Arcania: Gothic 4 interview


To secure this interview, we needed to slay all manner of beasts with our trusty swords to prove our worth. Well, that is to say, we had to peel 10kg of potatoes for the developer with our potato peelers. They were very vicious potatoes though…

CG: Why release Gothic 4 on consoles?

Andre Beccu: In the past years full scale RPGs became very famous on consoles. We have had plans for bringing the Gothic brand on consoles in the past, but with ArcaniA we’ve finally gone through with it. We are very happy with the results and think console players with little or no experience of PC RPGs will hugely enjoy the unique Gothic experience. Additionally, we see more and more players owning both a PC and a latest-generation console – and we’re giving them the choice of which system to play on. We are now happy to deliver a new Gothic game to their beloved consoles as well.

CG: How have you struck a balance between catering for existing Gothic fans, and those who are new to the series?

Andre Beccu: That was actually the most difficult part of the development! The core game mechanic is still like in the good old Gothic games, but we’ve implemented tons of features that make ArcaniA an even more intricate, detail-rich experience for everybody. The game’s tutorial is turning out to be a great way for new players to step into the rich world of ArcaniA: It will introduce important characters, describe mechanics like crafting, cover the basics of combat, all to give the player a glimpse of the kind of gameplay that awaits them later on! Besides, we’ve implemented optional interface elements which you can switch on or off at any time, as well as different difficulty levels, allowing for more of “the old Gothic” experience.

CG: This is your first game in the series; have you felt pressure from fans, skeptical of how a new developer will handle things?

Andre Beccu: It’s not just the pressure of the fans, it’s also the pressure we place on ourselves! We’re all huge Gothic fans and naturally want this game to be great, the best RPG game ever even. The new developer has done a great job and already convinced the fans that they are worthy of carrying on the gothic series. They’ve helped to evolve the Gothic franchise to “ArcaniA”, and positively contributed to the growth of the genre.

PhotobucketCG: What makes a good RPG… and a bad one?

Andre Beccu: We believe that an RPG needs a strong, compelling story set in a living world to be really great, but it also needs a solid fundament to construct these on, such as a thought-out character development system … and of course a combat system that motivates you and makes you hungry for more fights. These really are the pillars we’ve built the ArcaniA experience on.

Another important difference between good and mediocre games is in its pacing and fun level: It simply needs to be fun all the time. Any gameplay element that players dislike must be carefully tweaked away – much more so today than in the early days of gaming. The typical gamer is no longer just the stereotypical male teenager with his breadbox hooked up to the TV, who doesn’t mind having to search for one quest item for four hours, or having to deal with clunky controls – Gamers nowadays cover a wide range of age groups, and they’re typically very discerning and well-informed, looking for a game that’s easy to pick up and learn, a game that delivers fast-paced action so you can prove your skills, and a captivating story that will keep them playing – and we deliver all of these with ArcaniA!

CG: In what little footage has been seen of the game, fire and especially rain seem to feature prominently. Will these elements have any effect on gameplay or quests?

Andre Beccu: We’ve spent a lot of effort on rain and all the various weather conditions especially to support the atmosphere and dramatic moments of the game. The weather changes over time, quite randomly. At specific moments, we do use weather effects to create truly cinematic experiences. Fire can be used to attack enemies, in the form of magic spells, and it does massive damage to a single foe or, if you cast the area-effect version, to a whole group of them. With our intuitive magic combat system it’s totally up to you!

CG: How will combat work?

Andre Beccu: We’ve made the combat a bit faster and a lot more action-oriented than in previous Gothic games. Based on your combat skill level (which consists of three skill categories and the usual character attributes), you can do a certain number of sword strikes. The challenge here is that you have to do more than just press the attack button. You’ll need to time your button presses to do Combos, which allow you to inflict massive damage, but you’ll also need to watch what the enemy is doing and avoid incoming attacks. There is also a powerful strike that stops enemies from blocking your normal attacks. And that’s just for melee combat! There is also ranged combat using bows and crossbows… and magic users have a whole arsenal of devastation at their fingertips.

CG: Will there be much upgrading, grinding etc?

Andre Beccu: It’s not really about upgrading existing weapons but more about learning to craft new unique weapons with better stats. You will be able to find various recipes for crafting new equipment!

PhotobucketCG: How big is the world map? What options will be open to the player to cross it quickly?

Andre Beccu: The game world of ArcaniA consists of two islands. The main island is huge, about two thirds of the size of the main landmass in Gothic 3. We decided to focus on a more compact and action-oriented world, with intricate details and loving design.

Now some RPG series like to present a mind-bogglingly huge world … only soon you notice that much of it is empty, and the rest is basically all the same, with a small random factor to make each settlement, shop and randomly generated quest almost, but not quite entirely, identical to every other village, shop and “fetch the item” quest in the game.

Gothic veterans know that this kind of size isn’t what Gothic is all about – each quest, each NPC, each settlement is hand-crafted, so we may not have the sprawling world size of many other games, but every area in ArcaniA is relevant or interesting in some way. We want quality, not quantity: Rather than adding vast empty deserts (like Gothic 3 had) or duplicating islands and villages, we decided to focus on a compelling story, action-laden combat and fast-paced excitement, and having to travel a dozen miles to the next relevant location would be detrimental to these goals. We’ve even added a way to travel much more quickly: The character can learn to sprint, and to use teleport stones in key locations which, once activated, offer the chance to jump from one stone to another.

CG: Does Gothic 4 focus on combat, or non-violent activities and quests?

Andre Beccu: Both are true – even if the answer sounds strange! The story is a key element, but so is fighting! Some quests can be solved without fighting, but some cannot. Like in real life, players will have to stand their ground in some situations, even if their hero is more the bookish type and doesn’t even own a sword. We love to put players in unexpected situations and we make sure that players, no matter how combat-oriented their playstyle, have a way to survive these little surprises.

CG: Why should we be looking forward to this game?

Andre Beccu: Because ArcaniA is set in a rich and deep fantasy atmosphere with a unique and involving storyline, the world is open and full of interesting characters. We have fantastic cinematics and strong, unique characters. ArcaniA invites you into a massive universe, full of violence, adventures, friends and foes. The entire world is hand-made and rich in details. Did we already mention that the graphics look awesome? No? They do

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Written by Patrick G


  1. Lost Hope /

    Just as a clarification: “The fans” are everything *but* convinced that SB is worthy to carry on the series. In fact, most fans are shocked by the changes in gameplay that came to light in the recent months.

    Just go to (german) or (english), which is probably the largest Gothic community in the net, and make up your own mind.

  2. your dentist /

    this beccu is such a prick!
    who is he to decide to put an original PC game like gothic onto console?
    it simply wasn’t made for bulky controllers

  3. Nat3ds /

    As a Gothic verteran i’m personally looking forward to this release but will hold judgement until i’v played. Its sounding pretty good and the fact that SB has taken its time with the development can only be a good thing.

  4. zoodiac /

    Ive read plenty comments on forums and dont want to buy or run the game after that

    havent heard a good word on the game from ANY REAL gothic series fan

    I will just play G3 again (or g2 even better :p )

    it seems that this may be the biggest gaming fail in years…

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