This week we examine an rpg that showed so much promise, but was maimed by development issues…
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3
The one and only game ever developed by Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios. Originally in development as an MMO, Kingdoms of Amalur became a single player RPG after 38 Studios acquired Big Huge Games in 2009. The main story follows the player’s journey through the Faelands as the being known as the “Fateless One.” Unbound from the linear pull of fate, the player must turn the tide of a war between the Summer and Winter Fae Courts. Kingdoms of Amalur had quite a lot of going for it leading up to its release: gorgeous art design influenced by Spawn’s Todd Macfarlane, 10,000 years worth of history scripted by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, and 75 million in funding from the state of Rhode Island. The game utilizes an addicting combat system, impressively deep and detailed lore, and a beautiful open world that offered hours of exploration.
Unfortunately for 38 Studios, poor marketing, a bug heavy demo, and mixed reviews caused sales to be much less than stellar. The game was ultimately deemed a failure by the state of Rhode Island since 38 Studios failed to sell at least 3 million copies, which was necessary to break even.
Why it deserves a Sequel:
Despite the occasional bugs, Kingdoms of Amalur is an excellent rpg. The games fluid and intuitive combat combined with the vast and gorgeous world of the Faelands makes it a hard game to put down. Being able to quickly switch between different weapons and spells on the fly makes each encounter feel unique while the fate kills add an extra layer of joy to the experience. Amalur also features a leveling system similar to other RPGs that allows players to allocate skill points into feats such as lockpicking, alchemy, and dispelling; each skill helping the Fateless One navigate the vastness of the Faelands and surrounding areas. The Faelands are thankfully a fascinating piece of Amalur to explore, filled to the brim with lorestones and secrets revealing the extensive history of the Amalur universe.
The Faelands are only the tip of the iceberg in the 10,000 history of Amalur, which is why it is such a shame that the original title wasn’t handled with care and appreciated for the immensely wonderful world that it contained. A sequel to the original title would look absolutely stunning on current gen consoles and a delight to dive into. Ultimately the state of Rhode Island seized all of the 38 Studios’ assets in 2012 as a result of a state court decision and attempted to sell the IP, but no buyer was ever found. It is safe to say that Kingdoms of Amalur will never actually get a sequel (the others on this list at least have a slight chance), which is a tragedy because it is a universe with so much potential and so much joy to offer.
Reviews & Impressions: