It’s the new post Avernum franchise, called Avadon.
He has given the visuals an overhaul. Avadon looks genuinely presentable. As far as gameplay goes there are four classes, multiple endings, skill trees, and the traditional spiderweb style gameworld to explore. The release is scheduled for early 2011.
Looks great, but I want a better, more fleshed out combat system than the tiny incremental changes we have been getting between games.
Thank god he replaced the character portraits anyways.
Rather like the story, he caught my attention with just "As a servant of the Black Fortress, your word is law. " and the rest sounds interesting too. I can’t think of the last time I said that about an RPG story.
I’ve been hearing his games being mentioned every once in a while but looking at the screenshots always made it an immediate turn off for me…especially they look like pure dungeon hack-and-slash games w/ very little story/character development.
The appeal is that they are huge, complex, nonlinear CRPGs chock full of exploration and gameplay.
Avernum 2 had some great story, actually. Not in the sense of character development, but in the sense of what you uncover about the world around you and its background. Also in the way big events and locations are delayed and built up to enhance your anticipation.
It’s a different kind of storytelling. Like what you’d see in a great CRPG from the 80s. It’s not about a lot of dialogue cutscenes… more about the scope of the world you are exploring. His design is a direct descendant from games like Ultima V or Phantasie or The Magic Candle.
It’s more world exploration than scripted storyline, your characters are almost entirely defined by how you choose to play them, and there’s not a lot of dialogue, but even the relatively high hack-factor Avernum games are not pure story lite dungeon crawls by any means. There’s tons of descriptive text and worldbuilding and puzzles and stuff. The writing is actually one of the key selling points for me.
He did, with Nethergate (well, okay, Nethergate is still fantasy, but it’s not the sort of fantasy involved in most CRPGs). He reports that that game sold far more poorly than the Exile games, and concluded, in essence, that his audience wants fantasy and he can’t afford to risk losing customers by getting too experimental.