Gothic - All News
Friday - July 08, 2016
Gothic - Retrospective @RPS
RockPaperShotgun looks back at Gothic and finds that in many ways it is unparalled today.
The game itself is set within a microsociety built entirely on the situation its inhabitants find themselves in. A succinct introduction describes a war between humans and orcs, because of course it does. But instead of the war itself, Gothic is about some of its consequences. The humans need weapons, so seal off a prison mine behind a one-way magical barrier, and begin shoving convicts in. The idiot mages get their sums wrong and trap themselves too, and more poetically, the prisoners revolt and take over, and rationally extract demands from the King in return for his precious ore. The result is a sensible arrangement in which the prisoners continue to mine and export in exchange for their choice of goods from the outside world.
Even mentioning that here's where the player comes in feels like an afterthought. You're a convict booted across the barrier who happens to become relevant by chance. You're no Chosen One, merely The One Who Happened To Be Standing There.
All this setup demonstrates an ongoing thoughtfulness that's key to Gothic's appeal. After the revolt, the prisoners split into three camps - one honouring the agreement with the King, the others working on separate escape plans. It'd be easy to set these camps up as novelty playgrounds, extreme poles of Good, Bad, and Stupid Wizard Hat, but Piranha Bytes were smarter. The Old Camp devotes everything to maintaining ore exports, and protecting the resulting imports from the rebellious New Camp, whose theft and raids supplement their rice crops. Meanwhile, the third Sect camp pray to a dormant god in hope of liberation, and trade off the excess of their holy drug, along with plants and tinctures.
The camps feel not like interchangeable markers to swap loot for new tasks, but like societies. Each has a reason to exist, a means of providing for itself, a social order, and a long term goal. They're visually and culturally distinct despite the limitations of geography, but the distinctions aren't exaggerated. The New Camp are the nasty faction on paper, but in practice just want independence from the King and his toadies, and only cause as much trouble as is needed to keep their escape plan in motion. Given the opportunity, they wouldn't wipe out or even wage war on the others because, well, needlessly murdering dozens of people crosses a lot of lines, y'know? Rivalry doesn't have to mean total destruction. Besides, the other camps provide useful goods.
It'd be easy to depict an overthrown penal colony as a hellhole full of bloodthirsty maniacs, but the prevailing attitude is that everyone's stuck there together. The communities and their inhabitants, both en masse and individually, act in ways that make sense given their circumstances.
In a word, Gothic is sensible.
There are few saints or pointlessly evil monsters. More common is pragmatic robbery or limited kindness - more people will help you out a little and few will screw you over for the hell of it. Think about it: if you were trapped in a village and went round stabbing people for larks, how long would the rest of your peers put up with you? Fights with humans are seldom unprompted, and even less commonly lethal - losing leaves you prone while the winner rifles through your pockets, or you theirs. Most NPCs won't hold a grudge afterwards, and accept loss with admirable grace. You're free to do likewise, although I can never resist the temptation to bully and rob a particular pair of miners every time I pass by. Some have friends who'll enact swift reprisals, but there are many opportunities to brawl, and some situations require a beating to get your point across. I lost my patience with one self-important cultist who tried to foist an odd job onto me before handing over something I wanted, so gave him a solid whack with a hammer and took it instead.
It's an interesting contrast to most games, where casual murder is the norm, and even those with a "pacifist run" tend to hand wring or fall over themselves admiring us for the enormously noble act of not massacring people. In Gothic, fights are fights, not murder-offs, and once someone's beaten, the matter is considered settled. It takes a deliberate, conscious decision to kill, and doing so triggers an unequivocal animation where you carefully crouch astride a helpless person and slay them. Even then, you're not irrevocably changed from NOT_MURDERER to MURDERER status, and not everyone will care, but it's remarkable how your perceptions and behaviour change when killing a nameless mook has social consequences. Even the hateful Rice Lord left a perennial stain on my conscience when I snuck past his goons and mercilessly skewered him in his sleep. Seeing peasants change from cheering on your fight to backing off in horror isn't the power trip it might sound like.
Wednesday - June 08, 2016
Gothic - Don't Expect a Sequel/Remake Soon
@GamePressure they report on comments made by Piranha Bytes' Björn Pankratz. The studio has been considering a remake of the original games but doesn't have the manpower to do them.
We visited Piranha Bytes in Essen in order to play Elex, the upcoming RPG from the creators of Gothic and Risen series. A hands-on preview will be available soon. We also used that opportunity to ask about the next installment in the Gothic franchise or at least a remake of the original game. We brought up the question when talking to Björn Pankratz, game designer who has been working at Piranha Bytes from the very beginning.loading...
Gamepressure: What's the status of the Gothic franchise license right?
Björn Pankratz: The status is that we have the right to make another one. We have the rights of Gothic, but we don't do it yet, because we [don't] want to disappoint our fans. The expectations are very, very high. You ask five fans and you get ten opinions about what is the core thing that makes Gothic so special for them. And it's very difficult for us to see how this Gothic has to look like or to be, or the gameplay has to be, because you can't do the same thing the second time and bring it out and say: "That's the hot stuff now, play it". Many people would say "It's the same. I have the feeling I have played it before". We have to put in something completely new to make it work nowadays. We didn't have a vision yet to complete this mission. It was too weird and difficult to get a clear vision of what the next Gothic part could be. There are many opinions out there and we have many opinions in here, but not that thing, as we said, that is really good and we would make it and believe in that. That's the problem. In this one, Elex, we believe, because it's a complete restart, with a complete new setting. Never before have we made such a complex and huge world with very different kinds of weapon styles and stuff like that, and that's the thing we want to make now. I think that's the reason why it will be a good game in the end.
Gamepressure: What about doing remakes of Gothic? Is it possible on the licensing side and is there any point in making a remake?
Björn Pankratz: We often thought about that, but it has to be its own project and we are only 30 people and that's difficult.
Gamepressure: So to remake Gothic you would have to basically do everything from scratch, right?
Björn Pankratz: Yeah, because of the engine.
Monday - October 12, 2015
Gothic - Retrospective Review @ theEscapist
Marshall Lemon (theEscapist) looks back at the beginning of the Gothic series:
Gothic - You Are Not Special
Dark fantasy RPGs are doing pretty well these days, thanks to games like Dragon Age, Dark Souls, and The Witcher 3. But back in 2001, it was Gothic sitting on the dark fantasy throne. This game featured a bleak yet complex interactive world, a full day-night cycle, open-ended gameplay, and many other traits that inspired future developers. And while it all holds up remarkably well, there's one aspect Gothic excels at - roleplaying a character nobody expects will become the hero of the story.
Gothic takes place in a dark fantasy world where a savage human-orc war devastated the countryside. To turn the tide, the human king orders a prison colony over a mine, where every criminal will be forced to dig up a magical ore. He even orders twelve powerful magicians to erect a protective dome over the colony - but the spell backfires. The dome grows so large that it covers the surrounding valley, trapping prisoners, guards, and magicians inside. What's more, it instigates a revolution that leaves the guards dead, and the criminals in complete control of the colony.
Now the king is at an impasse. While anything can enter the dome, nothing living can leave without being destroyed. So he forges a trade agreement with the colony, exchanging goods for ore mined by the prisoners. Left to their own devices, the prisoners organize into three groups. The Old Camp is the most powerful, ruling over the colony while maintaining the status quo. The New Camp wants to escape by securing enough ore to cast a powerful spell. Finally, the religious Brotherhood worships a god called "the Sleeper", which it believes will awaken and free them from bondage.
So where does the hero fit into this? Is he a veteran of the war effort? A humble warrior with dreams of setting right the world? None of the above - he's just criminal making his way to the dome. Nobody's interested in your past, and even NPCs don't want to learn your name. It's purely by chance that someone official makes a tantalizing offer: Deliver a letter to a magician in the Old Camp, and you can name your reward.
Gothic was clearly a precursor to dark fantasy, open-world RPGs like The Witcher, right down to putting strange magic symbols on the box art. You're free to explore the game world, join various factions, and accept quests from morally questionable individuals. The open environment is smaller than The Witcher 3 or Skyrim, but well-designed, packing an impressive range of encounters and secrets into its space. Even today, the interactive gameplay feels highly robust - you can hunt animals with unique behaviors, cook meat to regain health, follow NPC work schedules across the day/night cycle, and much more.
Gothic was a true gem in its time, merging survival mechanics, open-world exploration, and roleplaying into something greater than the sum of its parts. The fact that it's still compelling over a decade later, despite its high difficulty, is a testament to Piranha Bytes design. It also leaves me excited to see what the sequel improved upon... although I suspect I should recover from these initial wounds before diving in again.
Monday - January 23, 2012
Gothic - Matt Chat
The latest Matt Chat video sees Matt Barton tackling Gothic:
It's Gothic time! Yes, finally, after countless requests, Matt Chat covers the 2001 German CRPG Gothic. Of course, this game launched a trilogy, and apparently Risen is keeping the lineage alive. Lots of fun stuff in this game, and some pioneering stuff like the ability to skin animals (you can even get their teeth and claws!), cook food (grilled chicken!), and much more. Plagued by one of the slowest starts in any CRPG, though, it hasn't attracted the attention that it really deserves. If you can get through the first 3-4 hours of it, you'll be hooked. Just don't blow all your ore at the swamp weed stand!
Monday - October 19, 2009
Gothic - Unofficial Patch v.0.9.2 Beta
World of Gothic announces the Ironworks community patch for the original Gothic has been bumped to v0.9.2. Remember that this is an open beta and not a final release; read about it in this thread at WoG.
Wednesday - September 09, 2009
Gothic - Unofficial Patch v0.9.1 Beta
As indicated some time back, the Ironkeep Studios mod team has created an Unofficial Patch for Gothic and released v0.9.1 as a public beta for testing and feedback. Head over to World of Gothic for the details.
Wednesday - June 10, 2009
Gothic - Community Patch Input
Remember the unofficial/community patch for Gothic II from Ironkeep Studios we posted about a couple of weeks back? Kostaz writes Ironkeep is looking to work on a patch for Gothic (I) and is asking for input:
So, we want to hear from you guys. What bugs, if any, have bothered you when playing Gothic 1? This is where you can let us know about it. Stuff to include might be AI/Pathfinding issues, rendering/graphics issues, script or code errors, errors/inconsistencies in the dialogue/texts etc. If you're having a problem, we'd like to hear about it. Even dialogue/text errors are acceptable.
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
Gothic - The Film
You may recall some time ago a fan project (with help from Piranha Bytes) that made a (German) feature-length movie of Gothic by compiling in-game movie clips and game dialogue to tell the entire plot. World of Gothic has news of an English version that has been released - head over for the details and links.
Saturday - September 23, 2006
Gothic: Movie and Texture patch released
Freddy has released a special Texture Patch for Gothic 1. The patch replaces all textures from Gothic 1 with better high resolution textures from Gothic 2 and several custom-made textures. The patch has version 0.8 (a beta) because a few textures aren't final yet, but it allows you to enjoy the improved Gothic 1 looks before Gothic 3 is released.
The world patch that can be found on the same download page fixes several bugs from the original game, like the disappearing water near the swamp camp.
TMT Productions finished their Gothic 1 fan movie. The two hours long movie tells the complete story of Gothic 1 and was made with the help of Piranha Bytes, who made several new spoken dialogs for them. The movie can be downloaded in several resolutions.