“Neverwinter Nights,” one of the most storied role-playing game franchises, is getting an update. Atari today announced “Neverwinter,” a new title utilizing the Dungeon and Dragons license, will hit shelves late next year.
Last June, Variety was first to break the news that Atari was relaunching the series. Sources, at the time, told us Atari’s Cryptic Studios would revived the game as a massively multiplayer online title, with an eyed 2011 release. Today’s announcement stops short of calling it an MMO, but does refer to the game as a “new online role-playing game”.
(Edit: The game won't be a standard MMO, says Atari, but it will require users to log onto a server. A spokesperson describes it as an "online multiplayer RPG" - and adds that there's no lock right now on the number of people who can play together.)
The PC game will be based upon an upcoming trilogy from author R.A. Salvatore. The first book in the series is titled “Gauntlgrym” and will lay the groundwork for the game. D&D owner Wizards of the Coast also plans to join in the relaunch with a tabletop role-playing game.
Salvatore's no stranger to working with game developers. He's also collaborating with Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios on the upcoming “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning”.
It’s been a while since most players visited Neverwinter – and things haven’t gone well in their absence, according to the release announcing the game.
“Once a bustling location, Neverwinter has faced a great many disasters in the past hundred years. Rule of the city remains unclear following the unfortunate demise of the last Lord of Neverwinter and factions still battle for dominance after the all-consuming Spellplague took a high toll on the population. Even Neverwinter's dead are beginning to rise from their graves and march upon the city they once called home.”
“NWN” is a well-loved franchise in the gaming world. The first installment of the role-playing game was developed by fan-favorite Bioware in 2002. Four years later, Obsidian Entertainment developed the sequel, came which had slightly less favorable, but still solid, reviews.
Part of what made the game unique was its robust multiplayer component. Many players built persistent worlds, capable of hosting up to 75 players – in essence, mini MMOs of their own.
It’s a big legacy for Cryptic to live up to. We’ll see how they do next year.