Getting medieval with Gothic 3

After plunging a sword deep into Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's chest this summer, avid adventurers might be looking for their next fantasy journey. Gothic 3 might be that journey, and we've got a few new screens to help you decide.

Believe it or not, Oblivion's makers of liked the intelligence of the NPCs from the earlier Gothicgames so much that they imitated much of its intricate AI. But unlike Oblivion's signature "radiant AI," when an event in Gothic 3 is about to happen, it goes down with or without you. For example, if a group amasses to storm a castle and asks you to join along, opting out means that you'll find a smoking ruin weeks laterinstead of a patiently awaiting throng of attackers. Along your journey, you'll find masters to train you in the use of pole arms, axes and even the use of two swords at once.

Gothic 3 trades the sheer visual brilliance of Oblivion for many more onscreen characters at once. The vast number of people present in the world promises to make cities seem more like, cities - instead of the college-town-during-summer-vacation feel of similar role-playing games.

We'll have an updated hands-on that will fill you in on the combat next month. Until then we've got a few new screenshots to whet your appetite. Gothic 3 ships this fall.

August 18, 2006