In a surprise move, THQ Nordic released a playable teaser today for a Gothic remake, in order to survey community interest. The demo will be free to all Steam community members who own a Piranha Bytes game, which includes the original Gothic series, as well as the Risen series or ELEX. Development is helmed by THQ Nordic Barcelona, which will make the remake their first project as a studio. THQ Nordic was quick to emphasize that Piranha Bytes, a subsidiary, is not working on the remake, but their next project will be revealed in 2020.
The Gothic remake prototype is being created in Unreal Engine 4, and aims to overhaul combat, among other fixes. The remake is not a guaranteed thing, with the prototype sure to evolve in the months ahead. Not only that, but THQ Nordic Barcelona is only promising full production if the feedback is positive, for what that's worth. If you're a longtime Piranha Bytes fan, you can check out the Gothic playable teaser on Steam now.
As far as the 2001 release of Gothic is concerned, it was a landmark AA RPG, kicking off developer Piranha Bytes' career. Featuring a rich, immersive world with many different factions and characters to investigate, it pushed the boundaries of what was seen in RPGs at the time. Set during humanity's war against orcs, a shortsighted move by a king traps miners, prisoners and vicious wildlife alike inside a magic barrier. Playing as an anonymous prisoner, you're tasked with not only surviving in the harsh region, known as The Colony, but also finding a solution to the king's folly that trapped you there in the first place.
The two-hour teaser cover's the player's first entry into the mines of The Colony, offering a slice of combat as well as exploration. There's also a glimpse at the remade characters, as well as the crafting system. Considering the limited scope of the teaser, it's unlikely that a look at the magic system is included. Still, two hours is more than enough to judge the early prototype, or so THQ Nordic hopes. You can view a graphical comparison of the 2001 original and the prototype below:
Understandably, early community reception to the playable teaser has been mixed. Remaking a well-loved classic RPG is no easy task, especially when undertaken by a new studio. While early Steam reviews have praised the improved combat and graphics, there's criticism of the early portrayal of the main character, the dialogue system, as well as The Colony itself. As seen in the trailer above, there's charm to be found in the grim lighting of the original as well as the finer details of the remake. Hopefully, THQ Nordic Barcelona is able to continue their work on the prototype, but if not, the original is certainly worth checking out. If you own any of the Piranha Bytes catalogue, you can download the Gothic playable teaser for free now.
What do you think of this early look at a Gothic remake? Are there any other games in the THQ Nordic catalogue you'd like to see get a similar treatment? Let us know in the comments below!