d& D RPG collection
A party of role-playing classics roll for initiative once again
“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.”
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.