Never say never... winter. After a lawsuit from Turbine seemed to have put it down for the count, Cryptic's rumored Neverwinter Nights follow-up has finally gone official. Based off what little has been said about the game, it appears to be an MMO, but with a potentially game-changing twist – literally. See, as with previous Neverwinter titles, there's a heavy emphasis on world-creation.
Using a “user-friendly content generation system, tentatively codenamed Forge,” you'll be able to become the dungeon master of your own quests and storylines. Sure, the majority of Forge quests will probably resemble forgeries of WoW's Hemet Nessingwary quests – you know, kill 100000 wizard-ninjas, etc – but if the system's as versatile as previous Neverwinter games, there's huge potential for something special.
So, that's the good news. The bad news? If you're the impatient type, Neverwinter's Q4 2011 release date may be a bit rough for you to swallow. In the meantime, though, why not throw together a few missions for Cryptic's first MMO, City of Heroes? After all, what better inspiration for a swords 'n' sorcery yarn than a dude in revealingly tight-fitting spandex who shoots lasers out his face? The tale of “xxxCaptainHulkYashaxxx” is one that needs to be told, regardless of whether it's in underwear-on-the-outside or a chainmail bikini.
Atari, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. Or you will, anyway, if Dungeons & Dragons Online developer Turbine’s argument holds any water. The developer alleges that it came home from work one evening, only to find Atari in the arms of another D&D MMO. It seems, then, that trouble’s been brewing for a little while, as you’ll remember that we reported on the rumor of a Neverwinter Nights MMO a few months ago.
Citing what’s presumably that unconfirmed NWN MMO, Turbine has thrown the legal equivalent of a magic missile at Atari, accusing the publisher of fraud, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. The gist of it goes like this: Atari allegedly planned to “terminate” its agreement with Turbine under false pretenses. Turbine suspected that Atari would “either terminate Turbine as part of a shakedown, or proceed with termination in bad faith to benefit from its own competing product at Turbine's expense.” That “competing product” is, in all likelihood, the NWN MMO.
On top of that, Turbine claims that Atari “failed to devote necessary resources” to Dungeons & Dragons Online, and “breached the agreements by accepting payments - including future royalty payments - in return for extending their relationship and paving the way for the launch of Turbine's free-to-play ‘DDO: Unlimited’ service, though Atari knew it would not perform its obligations under the agreements and knew it would pretextually seek to declare Turbine in breach of the agreements.”
Long story short: things are about to get ugly. How ugly? Well, why don’t you ask 3D Realms and Take-Two? We hear that “breach of contract” stuff flies really well in their parts.
First there was BioWare. Then Obsidian. And now, as the next stop in what’s beginning to look like a tour of the whole Western RPG development scene, the Neverwinter Nights license may be landing at City of Heroes/Villains creator Cryptic Studios.
The rumor comes from Variety’s typically reliable Cut Scene blog, which cites a number of unnamed “sources.” Those same sources believe the game will drop off Cryptic’s increasingly productive MMO assembly line – which also includes Champions Online and Star Trek Online – in 2011. Apparently, the NWN MMO was the deciding factor in Atari’s decision to acquire Cryptic last year. Clearly, whatever form this game takes, it’s gonna be big.
Other than those unconfirmed whispers, not much else is known about the game. So, if NWN Online is real – and not just some cruel joke cooked up by whoever it is that constantly produces bogus videogame industry rumors – would you be interested in playing it?