Today, Atari Europe and Cryptic Studios have announced their release date of a new online roleplaying game, based on Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons franchise and the fictional city of Neverwinter.
Neverwinter Online is being published alongside a book trilogy by R.A. Salvatore and a tabletop game published by Wizards of the Coast. These are to be used to lay down the core story and lore before the “Online RPGs” debut at the end of next year.
The first novel is called Gauntlgrym and is set to release by October 5th of this year. The trilogy of novels are said to be going to offer the reader glimpses into the characters, locations and monsters from the PC game, as well as details leading up to the game’s release.
From the press report, this game is nothing to write home about so far. The lack of any mention of solo content does not look promising and the press release states that they are only releasing five classes out of the 25 or more that have become canon from Dungeons and Dragons.
Its like they just hit 1-2-3-4-5 on the ol’ RPG machine and called it a day. You have your standard Fighter, Wizard/Sorcerer, Cleric, Rogue and Ranger.
It seems that someone in Cryptic is longing for the days of Diablo 2 again.
Cryptic Studios, known for the mediocrity that is City of Heroes/Villains and Champions Online as well as the lack of success of Star Trek Online is now applying their touch to a revered and ancient (in game terms, that is) franchise such as DnD. The thought makes my inner nerd shudder.
Also, surprise surprise, player generated content tools! One might say this reflects the success of the dungeon set tools from Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 in yet another Neverwinter game, but judging from the blatant cut and paste from City of Heroes to the slip-shod graphics and gameplay of Star Trek Online, it sounds more like a rehashing of the less-than-impressive facilities offered by City of Heroes.
The game is scheduled for release by the fourth quarter of 2011. This seems like an awfully long time for something that smells rather pungently of templated work and recycled ideas from more successful games.