Just when one assumes that the Dungeons and Dragons game has permeated itself enough into the electronic entertainment industry with past titles and the eagerly awaited Neverwinter Nights looming on the proverbial horizon, Black Isle Studios currently has the sequel to its popular title Icewind Dale in the works.
Don't think that it's simply a rehash of its predecessor. Icewind Dale II will be sporting a modified and improved version of BioWare's original "Infinity Engine".
Old and new players will be facing a new cast of characters to command, although they will still be set in the rugged snow-covered mountainous terrain of northwest Faerun. A call has gone out for adventurers to assist the Ten-Towns of Icewind Dale to stop a rampaging horde of goblinoids. Though as with any story, there may be something deeper and far more sinister in the works.
A generation has passed since the previous Icewind Dale, offering new character classes, races, subraces, spells, character portraits, sounds, dungeons, caves, monsters and items that expand the universe constructed from the original. For experienced players who seek a challenge, the "Heart of Fury" difficulty mode has been improved as well.
The enhancements, additions, and time change implemented in the sequel is enough to let it stand alone from the first game. Unfortunately, as a consequence to these various improvements, previously saved characters from Icewind Dale cannot be ported over. Hopes of meeting some of the more prominent principle characters known for this area of Faerun should be shelved too. The time period set for Icewind Dale II is still before Drizzt Do'Urden, Wulfgar, Bruenor Battlehammer, and the other noteworthy names make their appearance in the realm.
This will be the first time the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rule set will be employed for the Icewind Dale series. In terms of how high characters can be developed, the level-cap is set for 30 on the Heart of Fury difficulty setting. The familiar six-member party system will also be in place, either encountered in the game or pre-generated at the player's discretion beforehand.
Icewind Dale II may prove to be yet another Dungeons and Dragons title that yields some fanfare at its release. Stay tuned for more news on the title as it comes along.