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Risen 2: Dark Waters 2nd Community Q & A


Risen 2

With Risen 2: Dark Waters set for a Q2 release, Piranha Bytes' Björn Pankratz, the Project Director on the game, was nice enough to set aside some time to answer questions from the RPGamer community. We sent out the call for questions and several active members on our forum answered it.

What are some fun pirate features we can expect to see in this game? For example, sword fights, pirate accessories as equipment, pirate mythology or history in the story?
Björn Pankratz: We considered the subject of pirates for a long time, and finally based the whole game on it. We tried to include everything we associate with pirates in the game, e.g. fighting with cutlasses and pistols, pirate flags, ships, sea monsters, treasures, rum, grog, parrots, coarse language, drunken sailors, and much more.

The Gothic games have a reputation for brutal difficulty. Risen, too, was significantly more difficult than the average mainstream WRPG. Do you have any specific philosophy when it comes to difficulty in games?
BP: As we have always provided an open world, players who can't get past a certain point can usually go somewhere else first and return later, when they are stronger. That way we aim to create a balanced challenge for story players and explorers, but also those who focus on combat. In our opinion, a game only gets too difficult if the player is repeatedly frustrated and doesn't even get a reward for trying out different solutions. However, we do want to include different difficulty levels for players to choose from in Risen 2.

Despite the open world design, dungeons in Risen mostly consisted of linear tunnels, which limited the usefulness of skills like sneaking and other non-combat options. How has this changed in Risen 2?
BP: While Risen 2 does feature many individually designed caves, the story's main focus is definitely above ground. That way we want to avoid players spending too long on their own in a dungeon, like in chapter 4 of Risen, and make sure the story, puzzles, and combat are well-balanced in all the chapters.

After the huge sandbox world from Gothic 3, Risen was a return to the more focused, story-driven design seen in Gothic 1 and 2. Risen 2 appears to be much the same way. Would you ever consider making a game as large and open-ended as Gothic 3 again?
BP: We have always tried to learn from the experiences we made with our past games. We could imagine designing a world with a similar size to that of Gothic 3 again, and we almost did so for Risen 2. We believe that we can now tell a more captivating story by gathering the threads at certain points and adding twists. For that reason, we created an open world, but also implemented many more story elements this time.

How are you handling development of the different versions of Risen 2? We've seen lots of console games with tons of technical issues, especially the PS3 versions, so we're curious how they are being handled.
BP: We are developing the game for PCs but the console versions are very important to us. We took the console versions into consideration from the beginning when we had to make performance and design decisions, and have been working in conjunction with the console development and overseeing that process to insure greater quality.

RPGamer would like to thank Björn Pankratz for taking time out to answer some questions from the RPGamer community. We would also like to thank LegendaryZoltan, ThroneofDravaris, and everyone else who submitted a question for this feature. RPGamers can look forward to checking out Risen 2: Dark Waters this April 2012.

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