Return to the Realms with Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition
By Jacky Leung Twitter
In the early 2000s, Bioware brought gamers back into the Forgotten Realms with the critically acclaimed video game, Neverwinter Nights. Nearly fifteen years later, the creatives at Beamdog return to enhance this iconic roleplaying game after successfully taking other classic games, like the Baldur’s Gate franchise, and updating them for the modern gamer. Key developers from the original Neverwinter Nights return to upgrade key features that hosted a strong and committed online modding community.
The original Neverwinter Nights was released in June of 2002, taking place in Ed Greenwood’s Forgotten Realms campaign setting and implementing the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition ruleset. The game engine was designed to support massive multiplayer online games (MMOGs) which allowed users to host game servers, a feature that extended the game’s longevity from its launch.
Game content will remain consistent with Neverwinter Nights: Diamond Edition, which includes the original campaign, both the Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark expansion packs, and the three Bioware premium packs: Kingmaker, ShadowGuard, and Witch’s Wake. You can pre-order the game through Beamdog for the standard version of the game for $19.99. Other premium modules are available as separate purchases, along with the game’s soundtrack, and a portrait pack. A digital deluxe version of the game is available for $39.99 and contains all of the content mentioned above.
The original campaign took place in the city of Neverwinter, located on the Sword Coast of Faerûn. Players can assume any race, class, alignment, background, and specialization through skills and feats to create a character that would be tasked to defeating a powerful cult, collect four reagents to stop a plague, and save the city from an attack. Along the way, players explore the neighboring countryside and the northern city of Luskan with plenty of side quests in between. It is a story of loss, betrayal, rising heroes, and ancient monsters. Shadows of Undrentide takes place in the deserts of Anauroch and the Netherese city of Undrentide. Hordes of the Underdark continued from the previous expansion and led through the subterranean world of the fabled Underdark and the infamous labyrinth dungeons of the Undermountain beneath the city of Waterdeep.
Compared to the original game, the enhanced edition will feature a new user interface, combat bar, and inventory that adjust with higher resolutions such as 1080p and 4k. Modernized graphic filters offer a crisp and cleaner experience. Additionally, the developers have teamed with key members from the Neverwinter Vault community to curate fan-requested improvements to support players, storytellers, and modders. It might be time to dust off your old CDs and flash drives and bring back those beloved characters and stories from years passed. The new enhanced edition also supports backward compatibility for saved games, modules, and mods from the original Neverwinter Nights.
The game’s multiplayer experience separated it from other Dungeons & Dragons games, as it allowed for players to play on many different game servers, potentially supporting close to 90 players and Dungeon Masters. It was a host of different modules of various genres and themes, a hub for player-vs-player scenarios, and even social gatherings akin to chat rooms. The DM Client allowed game masters to tell stories through their modules and have complete control of their server. These persistent worlds allowed DMs to have their games run autonomously but could interject and assume an NPC (non-player character) mid-session to add flexibility and improvisation to their games.
Neverwinter Nights’ legacy influenced many Bioware games including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords which used a similar game engine. The Witcher, by CD Projekt RED, was also based on the same game engine as Neverwinter Nights. Additionally, prototypes and mockups of Dragon Age: Origins used the game engine. Many modern games have been influenced by Neverwinter Nights, even being ranked No. 4 in 2014 by IGN on their list of “The Top 11 Dungeons & Dragons Games of All Time.”
Pre-order Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition: https://www.beamdog.com/products/neverwinter-nights-enhanced-edition