In context: If you're a long-time RPG fan, there's a very good chance you've heard of or even played the original Gothic, first released back in 2001. Though a bit rough around the edges (even for its time), the game was charming, difficult, and complex to master; all things gamers came to appreciate. The title did well enough to justify several sequels.
These sequels vary quite a bit in terms of quality, but there's a reason this style of game continues to persist in the form of Elex or the ongoing Risen franchise -- they have a certain undeniable charm that few other RPGs do. This has led the titles to gain a sizable cult following over the years.
It may come as no surprise, then, to learn that THQ Nordic is looking to remake the original Gothic with a modern interface, visuals, and a reworked combat system (among other things). However, unlike many other games that get a teaser trailer or even just a written press release for an announcement, THQ Nordic has opted to let players in on the development process in a much more hands-on way.
As of writing, many of our readers will likely find something called the "Gothic Playable Teaser" in their Steam libraries. If you're wondering where that came from, it's a free (and seemingly mandatory) extra for anyone who owns an existing Piranha Bytes title. The teaser is short, clocking in at around two hours of gameplay, but it seeks to introduce players to THQ Nordic's overall vision for its Gothic remake.
I've tried the teaser myself, and my opinions -- as well as that of many other testers -- are quite mixed. Everything from the story to the combat system (which is very similar to For Honor's) is wildly different from the original Gothic (and its sequels), and not necessarily for the better.
However, this isn't a review, and we'll leave it up to our readers to decide whether or not the remake is their cup of tea. If you want to try it for yourself, feel free to do so -- so long as you own any game in the Gothic saga or any game developed by Piranha Bytes, the teaser is yours to play as much as (or as little) as you wish.
With that said, a warning: it is not well optimized at the moment. It's running on Unreal Engine 4, and it brought my system -- which is powered by an i7 8700K and a 2080 Ti -- to its knees at 1080p, knocking the FPS down to around 40 for most of the experience. That's hardly unplayable, but I suspect those with more modest rigs will have a very tough time getting through the intro alone.
If you get your hands on the Playable Teaser, let us know what you think in the comments below.