Amidst a bevy of rumors, Cryptic Studios has announced their new cooperative RPG Neverwinter. While not quite the full-fledged MMO many have been expecting, new Neverwinter can't be a bad thing, right? Fans continue to play the classic BioWare developed Neverwinter Nights, which continues to have a thriving community, but Cryptic is another beast entirely.
Jack Emmert, COO of Cryptic Studios, had this to say about Neverwinter:
"We're beyond thrilled to develop a brand new version of Neverwinter. It's been years since the original became a gaming icon and we're honored to work with such a great franchise. We've been working closely with Wizards of the Coast and R.A. Salvatore to create an authentic D&D adventure filled with compelling fiction and exciting gameplay."
Contradictorily, Neverwinter will be based around the upcoming book trilogy written by R. A. Salvatore, but also allow players to create their own storylines with a content generation system nicknamed 'Forge' (haven't I head that somewhere before?). The connection seems more like an attempt to build hype rather than any sort of functional relation. Still, if you pick up Salvatore's Gauntlgrym come October 5, you'll likely see any number of loose references in the Neverwinter game.
The R. A. Salvatore association isn't the problem though. The problem is that Neverwinter Nights was made by the godly BioWare, and now Neverwinter is being developed by Cryptic studios. The same Cryptic known for disappointingly uninteresting Champions Online and Star Trek Online. It hurts me to say, but these guys don't have a great recipe for creating RPGs just yet. Is it safe for them to be working on such a popular franchise as Neverwinter? Does no one remember when they were working on a Marvel MMO? Marvel removed themselves from the project, which eventually became the poorly received Champions.
Still, in my opinion it's hard to make a bad cooperative multiplayer game. I adore old DnD cooperative games like Dark Alliance, and other cheesy offerings of a similar nature. Perhaps taking a step down in scope, from MMO to cooperative RPG, might be exactly what Cryptic needs to create something masterful. No one can argue they've got a lot of experience in creating RPG content. Time to step up, Cryptic, we've got high expectations.
Five player cooperative action with five classic Dungeons and Dragons classes. That means I have room for four more in my adventuring party, Ranter! Interested?
Neverwinter is scheduled for a Q4 2011 release across multiple platforms. Check out their official website for all of the latest details.