Crossroad Keep is featured in SoZ. Can we expect it to work out what happened in the player's own story in a similar manner to KotOR 2 and MotB?
Evans: The tale of the Knight Captain of Crossroad Keep is famed throughout the Sword Coast.
Depending on the party's Lore skill, they may or may not be familiar with the Knight Captain, or the Shadow War that brought Neverwinter to its presently sorry state.
Regardless, several characters the party meets will know tidbits of the legend and the fate of the Knight Captain and company.
You've mentioned full party customisation, dungeon crawling, and free exploration. Can we therefore expect it to be light on role-playing?
Evans: To the contrary, Storm of Zehir will feature more role-playing than our previous games. One example is party customization itself.
Players can design a full four-person party, each with their own individual attributes. The party can be customized further with a party name, motto and bio. We'll also be including several premade characters and parties to select from.
As the player advances in Storm of Zehir, their party will gain fame and reputation as a group, which will attract the interest of cohorts. Cohorts are interesting characters that can be recruited to shore up any weaknesses the party may have. The party can also earn Teamwork Benefits, which are special feats that affect the entire party.
SoZ has multiple PCs and party NPCs. How do you deal with the increased amount of variables in the group whilst still maintaining character interactions and development?
Evans: One of Storm of Zehir's main strengths is how it will handle all of those different variables.
We focus on giving players maximum reactivity based on how they play and how they customise their party. No longer will you put points in a skill like Survival and then not be able to tell what effect it has in the game.
As players explore Samarach and the Sword Coast and interact with its many fascinating characters, the player will reap the benefits, and drawbacks, of their choices.
You used the phrase 'hearkens back' when referencing Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale in the announcement. Isn't there a danger that you're just retreating old ground instead of moving forward?
Evans: Nope. We're very confident that Storm of Zehir will be an awesome new gameplay experience, with a revitalizing approach to old school role-playing.
The interior environments in NwN 2 still could do with an improvement, both graphically and what can be done with them in the toolset. Can we expect an update to this or other environments in general?
Evans: The focus of the Storm of Zehir team is to create a newer, better Forgotten Realms adventure.
So we won't be going back to our older games and renovating their environments. However, in Storm of Zehir, the party will revisit several locales in the Sword Coast.
These areas will feel familiar to those who played the original Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign, but they have been "upgraded" to match our ever-increasing, high standards for environment art.