Cryptic's delayed Neverwinter is being changed from an online co-op RPG to a full-on free-to-play MMO.
A year ago, Cryptic's Jack Emmert described Neverwinter as "a co-op Dragon Age with a touch of Oblivion." But while instanced dungeons, social hubs and other MMO-like features were on the menu, he made a point of noting that it would not in fact be an MMO. "I want people going in knowing that we're doing things differently to an MMO," he said.
But the situation got a little sticky back in May of this year when Atari offloaded Cryptic and Neverwinter to Chinese MMO company Perfect World. A few months later, the game was delayed, as Perfect World said it wanted to make the game "a more immersive experience."
And what that means, it turns out, is a transition to a full-blown free-to-play MMO with a focus on action. The game will apparently be somewhat similar to Vindictus, which offers session-based gameplay "and where pattern recognition and reflexes are the keys to successfully murdering hordes of monsters." Every content pack for the game will be free but some consumables and vanity items will come with a price tag attached.
Because of all the changes, Neverwinter now isn't expected to be out until the end of 2012. Hope it works out to be worth the wait.