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Atari and Cryptic teaming up on new Neverwinter RPG [update]

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Hey, die-hard fans of fantasy fiction, right about now would be a good time for you to make a saving throw against having your head explode. Atari and Cryptic, whose former unions resulted in Star Trek Online and Champions Online, have announced their next joint effort: A new online RPG set in the frequently game-adapted Dungeons and Dragons universe, Neverwinter.

The PC game allows up to five players (or one player with AI companions) to select between five classes from the pen-and-paper RPG's roster, and play through an all new campaign, the story for which was developed in collaboration with Wizards of the Coast and author R.A. Salvatore. Also, much like previous games in the Neverwinter franchise, this one will include a tool, tentatively named "Forge," that allows players to create their own campaigns. The game's currently set for Q4 2011, but a Salvatore-penned prequel book, titled Gauntlgrym, will hit store shelves on October 5 of this year.

Update: Gamespot recently sat down with Cryptic CEO Jack Emmert to divine a few details about the game, including its five classes (Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, Ranger and Cleric), what the Forge tools will be capable of, and how Neverwinter will adapt the tabletop game's 4th Edition gameplay mechanics. If any of that means anything to you, give the interview a look.

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