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Savage Frontier Series
Neverwinter Nights (1991) Coverart
Developer(s) Stormfront Studios
Publisher(s) Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Platform(s) DOS, Amiga, MS-DOS, Commodore 64
Release date(s) 1991
Genre(s) Tactical RPG, Multiplayer, Role-playing

The Savage Frontier is a region in the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting the Forgotten Realms. The Savage Frontier video game series, developed by Stormfront Studios and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc., is the series that precedes the Neverwinter Nights series, with the introduction of the city of Neverwinter in it's games. The first game in the series was Gateway to the Savage Frontier. It was followed by two sequels after this, Treasures of the Savage Frontier and Neverwinter Nights

Series Edit

Gateway to the Savage Frontier Edit

Gateway to the Savage Frontier is the first in the Savage Frontier series. It is a single player Tactical RPG (Role-Playing Game) available for MS-DOS, Amiga and Commodore 64. It was very well received and was given four out of five stars.

Treasures of the Savage Frontier Edit

Development Edit

When SSI began work on the Dark Sun game engine in 1989 after the completion of The Secret of the Silver Blades, they passed responsibility for continuing the Forgotten Realms Gold Box games to Stormfront. SSI had planned to do only one more Gold Box game (Gateway to the Savage Frontier) before retiring the series in favor of the Dark Sun engine, but when Dark Sun was delayed and Gateway went to #1 on the charts they asked Stormfront for a sequel.

Designers Don Daglow, Mark Buchignani, Mark Manyen and David Bunnett recognized that the Gold Box engine was past its prime and needed some kind of story or character enhancements to feel like a new game and not a tired sequel.

Although they added many small enhancements to the game in addition to its all-new story, the largest feature was the first-ever option for either of two NPCs to fall in love with a player character. The sophisticated AI (for its time) tracked the player's actions in the game, much as the modern game Fable charts the player's actions as good or evil. If the player's actions matched the values of the NPC there was a chance they could fall in love. The game was made as a sequel to the original Savage Frontier due to the original's critical reception.

Reception Edit

The game like the original was given four out of five stars. The introduction of the city of Neverwinter would spawn a whole new series.

Neverwinter Nights Edit

Despite being the final game in the Savage Frontier series, it spawned a whole new series. The Neverwinter Nights series, which is currently being published by Atari. Atari has released two sequels in it's series and is currently about to release an MMORPG.

Development Edit

Neverwinter Nights was a co-development of AOL, Stormfront Studios, SSI, and TSR (which was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997).

Don Daglow and the Stormfront game design team began working with AOL on original online games in 1987, in both text-based and graphical formats. At the time AOL was a Commodore 64 only online service, known as Quantum Computer Services, with just a few thousand subscribers, and was called Quantum Link. Online graphics in the late 1980s were severely restricted by the need to support modem data transfer rates as slow as 300 bits per second (bit/s).

In 1989 the Stormfront team started working with SSI on Dungeons & Dragons games using the Gold Box engine that had debuted with Pool of Radiance in 1988. Within months they realized that it was technically feasible to combine the Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box engine with the community-focused gameplay of online titles to create an online RPG with graphics. Although the multiplayer graphical flight combat game Air Warrior (also from Kesmai) had been online since 1987, all prior online RPGs had been based on text.

In a series of meetings in San Francisco and Las Vegas with AOL's Steve Case and Kathi McHugh, TSR's Jim Ward and SSI's Chuck Kroegel, Daglow and programmer Cathryn Mataga convinced the other three partners that the project was indeed possible. Case approved funding for NWN and work began, with the game going live 18 months later in March 1991.

Daglow chose Neverwinter as the game's location because of its magical features (a river of warm water that flowed from a snowy forest into a northern sea), and its location near a wide variety of terrain types. The area also was close enough to the settings of the other Gold Box games to allow subplots to intertwine between the online and the disk-based titles.

ReceptionEdit

Despite only getting four out of five stars by reviewers at the time, in 2008 it was given an award for revolutionizing MMOG's.

ReferencesEdit

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