Game developer Beamdog has made a name for itself releasing updated versions of classic Dungeons & Dragons video games, including Baldur’s Gate and Planescape. Its upcoming game Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition takes the nostalgia to all-new levels, by tapping into a community of players who are still passionate after 15 years.
“We’ve inherited an incredible community,” Beamdog project director Jonathan Hill tells the latest issue of Dragon+. “They’re giving us a lot of the feedback that is validating our design choices and it makes me really happy that we’re doing the right thing by them.
“We have an advisory council. People from the community who have been active for the past 15 years. These people have been living and breathing Neverwinter as part of their pastime and their lives, and we’ve engaged them to help direct us in order to make the best community project that we can.
“In normal game development, you come up with an idea and then go hide in a corner while you implement it, and then two years later you discuss it and kick it out. Here, we’re able to know where people would like to see it go. And that community is a huge, vibrant group.”
Using a fan love for the game that has never flagged, flourishing on online forums, Beamdog was able to create a democratic approach to game development. Some community members even joined the Beamdog team.
“I tracked down most of the Neverwinter Nights modders that were leading the community at the time through the original BioWare forums,” Trent Oster, Beamdog founder and CEO, tells Dragon+. “We basically got the heart and soul of the people who were doing big things on the modding side. We really wanted to engage with them; bring them on and have discussions about what we were trying to do.
“We actually set up a public Trello for Neverwinter Nights input, where people can go and upvote concepts of different features. If it gets enough upvotes and the consensus around it is good, then we’ll try to put it into development.”
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition is coming soon for PC, Mac and Linux.