d& D RPG col­lec­tion

A party of role-play­ing clas­sics roll for ini­tia­tive once again

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Adam Bryant Pub­lisher Sky­bound Games De­vel­oper Beam­dog ETA 1 Oc­to­ber

“Let’s just say that the de­sign over­haul was no small task”

Fans of Dun­geons & Dragons won’t need to wait much longer to get a chance to play this up­com­ing col­lec­tion of leg­endary role-play­ing games on Xbox One. The weeks between early Oc­to­ber and De­cem­ber will see the re­lease of (take a deep breath) Bal­dur’s Gate and its ex­pan­sion Siege Of Dragon­spear, Bal­dur’s Gate II: Shad­ows Of Amn, Planescape: Tor­ment, Icewind Dale and Nev­er­win­ter Nights.

It’s been a long road to fi­nally bring th­ese RPGs – the old­est of which is over 20 years old – to consoles, and this feat came with its share of chal­lenges. “Let’s just say that the de­sign over­haul was no small task,” ex­plains pro­ducer Luke Ride­out. “In all hon­esty, we prob­a­bly rewrote hun­dreds of thou­sands of lines of code to get to a point where th­ese games were con­sole-ready, though we did get a rea­son­able amount of bang for our de­vel­op­ment buck thanks to the Infinity En­gine games – all of Bal­dur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, with Planescape: Tor­ment to a lesser de­gree – run­ning on the same en­gine and shar­ing a lot of tech un­der the hood. Un­for­tu­nately, Nev­er­win­ter Nights: En­hanced Edi­tion is built us­ing the Aurora En­gine, which is its own beast, so we had to have mul­ti­ple teams work­ing in par­al­lel de­vel­op­ing the games, and could only share a few tricks between Nev­er­win­ter Nights and the IE games. De­spite the colos­sal un­der­tak­ing, I can say that the team is ex­tremely proud of the out­come.”

In­spi­ra­tion point

Bring­ing th­ese revered games to consoles also re­quired a bunch of tweaks to make them more ap­petis­ing to con­troller users. “One of the big­gest changes was the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ana­logue con­trol mode that al­lows you to di­rectly con­trol the move­ment of your party in for­ma­tion,” says Ride­out. “Since the games were de­signed for key­board and mouse, we had to care­fully re­think the UI so that it would work in­tu­itively with a con­troller, but not lose the depth of con­trol that the clas­sic ex­pe­ri­ence of­fers. We were un­sure if it was even pos­si­ble, but once we built the demo to test out the new UI, we re­alised that it wasn’t just func­tional but, dare I say, even more fun than mouse and key­board, since char­ac­ter con­trol feels so much more per­sonal and re­spon­sive now.”

Each of the games will be avail­able to down­load and there will be phys­i­cal bun­dles, too. Bal­dur’s Gate, Bal­dur’s Gate II, Planescape: Tor­ment and Icewind Dale will be re­leased on 1 Oc­to­ber in the US and 4 Oc­to­ber in the UK. Nev­er­win­ter Nights launches on 3 De­cem­ber in the US and 6 De­cem­ber else­where. It’s been a long time com­ing, but th­ese RPG ti­tans have al­most ar­rived on Xbox.

Above The games were PC clas­sics, and the con­trols have been re­worked for consoles.

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