How Neverwinter brought science fiction to D&D with Spelljammer

How Neverwinter brought science fiction to D&D with Spelljammer

Neverwinter’The twenty-seventh unit of the Spelljammer, it stands out as one of the most unique units in the game despite the gamut of D&D settings available in the game that range from the hellish realm of Avernus to the cavernous depths of the Underdark. This time around, Neverwinter Stepping into sci-fi territory with the Spelljammer setting, players will travel aboard one of the titular spacefaring Spelljammer ships on a high-stakes mission to stop the star-spanning Xaryxian Empire from destroying countless worlds, including NeverwinterPrivate Toril.

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In an exclusive interview with Game Rant, Neverwinter Executive Producer Brett Norton spoke in detail about the various challenges involved in bringing this unique and little-used setting to a free-to-play MMORPG. He talked about how the team handled the vast scope of Wildspace in terms of level design, as well as how Neverwinter It lays the foundation for future games that may want to incorporate a Spelljammer setting.

Related: Neverwinter developers talk about the experience of working with RA Salvatore

How Neverwinter handles space travel in Spelljammer

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Neverwinter Spelljammer combat screenshot


A clear challenge to take Neverwinter In the vast sea of ​​night is the sheer size of the universe and the number of worlds that can be visited. the Neverwinter Team A took over Mass effect An approach to space exploration, where players drop into landing sites on different planets with smaller, more concentrated environments.

Wildspace is a vast, wonderful space, but video games have to be more specific about the locations we can visit than a board game. We first thought of setting the unit on the Rock of Bral, a massive floating asteroid in Wildspace that serves as the natural center for many tabletop adventures. But the Praal Rock, although a landmark when viewed from the outside, its actual surface resembles the cities and landscapes we have made Neverwinter in the past. There’s nothing bad about Rock of Bral, but if we spent all our time on it, it wouldn’t quite capture the feeling of going out and exploring space. We wanted to see more different environments than just braly rock, so our mapping team came up with the idea of ​​“landing sites” instead.


The landing site system enabled the team to craft many diverse landscapes by hand rather than landscapes NeverwinterPrevious game modules typically included one or two larger free-roam adventure areas, and the level design certainly benefited from this approach. Players may find themselves on a dark, dusty desert world inhabited by ancient beings, and later land on a vibrant jungle world or a sprawling low-gravity asteroid with unsubtle mind flayers.

Neverwinter lays the groundwork for future Spelljammer portrayals

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Another difficulty is that Neverwinter The team took issue with the lack of representation of the Spelljammer setting in other D&D games. The only other game to feature the setting was a 1992 MS-DOS title spelljammer: Realmspace Pirates, Therefore, the team looked to other sources for references.

We faced a similar challenge with our team Menzoberanzan The module, which despite being a common location in the Forgotten Realms IP, has not had much representation in video games (or modern tabletop D&D books!). either way Sorry spelling And Menzoberanzan, We showed Wizards of the Coast some early ideas and concepts on how to translate these settings into a video game, while ensuring their aesthetic and narrative needs were met.

The good news is that the lack of modern “core” video games in those spaces means we get the chance to select some elements for ourselves. We don’t know if future games will use how/what Neverwinter We chose to represent these settings, but we hope that we did a good job and that future developers will find our work useful if they are in the same situation as us.


Neverwinter I encountered a similar situation with the Menzoberranzan module, another environment that had sparse visuals in previous games. Once again, the team had the opportunity to lay the foundation for the future Dungeons and Dragons Any media that may want to use these themes, we hope you will thanks Neverwinterplayers won’t have to wait another 30 years before the next time they can board the Spell Jammer.

NEVERWINTER MMORPG

Neverwinter

From Cryptic Studios comes the D&D-inspired MMORPG Neverwinter, set on the famous continent of Faerun from the Forgotten Realms lore. Neverwinter is a free-to-play game and features all the classic adventures an RPG fan could hope for, from class-based combat and immersive stories to PVP game modes.

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