LOS ANGELES – Aug. 4, 2004 – Atari Interactive, Inc., Obsidian Entertainment and BioWare Corp., under license from Hasbro, Inc., have announced plans for Neverwinter Nights 2, the sequel to BioWare Corp.’s best-selling and genre-defining role-playing game set in the popular Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms universe created by Wizards of the Coast. Atari, Inc. will publish the title. Originally developed by BioWare, Neverwinter Nights has set a new standard in the role-playing genre with a deep and engrossing storyline; immersive character development; stunning graphics; and, an expansive multiplayer experience like none other. “Neverwinter Nights is one of the most beloved RPG’s of all time and we’re pleased that Obsidian has taken on the challenge,” said John Hight, executive producer, Atari. “Feargus and his team at Obsidian Entertainment are the best people on the planet to take up where BioWare left off and bring this great game to new levels. They are intimately familiar with what makes Neverwinter Nights special, they know what it takes to make a great game and they have the respect of the RPG community.” The Neverwinter Nights franchise has sold more than two million copies worldwide, is translated into ten languages, sold in more than 40 countries and features one of the largest and most active fan communities in all of gaming at www.bioware.com. To date, fans of the franchise, which includes Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide and Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, have created nearly 4,000 modifications to the original game using the award-winning BioWare Aurora Toolset, the groundbreaking software included with the full game that allows players to create their own universes, quests and storylines. “BioWare and Atari created an immense community of players attracted by both the immersion of an interactive gaming experience and the ability to create their own pen-and-paper styled modules. Neverwinter Nights changed the very nature of roleplaying games,” said Feargus Urquhart, Obsidian Entertainment’s CEO. “With Neverwinter Nights 2, we’re going to take that incredible experience to the next level by combining a huge new single-player game with deep character development and many new upgrades and enhancements to the already powerful BioWare Aurora Toolset for the modding community.” Neverwinter Nights 2 will be developed by Obsidian Entertainment, founded by Feargus Urquhart who, as the President of Black Isle Studios, was responsible for the publishing of the Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance series and the development of the Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment franchises, both powered by BioWare Engine Technology, as well as overseeing the creation and development of the Fallout series. BioWare will provide tools, technology, and game assets from the original Neverwinter Nights as well as lend creative input and oversight to the development process. “From our development of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights to our engine licensure on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, we’ve been working collaboratively with Feargus and other members of the Obsidian Entertainment team for years,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, BioWare Corp.’s Joint CEO. “Neverwinter Nights remains one of the most important titles BioWare has ever created. We certainly plan to remain involved in the production and development of Neverwinter Nights 2 and we’re delighted to initiate another partnership with Obsidian Entertainment and Atari,” added Dr. Ray Muzyka, BioWare Corp.’s Joint CEO. Neverwinter Nights 2 is scheduled for release in 2006. More information about Neverwinter Nights 2 can be found on the Atari website at www.atari.com/nwn2, which includes user forums, project news, development updates and more.
Feargus Urquhart’s statement about improving the Aurora toolset implies that they will be building from the existing NWN codebase (thus making any Linux port easier), but it’s hard to say for certain until additional information is made available.