Update, November 21: Beamdog have run a stream detailing their plans for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition.
As suggested by their initial announcement, Beamdog aren’t looking to make radical changes to Neverwinter Nights with their upcoming Enhanced Edition. Any changes made to the game are intended to be complementary to the existing content, with little being removed or replaced. With the game supporting every mod ever produced for the game, the developers don’t want to break anything, including the specific role of existing art assets in old mods. (Also, they didn’t have the budget to rebuild all the game’s textures and models.)
We’ll probably need to make some room on our list of the best RPGs on PC.
The intention is largely just to keep the game supported so that the community can continue to enjoy building mods and playing with each other online. Old modules are fully supported in both the main game and the editor, and the toolset will of course be included with the Enhanced Edition. The only true compatibility limitation is that you’ll only be able to play with fellow Enhanced Edition owners. The new game will switch over to a more secure multiplayer structure allowing for better support of persistent worlds, breaking compatibility with players on old clients.
The Enhanced Edition will be available for $19.99 and includes all the contents of the Diamond Edition. That includes the base game, the Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark expansions, and the three premium modules Kingmaker, ShadowGuard, and Witch’s Wake. The remaining premium modules - Wyvern Crown of Cormyr, Infinite Dungeons, and Pirates of the Sword Coast - will be made available as DLC. It’s possible that Beamdog will create further original expansions in the future, but that will come after the first wave of DLC.
Other things Beamdog are open to include Steam Workshop support and a story mode difficulty, similar to what was added in Baldur’s Gate. You can check out the full stream below.
Original Story, November 21: When it released in 2002, Neverwinter Nights was recognised as the definitive digitisation of the Dungeons and Dragons pen-and-paper RPG. It used D&D’s Forgotten Realms campaign setting and lifted its mechanics directly from the third edition of the legendary game. And now it’s getting an ‘enhanced edition’.
Neverwinter Nights was one of the titles with which BioWare cemented a reputation as one of the world’s leading RPG studios. Thus it’s fitting that its enhanced edition will be made by Canadian developers Beamdog, who were founded by former BioWare employees. Beamdog announced the enhanced edition on their Twitter last night, teasing a full reveal for 13:00 Pacific time today:
It’s all very exciting, but we should make clear that this isn’t a full remake. And to be honest, that’s a good thing, because it means the enhanced edition will be fully compatible with the wealth of content created by the Neverwinter Nights community. The original game came with a full SDK and multiplayer support, including a Dungeon Master mode, and fifteen years later, there’s an awful lot of stuff to enjoy. If you played the original, the new edition will even support your saved games.
According to Game Informer, the community have even been involved in the development of the enhanced edition, helping Beamdog "to curate important fan-requested improvements to support players, storytellers, and modders."
The enhanced edition will also achieve crisper visuals through pixel shaders and post-processing effects, with your portrait, combat bar, inventory, and other UI elements adjusting in size to your chosen resolution - including 1080p and 4K.
Game Informer say pre-orders will go live later today, but a full release date has yet to be set. In the meantime, you can try the Diamond edition of the original Neverwinter Nights through GOG - remember, the enhanced version will accept your save files, so you won’t even lose progress.