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First Dungeon Siege III screens look a bit Square Enix-ey, trailer only slightly softens fears

This isthe first screenshot of Dungeon Siege III, which is the first Dungeon Siege to come to consoles, the first to be published by Square Enix and not Microsoft, and the first to be developed by Obsidian and not Gas Powered Games. That's a lot of firsts! It's also a lot of ugly, if you ask me.

I'll temper my face palm with information from someone who's actually seen the game. Heidi Kempstook a look for usrecently, and wrote of the graphics:

"Perhaps the most striking new feature was the one that showcased the game’s stunning graphics. You’ll be able to survey your surroundings more effectively by using vistas – vantage points in areas that let you see far out into the distance, giving a better glimpse of the areas and goals that lie in wait."

Having not seen the game in motion, like Heidi,all I have as reference is this screenshot, and let me tell you: ICK! I like Obsidian, and I'm willing to put some faith in Square Enix's ability to oversee its first Western RPG, but this mess of skeletal polygons looks awfully JRPG to me, and the advancing hero looks like a character out of KOEI's Dynasty Warriors (right).

For reference, here's a screen from Dungeon Siege II. Aside from looking dated as hell,it probably reminds you of World of Warcraft orDiablo. It's got a Western fantasy feel,and while there's atouch ofEastern influence, it's no Final Fantasy:

That's what Dungeon Siege looks like! Fine, so maybemy reaction is influenced by nostalgia and a general fear of change, but it also has to dowith how impressed I was at the visualsofinXile and Bethesda's Unreal-basedHunted: The Demon's Forge, whichI'd have expected Dungeon Siege III to look more like.

But wait! We received one more Dungeon Siege III screen today:

I like this one. It's a little Tim Burton, a little Alien, a little... Piranha 3D.But Ican't help but be reminded of Square Enix again, if only because ofthe publisher'slove of glowing-eyed enemies. But now I'm just being a nitpicky asshole.

I'm making a lot of assumptions. Screensrarely do a game justice, andI have no concrete indication of how much creative control Square Enix has taken.Plus, the knowledge that Chris Taylor, the creator of Dungeon Siege, is advising the team at Obsidian soothes some of my concerns, though he's likelyalso very busy working on Chris Taylor’s Kings and Castles. His name's in it and all.

I'm still excited to see what Square Enix and Obsidian do with Dungeon Siege. Just, please, send us some better screenshots.These don't look anything like thegreat pieces of concept artwe saw earlier.

UPDATE:Just in time to potentially invalidate all my bitching, the game's first trailer showed up. It's a pretty uninformative teaser, but it does look nice. Getting... slightly... less... skeptical...

Jul 27, 2010

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer