The game was released on October 12, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 version was scheduled for release in the first half of 2011, but was never released. In May 2013, Nordic Games released ArcaniA and its expansion, Arcania: Fall of Setarrif, as Arcania: The Complete Tale for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
In September 2014, Nordic Games dropped Gothic 4 from the game's title, with no statement being made as to why this action has been done, but left fans speculating that it may be related with Piranha Bytes getting back the rights to the Gothic series. Also all references that connected Arcania with the Gothic series have been removed from the game's description.
Ten years have passed since the end of Gothic 3 and the world has changed - the Southern Islands have become embroiled in conflict, and set the stage for the player to brave countless adventures in the guise of a nameless hero. Decisions will have to be made which will change not only the future of the Southern Islands, but of the entire world. Old acquaintances and new faces will aid the hero or attempt to thwart his efforts throughout his journey.
Arcania was presented to the general public in August at Gamescom in Köln, Germany. The short playable part featured (probably) the very beginning of the game, where we meet the protagonist, his fiancee, a free orc, living in harmony with humans and other characters. The character can only interact with "named" characters, those who have a name. Other characters, filler NPCs, just reply with a short, dismissive sentence hovering above their heads, just like in Neverwinter Nights II. Dialogues are selected via mouse or keyboard and are pre-animated, focusing on the facial features of the characters. We also meet Diego, an old acquaintance from other Gothic prequels. The combat system is similar to the one in Gothic 3, fast and action oriented. Left mouse button attacks and the right mouse button blocks. During blocking the character can roll in any direction. Enemy attacks are predictable and shown by a violet aura around their weapon, enabling us to dodge. Jumping, unlike Gothics so far, isn't a good way of getting around. Jumping into the water kills the character because of falling damage.
King Rhobar III, the protagonist from the previous parts, has united the mainland among himself. He now wants to include the rest of the kingdom, the island of Argaan, in his kingdom. He and his fleet of warships and soldiers travel to Argaan and take possession of the capital, Thorniara. The king, however, seems to be possessed by some evil, and is no longer himself.
The new nameless hero is a shepherd and lives on the island of Feshyr near Argaan. He wants to marry his pregnant friend Ivy and has to pass some exams. After this is done, his village is burnt down and the inhabitants including Ivy killed. The hero still sees a ship with the banner King Rhobars III. Sailing His goal is to find the King. He finally reaches the mainland, where Diego (an old character from the previous Gothic parts) is looking for a lost temple with a divine anvil. The Paladins of King Rhobar III. Were in search of this temple to make their army unstoppable. In the course of the game, the protagonist recognizes that the location of the temple is becoming increasingly important.
After finding the anvil after a long search, one learns that King Rhobar III. Is possessed by an archdeemon, or more precisely the "sleeper" Krushak, the final boss of Gothic, who devours the soul of the king. In Thorniara, undead appear and roll over almost the entire city. Only the royal palace, a bastion and the market square can be held. They are commanded by the renegade ally of King Drurhang. It is necessary to help the king and the city, and one learns that Drurhang had attacked Feshyr without the king's order. This was his master Xesha, the servant of an unknown female deity. After some obstacles one kills Drurhang and frees the city from the undead. Now look for the amulet of the sleeper; You have to take it to a nearby monastery. Xesha, however, attacks this. You kill Xesha in the catacombs of the monastery.
The final sequence of the game starts. You can see how the amulet is fixed in the catacombs, and the enemies of King Rhobar III, Thorus, a sorcerer, and the Northern Orcs, then draw Krushak out of the body of the King and summon before him. The King is now himself again.
JoWooD and Spellbound Entertainment announced a cooperation with Trinigy, a provider of 3D game engine technology. In the scope of a multi-platform license agreement, Spellbound is developing “Arcania: Gothic 4” utilizing Trinigy’s Vision Engine 7, with certain features from the newly released Vision Engine 8.
Arcania's physics engine will be NVIDIA GPU PhysX as confirmed by a JoWooD Entertainment representative.
The start of the development was officially announced on August 23, 2007, along with the name of the new developer. The project was originally entitled Gothic 4: Genesis; the name change to Gothic 4: Arcania was announced in 2008. At the Games Convention in 2008, JoWooD Entertainment announced another name for the game - "Arcania: A Gothic Tale". The name change serves two purposes. First, it hints at a world rich in magic and fantasy. Second, and completely from a marketing perspective, it helps give the Gothic franchise a fresh start in North America, where it has failed to gain significant popularity. During a press conference of the Polish distributor CD Projekt, the games to be published by the company were presented, including Arcania. The title of the game was stated as Arcania: Gothic 4. A Polish fan-site asked the community manager Reinhard Pollice, known as Megalomaniac, regarding that issue and he confirmed the change of the name. On 1 April JoWooD marketing manager Clemens Schneidhofer confirmed the new name to GamersGlobal.de: "I can confirm that! Because the date of the release is already defined (more details soon in a press release), we decided to leave the working title "Arcania – A Gothic Tale" behind and to announce the final name "Arcania - Gothic 4". This change is available for all countries (EU & US)." As announced at the CD Projekt Conference 2010, Spellbound Entertainment is developing the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows versions, while later, another studio will port the game on the PlayStation 3 system. Later news confirmed that the PlayStation 3 version has been delayed until 2011, while the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows release remained unchanged. At the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig, JoWooD Entertainment presented Arcania behind closed doors.
JoWooD and Spellbound Entertainment announced a cooperation with Trinigy, a provider of 3D game engine technology. In the scope of a multi-platform license agreement, Spellbound is developing Arcania: Gothic 4 utilizing Trinigy’s Vision Engine 7, with certain features from the newly released Vision Engine 8.
Arcania's physics engine is NVIDIA PhysX as confirmed by a JoWooD Entertainment representative.
In 2009, JoWooD Entertainment released the official website for Arcania: Gothic 4, revealing new information, screenshots and artworks. In August 2009 JoWooD Entertainment announced that Arcania: Gothic 4 will be delayed until 2010, giving Spellbound more time to polish the game.
JoWooD Entertainment planned to make Arcania an AAA title - the most successful title from the Gothic series, and one of the best RPGs of 2010. In September 2009 the Gothic Community sent a letter to JoWooD Entertainment, complaining about the lack of support and information regarding Arcania: Gothic 4.
In March 2010, Dr. Albert Seidl, JoWooD's former CEO, revealed that Arcania will be released in the autumn of 2010. In June 2010, Franz Rossler, JoWooD's CEO confirmed via interview that Arcania's release date has been scheduled for October 12, 2010. A demo for the game was released on September 24, 2010.
Arcania was first presented to the general public in August at Gamescom in Köln, Germany. The short playable part featured the very beginning of the game.
Initial reviews of Arcania have been mixed or average, with a Metacritic average of 63 (based on 25 critics) for the PC version. While the game was praised for its graphics and production values, it was criticized heavily for doing away with many elements of previous Gothic installments in order to make the game friendlier to casual players and failing to meet expectations of the series' fans.
GameSpot awarded it 5.0 out of ten and wrote: "Arcania has been dumbed down into a generic action role-playing game, so it isn't a Gothic game in anything but its subtitle."
IGN gave the game an overall rating of 7.5 complimenting the game's great graphics as well as the game's " loot-heavy dungeon crawling experience that doesn't tax your skills" as well as the way the game allows for the player to play leisurely and enjoy the world.
According to an interview with JoWooD's former CEO, Dr. Albert Seidl, it seems that a sequel was once planned. As of August 2011, the JoWooD brand was acquired by Nordic Games, which expressed their agreement to revive key series of the company such as The Guild, SpellForce, Arcania and more.
- Originally ArcaniA was a bridge between the Gothic series and a completely new series, but due to the bankruptcy of the publisher, developers never realized this idea.
- Game title comes from the word arcane, which means secret. Game publisher thought it was a good description of the game world.