Gothic… a name which has grown on its own in the PC market since 2001, when Piranha Bytes and Jowood Productions released the first title of what has become one of the most popular RPG series of all time. The interface caused some major headaches, the graphics weren’t up to par with the standards, but Gothic 1 stood out thanks to its story and unequaled, unique atmosphere. A year and a half later, in November 2002, Gothic 2 was launched, which had an incredible success all across Europe. As expected, the summer of 2003 saw the launch of an add-on, Night of the Raven, which brought a series of changes to the game, the most important of which being a new game zone, as well as increased difficulty overall, reflected in the way the character stats evolved during the game. The bad news was that in order to play Night of the Raven you had to start Gothic 2 from the very beginning, which was pretty odd for an add-on.
Also worthy of note is that despite having a large number of fans in the United States, the Gothic series didn’t have the same sale success as it did in Europe, for various reasons. The main cause for the lackluster sales was the poor marketing effort to promote Gothic 2 in North America, with the game being launched there several months later compared to the European release. This was also the case with Night of the Raven, where the wait for the English version of the game was somewhat tempered by the release of a fan made English subtitle pack.
However, things haven’t changed with Gothic 3. Although it was launched on October 13th in Europe, the game won’t hit the shelves in North America until the 20th of November. I see no apparent reason for this delay, since this time around the game is available in Europe in both German and English. I said apparent because a lot of the European fans feel like they’re playing a beta version, even though a patch was released on launch day by the producers, so, theoretically, the North American version should be the “final” one. On the other hand, some players are frustrated thinking that they should have bought the game after the release of a number of patches while the American players are probably discouraged and disappointed by all the problems that plague their European counterparts. I for one am skeptical that the North American version of Gothic 3 will lack most of the bugs found in the European version, considering that the producers already declared that they will release a new patch in four or five weeks.