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Just in time for Christmas, we ambushed the Piranhas to do an interview. Facing the lovely Christmas angel and reporter Meditate, they weren't able to slam the door into our face. So we did it again. Here's your Christmas interview.

Hello, you Piranhas!

It's Christmas time. Did you look out of the window? It even snowed a little. But probably you know that despite your intensive work on the next part of our favourite game. Surely you already have all your Christmas presents. You didn't forget us, did you? We were extremely nice and there are very little people who are waiting so patiently for a game that will not be under the Christmas tree until next year. Thus, we deserve something, right?
Well, when we are already looking in the Christmas workshop for 2005, we of course do not want to leave without asking a few questions. And of course scrounge a few presents.
World of Gothic:
Do you come along? Do you need help? Or encouragement? Should we come visit you? Can you tell us something about the current status? Or even better, a timeframe for the release of Gothic III?
KaiRo:
In the 3D department. Here parts of the world develop. (Sascha Henrichs)
Hello Medi. It is winter already? Our Piranha house intentionally doesn't have windows to avoid that the "outside world" distract us from work. Thanks for the notice. Nevertheless, nobody will leave the house but during the Christmas time the pizza boy also delivers mullet wine...

To answer your question: Yes, we make progress. A walk through the house clearly shows that nobody is just sitting idly in front of their computer. We are working very hard on all parts of the game. Of course, we get a lot of encouragement, especially from our faithful and unbelievably motivated community of players that accompanies us all the time. That is a great feeling and we would like to thank you very much.

About visiting us: We do not have a lot of time to take care of visitors. So that would be difficult. I have to ask for your understanding that I am not able to invite you in a public interview. After the game is finished, you are naturally welcome anytime.

Of course, we won't say anything about the timeframe.. ;o).
World of Gothic:
OK, the first question was actually a whole bunch, but let's do it in turn from now on. At first, a question that is of course very interesting to our community. How important are the many threads in our forums with suggestions, wishes and opinions concerning the development of the game? There are countless suggestions about the further development of the hero and the world of Gothic. Are you inspired by these? Did you like one idea so much that you decided to actually implement it?
KaiRo:
Still model workshop. What there could probably become on the monitor? (Minh Duong)
In the past, we always read each and every feedback from community and integrated it into the successor. We also followed this path for Gothic III. Of course, we have a very clear idea about what we want to achieve but in many points your suggestions are an important decision guidance. Anyway, there is a little problem. At some point, the design phase is completed and we are busy arousing the created vision. During that phase, it is no longer possible to make huge changes to the gameplay because we cannot break up the coherent overall concept afterwards. It happened frequently that we get emails of the kind "Please implement a multiplayer mode" three months before the release of the game. Of course, we are not able to consider these suggestions. But be assured that every of your suggestions is coining the world of Gothic in some way. Even if an idea seems to be absurd, it is still able to provoke interesting thoughts.
World of Gothic:
In the meantime, you as the creators of Gothic have attained cult status and are in great demand by the Gothic fans. Each and every of your statements is closely interpreted, reinterpreted, reviewed and made available to a large public. Are you still able to sleep well despite this godlike status?
KaiRo:
Medi, this sounds a lot like exaggeration. Okay, you are surely right that all of our statements are accurately documented and interpreted. Because of that, we are not giving you a release date because you surely won't do us the favour to quickly forget it. But that's not enough to talk about cult status. In the gaming industry, there is fortunately not a personality cult like the one in the movie industry. Or are you able to tell me the names of more than five game developers? For us, it is actually more important that many players know "Gothic" or "Piranha Bytes". Our own names are secondary to that.
World of Gothic:
The fans really dig up the smallest comment from you and present it as news about Gothic III. Of course, they do not distinguish between truth and speculation. Furthermore, microphones are hidden in trouser pockets and secret video footages are done. Do you like that or it is rather annoying? How are you able to be so close-mouthed? I couldn't manage to stay so quiet (but of course I am a woman).
KaiRo:
In the animation smithy. Here the movements of the characters develop. (Andr Hotz)
Not, that is not annoying. Sometimes, it means that we have to be more careful than we would like to be. All our comments in the forums are published on the webpages of all (German) game magazines within a day. So we have to think carefully when and where we are posting what information. Personally, I find that too political but unfortunately, there is no way to prevent it from happening. Nevertheless, I cannot say that this behaviour is annoying. On the other hand, it is of course a great feeling to work on a project which will be played by a lot of people in the future instead of collecting dust in the shelves of the retailers. For this feeling, we are easily willing to accept this situation.
World of Gothic:
Let's talk about Gothic III. Maybe I manage to worm a few news out of you. Or at least get the confirmation for some speculations, illusions and wishes. Is it true that Gothic III will be released in 2006? Will we be sitting sadly under the Christmas in the next year?
KaiRo:
There will definitely be no reason to be sad. Either you already hold Gothic III in your hands at Christmas 2005. Or you are happy about the fact that it won't take much longer until Gothic III is released.
World of Gothic:
Mike Hoge called Gothic a trilogy once. However, in a posting in our forums he said that the southern islands will probably not make it into Gothic III. Will it be ever possible to visit these islands?
Mike:
There are several ideas for the realisation of the southern island. But we really cannot tell right now if and when these are actually realised.
World of Gothic:
We conclude from the available information that the next part will play on the continent. Does that mean that the game world will not be as big as in the previous part? Which aspects distinguish the continent from Khorinis? You talked about different climes, about high mountains and a desert. Could you please tell us a little bit more? Will it be possible to return to Khorinis and see it in new glory? After all, the island has been our second home for the past years.
KaiRo:
The continent will of course not be smaller than the island of Khorinis. It will have the well-known Gothic ambience but there will be various fresh influences, too. A return to the island of Khorinis will not be possible in Gothic III.
World of Gothic:
On published artworks you can see an oriental city in the desert and apparently one of its warriors. Initially, we believed that the town is located on the southern islands but as these do not appear in Gothic III, it can only be Varant. However the stories of the battle for Varant talk about swamps. Can you clear things up?
Mike:
Where did you get that from? Hopefully not from the Gothic I handbook. Because that book contains a lot of nonsense. All Gothic fans that are interested in the background of the world should not touch the Gothic I handbook because its content was (unfortunately) not officially endorsed by PB.
World of Gothic:
Will there be locations in Gothic III that were mentioned in the earlier games or in the comic? For example, the city of Sendor, hometown of Milten and the huge northern plains where the orcs came from are mentioned in the comic. And in one G1-dialogue that was commented out, something is said about the wine from Archolos.
KaiRo:
There will definitely be places that are already known from the predecessor games. Varant is one of them. However, I find it doubtful that a deactivated dialogue in the game can be considered a reliable source. ;o)
World of Gothic:
We hope that Gothic III will have the original dark, archaic, medieval flair of the first game. Gothic II was a little bit too "modern" for the taste of some players (canons and ship from the 17th century, pirates from the 18th century, street light from the 19th century). Somehow the mystic, dark, mystical and almost legendary feeling of the first part was missing.
KaiRo:
Up to now, each gothic part had his own characteristics but there was still a common look-and-feel. Part III contains again a couple of completely new elements. I cannot follow the criticism concerning Gothic II in this point. Nevertheless, each game had new influences while the previous elements didn't loose their right to exist. But I assume that Gothic III will have a feeling similar to the one of Gothic I.
World of Gothic:
There is an interesting criticism about Gothic II that says that the player knows too soon the goal of the whole game. Many fans are hoping that the third part will be more like the first one. It wasn't clear in the beginning what to do. You had to explore the world and find out the goal. We hope that Gothic III will keep us in the dark for a very long period of time. Can you tell us more about that? You shouldn't find out the story through dialogues.
Mike:
We agree in this point. The interesting development of the story was one of the strong points of Gothic I. But we will not tell you anything about the story of Gothic III.
World of Gothic:
Mike said that he wants to implement the idea of "monsters that grab each other". He wants to improve the animation of the faces and the gestures. The scavenger from the bootleg footage from Bremen already hints that you are putting a lot of effort into the animations of NPCs. One looks forward to see furry shadowbeasts and spotty trolls. By alls means, the animations are very impressive so far. Are you having success on this path?
Mike:
I think that we will make a huge leap forward in many areas. But please give us the time to evaluate what we have achieved before we have to go to the marketplace and tell everyone how great our game is. This is exactly the reason why we are so restrictive with information.
At this point, some questions of your merciless reporter followed that were deleted from the manuscript. Even the most devious attempts at bribery were unsuccessful, so we have to put you off till next time.
World of Gothic:
Will it finally be possible to become an ally of the evil side?
KaiRo:
Sure. If you find the black ring with the two faded jewels, you will be able to marry Xardas. Seriously, it will absolutely be possible to sympathise with Beliar.
World of Gothic:
While Gothic 2 was rather easy, its add-on was very challenging. How difficult will be Gothic III?
KaiRo:
A discussion about levels of difficulty, battle systems and the strength of the enemies is rather pointless as long as we are not able to explain in all details how the system is working. As we do not want to do that before the release of the game, you just have wait and see in this point.
World of Gothic:
Will it be able to create modifications for Gothic III? At the current state of development, do you even think about publishing development tools?
KaiRo:
This has not be decided yet. The crucial question is how accessible our development tools will be and how much additional work would be necessary to extent them to a point where modders are actually able to create usable results. I think that there will be something but I cannot promise anything at the moment.
World of Gothic:
And yet another question: Will there be a multiplayer or coop mode in Gothic III or its successor or the successor of its successor?
KaiRo:
There are no plans concerning Gothic IV or an add-on for Gothic III yet.
World of Gothic:
Some time ago, you posted two job offers on your webpage. Did you find someone? In the job offer for a programmer you said that programming experiences with the X-Box and PS2 were advantageous. That led to a lot of discussions in the community. Do you think about releasing a console version?
KaiRo:
All vacant positions were filled with competent and very nice New-Piranhas. At the moment, we are only working on the PC-Game Gothic III. If there will be more afterwards depends on the technical possibilities. To be prepared for the required evaluation, we looked for people with experience in that field.
World of Gothic:
The patience of the non-German-speaking community was already tested for several times. Is there hope that the English game will finally be released shortly after the German one? And will there be mod-tools in English for Gothic III? At the moment, the non-German community is rather smeared.
KaiRo:
It is already certain that the release date of the English version will be very close to the release date of the German version. I cannot tell you anything specific about the mod-tools.
World of Gothic:
A long time ago, you said that you would like to work with a real orchestra. So can we look forward to an extra classy soundtrack? Are there plans to releases a separate audio CD that will be part of the game? Did you even have time to compose songs so far? And will In-Extremo appear in Gothic III?
KaiRo:
Programmer at work. (foreground Oliver Hller, background Carsten Edenfeld)
I recently started with the composition and there are already some first pieces of music. The plans to work with an orchestra has become more concrete in the meantime. But there is still no definite decision. I will collaborate with other artists to give the music an unique and distinctive character.

I don't know yet whether there will be a soundtrack CD or not. It is unlikely that the actual game will contain a separate audio CD because I do not have the time to produce a CD before the completion of the game. But this is an option for the special edition.

I cannot tell if In Extremo will appear in Gothic III. Even I have to be patient and wait for a decision.
World of Gothic:
While we are talking about your work, when will the official Gothic III webpage go online?
KaiRo:
I am working on the Gothic III alongside my actual composition work so I am of course not able to go to full speed. But I will let you know soon enough when the launch is planned. Probably sometime in the first quarter of 2005.
World of Gothic:
Which impact will the physics engine have on the game? Maybe you could give us a few examples? For example, will an arrow follow a physically correct parabola? Does the physics engine influence the gameplay?
Mike:
In Half Life 2, the physics is an integral part of the gameplay. We will not go that far in Gothic III. The physics will be used in many areas to create a living and authentic world. Archery is one example. But you will not have to juggle barrels to solve certain tasks in the game.
And because it's Christmas, we've got another new beautiful Artwork of a north man for you.

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