We haven't heard much about Neverwinter since learning about its delay in August, so it's kind of a nice change of pace to read through this new Q&A with lead producer Andy Velasquez over on MMORPG.com. In it, we learn more about the game's scope and how the team has benefited from Perfect World's decision to make it free-to-play:
MMORPG.com: What would you say to classic old school D&D players about the game?
Andy Velasquez: I'd tell them that they should be getting excited!
Many of the Neverwinter team have been long time D&D players or come directly from the Pen and Paper industry, so the D&D roots are being well cared for.
We also work very closely with Wizards of the Coast on everything we do; we have direct lines of communication with them for our art, design and marketing departments and we speak with them on a weekly basis. There has been a ton of crosspollination between our game and the other Neverwinter products put out by WoTC. A ton of effort is also being made to make sure that we produce an authentic D&D experience.
MMORPG.com: Why has the team decided to take Neverwinter from a CORPG format to a true MMO? And what does it ultimately mean for the game and The Foundry content and all of that? Is anything sacrificed?
Andy Velasquez: 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. We're going to deliver what could be the first AAA Western-developed action RPG MMO. No after-the-fact transitions. We're building it right from the ground up.
That being said, there is no sacrifice. Everything we had planned to do for the Foundry is going in. More than we ever had planned for the game is going in. If anything, focusing on a free-to-play experience pre-launch allows us to do more with the game and The Foundry than we had previously planned, as we have more time to make more environment kits, more monsters, more traps, more... everything.