Spellbound Entertainment, 2010
Windows, Xbox 360, PS3 和 PS4
Spellbound Entertainment, 2010
Windows, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4
哥特王朝 3（Gothic 3）销量惨淡，口碑极差，此后，JoWooD Entertainment 从 Pyranha Bytes 买下了《哥特王朝》的系列版权，招募到 Spellbound Entertainment  开发新作。
不过，《哥特王朝 4》最后成品的面貌变化不止是因为制作团队的变动。《哥特王朝》系列在美国的销量一向不温不火，JoWooD 便决定扭转这一局面，将《哥特王朝》搬到主机，并试图迎合主机玩家的口味。
然而，最终成品却是一部彻彻底底的烂尾之作。游戏剧情牵强，设计不当，甚至让人感觉到滑稽。一言以蔽之，《哥特王朝 4：阿卡尼亚（ArcaniA: Gothic 4）》就像一群已过中年的欧洲商人基于自己对“当代美国小孩喜欢玩什么”的刻板印象，写下的游戏设计报告。
然而，《阿卡尼亚》用一道道大门将地图分割成数个小块区域，各区域有一个主线任务和 3 到 4 个支线，在小地图上都一目了然。只有完成每个区域的主线任务，大门才会打开，玩家才能进入新区域。这些地图初看很美，细看乏味，大多是常规的森林、一条路走到底的洞穴，数量不多但让人脸盲的敌人。你只能沿着狭窄的小路前行，如果想离开小路自由探索，角色会卡在原地无法动弹或者掉出地图摔死。主角甚至不能像前作那样下水游泳。
After the botched release and poor reviews of Gothic 3, JoWooD Entertainment took the series' licence away from Piranha Bytes and instead hired Spellbound Entertainment (known for their Desperados series) to create the next Gothic.
However, ArcaniA: Gothic 4 is the result of more than just a change of developers. The Gothic series was never popular in the US, and JoWooD decided it was time to change this, bringing the series to consoles and tuning it to the tastes of this new audience.
What followed was a complete mishandling of the franchise and an all-round failure, so contrived and misguided it's almost comical – as if middle-aged European executives wrote a design document based on what they think “American kids these days like”.
As such, you now play as a new, younger hero, and the developers were thorough in removing absolutely any complexity or nuance from the game.
The Gothic series has always been known for its brilliant sense of exploration, cleverly designed open world and amazing sense of progression. It had a strong emphasis on verisimilitude, with things such as alternate paths and solutions, the ability to spare enemies, realistic schedules for NPCs, etc.
ArcaniA instead offers a series of minuscule and artificially gated areas, each with a main quest and 3-4 side-quest – all clearly marked on your mini-map. Finish the main quest, the gate opens and you advance to the next area. These areas are pretty but uninspired, mostly filled with generic forests, linear dungeons and the same few enemies. Trying to explore outside the narrow paths will either cause you to get stuck or fall to your death, and you can't even swim anymore.
Not only are the areas are dull – the whole game is based on “kill X monsters” or “bring Y items” quests. Your very first quest has you doing three of these errands to “prove yourself” to your fiancé's father! Sounds like a parody, but it's a taste of the entire game.
Finally, combat and character progression lost any charm or relevance. Attributes were all removed and the iconic system of getting trainers to teach you was replaced by a bland skill tree with “+1%” upgrades. Combat is brain-dead – most enemies can be defeated by mashing the attack button, while the “hard ones” merely require you to dodge when they glow. And magic spells were reduced to simply three flavours of ranged damage (fire, lightning and ice).
For most, ArcaniA is just a forgettable game that was reviewed poorly and got barely noticed by the so desired US console gamers. But, for Gothic fans, it was the death of a beloved series.