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Interview With Neverwinter’s Jack Emmert

One of the most anticipated games of next year is Neverwinter which will be developed by Cryptic Studios who also developed Star Trek Online, and Champions Online.  We had the chance to speak with Jack Emmert, the COO of Cryptic Studios and ask a few questions about the mysterious new game.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  For readers who aren’t familiar with Neverwinter, what is it? 

JACK EMMERT:  Neverwinter is a prominent city in the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. Two previous outstanding games chronicled adventures set in this great metropolis. But disasters have struck and nearly a century has passed; Neverwinter lies in ruins. That’s our current setting.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  It isn’t called “Neverwinter Nights 3“, or “Neverwinter Nights Online“.   How is your game different in terms of gameplay from what was established by Bioware and Obsidian, the developers of previous Neverwinter titles? 

JACK EMMERT:  First, we’re using D&D 4th edition, rather than the others. Secondly, our game is a tad more action based; we do use “digital dice” to determine hits and damage, but the game isn’t as obviously turn based.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  We know it’s online multiplayer, but is it a MMO?

JACK EMMERT:  Not really. It’s a co-op game with multiplayer social hubs.
PLAYER AFFINITY:  Players can create their own adventures with the “Forge”.  How does Neverwinter’s “Forge” work compared with Cryptic’s other mission builder in Star Trek Online’s, The Foundry?

JACK EMMERT:  It’s a first step. We expect players in beta, as well as Star Trek players, to offer lots of suggestions where to take the tools.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  What about players who’ve been using the original Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset, and Neverwinter script?  Is your game compatible with the existing mods?

JACK EMMERT:  No, Forge isn’t compatible with Aurora. We do plan on reaching out to this community in Closed Beta to gather their input on what they want. They’ve kept Neverwinter alive for years so we’d be foolish not to talk with them.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  The story was developed with fantasy author R.A. Salvatore; will reading the books spoil the story of the game, or vice versa?

JACK EMMERT:  R.A. Salvatore is one of the most important chroniclers in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. His characters and storylines have fired up imaginations of D&D and general fantasy fans for years. It was great to work with him in our game. His trilogy [Gauntlgrym] is a terrific starting point for the game. It’s great background material.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  Does this tie in with the previous Neverwinter games?

JACK EMMERT:  We’re definitely alluding to lots of places and people in the previous game.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  I already know the answer, but I’ll ask for the sake of readers who want a formal answer.  “Can I play as Drizzt”? [Read The Crystal Shard by Salvatore if you don’t know who Drizzt is]

JACK EMMERT:  No, I don’t think so. But we haven’t finished the game yet!

PLAYER AFFINITY:  There are five classes.  How are you going to keep up variety with just five classes?

JACK EMMERT:  We’ll be adding new classes over time; expect lots of new content each and every month after release. That’s one respect that Neverwinter is like our previous games.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  How strongly is the class system based on pen & paper D&D?

JACK EMMERT:  We’re basing the game strongly on 4th edition, but Wizards has been great about allowing changes for gameplay. They want a great video game, not just a recreation of the pen and paper rules.

PLAYER AFFINITY:  When will it be out, and how can fans get in the beta?

JACK EMMERT:  Next year and I’m afraid there’s no news on the beta.

To read our interview with Cryptic’s Shannon Posniewski about the recent Free-to-play model for Champions Online, click HERE.

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