Video footage of the Neverwinter Nights demo shown to reporters at E3 2000, a closed-door event, has surfaced. It was posted by NoClip, which recently rescued dozens of videos spanning decades. In this case, it’s a long video of about 30 minutes, in which Bioware shows the work done on the game and its features, starting with the graphics engine and how it works with the shadows of the characters.
This footage is interesting not so much for the game itself, which was released more than twenty years ago, but for how the games were shown to the press and industry insiders at the old E3 exhibitions.
In fact, video presentations of games that are still in development, where developers talk about what they do and about the game systems that will bring their plans to life, are not uncommon today, but mostly they take place online in streaming mode, and now there is no need to travel thousands of kilometers to the exhibition to look at them.
If you will, this is also one of the reasons why events like E3 have become completely useless in the age of fast connections.
Let’s not forget that at the time, Bioware was on the rise after the success of the Baldur’s Gate series, and there were high hopes for its new games. Electronic Arts had not yet decapitated the company by sending its founders to death, and the studio was seen as a beacon for the evolution of the RPG genre.
Also, it’s fair to say that after so many years, Neverwinter Nights still has a very active community that creates fresh content and keeps the game alive.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the release of the video is part of NoClip’s YouTube channel’s effort to preserve video game history by reposting what was recently found inside some boxes from decommissioned E3 archives.