GGMania's external co-worker Predrag B. Tomasevic managed to grab some time with BioWare co-lead designer Brent Knowles as he talks about Neverwinter Nights, recently
released 3D RPG. To find more information about this great game I strongly recommend you to check our earlier NWN review
Please introduce yourself, and company you are working for.
Brent Knowles: Brent Knowles of BioWare, Co-Lead Designer of Neverwinter
Subject of this interview is Neverwinter Nights, one of highly
anticipated games of summer 2002. Tell me, now when work is done, how are you satisfied
with the final product.
Brent Knowles: BioWare is very happy with Neverwinter Nights. It is a great
game. Already it is proving itself to be very popular and we are quite excited by the
number of people playing it.
Can you compare Neverwinter Nights with good old Baldur's
Gate? Will Neverwinter Nights offer gaming community same what Baldur's Gate did -
revolution in RPG genre? Less? More?
Brent Knowles: Adventuring, puzzles, evil
villains and epic combat are some of the core elements of the Baldur's Gate series, and
Neverwinter Nights has these all in abundance. And when the awesome campaign is finished
the game isn't done, unlike BG. The player will be able to build their own adventures or
download those that others post to the Internet. Many players are finishing the campaign
via single-player and trying it out again in multiplayer. The replay opportunities are
endless -- and I think that is one of the major defining features of a good role playing
Neverwinter Nights is second RPG that uses 3rd edition
Dungeons & Dragons rules. Is it harder to do a computer RPG based on this new rules?
Related question - do you, Bioware crew, practice to play pen&paper RPGs and if you
do, how much it helps in making games like this?
Brent Knowles: We have a very talented
programming department (with a little help from the technical design crew) who were up to
the task of converting the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules to a
computer RPG. Many people at BioWare play Dungeons & Dragons, but we don't do it as
practice. We do it because we find it to be a lot of fun. It was definitely an asset
however to have some pen and paper experience before doing something as ambitious as
I haven't chance to check it out, but I heard that
singleplayer is huge. Can you tell us a bit about it? I'm mostly interested in story and
facts about world where whole thing is happening.
Brent Knowles: The city of Neverwinter is
suffering from a plague. You must cure the plague and then find out who is responsible for
it, taking you from the dark city of Neverwinter to the forests and hills surrounding it
-- visiting creepy dungeons and mysterious castles along the way. I don't really want to
say anything more as to avoid spoiling anything, but it's a large game.
And what about the multiplayer? Many times on websites
I saw that Bioware is saying that it is main part of the game. What can Neverwinter
Night's multiplayer offer us?
Brent Knowles: Playing multiplayer is just one
of the many ways that Neverwinter can be enjoyed. Adventuring in Neverwinter Nights is
about being part of a tight-knit group of people helping each other through tough
situations (and occasionally stabbing each other in the back). There is a large emphasis
on communication and working with others.
Let's now talk about parts of game that most people see like
mistakes. 1) Why is singleplayer focused on one character only? Why isn't there "real
party" like one in Baldur's Gate? 2) Why giving advantage to action over adventure
Brent Knowles: Neverwinter is meant to be a
faster-paced game than Baldur's Gate. Controlling a whole party in real-time is very
difficult. Instead, when playing Neverwinter Nights you get to focus on developing one
single character -- which makes it very consistent with the intent of Dungeons &
Dragons. I think there is a fairly even balance between action and role-playing in
Neverwinter Nights. Many of the quests have multiple endings and there are many
interesting characters that you get to interact with.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is probably the best
RPG on market now when Neverwinter Nights is stepping in. Can you compare this two
products for us? Do they target same gamer's population? Be honest and tell us, which game
is overall better?
Brent Knowles: They are two totally different
games. The Neverwinter Nights campaign is focused more on adventuring and solving quests.
Morrowind is a fantastic exploration game (I've been playing it on my Xbox lately). The
questing in Morrowind is secondary to exploring this huge and wonderful world they have
made. Overall I like Neverwinter more (but perhaps I'm biased :) But both are really great
Originally Interplay should've published Neverwinter
Nights but things has changed and now Infogrames does that "dirty work". How
much are you satisfied with Infogrames?
Brent Knowles: From what I could see, Infogrames
did a great job.
That's all. I'll grab a chance and thank you for time you've
invested in answering my questions. Now, is there anything regarding to Neverwinter Nights
that you would add?
Brent Knowles: I just want to thank everyone on
the team who worked so hard making Neverwinter Nights come together. And I hope the fans
out there are enjoying it as much as we are!