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Arcania: Gothic 4

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Arcania: Gothic 4 is the fourth installment of the Gothic series, and the first one to be developed by a company other than Piranha Bytes; the game will be developed by Spellbound. The first teaser trailer revealed that Arcania was scheduled to be released in Winter 2009, but JoWooD Entertainment has subsequently pushed back the release to 2010.

At the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig, JoWooD Entertainment presented Arcania behind closed doors.

In 2009, JoWooD Entertainment released the official website for Arcania: Gothic 4, revealing new information, screenshots and artworks.

In August 2009 JoWooD Entertainment announced that Arcania: Gothic 4 will be delayed until 2010, giving Spellbound more time to polish the game. JoWooD Entertainment plans to make Arcania an AAA title - the most successful title from the Gothic Series, and one of the best RPGs of 2010.

In September 2009 the Gothic Community sent a letter to JoWooD Entertainment, complaining about the lack of support and information regarding Arcania: Gothic 4.

In March 2010, Dr. Albert Seidl, JoWooD's former CEO, revealed that Arcania will be released in the autumn of 2010.

In June 2010, Franz Rossler, JoWooD's CEO confirmed via interview that Arcania's release date has been scheduled for October 12, 2010.

Description

Ten years have passed since the end of Gothic 3 and the world has changed - the Southern Islands have become embroiled in conflict, and set the stage for the player to brave countless adventures in the guise of a nameless hero. Decisions will have to be made which will change not only the future of the Southern Islands, but of the entire world. Old acquaintances and new faces will aid the hero or attempt to thwart his efforts throughout his journey.

Engine

JoWooD and Spellbound Entertainment announced a cooperation with Trinigy, a provider of 3D game engine technology. In the scope of a multi-platform license agreement, Spellbound is developing “Arcania: Gothic 4” utilizing Trinigy’s Vision Engine 7, with certain features from the newly released Vision Engine 8.

Arcania's physics engine will be NVIDIA GPU PhysX as confirmed by a JoWooD Entertainment representative.

Plot

War covers over the Southern Islands like a blood-drenched shroud... and finally, War reaches the idyllic isle of Feshyr in the Southern Seas. The protagonist of Arcania - Gothic 4 returns from an adventure to find his home town pillaged and looted. The aggressors’ ships - with an Eagle displayed on their billowing sails - escape over the horizon.

Seeking revenge, the hero leaves the destroyed city behind and soon realizes that this cowardly attack did not just happen on a reckless mercenary's whim. An evil power lies waiting at the threshold of this world, and our hero will need to face this nameless evil. Yet the hero is not alone - his fate is linked to that of a beautiful, mysterious lady as well as a powerful artifact from the long-forgotten distant past, which plays a major role in the grandiose new RPG adventure.

Development

The start of the development was officially announced on August 23, 2007, along with the name of the new developer. The project was originally entitled Gothic 4: Genesis; the name change to Gothic 4: Arcania was announced in 2008. At the Games Convention in 2008, JoWooD Entertainment announced another name for the game - "Arcania: A Gothic Tale". The name change serves two purposes. First, it hints at a world rich in magic and fantasy. Second, and completely from a marketing perspective, it helps give the Gothic franchise a fresh start in North America, where it has failed to gain significant popularity. During a press conference of the Polish publisher CD Project, the games to be published by the company were presented, including Arcania. The title of the game was stated as Arcania: Gothic 4. A Polish fan-site asked the community manager Reinhard Pollice, known as Megalomaniac, regarding that issue and he confirmed the change of the name. Arcania: Gothic 4 is the fourth or fifth name for the game which was simply called Gothic 4 initially. Just to remember: At the Games Convention 2007 the game was presented as Gothic 4: Genesis, together with the new developer Spellbound. The name was selected to express a new start. Later on the name was changed to Gothic 4: Arcania to emphasize mystical and arcane aspects. After that the name was Arcania - A Gothic Tale, until the present day. Now the second last name is used again, but in different order: Arcania: Gothic 4. On the 1st of April JoWooD marketing manager Clemens Schneidhofer confirmed the new name to GamersGlobal.de: "I can confirm that! Because the date of the release is already defined (more details soon in a press release), we decided to leave the working title "Arcania – A Gothic Tale" behind and to announce the final name "Arcania - Gothic 4". This change is available for all countries (EU & US)."

As announced at the CD Projekt Conference 2010, Spellbound Entertainment is developing the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows versions, while later, another studio will port the game on the Playstation 3 system.

Later news confirmed that the Playstation 3 version has been delayed until 2011, while the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows release remained unchanged.

Gameplay

Arcania was presented to the general public in August at Gamescom in Köln, Germany. The short playable part featured (probably) the very beginning of the game, where we meet the protagonist, his fiancee, a free orc, living in harmony with humans and other characters. The character can only interact with "named" characters, those who have a name. Other characters, filler NPCs, just reply with a short, dismissive sentence hovering above their heads, just like in Neverwinter Nights II. Dialogues are selected via mouse or keyboard and are pre-animated, focusing on the facial features of the characters. We also meet Diego, an old acquaintance from other Gothic prequels. The combat system is similar to the one in Gothic 3, fast and action oriented. Left mouse button attacks and the right mouse button blocks. During blocking the character can roll in any direction. Enemy attacks are predictable and shown by a violet aura around their weapon, enabling us to dodge. Jumping, unlike Gothics so far, isn't a good way of getting around. Jumping into the water kills the character because of falling damage.

Sequel

According to a latest interview with JoWooD's former CEO, Dr. Albert Seidl, it seems that the work on the sequel (Arcania II) will start in this summer, before the release of Arcania.

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