|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2011)|
|Developer(s)||Gas Powered Games|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Release date(s)||April 5, 2002|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Dungeon Siege is a role-playing video game developed by Gas Powered Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Chris Taylor (from Total Annihilation) showed Dungeon Siege years in production for the first time at E3 2000. The game was released in 2002 and later bundled with the X800 line of video cards in 2005.
Aranna is the continent upon which the games of the Dungeon Siege series take place. The Kingdom of Ehb is at the western edge of the continent. Dungeon Siege and its expansion pack Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna take place in and around the Kingdom of Ehb. According to the game's back-story, The Kingdom of Ehb is a border kingdom in the continent of Aranna, next to the Plain of Tears. Originally a trading post on the outskirts of the Empire of Stars, Ehb later achieved temporary status as a military protectorate and province when the 10th Legion migrated westward. In the wake of the War of Legions, and the ensuing collapse of the Empire of Stars, Ehb became an independent kingdom in its own right. Stability was achieved thanks to the protection provided by its fortifications and the 10th Legion — one of the most highly trained armies of Aranna.
Ehb presents a rich variety of terrains and peoples for players to interact with. Valleys, icy mountains, swamps, deserts, deep forests, cliffs and volcanoes adorn its layout. Its main inhabitants are Humans and Dwarves who live in harmony and acknowledge the same ruler. Players will also encounter the primitive Krug, the secretive Goblin technologists, the loathsome undead and the mysterious, though largely autonomous, dessert dwelling Droog.
In the Kingdom of Ehb, a humble farmer's (the player's character) life is turned upside down when a small band of savage creatures, the Krug, attack a farming community. They must be stopped and the player's character is tasked with seeking help from the neighboring town of Stonebridge. Along the way, the player meets others willing to help them in the quest. The player soon discovers, however, that the story does not end upon reaching Stonebridge as all of Ehb is suffering because of evil creatures.
The farmer turned hero has to journey through the Kingdom in hopes of reaching the Castle Ehb in order to stop the Seck, a race of mysterious, spiteful humanoid monsters, who awakened from their imprisonment beneath the Castle. Along the way, the hero has to face armies of wild creatures, Krugs, a colony of spiders, hordes of undead, Goblins and their futuristic technology, Droogs, and even an ancient dragon, Scorch. The player's final objective is to enter the Seck lair under the Castle and defeat Gom, their leader.
There is a co-op multiplayer campaign which both takes place in and is titled "Utraean Peninsula". It re-uses the single campaign's monsters, with few name changes for boss creatures, and a new enemy type for the final dungeon. It also features a quest-line in which the players have to journey through several towns, helping its inhabitants, and locate several magical stones, called the Townstones. The Utraean Peninsula contains a secret "Chicken level". The multiplayer campaign culminates with the players placing the Townstones in their slots and opening the dungeon, where the Maljin race of monsters has to be defeated.
The player participates in a linear quest to save the kingdom of Ehb following the main character from the humble beginnings as a farmer to the ultimate destiny as a powerful hero/heroine. As the game progresses, the main character may be joined by other adventurers, whom the player also controls. The background is based in a fantasy medieval world with geographic variety in open and closed environments (dungeons). The graphics are mildly detailed with environment changes.
The gameplay is a mixture of pause-and-go tactical management and point-and-click action. The mechanic is highly similar to that of later Ultima games (so much so that fans have recreated certain Ultima titles unofficially, using the Dungeon Siege engine), and to a lesser degree, early action role-playing games like Diablo and Nox. The Dungeon Siege quests are highly linear and involve constant hack and slash battle, similar in some ways to platform and beat 'em up games.
The game uses a display engine that makes the entire experience seamless, with almost no load screens, aside from the initial loader. The interface is completely scripted and allows for many "siegelet" add-ons to modify game play. The party system is automated but efficient with basic formations, resources, and action-response. In addition to being able to recruit non-player characters that function much like the player's own character, it is possible to buy packmules to help carry more items as a member of the group. Players can recruit and disband party members, but must retain at least one party member at all times.
Gas Powered Games released a promotional mod labeled as "bonus pack" for Dungeon Siege. Later, another one was released for Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna expansion.
- Yesterhaven: A multiplayer short story that can only be played online. It does not require a pre-existing character, nor any previous experience with Dungeon Siege. This bonus pack can be downloaded from Gas Powered Games and requires the original Dungeon Siege. The monsters in Yesterhaven are relatively weak, posing a challenge only to beginning characters. The story revolves around a single town that undergoes three "plagues" during the early years of Ehb, featuring new variations of monsters found in original game. The players have to stop three plagues: unnatural winter, undead infestation, and extremely hot weather. In order to do so, three enemies must be defeated: the Snow Queen, the lich archmage, and finally, the Fire King.
The game engine allows content creation and modification through a released toolkit. New content and modifications are called mods or siegelets. There are many mods created by players available for download on the internet, with features ranging from new graphics to completely new character development systems.
A sequel, Dungeon Siege II, was released in 2005. In March 2006, Take-Two Interactive acquired all publishing rights to Dungeon Siege, ending the four-year partnership between Microsoft and Gas Powered Games. An expansion pack followed, named Dungeon Siege II: Broken World. In October 2006, Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony was released for the Sony PlayStation Portable, considered to be the spin-off in the series storyline, most specific in world of the second game. In 2011, Dungeon Siege III was released. The game was developed at Obsidian Entertainment, with Taylor and Gas Powered Games overseeing production, and features a multi-player rather than single-player system.
A movie based on the game, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, was released January 11, 2008. It was directed by Uwe Boll. The sequels, 2010's In the Name of the King 2 and the unreleased In the Name of the King 3: the last mission, lost the Dungeon Siege name after poor reception of the first film.
- Official Dungeon Siege site hosted by Gas Powered Games
- Official Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna site hosted by Gas Powered Games
- Dungeon Siege at MobyGames