowing they are on the chopping block? The IP and game will have to stay with Atari, I can't imagine it letting that go along with Cryptic if a buyer shows up.

The game promises to have an extensive customizable player-driven Foundry, which is a good thing. My fear now is that we'll get a skeleton of a game maintained by some unrelated Atari employees that requires a massive level of player input to function for the long haul. Worse yet, maybe it will be less "Neverwinter" and more "Champions," with the same core mechanical processes filed off of one and sticky labels with suitable 4E-sounding terminology glued on. That would be sad. But I'm going to try for optimism here....I really have enjoyed both Dungeons & Dragon Online from Turbine and Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2; maybe, just maybe, the new Neverwinter will be a suitable successor to these games...

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