E3 2011: Risen 2 is a pirate RPG with a launchable parrot

Risen Thumbnail E3

The original Risen found a niche, and the people who played it seemed to really, really like it. But in a landscape already filled with fantasy medieval RPGs, it was easy to miss. Its developers are trying to change that, by making its sequel not a fastasy, medieval RPG. This time, it's about pirates.

That means no shields, no bows and arrows, and no fireballs. It does, however, let you become a pirate captain, with your own ship (that, sadly, you can't steer), crew and pistols. And yes, with your own parrot that you can "launch to annoy people," says Daniel Oberlerchner, one of the game's developers.

Daniel is also fairly brutal when talking about the first game. He showed a bunch of footage of the game, deliberately setup to convince me that it sucked: it was ugly, it was buggy, it had terrible faces and awful lighting and wasn't designed with widescreen resolutions.

At least in these clips, the sequel certainly looks better. It's so much brighter, for a start. The sun is shining. As I'm typing, the pirate main character just kicked a crab on to his back and he's now whacking it with his sword while the crab tries to flip back over.

Man, pirates are dicks.

The game starts in the town of Caldera, the last standing human city in a world destroyed by monsters. Unable to farm anything around them, the city is entirely dependent on trade via visiting ships. That's where you come in: first, by protecting those ships from attacking monsters, but then by joining and climbing the ranks of pirates.

It is weird how similar a pirate-theme is to the traditional RPG setting, but instantly it makes me more likely to play it.

Risen 2 will be released in the first half of 2012.