BioWare is now making a new role-playing game called Dragon Age. It has a world of it's own and it doesn't follow D&D rules = BioWare doesn't have to ask permission from WoTC for anything. I think BioWare has more money and time to put on Dragon Age than Obsidian has on NWN II. Which will be seen in the quality.
I agree having to consult a license holder and to have to work within their parameters may be restrictive, but then it can also help bring out something better than being able to cram in everything a developer's heart may desire.
In regards to money, it's a non-issue. Obsidian aren't funding NWN2, Atari are, and Atari are likely throwing a pretty big budget at NWN2 given that NWN was, and is, such a massive success.
All the happenings of NWN II take part in the city of Neverwinter, that doesn't offer anything new, does it? This has been said many times that Obsidian has a strict schelude and limited money to put on this game and they also have other projects on their way (KoTR II).
I must have missed all that. Nowhere have I seen the developers say that all the happenings of NWN2 take place in the titular city name, rather I have seen them say it's a focal point but by no means not the only location. I've also never seen anything that suggests Obsidian have a strict schedule and limited resources for NWN2, nor that the development of KOTOR2 took resources away from NWN2.
NWN2 has a two-year development cycle, which is generous, and now that KOTOR2 is done, team-members from that project will move on to NWN2, thereby adding resources, not taking away.
Knights of the Old Republic was also a game by Bioware. But why BioWare are giving all the sequels to Obsidian? Not that it bothers me but I have suspicions. Also, limited time and money will be seen in the quality. I'd say NWN II hits the stores around 2006-2008 but of course I can't know it and it may end up to be stores at 2010.
What suspicions? That Obsidian are well-regarded by their peers and being given KOTOR2 and NWN2 as their first projects will give them prestige and clout in the developer studio circles? Again, you refer to limited time and money which I see no basis in fact for such a claim.
NWN2 is scheduled for a 2006, whether it's out then or not I cannot predict, but I think it has a good chance of hitting the release date.
Dragon Age on the other hand offers a brand new world from a skilled team that is more flexible than NWN II. Also BioWare is helping out Obsidian with the toolset and stuff - so in my eyes it looks like Obsidian isn't as skilled as BioWare. And also, it may be a cliche to say this but I think it's kinda true: "Sequels are never as good as the original ones".
How is Bioware more flexible and skilled than Obisidian? I rather think you need to take a look at the Obsidian team members and their collective background in game development. As for Bioware helping out, why not use an available resource? Bioware made the Aurora engine and certainly will be able to answer questions, which saves a heck of a lot of development time; if Obsidian can just phone or email Bioware and ask about something or for input, that can save days of trying to troubleshoot the problem. You commented that NWN2 may be late, and then criticise the judicious use of a time-saving resource. It's odd.
I tend to agree that sequels are never as good as the originals, but in the case of NWN, I'm guessing that adage won't apply. I mean, NWN was pretty weak, it'd be really hard to turn out something worse.
But again, I find you saying odd things; you lay accolades at the feet of Bioware while doubting Obisidian, yet Bioware did both BG and BG2, and if sequels are never as good as the original, by your logic how good can Bioware be?
I'm not trying to put NWN II down, I'm just trying to start a conversation about which one will be better. Personally, I'll buy them both anyway but which game I'll play is still a mystery but now I think Dragon Age has caught my interest.
Which is fine, except you seem to be using your own speculation and mistaken conclusions rather than facts to determine which will be better, and it seems your mind is clearly already made up.