FiringSquad: How hard was it to take the original Aurora graphics engine and updated it to suit your purposes?
Feargus Urquhart: In some ways it wasn't hard, because we didn't really update it - we just completely ripped it out. Aurora is a great rendering engine, however with the changes we needed to make with normal maps, animation and height mapped terrain it seemed like the better choice was to replace it rather than update it.
FiringSquad: How much support will Obsidian give to mod makers for the game and are there any plans for your team or Atari to launch any official mod web sites for the game?
Feargus Urquhart: We are hoping to support the product once it ships and we will do as much as we can. However, some of how the product can be supported relies on Atari, since they are the ones that pay the bills.
FiringSquad: Will there be an official demo for Neverwinter Nights 2 and if so what will it contain?
Feargus Urquhart: I don't think so. After launch we might re-visit this, but as far as I know today we are not going to be doing one. I've always felt that RPG demo's are a tough thing to do. If you use the first area of the game, then people can get bored because they feel a demo should "wow" them with big flashy things and show them a lot of what the game can do. If you use a later area, it often takes a lot of patching to get to work, because so much of what happens in later areas is dependent on what has happened previously in the game. This is probably all coming off as me whining (which it is a bit), but why I'm going into this is to explain that we made the decision a while ago to put all of our time into polishing and tuning the main game rather than taking away a not inconsequential amount of time to make a demo. [End of Whining]
FiringSquad: Can you give us an overall status report on the game's progress and if so when is the current scheduled release date?
Feargus Urquhart: The whole team is pretty much in bug fixing and polishing mode and we are coming up on Beta as I type this. As for a date, Atari just announced that the game will be coming out on October 20th of this year.
FiringSquad: Obsidian recently signed a new deal with Sega to create an all new RPG franchise. What can you tell us about the game at this point and how does it feel to be working on an original creation?
Feargus Urquhart: It's both exciting and somewhat intimidating to be working on our own thing for a change. It's great because we have a ton of freedom to do what we think is best, which Sega is incredible about supporting. However, since there is no license or game system to base things on we could start getting rapidly off track with nothing to really double check our insanity against. So with the opportunity comes the need to be responsible about what we are making - ok that sounded a little too much like Uncle Ben, but it's true. :)
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Neverwinter Nights 2 and Obisidan in general?
Feargus Urquhart: Well first I would like to publicly thank Firing Squad for putting up with me not getting to this review for an incredibly long time. I really appreciate your patience John.
After that, I just wanted to let everyone here know that if they are interested in working on games and looking for a great place to work, and on RPGs no less, that Obsidian is hiring. Our jobs list can be found at http://www.obsidianent.com/jobs/. But if you can't find something that fits you there, just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see if you fit other positions that maybe just haven't made there way up on our website yet
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!
Mass Effect 3 PC Demo Impressions Mass Effect 3, EA/BioWare's third iteration in their series of sci-fi action RPGs and one of the most anticipated titles of the year, is fast approaching its March 6th release. This week, though, they released a playable demo on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 that offers a glimpse into both the single-player and multi-player portions of the full game.
Whether you're waiting impatiently for your download to finish or don't have the time to check it out yourself, go ahead and read some impressions of the demo from resident FSers Synch and Vandy in today's article!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 Review
The self-appointed "most anticipated game in history" launched worldwide this past Tuesday. Why, it's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, of course (of course), what else? Unsurprisingly, the military FPS debate between this and Battlefield 3 rages on, but now that both have been released, surely we can take a look and objectively evaluate them both? Luke's taken the Xbox version of MW3 for a spin this week, so to find out what he thinks of it in today's review!