headerClick to go back to front pageSee IGN.com's front pageSign up or customize your settingsSee what's new on InsiderGo to the IGN GamestoreYour IGNmail account
The Web   RPGVault  
 
·Insider Channel
·Video Reviews
·Strategy Guides







 

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer Diary #1
Lead Designer Kevin Saunders on the Obsidian team's goals for the title and why he doesn't look at it as an add-on

- Primarily populated by humans, Rashemen is known for its fierce berserker warriors and the spirits that protect the land, which lies within a part of Faerun called the Unapproachable East. Its ruler, known as the Iron Lord, resides in the capital of Immilmar, but witches called hathran hold the true power. Among its neighbors, the most powerful may be Thay. Controlled by the dreaded Red Wizards, practitioners of powerful circle magic, many of whom dwell in the main city, Eltabbar, it's a nation that still allows slavery. The inhabitants are a mix of humans, gnolls, orcs, dwarves, goblins and halflings who are accustomed to living in an environment where peace is practically unknown; the realm is almost constantly engaged in some form of conflict if not outright warfare, often as the result of its own attacks on nearby smaller countries.

Due to ship this fall, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is Obsidian Entertainment's expansion pack for its highly regarded RPG and toolset. It takes place in Rashemen, beginning shortly after the events of the base game. Following the climactic battle against the King of Shadows, the player character, which can be newly created, awakens somewhere deep in the bowels of the earth, alone and with evil spirits all around. Thus begins an adventure said to offer approximately 25 hours of play, culminating in the revelation of the protagonist's true destiny. Having tracked the title's development since it was announced, and after recently seeing an impressive demo, we were already aware of its Red Wizard character plus many other features and elements. And obviously, we're eager to improve our knowledge and understanding, especially via information directly from the team.

Includes an exclusive 1920x1200 screenshot



Project Goals


New projects are always exciting. Mask of the Betrayer was no exception.

 
 
 
I first played D&D when I was five and my nine year-old brother came home with the basic set. You know, the one with the fighter combating the red dragon on the cover. Being only five, I didn't quite get all of the rules. [I made a halfling and was excited at how my AC would improve by two every time I fought an ogre - I figured I'd have a negative AC in no time! =) ] But I immediately got how cool it was.
We designed Mask of the Betrayer so that most of what we did for the single-player campaign was of benefit to the community. We chose locations and creatures that we felt would provide great new content for the modders to use.
Dungeons & Dragons has played a big role in my life, and likely is how I ended up in game development in the first place. After having been a computer game designer for almost nine years, Mask of the Betrayer will be the first D&D title I've had the pleasure of working on from start to finish.

Many will call Mask of the Betrayer an "expansion". I hate that term. I think the expansion designation really means two things: 1) you have to buy the original game to be able to play it; 2) it's less expensive. Expansion suggests something that's unworthy of being called a game. We even get our own special category in annual game awards to emphasize that an expansion shouldn't be compared to a real game.

 

Mask of the Betrayer isn't an expansion to me. It's a game. It's a creative masterpiece. It's a year of my life. So if you don't mind, I'm not going to call it an expansion. I'll call it NWN 2.5. Oh, don't think for a moment that it's my creative masterpiece. I'm just the one writing this developer diary.

With any project, the first thing you have to do is identify your goals. For NWN 2.5, we had three.

First, we wanted to support the community. I began my own career with MMOG development, and learned quickly how critical a strong community is. Our lead scripter, Charles Mead, belonged to the NWN1 mod community, and joined game development because of his love for it. Our lead programmer, Rich Taylor, is passionate about all things online, from persistent worlds to cooperative multiplayer. If you frequent the Obsidian web site, you may have seen his entries in the Neverwinter Nights 2 blog , in which he provides information on upcoming scripting improvements. The community is a big part of why we're here.

We designed Mask of the Betrayer so that most of what we did for the single-player campaign was of benefit to the community. We chose locations and creatures that we felt would provide great new content for the modders to use. We designed our campaign-specific features so that they'd either be of general use to the community, or require minimum implementation time. These decisions freed more resources to invest in updates to NWN2 and improving the overall quality of the product as well as the health of the franchise.

Second, we wanted to polish NWN2 further. Some have complained about it not being as polished as it could have been. The harshest critics are here, working on Mask of the Betrayer. Neverwinter Nights 2 was a massive undertaking. And while Obsidian, Atari and Wizards of the Coast are all thrilled with what we accomplished together, we absolutely recognize where we could have done better. We're simultaneously proud of our accomplishments and ashamed that we didn't achieve more.

Therefore, we're continuing to do better. We're using Mask of the Betrayer to improve upon the NWN2 engine and toolset. (Again, don't tell the marketing guys this - they think we're just an expansion.) NWN 2.5 will bring us closer to the ideal D&D computer role-playing environment we're all striving to create.


Neverwinter Nights 2 Minute View
Obsidian's keenly awaited sequel combining a Forgotten Realms adventure and the tools to let you create your own
Neverwinter Nights 2 E3 View
Following its well received appearance at the show last week, some observations and thoughts on Obsidian's sequel
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer Interview - Part 2
New henchmen, creatures, items, spells, editor improvements and more that we can expect in Obsidian's expansion
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer Interview - Part 1
Obsidian's story-driven expansion that will include genasi, half-drow, wild elves, a strategy mode and plenty more
Neverwinter Nights 2 Team Q&A #2
Favorite locations, memorable moments and personal points of pride in Obsidian's widely praised role-playing game
Neverwinter Nights 2 Team Q&A #1
Three Obsidian staff members offer their opinions on key elements including player characters, enemies and magic
Neverwinter Nights 2 Peek #3
The team at Obsidian introduces us to Crossroad Keep, a decrepit ruin that was once the site of a famous battle
Neverwinter Nights 2 Peek #2
In Obsidian's impending game, we'll visit Old Owl Well, the only source of water along part of a major trade route
Neverwinter Nights 2 Peek #1
Obsidian takes us to an important location in the game, the city of Arvahn, which is said to hold unspeakable secrets
Neverwinter Nights 2 Interview - Part 3
Enemies, quests, multiplayer, the tools and more as we finish our edifying interrogation of Obsidian's Lead Designer
Neverwinter Nights 2 Interview, Part 2
Continuing our query session with Obsidian's Lead Designer, we ask about various topics related to the protagonist
Neverwinter Nights 2 Interview, Part 1
We begin an extensive examination of Obsidian's upcoming sequel with the team's Lead Designer, Ferret Baudoin


Related Articles:

- Neverwinter Nights 2 Minute View
- Neverwinter Nights 2 E3 View
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer Interview - Part 2
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer Interview - Part 1
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Team Q&A #2
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Team Q&A #1
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Peek #3
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Peek #2
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Peek #1
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Interview - Part 3
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Interview, Part 2
- Neverwinter Nights 2 Interview, Part 1


IGN.com | GameSpy | Comrade | Arena | TeamXbox | GameStats | Planets
Vaults | VE3D | AskMen.com CheatsCodesGuides | FilePlanet
3D Gamers | Direct2Drive | Rotten Tomatoes | GamerMetrics

Copyright 1996-2007, IGN Entertainment, Inc.  
About Us | Support | Advertise | Privacy Policy | User Agreement | Subscribe to RSS Feeds

IGN's enterprise databases running Oracle, SQL and MySQL are professionally monitored and managed by Pythian Remote DBA.