Available: 29 November, 2002

Article by Andreas "Interman" Misund

Gothic 1 was actually one of the few pc role-playing games I didn’t instantly try. Instead I tried it a while after its release, mainly because I was bored with the currently released games. I didn’t have huge expectations, but it’s great to see that I can be really wrong just by looking at screenshots. My first impressions were fairly decent, but it wasn’t until I had played it a bit that I understood the greatness of Gothic. Finally you could play in an environment where the NPCs actually had their own lives and things happened. Sadly I got stuck very near the end, but I can assure you that the story, the characters and the setting of Gothic 1 is something I recommend to anyone. It could of course use improvements, and luckily Piranha Bytes are well under way with the sequel, Gothic II. I can assure you, this time it will be reviewed as soon as absolutely possible.
-Andreas ‘Interman’ Misund

The game will be published by Jowood and here is what Stephan Berger and Kai Rosenkranz have to say about it:

Hello there. Please introduce yourself and your role in the development of Gothic II.

KaiRo: My name is Kai Rosenkranz, and I’m mainly working as a composer and sound designer for Piranha Bytes. I’ve done the music and sound effects for Gothic I, and right now I’m tinkering around at the game audio for Gothic II;

(Stefan Berger is the Product Manager for the title)

Gothic II seems to have an intriguing story. Please delve on it.

Stefan: The mine valley of Khorinis. The glorious days of the once productive mines in this small seaside region were long over. Surrounded by the impenetrable magical barrier, the slaves eked out their miserable existence in this apparently natural prison.

One brave man managed to burst the bonds of imprisonment. Following his own call to freedom, he ventured deep into the subterranean temples. Willing to do whatever was necessary, he went out to banish Evil and destroy the magical barrier forever. Spurred by the hatred of men long-suppressed, the prisoners streamed trough the only pass to freedom.

No one in Khorinis had been prepared for this. Too long had they lived under the deceptive notion of security granted by the apparently indestructible magical dome. The small militia garrison could not put up enough forces against the onrush. After numerous bloody clashes, many captives succeeded to escape and found safety in the woods or rugged mountains of the surrounding countryside.

The steadily escalating number of raids in the vicinity of the town wall and the bandits' ever-increasing boldness seemed to paralyze the whole town. Angered by the militia's inability to protect their farms, some of the farmers formed an alliance with the refugees, no longer willing to pay allegiance to the king.

Khorinis is facing an uncertain future. Due to the farmers' decreasing production, more and more of the food deliveries do not take place, and the stocks diminish continuously.
The militia's might ends at the town gate. Outside the town wall, nobody is safe from the bandits' armed raids.

There is war in Khorinis. A civil war.

But there is something else that could not be foreseen.
Evil is not dead, rearing its ugly head again.
But this time it is set on delivering the deathblow to humanity, and no one can stop it.

No one?

There has been a great amount of role-playing games this year alone. How will Gothic II stand out from the competition?

Stefan: Gothic II will have a much better

  • Graphic
  • Speech and sound system
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • World (around 25km¬¬≤ landscape)
  • More items and weapons
  • Big monsters
  • ...

So you see we have a lot of things they are much better than in other games. But the most important thing is that we tell the gamers a story. A game can have thousand of features, but when it has no story it is not good….

KaiRo: Pointing out one or two aspects necessarily means discriminating the others, but I personally put the emphasis on the brilliant story and AI. The game enthralls you through it’s captivating plot and the NPCs’ lifelike behavior, and I’m positive that we’ll beat any other game in terms of that.

What kind of world will Gothic II take place in and how large is it?

KaiRo: Now that the barrier doesn’t enclose the scenery, you’ll be able to explore the entire island of Myrtana. The extent of the new world is three times as large as the colony that formed the setting of Gothic I, which comes to approximately 25km¬¬≤.

What type of characters will you be able to play? Any “unique” characters?

KaiRo: Generally speaking, you slip into the role of the nameless hero that you’ve become very attached to in Gothic I. Once again, you have to decide which guild to join, either the paladins, the mages or the dragon slayers.

How effective is the artificial intelligence? Will your actions make a large difference on how people treat you?

KaiRo: Well, the AI is so extensive and complex we could almost write a book about it. To state at least one major consideration: we focused on the NPCs’ daily routines and their reactions to the player. Depending on how you treat people, you’ll either get to know their friendly or their nasty side. If you’ve really spoilt your chances with someone, he’ll remember that and behave accordingly.

What kind of graphics engine will Gothic II use? Will it be able to support low-end computers?

KaiRo: Gothic II is based on the technology used for the first part, but we added some new features and effects. Early indications regarding the system requirements point to a 800MHz machine with 256 MB RAM and a 32MB graphic card, but please don’t nail be down to that…

Please briefly digress on some of the monsters that you will fight.

KaiRo: Unfortunately, the minor detail that there are dragons in the world of Gothic II leaked out before, so there’s no need to make such a big secret out of it anymore. Meanwhile, you can even see dragons in the official trailer.

Beyond that, the fauna comes up with some new species, and once again, we tried to give them a natural, animal-like but yet menacing appearance.

Also please describe some of the weapons and other items that you will able to use.

KaiRo: You’ll be able to find all kinds of weapons that somehow fit into the medieval scenery. I don’t want to give too much away by enumerating them, but you can rest assured we added some new and powerful weapons.

What about the interface?

KaiRo: Well, we drastically simplified the controls. Easy access is guaranteed for those who just couldn’t get used to Gothic’s interface, since you can configure almost everything concerning the controls in Gothic II. We recommend to use both the mouse and the keyboard, as for the current version, the interface is designed to be easy-to-handle and transparent for that combination of input devices.

Will there be a multiplayer component, and if so, comment on some of the features.

Stefan: There will be no Multiplayer mode in the game.

How far is in the game in development and when will it hit stores?

Stefan: The game will hit the stores Q4.

Please add any final comments.

KaiRo: As you can see, our upcoming project has a “II” at the end of the name. In many cases, economic and financial reasons lead to the decision to make a sequel, as the developers consider it to be profitable. But believe it or not, that’s not the same with us. We couldn’t foresee the popularity of Gothic, and we were overwhelmed by the praise from both the players and the editors. Highly motivated by this success, we gathered to discuss a possible sequel to Gothic. These discussions turned out to be very creative and productive, and we came up with new ideas and concepts in piles. For us, developing another addition to the series is a great pleasure. Hopefully we’ll succeed in making Gothic II as enjoyable as the first part.