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One of the best Dungeons & Dragons game series is getting that ol’ Beamdog black magic — an upgrade for modern PCs. Say hello to Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, which will include the two expansions and several of the premium modules that the original development studio, BioWare, included postrelease.
Beamdog consists of a number of former BioWare developers who worked on classics such as Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights. It’s made a business taking these old games, which were built with the Infinity Engine game tools, and making enhanced editions, cleaning up the old code, fixing bugs, and introducing new characters. It’s made four enhanced editions thus far: Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, Icewind Dale, and Planescape. It also made a new experience, Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, which takes place between the first two in the series.
Neverwinter Nights, however, is the first time the studio will turn its attention to the Aurora Engine, which Obsidian Entertainment used to also make Neverwinter Nights 2. CD Projekt Red also turned to Aurora for its first Witcher game, and BioWare used the tools as the base for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’s updated Odyssey Engine.
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition will include the two expansions — Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark — along with three premium modules: Pirates of the Sword Coast, Infinite Dungeons, and Wyvern Crown of Cormyr. It will support play for up to 64 other people in online worlds that players can create with the game’s hefty mod tools. It will support 4K visuals, and it’s going to include a number of improvements that longtime modders have wanted.
It will also work with past Neverwinter Nights saves and mods — you can find many on sites such as The Neverwinter Vault.
Neverwinter Nights was a departure for BioWare, which had built a reputation for story-driven games with the Baldur’s Gate series. This new game didn’t have a character party — instead, you get a companion character you cannot control. It also introduced the modding tools, which people used to make adventure modules, shared online worlds that mimic MMOs, and oodles of monsters, characters, and other items that people used in their own creations.
This is welcome news to fans of Neverwinter Nights, or people who like replaying old RPGs (or diving in for the first time). I’ve had a hard time getting the GOG version running on Windows 10 PCs, so it’ll be nice to dive into Hordes of the Underdark without having to jump through some technical hoops. Even better, I’m looking forward to the new mods that come from a younger generation of Neverwinter Nights fans.
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