Neverwinter Nights 2: Kal’s Korner: The DLA-Atari Issue

The drama in the eight page (and now locked) forum discussion (which continues here) at Bioware is fascinating. It seems that this community thrives on controversy and angst to some degree. What was it last week? Oh right…the lack of a DM client. This week, we find ourselves faced with the expected end of support for Neverwinter Nights 1.

But hear me before igniting the righteous fires of indignation:

DLA has arguably produced some of the best custom content for NWN 1 to date and I am sorry that they were treated so harshly. I am terribly disappointed in the obviously ham-fisted way Atari handled the situation. Yet,as others have said on the official forums, DLA had a business relationship with Bioware to produce custom content. Business is business, a cold cruel fact in today’s world, even when it is a poorly run one (such as Atari). There was no guarantee that it was going to go the way everyone wanted it to go.

Sorry to say, but long before this happened, before we, the public, became aware of it, the days of infinite support of NWN 1 were coming to a close. It’s rare that -any- game is supported for as long as NWN 1 has been. Yet all good things must come to an end and, while it was an ugly one, the end of the support was not unexpected though all of us wish it could have waited until all planned products had been released. Now the live team will of necessity move on to other projects that are more financially salient to Bioware and leave “updating” and added content to Obsidian and to the module/CC fans for NWN 2.

But has anything truly changed? Not in my mind, though many are claiming that this is a terrible decision by Atari (very true) and that they will not purchase NWN 2 simply to spit in Atari’s financial eye.

I couldn’t disagree more. This will not impact my decision to purchase NWN 2 on the day of release in any way, shape or form. Hating what was done to DLA/CODI by Atari makes me all the more resolved to attempt to ensure that the same doesn’t happen to Obsidian. Those guys have worked long and hard on a game that they appear to be very proud of and they shall have my dollars even if it means Atari gets a portion of it or even every red cent.

I suppose it’s a matter of principal: I have a lot of respect for what the Obsidian people have done. Even if they do not see a single dime, I will buy it if for no other reason than to see their development “stock” go up to allow them to continue developing AAA level games. I plan to do the same for DLA if they opt to allow donations when they release Wyvern Crown of Cormyr. I won’t do it because they’re going to become rich from paltry sums like mine but because it’s my small way of recognizing their hard work and helping them gain the reputation they so richly deserve.

It’s my feeling that it’s in everyone’s best interests to make sure that Atari, or at least Obsidian, remains financially viable so that we can continue to see patches and add-ons, not to mention expansions, for NWN 2.

***edited information: After receiving an email from Steel_Wind, I have corrected erroneous information in italic above. Here is what he stated:

Not true. We had no direct contractual relationship with Atari. If we had, you can be certain that as *surely as day follows night*, they’d be served a steaming bowl of litigation right now for breach of contract and they’d be spending more money on lawyers than they ever dreamed a community mod team could force them to spend.

We are prepared to live by the contracts we entered in to. The problem is when another party seeks to circumvent those contracts in bad faith. Which is precisely what has been done in this circumstance.

The information is appreciated and ammended.***

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