Neverwinter Nights 2 Expands Again, Becomes Baldur's Gate

Neverwinter Nights 2 had a bit of a rocky start, finally getting up to steam with the first expansion pack, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Now Atari and Wizards of the Coast have announced work on a second expansion, Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir. The new expansion promises to take us back to the more pleasant Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale days, bringing back full party customisation, dungeon crawling, and free-exploration via overland map rather than set points. I just shivered with glee.

The expansion also introduces a trade mechanic, allowing players to build their own legitimate trade empire or stick to the shadows, stealing from the rich and selling on the black market.

It almost sounds like a whole new game, rather than an expansion pack. The ability to customise your party and explore the Sword Coast and Samarach over open land basically changes Neverwinter Nights completely, effectively making it more akin to an updated, multiplayer, moddable Baldur's Gate. There go those shivers again. Hit the jump for the full skinny on Storm of Zehir, heading our way late this year.

'Neverwinter NightsTM 2: Storm of Zehir' Brings Bold New Adventures to The Forgotten RealmsĀ®

Second Expansion for Atari's Renowned Role-Playing Opus Scheduled for Worldwide Release Q4 2008

NEW YORK, June 11: Atari, Inc. (OTC Pink Sheets: ATAR), one of the world's most recognised brands and a third-party video game publisher and distributor, alongside Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) announced today that Neverwinter NightsTM 2: Storm of Zehir is currently in production. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, one of the premier independent development studios in the world, the second expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2 will deliver an engrossing DUNGEONS & DRAGONSĀ® experience in the tradition of the Neverwinter Nights franchise and is scheduled for worldwide launch Q4 2008.

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir hearkens back to the days of the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale franchises by including full party customisation, dungeon crawling, and free exploration of a non-linear game world via an Overland Map. The gripping storyline foreshadows the events that will take place in the Forgotten Realms with the coming release this June of the Fourth Edition of Dungeons & DragonsĀ® Roleplaying Game.

In the aftermath of the defeat of the King of Shadows, the Sword Coast is in the midst of an uneasy economic recovery. Trade syndicates have sprung up to exploit the post-war confusion for their own ends and the players' party will wade into this uncertain environment. In order to increase their own fortunes, they can either ally with a syndicate to create a trade empire, or cut their own path through Faerun by preying upon caravans and selling the goods on the black market. As they attempt to extend their influence, players will become aware of a new faction working behind the scenes: the evil, shape-shifting, serpentine Yuan-Ti.

In addition to trading and economic manipulation, the Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Overland Map allows players to explore the Chultan Peninsula and Sword Coast in a non-linear manner never before seen in any of the Neverwinter Nights games. Exploration will take players from well-known locations, like Neverwinter and Crossroad Keep, to more exotic areas, such as the xenophobic jungle nation of Samarach. Groups of highwaymen and monsters populate the Overland Map and the farther from civilisation the player roams, the more difficult the encounters become. The 15-hour campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir is also packed with new classes, spells, creatures, and playable races.

Fans of the compelling multiplayer features of Neverwinter Nights 2 will also be able to take advantage of new improvements to the multiplayer experience, while modders will be able to take advantage of the power and flexibility of the Overland Map and Trading System features along with other world-building enhancements.

Game Features:

Travel the Sword Coast and Samarach using the open-ended exploration of the new Overland Map. Use skills like Spot and Survival while on the Overland Map to avoid ambushes and even find hidden locales and lost artifacts.
Create your own full party of adventurers. Devastate your foes with a squad of fireball-flinging Sorcerers, form a solid wall of steel with a party of Fighters, or strike the perfect balance in your party by spreading out the classes you choose for your characters.
Improved party gameplay including streamlined party conversations, a new Teamwork Benefit System, and powerful party feats.
The world's economy reacts to your adventures and choices. And, through trading and quests, you can expand your merchant company into a massive trading empire.

More information about Neverwinter Nights 2 can be found at www.nwn2.com .


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