Has there ever been a point when you’ve looked through your gaming library and wondered, “Huh, whatever happened to this title?” Well, I’ll be taking a look at videogame standalones/franchises and the lead up to their eventual absence. With that being said, today I’ll be asking the question: “Whatever Happened to… Risen?”
When it comes to selection in the games industry, there’s usually something out there for everyone to enjoy. You have your FPS’s, your RPG’s, your RTS’s, your MMO’s, and various other genres that one can venture into if they so desire. However, there are certain genres that have a lack of titles to choose from. One such example is the pirate-RPG which, at this point time, includes Sea of Thieves, 7th Sea, and Risen.
That being said, though, the Risen series hasn’t had a new installment since 2014. The trilogy, developed by Piranha Bytes, had its fair share of mixed reviews which eventually led to a bit of hiatus in regards to a fourth game ever being released. With that in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at the series and try to understand what about it has put a new entry on hold for the past 4 years.
The first title, adequately named Risen, was released in 2009 with the help of publishers Deep Silver. Being only available to Windows and Xbox 360 users, the game was a welcome exclusive during a time where any edge was needed in an overly competitive market (not that things have changed much). Exclusivity aside, upon release Risen was met with praise from both critics and gamers for its absorbing world and challenging gameplay. There were some complaints in regard to the Xbox 360 port, but nothing that really hindered the games overall acclaim. Yes, at the time, it looked as though the Risen series could go nowhere but up.
Unfortunately, it did go up... belly-up. The sequel, Risen 2: Dark Waters, was released in 2012 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PS3. Upon arrival, Risen 2 was criticised far more than the first installment. The positive aspects were still noted, like its engaging world and deep narrative, but the combat was deemed frustrating and there were too many bugs throughout the game’s entirety. Long story short, it looked as though Risen 2 would sail off into dark waters of its own.
Two years would pass before the release of the next installment, Risen 3: Titan Lords. The title would find its home on Windows, Xbox 360, and PS3, as well as PS4 a year later. Despite being on a variety of systems, Risen 3 would be anything but varied. Reviews for the game came in, once again praising the world for its atmosphere, but criticizing the lack of changes that had taken place between this title and the last. With this taken into account, it's no surprise that Risen 3 somewhat faded in the mind of the gaming community.
So, now that we’ve taken a bit of a deeper look into the series, what is holding up the release of a Risen 4? Well it’s worth noting that, despite being the first game in the series, Risen has the highest scores of the franchise to date. This may be one reason why the developers at Piranha Bytes have things on hold, so that they can assess and figure out what worked for the first game in order to bring that to light in the fourth. Another reason may be complications within the studio itself as they try to figure out where to take next game in terms of direction.
Whatever the reason is, I know I’ll be plenty excited for the next installment of this franchise. Provided it does see the light of day.