Neverwinter Nights 2 Pre-E3 Previews

Both GameSpot and GameSpy have brought us new previews of Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2, based on what they saw at Atari's pre-E3 press event. An excerpt from GameSpot's article:
We watched a part of the very beginning of the game in action, which will act as a lenient tutorial area for new players. Your character begins his or her career in a small, firelit hovel that shows the game's impressive animated lighting and shadows, then leaves through the door to your character's home village. The village is apparently holding some kind of festival with numerous activities that lead into basic quests, and eventually, to your meeting your first potential companion. Unlike previous Neverwinter Nights products, the sequel will let you build out a bona fide adventuring party with up to four characters (from the single-player game's pool of about 10 recruitable characters). While you'll be able to control only one character at a time (and set general behaviors for your other companions, like in previous Neverwinter producers), you can switch direct control of your active character to and from any character in your party whenever you wish. Obsidian president Fearghus Urquhart suggests that this party system is "a hybrid between Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate II," since you can pause and issue individual orders to each character while paused as often as you wish in the single-player game.

And an excerpt from GameSpy's article:
Finally, Urquhart turned the demonstration over to another Obsidian staffer in response to a question about the monsters in the game. He then fired up the new Neverwinter Tool Kit and flipped through the new monster viewer. The tool set has come a long way since we saw it last. In November of 2005, the tool set bore a striking resemblance to Photoshop or any other standard office application. Several months down the line, the resemblance is even more startling. The Neverwinter Tool Set is now a professional looking menu-and-wizard driven utility that will allow mod makers easy access to multiple windows and information streams in creating new modules for the game. There's a powerful game viewer window that graphically represents everything from AI pathing movement to event triggers and loot tables.