Greedfall was one of my biggest surprises of 2019. Sure, I’ve always had a soft spot for European RPGs, janky as they may be, but Greedfall was one of Spiders’ most complex and polished releases. It also happened to channel a lot of classic design, harking back to the days of Dragon Age: Origins and The Witcher 2. It didn’t necessarily advance the genre in any meaningful way, but it felt like a greatest hits compilation of the aforementioned classic design.
The world was expansive and full of encounters, but it was broken down into manageable zones rather than a tedious open-world slog. The combat and crafting systems were engaging, but not detailed to the point of cumbersome. Your dialogue choices and quest resolutions affected the dynamics with the three dominant colonial powers and native people of Teer Fradee (and this would, of course, affect your ending). Clocking in at around 30-50 hours – depending on your dedication to side quests and loot hunting – it never overstayed its welcome.
Fast forward almost two years and Spiders is back with an enhanced “Gold Edition” that coincides with the release of a new expansion – The De Vespe Conspiracy. This expansion opens up a new region of the island, introduces a new villainous faction (with a fondness for assassins), new beasts, and new gear for the player to acquire.
It’s a native port for the next-gen consoles, and a free upgrade for those that own the originals, promising dynamic resolution up to 4K, faster loading, and improved performance on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. It looks like there’ll be both a quality and performance mode, targeting 30 and 60 fps respectively.
Greedfall, which had a 20-man development team and fraction of the budget of its “AAA” contemporaries, was still a surprisingly attractive and atmospheric game (marred by a few rough-looking locations and reused assets). Considering those limitations, and the lack of a major marketing push around the enhancements, my guess is next-gen console owners are just getting a maxed-out PC experience.
Regardless, if you missed Greedfall in 2019, and are looking for a classic-style RPG with a strong focus on story and player choice, this could be a great opportunity to catch up on one of 2019’s biggest surprises.
Greedfall: Gold Edition and The De Vespe Conspiracy expansion arrives tomorrow, June 30, on Xbox Series consoles, PlayStation 5, and PC. If you’ve still got your old save files and just want to experience the expansion, you’ll be happy to know they’re compatible with the new version (within the same ecosystem).