Dungeon Siege III E3 Preview

Dungeon Siege III is the latest in Gas Powered Games’ successful franchise, however, this time is having development handled by Obsidian Entertainment. Publisher Square Enix is taking this on as one of their first western RPGs to be published – going as far as to buy the IP from Gas Powered Games.

Obsidian has one focus for Dungeon Siege III and that’s keeping it fun and keeping it multiplayer. It takes place in a world named Eve founded by the 10th Legion. Were the Legion to disappear, Eve would fall into a world of darkness. The players goal is to save Eve. I’m not sure particularly how, as we didn’t talk much about story but more about the actual gameplay mechanics.

Dungeon Siege III is running off Obsidian’s new Onyx engine, developed specifically for the game but likely to be utilized in future titles. It’s not that Obsidian wasn’t keen of other engines such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine but they wanted to create an engine all their own that they’d know the ins and outs of.

Dungeon Siege III is an action role-playing game. That means two things: dungeons and loot. There are plenty of chests and enemy drops players can pick up and hustle on the market. What Obsidian did with loot though is they’ve added an easy way of knowing whether or not you should pick up or leave it. A problem we see in a lot of action RPGs is that players have to pick up the item and bring it to the market to see how much it’s worth. That’s bad, as its a lot to go through for one of the genre’s main specialties. With Dungeon Siege III, players can just walk over the item, and it’s color status and value will appear nicely on screen, saving time and effort. As for how much you can carry, Obsidian said that there will be a cap, but they haven’t really set anything down yet.

It’s a big world you’ll be traversing in Dungeon Siege III. Obsidian has done a good job at providing players a breadcrumb-style navigation system that guides them directly to their destination as simply as possible. They’ve crafted beautiful vistas that can be seen inside and outside of caverns. Additionally, the game’s using a dynamic lighting system that makes it look simply beautiful. I wasn’t the only one. GamingBits.com’s Alexis M, who was in the screening room with me, thought the same thing.

Of course, you’re probably wondering: Dungeon Siege was originally developed by Gas Powered Games, so now that Obsidian’s handling the third, what special touch are they throwing in? Conversations. They’re focused on adding an actual story to the game. Players can choose between answers in conversations that will effect the overall outcome of the game. Obsidian does promise though that there won’t be conversations every five seconds and that they’ll only occur when important. They don’t want to stray players too far from the action RPG that the game really is. To help aid the game’s story in this fashion, the players will walk and talk, interacting and learning the story while fighting and playing.

One of the game’s biggest components is multiplayer. We saw a demo of local co-op where additional players can literally jump-in and jump-out anytime they’d like. When the player’s co-op partner dies, they may continue playing regardless. It has no affect. Players can use co-op from the very beginning of the game, if they’d like. Obsidian wouldn’t confirm whether or not there was online multiplayer, but we did notice a “Find Game” option on the game’s main menu.

On the field, players can choose between one of two stances: the one-handed stance or the two-handed stance. Of course, you can switch between these two at any time. The one-handed stance is for quicker, faster attacks while the two-handed stance will help strike multiple enemies. Obsidian’s said that there is strategy involved in the game’s combat system, as different button combinations perform different sets of moves. Button mashing will not be an option.

As far as customization goes, players use a custom-created character who fights in a class they choose. Obsidian expressed “I think we’ve really done it this time” regarding character customization. Each class a player can choose from is designed to work together with the other classes. What’s more is that each character class does not share any abilities or item equips with the other classes – other than rings and necklaces, that is. They wouldn’t dive too deep into character customization, though.

Square Enix is publishing Dungeon Siege III when it releases next year. They’ve been in talks with Obsidian about doing a game for at least a “couple of years”. They support the game and give them team ideas all the time, Obsidian’s said. It will launch on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC when it hits. Look forward to it.

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