Last month, we reported that Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment were changing gears to render the upcoming D&D Neverwinter game more of an MMO than originally planned, complete with action combat and a cash shop to dispense vanity items and perks. Today, MMORPG.com published an interview with Neverwinter Lead Producer Andy Velasquez, in which he notes that the original title was “almost ready to ship,” but the revision is nevertheless for the best:
The change from CORPG to a full action RPG F2P MMO is a change that just made sense for us. Perfect World wanted to go big. Expand everything. Do more. Do better. Take your time. Really blow it out. Pushing into 2012 allows us to make these changes. Transitioning into a full-featured action RPG, free-to-play MMO allows us to reach a whole new audience of people. Never underestimate barriers to entry. With a free client, anyone can play. Try it. Where’s the harm? It’s better for the game, better for us, better for D&D and infinitely better for fans and gamers. With Neverwinter, we’re going to prove that F2P does not describe a type of gameplay — it only describes the fundamentals of a business model.
Almost ready to ship’ has a different meaning for Cryptic than most of us. Looks like PW has been good for them though, forcing them to take it further – something both CO and STO desperately needed at launch.
Velasquez also discusses user-generated content and the challenges of working with a famous IP. “A ton of effort is also being made to make sure that we produce an authentic D&D experience,” he says. Head over to MMORPG.com for the full interview.