Atari has announced Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, a new expansion that will bring old-school Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale flavor to the Neverwinter Nights franchise.
Set on the Sword Coast, Storm of Zehir takes place amidst the post-war confusion following the defeat of the King of Shadows. Trade syndicates have sprung up throughout the region to take advantage of the situation, and players can choose to ally with a legitimate trading group or throw in their lot with a cutthroat black market. But even as they build their wealth and status in the Forgotten Realms, a new power moves behind the scenes to exert their own control on the future of Faerun: The Yuan-Ti.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir hearkens back to the days of the Infinity Engine by letting gamers assemble a full party of characters customized to their particular tastes, who can then freely roam the Sword Coast and the lands of the Chultan Peninsula via the new Overland Map. Spot and Survival skills will gain new importance as parties work to avoid ambushes while discovering hidden locations and even lost artifacts. Party gameplay options have been increased, featuring a new "teamwork benefit" system and party feats, while the new trading system lets gamer establish a massive trading empire that can impact the entire economy of Faerun.
The new campaign will add roughly 15 hours of gameplay across the Chultan Peninsula and Sword Coast, ranging from the familiar settings of Neverwinter and Crossroads Keep to the exotic nation of Samarach. New classes, spells, creatures and playable races will feature prominently, while multiplayer and modding abilities have also been increased to take advantage of the expansion's new enhancements.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, which previously developed Knights of the Old Republic II as well as Neverwinter Nights 2 itself and the first expansion, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. The game is currently slated for worldwide released in the final quarter of 2008.