Arcania: Gothic 4
|Arcania: Gothic 4|
Black Forest Games
(PS3 & X360)
|Producer(s)||BVT Games Fund III|
|Release||Microsoft Windows & Xbox 360
Arcania: Gothic 4 is a spin-off installment set in the Gothic series, and the first one developed by a company other than Piranha Bytes; the game was developed by Spellbound. The first teaser trailer revealed that Arcania was scheduled to be released in Winter 2009, but JoWooD Entertainment subsequently pushed back the release to 2010.
The game was released on October 12, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 version was scheduled for release in the first half of 2011, but was never released. In May 2013, Nordic Games released ArcaniA and its expansion, Arcania: Fall of Setarrif, as Arcania: The Complete Tale for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
In September 2014, Nordic Games dropped Gothic 4 from the game's title, with no statement being made as to why this action has been done.
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In comparison to the predecessors the game mechanic was simplified, for instance there are only three spells available (but upgradable). Also, the character can only interact with "named" characters, those who have a name. There is no sleeping mechanic so the player can't sleep for a chosen period of time like in previous parts of the game. The player is able to wield any weapon as they have no requirements for statistics. There are no teachers within the game like in previous parts and all skills can be learnt by using the skill tree.
War covers over the Southern Islands like a blood-drenched shroud and finally war reaches the idyllic isle of Feshyr in the Southern Seas. The protagonist of Arcania: Gothic 4 returns from an adventure to find his home and village torched and looted. The aggressors’ ships - with an Eagle displayed on their billowing sails - escape over the horizon.
Seeking revenge, the hero leaves the destroyed village behind and soon realizes that this cowardly attack did not just happen on a corrupt king's whim. An evil power lies waiting at the threshold of this world, and our hero will need to face this nameless evil. Yet the hero is not alone - his fate is linked to that of a beautiful, mysterious lady as well as a powerful artifact from the long-forgotten distant past.
The start of the development was officially announced on August 23, 2007, along with the name of the new developer. The project was originally entitled Gothic 4: Genesis; the name change to Gothic 4: Arcania was announced in 2008. At the Games Convention in 2008, JoWooD Entertainment announced another name for the game - "Arcania: A Gothic Tale". The name change serves two purposes. First, it hints at a world rich in magic and fantasy. Second, and completely from a marketing perspective, it helps give the Gothic franchise a fresh start in North America, where it has failed to gain significant popularity. During a press conference of the Polish distributor CD Projekt, the games to be published by the company were presented, including Arcania. The title of the game was stated as Arcania: Gothic 4. A Polish fan-site asked the community manager Reinhard Pollice, known as Megalomaniac, regarding that issue and he confirmed the change of the name. On 1 April JoWooD marketing manager Clemens Schneidhofer confirmed the new name to GamersGlobal.de: "I can confirm that! Because the date of the release is already defined (more details soon in a press release), we decided to leave the working title "Arcania – A Gothic Tale" behind and to announce the final name "Arcania - Gothic 4". This change is available for all countries (EU & US)."
As announced at the CD Projekt Conference 2010, Spellbound Entertainment is developing the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows versions, while later, another studio will port the game on the PlayStation 3 system. Later news confirmed that the PlayStation 3 version has been delayed until 2011, while the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows release remained unchanged. At the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig, JoWooD Entertainment presented Arcania behind closed doors.
JoWooD and Spellbound Entertainment announced a cooperation with Trinigy, a provider of 3D game engine technology. In the scope of a multi-platform license agreement, Spellbound is developing Arcania: Gothic 4 utilizing Trinigy’s Vision Engine 7, with certain features from the newly released Vision Engine 8.
In 2009, JoWooD Entertainment released the official website for Arcania: Gothic 4, revealing new information, screenshots and artworks. In August 2009 JoWooD Entertainment announced that Arcania: Gothic 4 will be delayed until 2010, giving Spellbound more time to polish the game.
JoWooD Entertainment planned to make Arcania an AAA title - the most successful title from the Gothic series, and one of the best RPGs of 2010. In September 2009 the Gothic Community sent a letter to JoWooD Entertainment, complaining about the lack of support and information regarding Arcania: Gothic 4.
In March 2010, Dr. Albert Seidl, JoWooD's former CEO, revealed that Arcania will be released in the autumn of 2010. In June 2010, Franz Rossler, JoWooD's CEO confirmed via interview that Arcania's release date has been scheduled for October 12, 2010. A demo for the game was released on September 24, 2010.
Arcania was first presented to the general public in August at Gamescom in Köln, Germany. The short playable part featured the very beginning of the game.
The game was released on October 12, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 version was released in quarter 4 of 2011. JoWooD announced on October 13, 2010 via its CEO, Franz Rossler, that Arcania will receive several addons in 2011.
A patch for the game was released on November 23, 2010 for the PC platform. The update slightly alters specific gameplay dynamics, increases the overall performance and gets rid of crashes.
On December 9, 2010, JoWooD announced that they would release Arcania: Fall of Setarrif in 2011 - the first addon of several planned add-ons for Arcania. Besides several hours of gameplay, new monsters locations and quests, the add-on introduced a new feature - the possibility to play as known characters from the Gothic series. In November 2012, Nordic Games announced that Arcania: Gothic 4 and its expansion, Arcania: Fall of Setarrif would be available on May 31, 2013 as Arcania: The Complete Tale for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
In October 2011 Fall of Setarrif was finally released for the PC after a long delay and offers four to eight hours additional gameplay. The PlayStation 3 version was released in May 2013 under the title Arcania - The Complete Tale, including the Arcania - Fall of Setarrif expansion.
Initial reviews of Arcania have been mixed or average, with a Metacritic average of 63 (based on 25 critics) for the PC version. While the game was praised for its graphics and production values, it was criticized heavily for doing away with many elements of previous Gothic installments in order to make the game friendlier to casual players and failing to meet expectations of the series' fans.
IGN gave the game an overall rating of 7.5 complimenting the game's great graphics as well as the game's " loot-heavy dungeon crawling experience that doesn't tax your skills" as well as the way the game allows for the player to play leisurely and enjoy the world.
According to an interview with JoWooD's former CEO, Dr. Albert Seidl, it seems that a sequel was once planned. As of August 2011, the JoWooD brand was acquired by Nordic Games, which expressed their agreement to revive key series of the company such as The Guild, SpellForce, Arcania and more.
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