Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir

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  • Pridružio: 18 Mar 2007
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Obsidian Entertainment nam je otkrio vest da rade na novom dodatku za drugi deo RPG naslova Neverwinter Nights pod nazivom Storm of Zehir. Dodatak će nam, po svemu sudeći, doneti novu nelinearnu kampanju, a sama radnja se bazira na izmenama koje će se desiti u četvrtoj ediciji Dungeons & Dragons sistema, a koje su planirane za jun ove godine.

Atari and Obsidian Entertainment have been working for some time on a new expansion pack for the well-known D&D flavored RPG, Neverwinter Nights 2. Precious little is known about the project, but the folks at Obsidian were kind enough to share a few new details on Neverwitner Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.

We talk to SoZ producer, Kevin Saunders, who explains a bit about the developer's effort to take the franchise in a completely new direction. Chatting with Kevin, we cover topics such as the revamped gameplay, trading, 3.5 Edition rules, leveling, storyline and the connection to Mask of the Betrayer and so on.

ActionTrip: With Alpha Protocol currently in the spotlight, how much attention is invested into Storm of Zehir at this point and how long has it been in development?

Kevin Saunders: We began work on Storm of Zehir toward the end of Mask of the Betrayer. Almost everyone involved in the development of SoZ also worked on Mask of the Betrayer.

AT: If possible, we'd like to know more about how the storyline kicks off; who the principle characters are and so on. Are there any familiar characters set to make an appearance (from NWN, NWN 2, etc.)?

KS: The events of Storm of Zehir take place approximately concurrently with Mask of the Betrayer. It begins an entirely new story line that is consistent with, but independent of, the previous Neverwinter Nights 2 stories.

In SoZ, you explore the fate of the Sword Coast (and other regions) following the disappearance of the Knight-Captain. You begin the game with a party of low level adventures - this game is about this party's adventures.

Yes, you will come across some familiar characters. One new, yet familiar character, is Volo, the famous Forgotten Realms explorer and chronologer.

AT: Who is writing the story for Storm of Zehir?

KS: Tony Evans is the Lead Designer for Storm of Zehir and is the keeper of its story. Tony led the design of Neverwinter Nights 2's Act 3 and designed the Mulsantir and Slumbering Coven modules in Mask of the Betrayer. Designer Annie Carlson has been heavily involved in the story and character aspects of SoZ. She wrote for Alpha Protocol and also did some creative work on both Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of the Betrayer.

AT: Alrighty, the open-ended bit and theOverland Map a fresh moment in the NWN series. How do you plan to implement this, without losing the thread of the story and throwing the gameplay off balance?

KS: The tone and flavor of Storm of Zehir is quite a bit different from that of Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of the Betrayer. First, the game will be more of a light-hearted adventure than a dark, forbidding tale. A more "fun"-oriented story is generally easier to make less linear. Storm of Zehir has a lot of minor plots and events, not all of which directly support the main storyline.

The story is still very important to Storm of Zehir, but the game is more about exploring an interesting and reactive world than it is about living out an epic storyline.

AT: Any chance we could learn about some of the new classes and playable races?

KS: We're not ready to talk about these just yet. (Drat! - Ed.)

AT: If we're not mistaken, the level cap in the previous add-on was 30. Will you let players go beyond that?

KS: No - we are not focusing on epic level gameplay with SoZ. With this game, we wanted the emphasis to be on the party, not an individual, and we felt beginning at a low level was an important part of this experience. Instead of a single powerful character, you'll be creating a party of up to four who adventure together and develop a reputation throughout the Realms.

AT: Mask of the Betrayer introduced a cool gameplay element (balancing dark powers and so forth). In terms of gameplay, what's the biggest innovation in SoZ?

KS: Mask of the Betrayer colored within the lines set by Neverwinter Nights 2. Storm of Zehir does not. The Overland Map is one of the game's most defining features. It provides a sense of exploration that makes it feel more like a Fallout game than a Neverwinter Nights game. The Overland Map also makes Skills (Survival, Spot, etc.) more important and useful.

When within the specific locales of the game, they feel like other Neverwinter Nights areas, though. Quests, loot, puzzles, characters - all of the same elements are present.

Note that the Overland Map features will also be adaptable by the community for their own worlds and adventures.
AT: Wizards of the Coast already released the 4th Edition D&D rule set. Are some of the changes going to make it into the game or are you still clinging to the 3.5 rule set?

KS: Storm of Zehir is a 3.5 Edition game and will not use any of the 4th Edition rule set. However, we do have some major 4th Edition story tie-ins.

As you well know, with 4th Edition, D&D is switching from Oerth to the Forgotten Realms as the primary setting. The 4th Edition world is set many years after the events of Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir and in SoZ, we foreshadow events of the future. In fact, if you read the new Player's Handbook carefully, you'll notice that Zehir is one of the new gods created for 4th Edition.

AT: The economic aspect of gameplay (i.e. trading), obviously, plays an important role. Explain how it works in this expansion pack?

KS: Some quests tie directly into the trading system, but how much you want to partake in it is up to you. The core of the trading system in Storm of Zehir is to buy low, sell high, and pay attention to trends and events that impact the economy. There are different trading factions whose goals you can choose to support (or oppose). Ultimately, SoZ is a role-playing game, not an economic sim. The trading system's role in that regard is to add to the world's reactivity, with your trading endeavors potentially opening up new options and impacting story events. It also felt like a natural extension of the Overland Map gameplay.

AT: What is the Teamwork Benefit System?

KS: We'll talk more about this in the future, but Teamwork Benefits in SoZ will be similar to how they work in D&D as described in Player's Handbook 2. Basically, these are "feats" that benefit an entire party but have to be earned. We felt this addition from the D&D rules would be very applicable to our emphasis on party-based gameplay.

AT: The inevitable question: does the game allow players to transfer their Epic-level avatars from Mask of the Betrayer or NWN 2?

KS: Nope. You'll be creating a brand new party of adventurers. (Well, there's nothing that will prevent you from importing your 30th level character into SoZ, but it's not how it's meant to be played.)

AT: I'm sure you guys are really busy with several projects (NWN 2: SoZ, Alpha Protocol, etc.). Don't know if you've even considered this, but I have to ask. Is there a chance we'll be seeing Neverwitner Nights 3 some time in the future?

KS: Many of us at Obsidian have a deeply rooted respect and love for all things D&D. We would certainly enjoy working on a 4th Edition D&D game. Atari holds the license for any D&D electronic games, so they and Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro are the ones who would decide what D&D games are developed.

AT: We appreciate your time and patience. Feel free to add anything else you'd like our readers to know about Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.

KS: While definitely still a Neverwinter Nights game, Storm of Zehir deviates quite a bit from the typical Neverwinter gameplay. We think, of course, that you'll enjoy the change in direction we've taken.



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