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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - All News

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Box Art

Saturday - December 19, 2015

KoA: Reckoning - KoA's Best Quest

by Aubrielle, 02:54

PC Gamer's Jody Macgregor takes us back to Kingdom of Amalur to discuss one of its most interesting quests, House of Ballads.

As always, many thanks to Couch for his excellent news submissions!

I first realized what the House of Ballads was about–and that it might be something special–when I stumbled across a quest called ‘Reprisal, Reprised’. A young woman in some old ruins explained that the magic blue elf-people called Ballads Fae revere stories so much they re-live their legends in an endless cycle, like actors performing the same plays forever. One of those Ballads told of a troll who lived in these ruins, a beast so greedy he swallowed a ruby ring. If I helped her set the stage for that story the troll would appear, just like in the tale–and that we could kill it, dig the ring out of its stomach lining, and pawn it for cash. She’d figured out how to tap into the myth cycle of an immortal supernatural race, and used that knowledge to farm them for loot. It was both an arch comment on the repeatable quests of MMOs and a clever little story of its own.

Fantasy games love to show off their slightly tweaked versions of the traditional fantasy races. “Our elves are different! They’re super racist!” But in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning they really were different, which was surprising in a game that in so many other ways played it straight, with its textbook amnesiac chosen one hero trudging through a main questline about saving the world from an ancient evil. Like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion it was the kind of game where you needed to go off-piste to find the good stuff, deviating from the tale it wanted to tell. You needed to travel to Sidequest Country.

The House of Ballads is a faction tucked away in the north of Amalur’s map, and their job is to guard the legendarium of the Summer Fae, who are the nice-guy elves of the setting. (You can tell because they have terrible Irish accents.) The Fae are sort of immortal, reborn into new bodies shortly after they die, but what makes them unique is the way that’s incorporated into their culture. Their limitless lifespans leave them in no rush to achieve things for posterity and so instead they happily repeat stories from a romantic past when knights and rogues rescued kings and slew trolls.

More information.

Source: PC Gamer

Thursday - March 12, 2015

KoA: Reckoning - Retrospective @ IM PLAYIN

by Couchpotato, 03:26

A small UK site by the name of IM PLAYIN published a short retrospective article for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning this week. Here is a short sample of the article.

In a sea of generic role-playing games stands one that deserves much more credit for its entertainment value than it was ever given. That game is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Not only does it provide hours upon hours of gameplay, but it also has stellar combat mechanics that set it apart from other titles in the genre.

Sunday - April 20, 2014

KoA: Reckoning - 70% Off on Steam

by Couchpotato, 07:37

Steam is once again selling Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for 70% off. You can choose either the standard version, or the collectors edition with all the DLC.

The sale is good for another 35 hours. Thanks Dr. A for reminding me.Smile

The minds of New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston have combined to create Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a new role-playing game set in a world worth saving. Build the character you've always wanted and continuously evolve it to your style of play with the revolutionary Destiny system. Choose your path and battle through a master-crafted universe featuring some of the most intense, responsive, and customizable RPG combat ever.

Wednesday - February 19, 2014

KoA: Reckoning - 75% Off on Amazon

by Couchpotato, 10:36

Amazon is selling a digital bundle of Kingdoms of Amalur & DLC for 75% off.

Kingdoms of Amalur Complete Bundle

Kingdoms of Amalur Complete Bundle includes the following games:

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - The Teeth of Naros DLC Pack
Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning DLC: The Legend of Dead Kel

Steam account required for game activation and installation

Friday - January 31, 2014

KoA: Reckoning - 70% Off on Steam

by Couchpotato, 04:43

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is on sale on Steam till February 3rd. You have the option of buying the game by itself for $5.99, or the whole collection for $11.99.

The minds of New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston have combined to create Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a new role-playing game set in a world worth saving. Build the character you've always wanted and continuously evolve it to your style of play with the revolutionary Destiny system. Choose your path and battle through a master-crafted universe featuring some of the most intense, responsive, and customizable RPG combat ever.

Give your thanks to Joxer for spotting the sale.Wink

Friday - January 10, 2014

KoA: Reckoning - Retrospective @ The Rec Room

by Couchpotato, 04:36

The Rec Room has a short retrospective for Kingdoms of Amalur.

So what’s my point? Why am I wasting almost 800 words about a middling game that’s almost two years old? Well, there’s a lesson to be learned from Kingdoms of Amalur, one I hope all the developers who complain about the cost of making modern games pay attention to. 38 Studios proved to the industry that bigger isn’t always better and that constantly adding more often leads to less of a coherent whole. Amalur’s biggest failing is that it tried to do too much. It’s a sixty hour game loaded with crummy dialogue and frustrating crafting systems, burdened by a tedious interface and a presentation that feels incomplete. Had 38 Studios narrowed its vision and focused on doing just a few things and doing them well, we might remember this game and its developer very differently. After all, a new AAA game costs $59.99 whether it’s sixty hours long or twenty hours long, whether it’s written by a big name like R.A. Salvatore or some starry-eyed intern with an associate’s degree and a bunch of new ideas.

Saturday - December 14, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - No Buyers in Auction

by Couchpotato, 03:42

If you were hoping another developer would buy the Amalur franchise it seems no one was interested in spending enough to buy it from auction. Gamasutra has the details.

The trademark for Big Huge Games, along with assets and intellectual property rights for Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends, was sold to undisclosed buyers for a total gross of $320,000 during an auction of 38 Studios assets held by Heritage Global Partners this week.

No suitable buyers were found for the other assets on the auction block, including 38 Studios' internal "Helios" technology, sequel and merchandise rights to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and the partially completed MMORPG codenamed Project Copernicus.

"The Receiver did not receive acceptable offers for the remaining lots, including Project Copernicus," according to a public statement issued by Richard J. Lund, who was appointed by a Rhode Island Superior Court judge to serve as Receiver in the 38 Studios asset auction.

The auction was originally scheduled to take place November 14-15, but was delayed until December 11 due to unexpected interest from more than 20 potential buyers. Only five bidders actually took part in this week's auction, which was conducted via phone.

Last year the state of Rhode Island took possession of 38 Studios' assets after the studio filed for bankruptcy. 38 Studios still owed money on a $75 million taxpayer-backed loan from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., and the state had previously expressed interest in selling the assets to help pay back the loan. The comparatively paltry earnings from this week's auction seem unlikely to make much of a dent in that debt.

Tuesday - October 01, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - Retrospective @ The Sixth Axis

by Couchpotato, 00:24

The Sixth Axis takes a look back at Kingdoms Of Amalur and the house of ballads quest.

The Fae in Amalur are immortal but with immortality comes quite the price of freedom. The Fae have no real free will in how their lives play out, and are instead trapped in a cycle, which is even worse for those who become heroes or villains within the Fae ballads, and the House Of Ballads quest line showed a society at breaking point.

Sunday - September 22, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - IP Auction Next Month

by Couchpotato, 00:44

Those hoping for another Kingdoms of Amalur still have some hope as Strategy Informer has news the IP heads to auction next month.

Court-appointed receiver Richard Land for the defunct 38 Studios has announced Kingdoms of Amalur is finally being put under the hammer. The IP will be auctioned this month via an "Internet marketplace".

Land argues it was the "complexity of the game itself" that delayed the process. He feels good about its chances as it's all "current" in artwork, tech and concept.

Project Copernicus, the IP's MMO, is a main component of the auction. 38 Studios had teased before the enormous lore that was put together for the IP universe.

The only release Kingdoms of Amalur saw was as an RPG. It featured an impressive combat mechanic where the bulkier characters gave a certain heft to moves. Other areas were less of a draw but it scored high nonetheless. Sadly a significant patch for the RPG didn't get out in time before 38 Studios collapsed.

"The bulk of the game and intellectual property I don't believe is stale because the artwork is current, the tech used to develop the artwork is current, the concept is a current concept," said Richard Land.

Friday - August 02, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - Postmortem @ Gamasutra

by Couchpotato, 00:21

Gamasutra has posted a postmortem for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning discussing the development process, what the game did right, and what it did wrong.

Over five years ago, Big Huge Games set out to completely change the type of games we make. We switched from making real-time strategy games to role-playing games, and we started making games for consoles in addition to PCs. We made these changes for several reasons, and although profit was one of those reasons, it wasn't the only one. We wanted to do something crazy. We wanted to make a big open-world RPG -- pretty much the craziest project we could think of short of an MMO. But we're all big fans of the genre and thought we could find our niche in it, so we started our quest to convert the studio into an RPG ho use.

At first, our RPG project was named "Crucible" and was being published by THQ. We were making great progress on it, and THQ was happy enough with the progress that they purchased us outright; and we became an internal THQ studio. Around that time we switched some of the key features of the game and renamed the project "Ascendant." We were part of the THQ network of studios for a short period of time right up to the point that THQ started running out of money. Our big, juicy, unproven-in-the-genre studio was a prime target for them to try to sell.

With literally days left on the "close the doors" timer at the studio, THQ sold us to Curt Schilling's 38 Studios, which has R.A. Salvatore as "creator of worlds." It became clear pretty quickly that we would need to change the universe and some of the game features yet again to take advantage of Robert's genius. We changed the project name to "Mercury," which later was given the final shipping name of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

For those keeping track at home, in five years we were bought and sold twice and changed the name and core features of the project three times. Needless to say, it's been a long, strange trip. The rest of the postmortem will be restricted to the two and a half years we spent working on Reckoning rather than the two previous false starts.

Sunday - July 14, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - The beauty of Kingdoms of Amalur

by Couchpotato, 00:35

Well most of us here have various opinions about Kingdoms of Amalur, but a writer at VentureBeat tries to explain the beauty of the game to the readers.

There are a few games I hype up like crazy. This is one of them. I know a lot of people don’t like the “cartoony” style of it. This isn’t a childish cartoon though. It just doesn’t have realistic graphics. It confuses me that people don’t like it just because of the actual fantasy styled art direction. Fantasy is the reason I play video games, read comic books, and watch cartoons!

I only have eight hours played on Skyrim but I can easily lump the two games in the same category. They have a similar style of gameplay. I definitely like the duel-casting in Skyrim though. They’re both enormous, and I can’t stress that enough about KoA. I’ve heard the same of Skyrim and I’m sure it’s true. But I have fifty-six hours played on KoA so I can attest to that one more, for now. 

Why Do I Love It?

Well, first of all the graphics are incredible. Don’t stop reading! Of course that’s not even half of the reason, or the main reason. But graphics do matter. They’re the first thing you see, and they’re your eye-candy through every second of a game. The art was done by one of my all time favorite comic book artists, Todd McFarlane! Yeah! So awesome! And I can see the love he and the other artists put into this game man. Every single part of the world breathes life. Everything moves. Plants come to life as you walk past them. Tree leaves blow in the wind. Shadows are also always alive. I don’t want to mislead you though. Not every single plant you come across will come to life, but at least half of them do. It’s amazing.

Tuesday - May 21, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - Rhode Island Wants to Sell Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus

by Couchpotato, 00:25

We all know about the fate of 38 Studios, and their downfall after releasing KoA: Reckoning. Well now that the ashes have settled Rhode Island Wants to Sell Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus.

As one lawyer for Rhode Island makes the state's case this week against the people involved in the 38 Studios loan debacle, another is ready to sell the company's video games -- once intended as progenitors of a new industry here.

"Who knows what the value ultimately will be," said Providence lawyer Richard J. Land. "But there is interest in the assets."

The company's most-valuable assets were its intellectual property -- the drawings, designs and work related to its video games and the computer software supporting the games.

The state sued former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and 13 others in November in a separate attempt to recoup 38 Studios' $130-million debt. A hearing in that case is set for Wednesday.

Wednesday - February 27, 2013

KoA: Reckoning - A Game You Should Play

by Myrthos, 00:01

Rock Paper Shotgun have an article on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in which the author is wondering why not more people have played the game.

Amalur is impressive on a number of levels. The two most important are its distilling of the very best of an action-RPG MMO into a single-player game, and its meta-commentary on the very nature of games. But don’t be put off by either! No, really, don’t! I want to explore those two.

It’s not a surprise that the game should have so many similarities with a game like World Of Warcraft. Of the two teams that made it, 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, the former was already working on an MMO. The doomed developer, with all that money via the deals of baseballist Curt Schilling, had been developing a massive universe along with author R.A. Salvatore, with a 10,000 year history, and all the background needed to create an ongoing, online game. After 38 bought BHG, along with them came not only the Big Huge Engine, but an RPG they’d been working on for THQ. The two, like the studios, were combined. Goodness knows what either might have been, but the combination is a purely single-player RPG with the depth and breadth of an online world.

Friday - July 13, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Failed to Meet Sales Expectations, CFO Says

by Aries100, 23:29

WPRI is reporing that according to CFO Richard Wester and COO William Thomas KOA: Reckoning needed to sell at least 2 million copies [in total] before 38 Studios would make any money. This info was revealed in a hearing held in a Delaware Courthouse where they met with the creditors for 38 Studios, the company behind the game. Link to WPRI:

A relevant quote:

Wester estimated "Reckoning" has sold 1.3 million copies so far, which he said failed to meet 38 Studios' internal projections even though it beat Electronic Arts' more conservative forecast. Each copy sold for an average of about $50, and the company spent $30 million developing the game over 30 months, Thomas said. "I don't believe the company would see any more cash" from future sales of "Reckoning," Wester said. "If it gets up around 2 million, then I think you're at a point where [38 Studios] potentially will start to see some cash come in." Most games achieve 80% of their all-time sales during their first three months on the market, Thomas added.

KoA: Reckoning - EA would like to publish sequel

by Aries100, 23:19

Via an interview at Game Informer we learn that EA would like to publish a sequel to KO:A game made bu Big Huge Games. A transcript of the interview that Game Informer made with Frank Gibeau, EA Labels President, can be found at Video Gamer which is where the relevant quote will be taken from:

Link to Videogamer: http://www.videogamer.com/xbox360/kingdoms_of_amalur_reckoning/news/

"I think it's unfortunate how everything worked out [for 38 Studios]," said Gibeau. "At the end of the day we saw a lot of creativity and vision in the team that Curt [Schilling] put together. We thought the game was terrific. It reviewed well. "We built a good business there and hope there's a sequel to it someday. We'd love to be a partner for that." Pre-production on a sequel was said to be under way prior to the collapse of 38 Studios. The Kingdoms of Amalur IP remains in the possession of 38 Studios, though it's been rumoured that Big Huge Games may start again and create a spiritual sequel using the same ideas and themes that made Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning a 1.2 million unit success.

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - May 28, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Sequel Snippets

by Dhruin, 23:09

We know from the Amalur forums before everything exploded that Big Huge Games had started pre-production on KoA: Reckoning 2, so this post at Joystiq about the potential sequel comes as no surprise. That said, they do have some developer comments that are an interesting read:

Elements tested for the sequel were higher graphics quality across the board, no loading screens between zones, expanded and improved combat animations, fewer branching quests and greater effect on the world by players.    

Not sure they'd want fewer branching quests, but there you go. On the money question:

Former BHG employees repeatedly tell Joystiq that 38 Rhode Island did give info and guidance about the Amalur IP, but it didn't produce any assets for Reckoning. In terms of the day-to-day work, the Rhode Island team "didn't work on it at all."

"Reckoning was developed with EA publishing money, NOT Rhode Island tax dollars," a former BHG employee told us. "It had nothing to do with the $50 million dollars from RI. That money went directly to the MMO project."

Wednesday - May 23, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - IP Worth $20M?

by Dhruin, 22:15

Joystiq turned to analyst Michael Pachter for an estimate of the Amalur IP value should the company go under - $20M is the answer, apparently, although I'd take that with a massive grain of salt:

The value of 38 Studios' Amalur intellectual property is estimated to be in the range of $20 million. We asked Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter for his valuation following confirmation of layoffs at the studio and coverage of 38 Studios employees flocking to Turbine's recruitment drive in Providence last night.

"Nobody is buying MMOs after Star Wars fizzled. I think value is low, probably $20 million or so," Pachter said. "There is just no demand for game assets right now, as THQ proved when it tried to sell the Warhammer MMO. I think [Electronic Arts] could step in, since they are the publisher, so you might see some alternative way to get 38 some bridge financing."

Tuesday - May 01, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Teeth of Naros Reviews

by Dhruin, 12:43

Time to round up a small collection of Teeth of Naros reviews for Amalur. Saying the story is better than the main game but the questing is a bit disappointing, Destructoid goes for 7/10:

Just like in "The Legend of Dead Kel," you'll be able to continue questing after completing the main storyline in "Teeth of Naros" which is a nice touch of Reckoning's DLC, but these quests aren't as good this time around. The handful of small sidequests on offer mostly involve fetch quests or running around a lot, and while a few of them are slightly funny, they are nowhere near as entertaining as building your own keep in "Dead Kel."

It's also a bit confusing what audience "Teeth of Naros" is targeted at. You can access the new content early on, but most of the loot at level 40 is better than what you find in the end-game with the same character level. I didn't have a save game from this early in the game to compare how much the loot scales with your level, but knowing that you can find some of the best items in this piece of DLC, I would never even think of entering it before I reached level 40 again in another playthrough. Then again, what would you use the items for if you've already finished both Reckoning and "Dead Kel"?

Inside Gaming Daily - 8.5/10

N4G - 6.7/10

MSXboxWorld - 8.5/10

Controller Online - 9/10

Sunday - April 29, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Visionaries Q&A: Ken Rolston

by Dhruin, 10:49

Catching up on a couple of items, here's a community interview with Ken Rolston from the Amalur website:

We know that new tech constantly pushes forward the games industry and changes how developers create RPGs. But aside from those kind of tangible improvements, where and how did the RPG genre improve, change, and mature? And what have been some of the more important reasons as to why the genre did move in the direction it has? – By Goatrek

Ken: I could probably write a couple doctoral theses on that topic.

Off the top of my head, I can think of four major developments in CRPGs (Computer Role Playing Games). About two of them—MMORPGs and BioWare narrative games—I can't speak as a developer.

About the other two—freeform-open-world RPGs and action-combat RPGs—I have some insight.

The freeform aspect of CRPGs was prefigured in tabletop and LARP gaming, and followed a logical evolution into CRPGs. The open-world aspect of CRPGs was the result of Bethsoft's [Bethesda Software] development of engines that could produce vast, procedural worlds, and the tools to make the titanic boatloads of content to fill those worlds (relatively) easily.

The long-neglected and somewhat underdeveloped state of RPG combat looked like an opportunity—in particular, on consoles, which already had lots of models of compelling action combat—which Reckoning was designed to exploit.

Why does the RPG genre move in certain directions? Because the genre moves in the direction of underserved player fantasies and desires. First, someone has to identify an underserved player fantasy or desire; then, someone has to figure out how to make systems, engines, and tools that can create the CRPGs. And then someone has to figure out how to get the message and product into the minds and hands of the gamers. 

Sunday - April 22, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Teeth of Naros Review @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 00:07

The latest Amalur DLC, Teeth of Naros, has been reviewed at GameBanshee. The aesthetic and world design for the new areas is praised but reviewer Eric Schwarz wasn't impressed with the quests:

At the same time, "Teeth of Naros" is content to simply tread water when it comes to its quest design and gameplay. If you can pick a standard MMO quest trope, "Teeth of Naros" has it. Fetch quests, kill-the-monster quests, and so on are all present, and while the original game often turned these basic concepts around by providing twists in story and gameplay, they're played completely straight in "Teeth of Naros." At its worst, I honestly just wanted to stop playing, rather than trudge through another generic cave dungeon with monster closets every twenty feet.

There are some definite moments of levity, originality and playfulness that appear from time to time. The Kollossae's version of "debate", for instance, follows a might-is-right philosophy that sees questions on life, the universe and everything answered by the one with the sharpest steel, and I came across a mad hermit in Idylla's sewer system who had some rather curious things to say. The problem is that for every five minutes of interesting, entertaining and clever things going on, there's an hour of boring fetch quests, or repetitive and grindy combat against the same three enemies. There's even a single dungeon the game makes you run through four times, with the exact same enemies at the exact same intervals. Yes, four times. 

Friday - April 20, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Teeth of Naros Released

by Dhruin, 01:26

I'm late with this one, because I kept prioritising other newsbits . The Teeth of Naros DLC for Reckoning launched during the week:

      Teeth of Naros - Launches Today!

Hi everyone,

Reckoning's second DLC Teeth of Naros lauches today, so we're opening this thread to share info and updates with you throughout the day. Also, if you have any issues getting the DLC, we ask that you please post them here.

Each platform has their own DLC release schedule, so we'll update this thread with links as we get them. (If you see a link before we do, please feel free to share it!)

Also, PS3 users please note that you should be prompted to download a PS3 trophies update for Reckoning prior to getting the DLC.

Where to get Teeth of Naros

XBox Live (North America)

Wednesday - April 11, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Legend of Dead Kel DLC Review @ GameSpy

by Dhruin, 02:02

The first Amalur paid DLC The Legend of Dead Kel has been reviewed at GameSpy for a score of 4/5. A "big, fresh area" is praised but "still too easy" is the major con:

Not just pirates, but zombie pirates. I rolled my eyes when the Legend of Dead Kel was announced awhile back and half expected to run into glimmering vampires, robots, and Justin Bieber in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's first DLC. I even anticipated writing a first paragraph so contemptuous that you, the reader, would be sure to picture the smug look I'd be wearing. What I didn't see coming was how much I would enjoy traveling to the new continent of Gallows End and hunting down the dread undead pirate Kel. I'm still not sure any of it jives with the tone of the rest of Reckoning's lore, but I really don't care, because Legend of Dead Kel is my favorite adventure yet in the Kingdoms of Amalur.

Monday - April 09, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Teeth of Naros Concept Art

KoA: Reckoning - Postmortem Excerpts @ Gamasutra

by Dhruin, 22:33

Also at Gamasutra are some excerpts from a post-mortem of Reckoning in the April edition of Developer magazine. We don't get to discover much from these snippets but here's a bit on the time spent on demos:

Being a brand-new IP, we were aware we couldn’t get away with a single demo at E3 and a few dozen screenshots and videos. We knew we had to get our awareness up so people would start paying attention to our game. Marketing decided that the best way to do that was show the press as many different things about the game as possible over a very long period of time.

I’m trying to remember the number of demos we had to create over the development cycle of Reckoning, and I honestly end up losing count. Doing a demo for us was a pretty major undertaking, like it is for almost everyone in the business. You’re basically taking content and systems that were meant to be first or second pass at a certain point in the schedule and bump it all up to shippable quality long before it’s supposed to be shippable quality. This results in a lot of work that is just thrown out because the real content and the real systems end up changing a few weeks or months later. And there is nothing quite as frustrating as working overtime on something that you know is just going to be seen once and then thrown away.

The consumer demo was another hurdle to overcome. There was no way we were going to be able to complete work on the game and create a downloadable demo in parallel. We just didn’t have the time. In the end, we had to outsource the demo, and they had to build something with old code and not a lot of time. The result was a buggy experience, but still an experience that a lot of fans enjoyed.

Friday - April 06, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Player Housing

by Dhruin, 10:00

The Reckoning site has a blog entry from Content Designer Kitty Hughes, describing the development of player housing in the game:

When building a player home, it helps me to think of it in layers. I think of it in terms of either building layers up, or tearing layers down. I decided to build player homes from their final upgrades and work backwards. This allows me to nail down absolutely everything I want in the space first, and strip away pieces layer by layer until I feel comfortable with the basic layout you’ll experience when you first acquire the home.

For those who are wondering exactly what I mean when I say “space,” this is how we refer to an individual area of the game (examples would be a tavern, a dungeon, or a player home). Basically, when you see a loading screen in a game, it is a sign you are loading into another “space” in the game. This can also be referred to as a “zone” in some games, and when loading into another zone that can often be referred to as “zoning.”

Thursday - April 05, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Teeth of Naros 'Expansion' Announced

by Dhruin, 00:33

EA and 38 Studios have announced a downloadable 'expansion' (their words) for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, titled Teeth of Naros. The expansion will offer a new city, 20 quests, 18 unique weapons and more:


Teeth of Naros Introduces Players to a Mysterious Race, an All-New City and Epic New Adventures
GUILDFORD, UK – APRIL 4, 2012 – Glimpse into the future of Amalur, as Electronic Arts Inc., 38 Studios, and Big Huge Games unveil Teeth of Naros™, the second downloadable content (DLC) pack for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™. Players will journey through a forgotten land called the Teeth of Naros, a harsh environment named after an ancient troll god. In this new journey players will encounter the Kollossae, a devout race of giants, and uncover the mysteries of their faith. Teeth of Naros will be available starting on April 17,2012 on Xbox Live, PlayStation®Network, Origin™ and Steam.

The Teeth of Naros DLC and the journey through the mysterious land will feature:
· A New City – Explore the city of Idylla, which magically floats in the sky above the Teeth of Naros featuring more than 20 side quests, multiple dungeons and a mysterious new race
· New Enemies and Dungeons – Players will take part in a crucible of faith and tribulation with new dangers and enemies as they journey through five enormous new dungeons
· New Twists of Fate and Items - Three new Twists of Fate, nine new armor sets, six new shields and 18 new unique weapons for players to choose from as they journey through this new world


Monday - March 26, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review @ PC Gamer

by Dhruin, 21:16

KoA: Reckoning has been reviewed at PC Gamer. The score is a modest 74% because of "generic world design and familiar story":

For a character whose greatest talent is the ability to change his own fate, you make few decisions with any lasting consequences. Big decisions at the end of faction questlines offer the illusion of choice, but without changing the world in a meaningful way. Beyond wiping out its wildlife, there aren’t many opportunities to leave your mark on Amalur. There’s something rigid and mechanical about the way quests are dished out in clumps, too. I found myself clearing zones as I would in an MMO, turning in batches of completed missions as fast as possible so I could quickly move on and see something new.

Above all, Kingdoms of Amalur is too long. With a faster main quest and the wildlife-slaying filler quests removed, the scenery would change faster and progression feel less like a grind. More care could have been taken in making each area feel interesting. The Faeland’s verdant forests, sunny plains and deserts are pretty, but always derivative. It just doesn’t feel like a place where people live, and there’s no sense of discovery to exploring its lands.

Tuesday - March 20, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Legend of Dead Kel DLC Launches

by Dhruin, 22:42

EA sends word that the KoA: Reckoning DLC The Legend of Dead Kel is now available:


The mysterious and magical new world of Amalur expands! Electronic Arts, 38 Studios, and Big Huge Games today released the first downloadable content (DLC) pack for award-winning Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™, titled The Legend of Dead Kel™ to fans everywhere. The extended gameplay features an enthralling tale of intrigue, danger and dark magic on the island of Gallows End with mysterious characters, a host of new side quests, treacherous battles with new enemies and exciting new challenges. The Legend of Dead Kel gives players access to Gallows End, a gigantic new landmass to explore where players can claim ownership of a vast personal estate and experience new weapons, Twists of Fate and other perks against new enemies. The Legend of Dead Kel is available starting today on Xbox LIVE®, PlayStation®Network, Origin™ and Steam.


Friday - March 16, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Legend of Dead Kel Trailer

Wednesday - March 07, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - "Two thirds played on easy"

by Dhruin, 21:02

An interesting insight into Reckoning with Big Huge Games' Michael Dawe telling GDC that "two-thirds of players played on easy". Lack of challenge has been one of the common complaints about the game but it seems this was quite deliberate:

“How do you balance a game for difficulty that could be 3 hours long if you’re just doing the main quest or 200 hundred hours long if you’re doing everything?”

“It’s not a simple answer,” said Dawe, “In our playtests when we asked how difficult they thought the game was... it’s sort of about a 4 on the 1 to 10 scale,” which according to the game’s Lead Designer was about right.

“It turns out about two-thirds of our players played on the easiest difficulty,” he confessed, “So I’m not going to say to you that you need to make the game easier or that you need to make it harder, but you need to think about who’s going to play your game.”

Monday - March 05, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup # 7

by Aries100, 23:56

More reviews have been forthcoming for this game. I'll quote from two of them and list the others.

Montreal Mirror, no score, has a review.  A quote about the leveling up:

Although an important part of Reckoning, levelling up isn’t all that satisfying. The best thing about it is that it lets you change your avatar’s fate, which is essentially a chosen class that opens up to you depending on where you allot your level up points. Reckoning is the sort of game where the scope is far less daunting than it initially seems. The quests are compressed in the same hot spots, and there are enough experience points to broadly improve your avatar’s skills without needing to concentrate on specific attributes. At the very least, your avatar’s transition from corpse on a slab to dexterous fighter capable of vanquishing brutes with fatalities (!) is brisk.

Chronicle Herald, no score, also reviewed the game. A quote about the narrative:

The narrative about a mysterious hero who suddenly finds himself as the unlikely lynchpin in a world-spanning conflict is nothing that hasn’t been done in other games, but the storyline in Reckoning finds a decent home walking the line between the epic and the emotional. Players are free to customize their character as they progress along archetypical paths of a warrior, rogue or mage.

These site also have reviews:

The Sixth Axix, 7/10

Bay of Plenty Times, 3/5

Gaming Age, B+

GGS Gamer, Worth a Go

Tech Goondu

Hollywood Chicago, no score

Kentucky.com, 8/10

PC Advisor, 4/5

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - March 01, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Legend of Dead Kel Preview @ IGN

by Dhruin, 20:18

IGN has previewed Reckoning's first DLC, The Legend of Dead Kel with some interesting comments. Apparently the DLC runs to around four hours and here's a snip:

The island itself is as interesting a character as any other area of Amalur. Its pirate theme is prevalent without becoming overwhelming and cheesy. There is a sharp contrast between a bleak pirate fortress and a beautiful, colorful cave, for instance.

The real Achilles heel of The Legend of Dead Kel is Dead Kel himself. Imagine a melodramatic LeChuck who's missing his funny bone. He's a forgettable villain whose cartoonish, senseless goals are established poorly, even within the small scale of the story. 

KoA: Reckoning - Zero Punctuation Review

by Dhruin, 20:08

I figured someone would send in Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation review of Reckoning, so here it is.

Wednesday - February 29, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - DLC Legend of Dead Kel Announced

by Aries100, 21:33

From GameBanshee comes news that a new DLC, Called Legend of Kel,  will be released on March 20th 2012 for the PC, (Origin and Steam), Xbox 360 (Xbox Live) and PS3 (PSN). The DLC will  feature new Twist of Fates, new enemy types, items, new landmass to the game's world, as well as new quests. A quote:

The Legend of Dead Kel DLC and the story of Gallows End will feature:

• An Epic New Questline – The Legend of Dead Kel is only part of the story of Gallows End. It intertwines with numerous side quests, multiple dungeons to explore and a colorful cast of characters

• New Enemies, Dungeons, Items – Multiple new enemies and enemy variants, a new dungeon type: Dverga Fastings, three new Twists of Fate, eight new armor sets, eight new shields and 18 new unique weapons

• The Ultimate Player Housing – Gravehal Keep is more than just player housing, it's a massive estate with multiple buildings and a full retinue of retainers, each with their own back stories, side quests, perks and quirks

• Tons more to Explore – The Legend of Dead Kel DLC adds in more than 15% of additional land to traverse and explore in the already massively expansive world that is Amalur

As you can see this is a story-based DLC and it'll cost money as far as I can tell.

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - February 22, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup # 6

by Aries100, 22:33

More reviews has been forthcoming for this game. I'll quote from two of them and list the rest:

Forbes has a scoreless 4 page review of the game -  but notes is an incredibly fun rpg.
A quote about the story and quests:

Meanwhile, the quests are diverse enough to keep things interesting, and you can finish them at will. Different sorts of quests are sorted out in your quest panel. You have main quests, side quests, tasks, and faction quests. This makes it really easy to keep track of each mission. It’s easy to see where each location is on the map, so you can finish them regionally if you want, or work on a task as you complete a faction quest or two. One problem with a lot of RPGs is that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized. This is taken care of nicely with the quest system in Reckoning. The inclusion of fast travel keeps the pacing at a nice clip.

Game Industry News 4/5

As far as open worlds go, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has a pretty large one, but confined at the same time. This isn't like Skyrim where if you see it, you can go there. In Amalur, anything more than a foot tall in game will act as an unscalable barrier. The same is true for drops. There are a few ledges that are meant to be jumped from, but most, again act as barriers. The world itself within the barriers, however, has much to offer. Stray from the main storyline and you find plenty of interesting side quests and some very compelling factions to join. Completing these quests not only offer great experience, but some give you irreplaceable rewards and benefits, not to mention the interesting story you get to play though during the quests themselves.

Other reviews can be found at these sites:

Total Playstation 8.5/10

MMGN 9.0/10

Brutal Gamer 8.0/10

ZTGD 9.3/10

Techonrati, no score

Complex 8/10

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - February 20, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Was the Opening Wrong?

by Aries100, 21:04

VG247 has penned an editorial titled Getting on the Wrong Foot: Reckoning's Dire Opening. The author seems to think that people will no continue playing this game because ofhow the game begins - a relevant quote:

At the very beginning of the game, you’re given a very small number of abilities, which gives you a chance to learn the basics of blocking and dodging, melee and ranged, and decide which options work best for you. This is important, as the number of choices form here on in are staggering, but again, it’s not representative of the mid or end-game – or even a few hours down the track – to the game’s detriment. 38 Studios wants you to learn through playing what weapons and skills suit you, rather than pick from pre-determined classes, but the end result is that every weapon and skill initially feels largely the same. At this point it’s ridiculously easy to waste your skill points on completely unsuitable lines of progression, and the existence of Fateweavers, which allow complete respecs (for a fee which rapidly becomes unaffordable once your past a point at which you really should know better) suggests the developer was aware of this problem.

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - Matt Chat Review

by Dhruin, 20:47

Matt Barton has reviewed Reckoning in his latest Matt Chat video. I haven't watched it but the blurb sounds pretty positive:

Hi, folks! I'm back this week with another retrospective--or rather, a review of a new action-RPG called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I usually don't like this genre, but this time the developers have done a good job uniting action with strategy. Above all, else, I like the speed of this game and the excellent control you have over the character. R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane, and Ken Rolston have done some good work here.

Friday - February 17, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Trailer for A New World and an Interview

by Aries100, 23:29

A trailer from 38 Studios called A new World can be found at Youtube. It is part 1 in a series for this game; Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane and Ken Rolston talks about the story, the combat and the game world and much effort it took them to create all of this in the game.

In other KO:A news, an interview with Curt Schilling can be found on the Conan O'Brian show.

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - The Most Disappointing Game Ever

by Dhruin, 22:54

Digitally Downloaded doesnt think Reckoning is a bad game - but they do think it's the "dictionary definition of disappointing". The score is 4/5 and here's a sample:

Rolson doesn’t escape criticism either. He’s envisioned a big world, but a world of corridors. The massive open plains of Skyrim are almost non-existent. The room to deviate from the beautifully cobbled pathways is limited. There’s a lot of sidequests, but they’re almost always glorified fetch quests, and I’d argue they’re anything but “sidequests” – a slow levelling system means you’re going to have to complete a lot of them if you want to make it through the more difficult stuff later in the game. 

Thursday - February 16, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup # 5

by Aries100, 00:37

More reviews keep coming for this game. I'll quote from two of them and list the others.

Action Trip  - 7.1/10

In short, we are not too happy with Amalur. We are glad that the player is given freedom in almost every possible way when it comes to shaping a character. There are a lot of things you can do and the areas are so vast you can easily get lost in them (which is a good thing, of course). The combat is well-implemented and each battle is exciting and challenging. Ultimately though, it seems the developers preferred giving us quantity rather than quality. We'd rather have a modest, small world rather than a world that's too large a crammed with generic content. We wanted characters we cared about, not a bunch of indifferent quest-givers

Game Jar  - 7.5/10

There are some obvious faults with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning; some dull dialogue, often uninteresting side-quests, and a slightly dated menu/inventory screen, but it’s high-contrast visuals, customisation and extremely large play-time (200+ hours if you want it to be) definitely make it worth trying. If you thought Fable 3 was a washout, this could be its saviour, and if you’re new to RPGs the easy to understand combat, questing and levelling could help you find your role-playing feet.


Xbox360Achievements - 72/100

Gameshark - C+

MTV Multiplayer - no score

SPOnG - 89%

Gadget Review 3.5/5

Games.on.net 3/5

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - February 15, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Interview and Upcoming Sequel

by Aries100, 23:30

From CBS Sports comes an interview with Curt Schilling, the CEO of 38 Studios, the studio behind this game.  He reveals that it was his unhappiness with Everquest 2 was what drove him to make 38 Studios:

Schilling got serious about it several years later. He recalled feeling disappointed by "EverQuest II," the sequel released in late 2004 to the popular multiplayer online game. Irked by certain elements, he'd wonder: "What were they thinking?"While playing online with several developers from Sony, which produced the game, Schilling would muse about hatching his own startup. "You do that, I'll definitely join your company," they'd tell him.They didn't quite believe him when he later actually offered them jobs. In October 2006, the business launched with 11 employees. Today, 38 Studios -- as in his uniform number -- has nearly 400.

Curt Schilling, the CEO for this game, was on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show. When asked, if there'll be a sequel for the game, he answered, according to Gamespot:

Fallon remarked, "I bet there's gonna be a sequel," to which Schilling responded, "Oh yeah." Schilling went on to say, "[38 Studios] was built to be something that stays around and becomes huge.

Source: GameBanshee

Tuesday - February 14, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup # 4

by Aries100, 19:31

More reviews keep coming for this game. I'll quote from two of them and list the others:

Ten Ton Hammer review 90/100 is up first: 

As for the other half of Reckoning’s patented anti-grind formula, Big Huge has put together a surprisingly varied slate of quests. While many quests were accessible and familiar to RPG or MMO players, few ventured into the droll territory of traditional fetch or kill-x-troll-shamans quests, and the ones that do keep you moving forward through Amalur’s gorgeous and varied landscape enough that you probably won’t notice.

Then we have Elder Geek with a score of 3/5 and a comment of Worth Trying.  A quote:

Once you’re let loose into the world, it’s up to you to decide how you want to play Amalur. You can tackle the main storyline or you can take on some of the hundreds of side quests. While the entire world is open to you, each region is zoned like an MMO with different level monsters existing in each region. You are free to explore where you want, but in all likelihood, the story and your skill level will determine your haunting and hunting grounds. Aside from wanting to complete some missed side quests, you won’t be doing much backtracking across older zones.

Dealspwn also has a review 8/10

Azcentral has a review too - no score

Stuff.co.nz has a review as well 8/10

Hooked Gamers also has a review 9.0/10

And we close with

Pocket Lint 4/5

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - The most accessible RPG ever @ CNET

by Aries100, 15:39

Three of CNET's editors, Dan Ackermann, Scott Stein, Jeff Bakalar have joined together to pen an article on this theme. Here's Scott Stein's take on it:

Amalur gets the most important part right: the game is, indeed, easier and more direct in its pick-up-and-play style than any RPG I've recently played outside of Zelda. The action feels like any hack-and-slash game, but that's far preferable to any sense of simulated combat where I tend to get lost in the weeds. The world, with its various main and subquests, unfolds in a labyrinth of subplots. The very, very deep lore, crafted by a fantasy novelist R.A. Salvatore, has problems escaping its own genre force field. Enthusiasts may not mind, but after so many conversations with random townsfolk about the epic history of the Fae, my eyes started to glaze over. For once, I'd prefer a game that somehow balanced its epic lore encyclopedias with a compelling dramatic pull in the here and now (the original Star Wars game does the best job in that regard, perhaps because much of the tangled lore hadn't been written yet). Reckoning succeeded in sucking me in with its interface and design, not by its strength of storytelling.

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - A world without Reckoning @ Gamasutra

by Aries100, 13:52

GamaSutra has an opinion piece penned by Eric Schwarz from GameBanshee.  Entitled A world without Reckoning he gives his opinion on the game's loot system, as well as other mechanisms in the game. A quote:

This illusion of size is slowly diminished the longer the game goes on - not due to growing familiarity with the world or a recognition that it just isn't quite as big as it looks, but instead, due to the general lack of actual content populating it. The towns and cities that players visit are soon revealed to only have two or three quests to complete, each of them providing about 5-30 minutes of gameplay (which is often just running from points A to B); moreover, once you've completed a task in a given location, it's time to move on to the next, never to return - in most cases, literally.

And a quote from the conclusion:

For what it's worth, I do want to stress - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a very fun game, beautiful, and has some excellent game mechanics. However, as much as I want to love it, the sheer size of the game has a number of pitfalls to it. The world, being as massive as it is, is necessarily empty and devoid of unique, interesting content, and the movement through the game from one zone to the next only serves to reinforce just how fleeting and inconsequential that unique content actually is. 

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - February 13, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review @ GameBanshee

by Aries100, 21:23

GameBanshee's Eric Schwarz has penned a review for this game. No score is given in this   four page review. A quote from the beginning of the review:

However, in having such defined entertainment industry figures involved, Reckoning can come across a little bit less like a coherent product and a bit more like a big mixing bowl of ideas - often great ones, to be sure, but Reckoning isn't quite the "dream team" product it's been made out to be by its marketing campaign. As much as you might like or dislike Todd McFarlane's artwork, for instance, whether it actually meshes with the game universe is a matter of debate, and the vestiges of Elder Scrolls gameplay included also don't quite feel as developed as they could otherwise. It's an interesting mix, but perhaps not the most consistent one.

A quote from a little later:

While the main and faction quests are generally quite engaging and well-written, however, Reckoning suffers due to its sheer size. The game draws much from modern MMORPGs, and as a result, its massive world is focused heavily around fighting through excessive numbers of filler enemies, picking up random loot (99% of which is junk), and performing side-quests which rarely go beyond your typical FedEx and monster slaughter models. There are some definite exceptions, and the writing is occasionally entertaining enough to give enjoyable context, but after the first few hours these side-quests all tend to blur together and begin to lose meaning. The bulk of the game's 100ish hours is made up of doing these side-quests and trekking across the vast, repetitive world of Amalur, and, while it's able to keep itself going for a while, about 30 hours in I was already getting tired.

And  a quote about the game's Destiny cards:

The final piece of the puzzle is the game's Destiny cards. As I mentioned, Reckoning doesn't have any attributes or classes, but Destinies sort of fill the niche by providing you with passive bonuses. Destinies unlock based both on your level and your investment into the different skill trees, so a jack-of-all-trades will get appropriate bonuses, but won't ever have quite has high a mana pool as a dedicated sorcerer or as big a damage bonus as a straight-up fighter. Combined with the cheap and freely-available respec options, Reckoning gives you a lot of choices, but wisely avoids forcing you into them for the entire game should you change your mind about your play-style.

And a quote from the conclusion:

Reckoning is one of the strongest mainstream RPGs in some time when it comes to its core mechanics, and brings together some excellent combat with a genuinely interesting, if somewhat generic, fantasy universe. However, its own sheer size gets in the way of it achieving its potential, with too many filler quests, and too much time spent running around empty expanses of terrain hunting down level-scaled loot. If you can force yourself to stick to the main storyline and the faction quests, Kingdoms of Amalur provides a great 40 or so hours of gameplay that fares far better than most other open-world RPGs. I just wish it wasn't wrapped up with an extra 60-odd hours of less-than-stellar content.

Source: GameBanshee

Saturday - February 11, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup # 3

by Aries100, 21:26

More reviews has been coming for this game. I'll quote from two of them and list the others.

Digital Spy 5/5

Outside of this feature, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning still offers more creative freedom than most games of its kind, allowing players to mix and match attributes and align themselves with a range of different factions. Of course, there is no shortage of traditional RPG mechanics either. There's the levelling up grind, talent trees to scale, and new abilities to unlock. You might even feel like you've wandering into Skyrim when gathering ingredients for alchemy or jacking open a chest with a lockpic

Metro 7/10

It’s accessible and enjoyably violent, but extremely easy to control. Although the balance seems perfect at first, a few hours in you realise it has evolved as far as it's going to and no matter how many hundreds of hours of gameplay might be ahead of you the combat is staying where it is. Ranged fighting in particular is so automated it might as well be a quick time event, and the stealth attacks are hardly any more complicated.

Daily Echo 8/10

Softpedia 9/10

PSX Extreme 7.7/10

Evil Source Gaming 8.8/10

Source: GameBanshee

Friday - February 10, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Eurogamer

by Aries100, 21:49

Eurogamer has an interview with Ian Frazier,  lead designer for this game. They talk about the possibility for a sequel. As always, it comes down to sales as well as reviews:

But even if Reckoning fails to set tills alight, there may still be hope.  "It comes down to units sold at the end of the day, but it's complicated," he said. "If the game doesn't sell that many copies but the critical reception is really good, then our publisher might be like, well, it was the first in a new franchise, we're going to take a bet and sign you up for another one.  If the sales are really good you're pretty much set no matter what. There's a pretty big sliding scale there.

In other KO:A news a dlc featuring weapons and armour has been released. Here's a quote from Gamebanshee about this dlc:

Steam and Origin bundle them all together for $4.99, while Xbox Live and PSN feature them as separate Might, Finesse, and Sorcery packs for $3 a piece.

A quote from Steam about what's in this dlc-pack:

Weapons & Armor Bundle Pack Includes:Reckoning Sorcery Bonus Pack

Equip your hero with a unique selection of Sorcery-enhancing gear. Includes the unique armor set "Pensive Robes", a unique helm, talisman, and three unique weapons to boost your magic attack damage, magic resistance, and mana regeneration skills.

Reckoning Might Bonus Pack

Equip your hero with a unique selection of Might-enhancing gear. Includes the unique armor set "Vigilant Mail", a unique helm, shield, and three unique weapons to boost your damage resistance, health, and attack damage.

Reckoning Finesse Bonus Pack

Equip your hero with a unique selection of Finesse-enhancing gear. This pack includes the unique armor set "Imminent Armor", a unique helm, shield, and three unique weapons to boost your critical attack damage, evasion, and stealth skills.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - February 09, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Reviews @ RPS, Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 20:49

While I put together another Reckoning roundup, I'll post the Rock, Paper, Shotgun review because I'm sure many readers are fans.

Jim Rossignol calls it "generous but uninspired" but also "surprisingly compelling":

I think it’s important, at this final-third-of-review stage in the proceedings, to point out that I’ve found Amalur surprisingly compelling. It’s a sugary, guilty sort of compulsion, though, because Amalur’s formula is one that has ultimately entangled the part of me that wants to see the next pleasing monster design, or the next level of magic powers. The delightful contrast of stabbing someone with razor-fast daggers versus clubbing them to death with a half-tonne battle-hammer is good too, but what it does not offer is anything with serious meat. No grand vision, no technical triumph, no opera.

Despite the open structure, it’s not really providing much for the digital explorer or the mystery-hungry reader. There is no pretension to a true sandbox, let alone any kind of living world. From a purely aesthetic point of view, the series of enclosed valleys it is guiding me through display none of the majesty of Skyrim’s frozen peaks, while the quests and over-arching script interest me a fraction as much as almost any other seriously conversation-heavy RPG I can think of. The overall visual fidelity often disappoints, too: after The Witcher 2′s artfulness, the dead-eyed (but still enormously friendly and characterful) mannequins of Amalur do not impress my inner graphics-card purchaser.

...and let's toss in Worthplaying's review with a score of 8/10:

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an ambitious RPG that mostly delivers on its promise. The main quest is as lengthy as RPGs of yesteryear, while the amount and variety of quests bring an MMO flow to a single-player experience. The story is interesting, even if it lacks elements that people have come to expect, like a morality system. The graphics and sound are flawed but are more than acceptable this late in the console life cycle. For those looking for a deep action game or a more hands-on RPG experience, Reckoning fits the bill perfectly. For those recovering from — or still in the middle of — Skyrim, be warned that this game is just as deep.

Wednesday - February 08, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup #2

by Dhruin, 07:35

Right, another collection of Reckoning reviews. It seems to settling in around 8/10, with the occasional outlier. The combat is universally praised - and the quests and dialogue are not.

GameSpot - 7.5/10. "Top-notch combat" but "Generic story and characters, generic world generic quests":

Of course, RPGs are about more than just swinging swords. The best of them aren't just games--they're worlds, in which unusual people mill about, inviting you into their homes and telling you of unimaginable treasures protected by unimaginable monsters. It's here that Kingdoms of Amalur falters. Amalur is nice enough to look at, and there are lots of things to do there. But each thing you do is pretty much like the last thing you did. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you stumble upon a coven of cannibals and have telepathic conversations with a dog. In Mass Effect 2, you explore the painful past of a troubled young woman and witness the ultimate conflict between mother and daughter. In Kingdoms of Amalur, you kill stuff and listen to a bunch of nondescript characters spout line after line of unexceptional fantasy lore. There's so much talking, so much effort put into all this dialogue. And yet Amalur never develops an identity in spite of it all. There's a lot of tell, but not a whole lot of show. 

IncGamers - 9/10:

As a first outing, it's worth noting that the world of Amalur is rather impressive. Its layout isn't the most ambitious, but is deceptively large and diverse. You'll wallow across dry-lands, enjoy the freshness of forests, all the while noticing the little differences that imbue a sense of personality. A clever use of colour highlights you're entrance to new terrain, each shift providing a breathtaking contrast that forces you to stare a little longer than you probably should. From luscious greens to autumnal reds, Reckoning oozes beauty.

Destructoid - 8/10:

At its heart, Kingdoms of Amalur doesn't offer much that hasn't been seen before. Earning gold to buy more armor and weapons, performing quests for experience, battling monsters and growing one's skills to become a godlike master of war -- these are all things we've experienced a dozen times before. However, never before has a power fantasy been delivered in such a direct way. Kingdoms of Amalur doesn't waste time taking things slow; it doesn't let too much waffling get in the way of acquiring more gold, more experience, more loot and more skills. While there's something faintly sterile and alienating about Reckoning's world, the focused purity of its intentions is reason enough to keep playing. You'll want that new magic helmet because it looks cool and will give you more health, not because you care very much about using it to save the city. The game is all about you -- how tough you feel, and how bad your ass is. 

CVG - 7.8/10. Despite the great combat, ranged combat sucks, as you probably saw from the demo:

It's not all gold. If 38 Studios can school the Bethesda boys about sword-on-head action, they get their ass handed to them the second they step onto the target range. Controlled via auto-aim, Reckoning's long-distance murdering is a tepid affair. As long as you can press a button, you can win.

For the game to put such emphasis on practical swordplay only to steal control for prospective archers and mages is pretty bizarre. Investing in either skill tree ups projectile number and strength, but never delivers a single thrill.

G4TV - 2.5/5. The lowest score yet, G4TV found the "turgid storytelling" overwhelmed the "excellent combat design":


Such a story brilliantly and cleverly cuts to the heart of the unstable narrative that defines RPG’s, where the player, through choices and personal character development, shapes the story as he plays the game. This concept of behavior affecting change – and the existential weight attached to it – is the allure many games, even though many invariably fail to exploit the device beyond a simple good-and-evil split.  

Reckoning declines to pursue even such simple binary moralism.  Despite the clever narrative set-up that begs the player to feel responsible for the new world that he is shaping, the handful of choices made throughout the game are of little consequence; for example, side with a witch and kill the townsfolk, and you’re left with an empty town.  Given the remarkable length of the game (70+ hours after completing every quest I could find), eschewing such player involvement in forming the world that the player is allegedly reshaping seems not only a lost opportunity but one of many elements of the game that keep the player at arm’s length, content to satisfy the experience with only the base mechanics of gameplay.

GamesRadar - 8/10. An "interesting and unique world", although with "grindy MMO quests":

Different Destiny cards are unlocked once different point prerequisites are met, with certain abilities coming specifically to multiclassed characters. Our Mage/Warrior hybrid gained enhanced damage, a magical shield, and the ability to teleport around the battlefield after putting enough points into each skill tree. It’s a great incentive to try new things, and we found that we favored multiclass builds over playing the game too straight – by mixing things up, our longsword-wielding Battle Mage could teleport behind enemies, charge up a chakram throw, and then unleash it to decimate enemies with spinning blades. We could also tie in Finesse to add in some stealth damage, giving our triple-classed character amazing burst damage out of stealth.


Tuesday - February 07, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review Roundup #1

by Dhruin, 23:21

Right, here we go with the first collection of Reckoning reviews and it's a bit of a mixed bunch. Most of these are console reviews. In no particular order...

Games.co.uk - 8/10: They compare Reckoning to an improved Fable 3 but criticise weak dialogue and quests:

It is, however, weaker in characterisation and dialogue, which can often be flicked through and ignored to pick up another mission, and questing is largely of an MMO ‘go here, kill that, collect this’ nature – mostly uninspiring with a few exceptions. But somehow, despite being made of patchwork parts, it is never less than good fun to play and, at its best, a surprisingly intense experience – all credit due there to the twitchy and intelligently designed combat system. Reckoning is a big, meaty game that will thoroughly satisfy both RPG and action fans, and if you are a Skyrim player, then you should definitely make room for this too. You’ll love it.

Eurogamer - 8/10: The combat and itemisation is praised but Eurogamer notes the generic nature of the content:

It's professional, tidy, satisfying - and deeply generic. The biggest problem with Amalur is that, for all its fine craftsmanship, it's obviously a world made to order. It's not the creation of a fertile young mind but of a successful baseball player's bank account. 38 Studios' owner, EverQuest and WOW fan Curt Schilling, decided to make an MMO and needed a world to build it on, so he had artist Todd McFarlane and novelist R A Salvatore drum one up. But you can't buy inspiration, no matter how big the names. 

Joystiq - 5/5: Broad praise all around:

That love is evident from the moment your character emerges from the first dungeon into the light of day, escaping from the murk into a world of fantastic, vibrant beauty. Landscapes are bright and colorful, spanning golden and green forests to arid deserts and mountains that saw at the sky. Cities are gigantic, sprawling places with a sense of scale so vast as to make your character insignificant. Upon seeing a city or castle in the distance, you may find yourself uttering a few involuntary "oohs" and "ahs." I did.

GamingNexus - 'A': Excellent "gameplay" (read: combat), though they had issues with some of the graphics:

KOA is so good fundamentally and gameplay wise that it completely makes up for its technical shortcomings. The game isn’t bad visually, but it definitely has its issues. The world and its characters are all varied and interesting, but they have a lot of problems technically with things like pop up and a horrible draw distance. Seriously, there are times when the game looks like a first-generation Xbox 360 game, and perhaps even worse. The rest of the game is so well done though that none of that will matter; the gameplay truly compensates for all of the visual shortcomings and then some. On the other hand, audibly the game is a joy to experience. The voice acting in the game is absolutely impeccable; you will experience a variety of dialects and personalities, all of which are wonderfully portrayed by a stellar voice acting cast.

OXM UK - 7/10: Damned with faint praise like "acceptable" and "tepid style":

An assured, substantial fantasy brawler, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning began life as an MMO, and it's tempting to ascribe the game's failings to this mingled inception. The massive, 60-hour-plus world is composed of sloping, easily navigable but actually not very invigorating basins that squirrel off into fractionally more labyrinthine dungeons, seemingly built to accommodate parties, not lone rangers.

Penned by novelist R.A. Salvatore, the fiction speaks to multiplayer tropes in spicy ways: it's founded on endlessly cycling heroic tales (read: quests) lived and relived by the immortal Fae - tales that spin awry in response to the tyrannical antics of renegade Fae sect the Tuatha. An MMO world whose static narrative structures are shifting and decaying? It's a sharp conceit, one the script has fun with, though it's suffocated by charmless dialogue direction.

Edge Online - 6/10: Saying Reckoning is "roleplaying for a thunderously dull imagination", the streamlining is heavily criticised:

Worse, this streamlining and simplifying is felt in the very geography of the place. Like Fable’s Albion, Amalur is a colossal landmass that’s been divided into manageable chunks. With its connecting corridors and invisible walls, there’s an artificiality to the world that simply can’t compete with the organic sprawl of locations such as Tamriel. At the same time, the self-contained structure allows the game’s artists to conjure a visual mix that would jar in one cohesive whole. Moving from murky bog to verdant forest palaces to lurid red desert captures a sense of adventurous scale, which is more important than pure acreage.

Amalur’s problem, like so many ideas in Reckoning, is its refusal to ask too much of the player. Clarity should be championed – in interface, control and item management – but not to the extent that the world is laid bare. Part of the appeal of RPGs is losing yourself in a virtual place, which is impossible if the entire game is a deliberately beaten track. For these reasons, Amalur is a very easy world to drop in and out of – if only Skyrim were so willing to share us with our real lives – but it is never a place where we can truly put down roots. And all this is a shame, since Salvatore’s encyclopaedic creation is something worth investing in.

KoA: Reckoning - Release PR, DLC1 and 2 and Accessing Bonus Items

by Dhruin, 23:01

A handful of Reckoning items before we get into the reviews.

Guenthar points out two videos at AnalogHype that apparently show the opening cinematics for the first two Reckoning DLCs (not including the free-with-purchase House of Valor). It appears fans have linked the videos wth appropriate lore to explain the content but we'll have to see how accurate this is:

DLC 1 seems to take the Fateless One (the player)  into the Sea of Secrets, a place riddled with many “spooky stories” that travelers tended to avoid. There is said to be “whispers of the gods” within the “ephemeral, shifting light”, called the Southern Glimmer, that blanketed itself over the Sea of Secrets.

Apparently there is some confusion over accessing preorder items, so the official forum has an explanation.

...And the official release press release with more details on the House of Valor DLC:

EA and 38 Studios Ship One of the Highly Anticipated Videogames of 2012 - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

EA and 38 studios also revealed today House of Valor, a digital download pack* that extends the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning story giving players seven exclusive quests. The Grand Champion Tyr Magnus will challenge players to compete in the Valor Arena and overcome all obstacles to survive the barbaric tournament and ultimately seize control of the arena. As the player battles through the Valor Arena, they will meet new companions and rivals along the way. In addition, players can visit the Arena Battle Board to access a nearly endless variety of combat challenges. By completing bonus objectives in these challenges, like defeating all enemies without taking any damage, players can earn unique items and other rewards. House of Valor is available with a non-transferable one-time -use registration code that accompanies the new, full retail purchase Players that do not have a code can purchase a Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Online Pass for 800 Microsoft Points on Xbox®LIVE Marketplace and $9.99 on the PlayStation®Network.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Choose your destiny in the massive and mysterious world of Amalur! Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), 38 Studios, LLC and Big Huge Games today released the much anticipated open-world action role-playing game, Kingdoms of Amalur™: Reckoning™. The game’s vision was brought to life by 24-time New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and internationally-celebrated game designer Ken Rolston – an all-star team assembled by three-time World Series Champion pitcher and founder of 38 Studios, Curt Schilling. This original intellectual property breaks new ground by melding a deep open-world RPG experience with visceral action combat that offers players millions of combinations of moves, weapons and armor in a completely unique experience for every individual. IGN.com, who awarded the game with a 9 out of 10 review score, anticipates "Reckoning will be discussed when Game of the Year 2012 rolls around," adding that it "certainly isn't a game you should sleep on. Quite the contrary: Amalur demands your attention." The UK's The Guardian added "Reckoning sounds like just the kind of start to 2012 RPG fans were hoping for."

Starting Today, Players Will Discover the Rich and Remarkable World of Amalur and Enter Hallowed Ancient Grounds with the Downloadable ‘House of Valor’ Pack

Monday - February 06, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - What We Know @ Gamefront

by Aries100, 21:20

Gamefront has made a three page feature article about what we know about this game.
It is a nice reference to have, although those who have played the demo or followed the game on the web probably won't learn much new. Still, a sampling about the gameworld:

The world of Amalur is very large (see map). So large, in fact, that its beginnings as an MMO are pretty plain. Nevertheless, Reckoning is confined to just five regions:

•Plains of Erathell: Vaguely reminiscent of the African Savannah, the Plains provide varied terrain and a number of magical loci. Dominated by Skycrown mountain, and the city of Rathir in the region’s northeast corner.

•Dalentarth: A classic “enchanted forest.” Dense, green, and full of mystical beasts. Hidden deep within are the secretive Gardens of Ysa and the giant tree Nyralim the Unbreaking.

•Detyre: A sun-baked desert region, full of reddened mesas, cacti, and valuable minerals. The Gnomes, in search of this geological bounty, have a grand city at Adessa.

•Alabastra: Strange and fantastical, Alabastra is difficult to traverse thanks to its rocky terrain and profusion of crystalline trees. Bhaile, it’s main city, once contained the court of the Winter Fae (see below).

•Klurikon: Another magical forest, also inhabited by the Winter Fae. Dominated by Mel Senshir, an ancient, supposedly impenetrable fortress.

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Gamasutra

by Aries100, 17:59

Gamasutra talked to Colin Campbell, the game's lead world designer which resulted in a
4 page interview.
  They discussed the importance of building a game that caters to both genders, the challenges of building a fantasy world worth exploring, quest design and much much more.  Here's a sample about quest design:

You were talking about quest design and stuff. How hands-on is the design team in terms of getting in there, touching the metal, like scripting, that kind of stuff? And how much of the design team is more writerly, more big picture?

CC: I think that's a nice thing that we have right now. Everyone on our design team, almost, has a nice mix of creative and technical experience. There are obviously people who have been one way or the other a little more, but everybody can get in there and make their quest, or make their landscape they're going to make. We ask people to come in, give us some support to make it a little more artistic, or a little more technically sound, but everybody can play in both worlds.

And here's a sample about women in the game industry:

I think of women being an integral part of fantasy, but I don't as clearly think of women being as integral part of game development -- not because they're women, but just because that's how things have been.

CC: I think for a long time it's been a male-heavy industry. I actually taught night classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art for the last couple semesters, and a few of the Big Huge Games artists do. And that's really interesting because those classes that are very video game-centric have become more and more female, to the point where my last class I taught had 16 women and two men in it. The females in the class were just incredible. That's really going to have a significant impact in the industry. These women are going to do incredible things.

In other KO:A news Venture Beat has an two page interview with Curt Schilling, the founder of 38  Studios. Topics include the game's length, what was it like to work with "visionaries" such as Ken Rolston, the upcoming Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's launch,  and much more.
A sample about how it all began:

GB: Tell me about the genesis and how long you guys have worked on it now.

CS: The Reckoning project was started as another project at the Baltimore studio, six or seven years ago. The actual beginning of Reckoning was about two and a half years ago when we acquired the studio from THQ. There have been some people on this game for six, seven years now, which is staggering I think. We launched this company with the MMO as the driver behind what we were doing, we always had this … “product ecosystem” is what we called it. We always had that vision from day one of growing a new intellectual property around an MMO as kind of the sun in the solar system. This opportunity presented itself, and once we felt that ethically, from a philosophical perspective, the two studios were aligned, bringing them onto the team so to speak was a no-brainer. They’d been shopping an RPG around and could not get anybody to bite on the IP, this story that they were selling. It was just a match made in heaven, out of a very fortunate circumstance.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning comes out tomorrow, February 7th 2012.

Source: GameBanshee

Sunday - February 05, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review @ IGN

by Dhruin, 01:43

IGN has posted the final piece in their Reckoning review series, culminating in a score of 9/10:

Reckoning proves once and for all that great role-playing experiences don't have to sacrifice what matters most in any game -- gameplay -- while still remaining true to all of the minutiae that makes the best RPGs great. And while Reckoning certainly has its own flaws, I still found myself utterly satisfied with my experience and anxious to parlay the good news to fellow fans of the western RPG. Reckoning certainly isn't a game you should sleep on. Quite the contrary: Amalur demands your attention.

Thursday - February 02, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - OXM Review: 8/10

by Dhruin, 20:38

A few magazines have hit various parts of the world with scores for Reckoning but this is the first time there's been something solid to link to. CVG has some snippets from the Official Xbox Magazine, which apparently scored Reckoning at 8/10:

According to the review the joys of Reckoning are in its freedom and emphasis on narrative, which the mag calls "fantastic, even in its side quests."

Although Reckoning has three main 'Destinies': fighter, rogue, and mage, "you can commit to one path or dabble in each," says OXM. "Just like in The Elder Scrolls, this system lets you determine your playstyle."

The game's flaws "come in trying to fit too much into its package" and "some quests grow tedious, especially those that involve fetching X of this or killing Y of that."

Wednesday - February 01, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Launch Trailer, Interview

by Dhruin, 22:22

EA and 38 Studios have released a launch trailer for Reckoning, which you can watch here courtesy for VG247.

In other news, Stuff.co.nz has a general interview with Big Huge Games' Sean Bean and Ian Frazier:

Frazier says the developers didn't want gamers to have to learn complex attack combos. He believes the combat system will appeal to both hardcore gamers and more casual players.

''We didn't want people to memorise 'X, X, Y, Y, right trigger, B, lightening' because the average person doesn't want to do that - or they can't. We didn't want to make that a requirement so instead we built all of the combat around contextual moves. Press X, press X faster, press X slower, hold X, hit X after you block, hit X after you roll. It's very intuitive. People have found it really easy to pick up the combat and they're soon able to do this plethora of awesome moves in the middle of a fight and just be tactical about it,'' he says.

Tuesday - January 31, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - R.A. Salvatore Interview @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 23:19

GameSpot caught up with R.A. Salvatore in an article format interview about creating the world of Amalur:

Though his skill brought imagined worlds to life on the page, Salvatore found crafting an interactive story hard to do. In print, the author is the one charged with supplying the heroes; in games, the hero is the player, meaning a game's story has to be flexible enough to let players project themselves into the story while maintaining enough richness and complexity to stand on its own.

In creating the world of Amalur, Salvatore looked toward existing human mythology and folklore in search of patterns of cultural behaviour. By studying the evolution of creation and destruction myths found in different cultures at different times, Salvatore was able to handpick different world views and customs and place them side by side, rearranging them like pieces of a puzzle.

"Why did some cultures succeed and others fail? Why did one thing work in one part of society but fail in another? I tasked my team of writers on Amalur to ask these questions and to research different mythologies from around the world and imagine what the world would be like if some of these stories were actually true. What would a real race of elves or dwarves behave like? We worked backwards, unraveling the stories we found and putting them together again." 

Monday - January 30, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Eurogamer

by Dhruin, 21:28

Eurogamer's Oli Welsh has spent 15 hours with Reckoning, which is a fair chunk of time, and has posted a positive preview:

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It's an instantly forgettable title. And it's not just meaningless and profoundly generic, it's saddled (like Dragon Age: Origins before it) with the exhausting suggestion that this isn't the birth of an exciting fantasy universe so much as the launch of a new franchising opportunity.

Having spent 15 hours or so in the company of a near-finished preview build of 38 Studios' brisk role-player - out next week - I can confirm that it deserves much better than this limp nomenclature. And yet, it's true that the title fits it like a glove. 

KoA: Reckoning - Online Pass - Curt Responds

by Dhruin, 20:59

This has been a divisive issue and I expect this post will continue the trend. Hot Hardware noticed a response from 38 Studios head Curt Schilling and then continued on with an editorial on the subject. First, some snips from Curt's comments:

DAY 1 DLC, to be extremely and VIVIDLY clear, is FREE, 100% totally FREE, to anyone that buys a new copy of Reckoning, ANYONE.

If you don't buy new games you buy them used, and in that case you will have to pay for the Day 1 free DLC content the new copy buyers got for free.

It's clear the intent right? To promote early adopters and MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO ME, REWARD fans and gamers who commit to us with their time and money when it benefits the company.

Every single person on the planet could wait and not buy Reckoning, the game would hit the bargain bin at some point and you could get it cheaper. 38 Studios would likely go away.

That's just how business works. We MUST make a profit to become what we want to become. THE ONLY way we do that is to make games you CANNOT WAIT TO BUY! If we do that, and you do that, we want to reward you with some cool free stuff as a thank you.

You can TOTALLY disagree with this and I am sure many do, so we'll agree to disagree. This is not 38 trying to take more of your money, or EA in this case, this is us REWARDING people for HELPING US! If you disagree due to methodology, ok, but that is our intent. [...]

The industry is in a very odd place. The data coming in on used game sales is not saying the things many thought it should, or would. But companies are still trying to figure out how to receive dollars spent on games they make, when they are bought. Is that wrong? if so please tell me how.

Again, you can argue with methods, or process, and you absolutely can bitch and gripe about ANY DAY 1 DLC you are charged for, because I think I agree with many on that, but we are trying to create something here, product and company wise, and it takes dollars to do that.

An excerpt from Hot Hardware's comments, which includes a screenshot of GameStop's website featuring Call of Duty: MW3 for $59.99...or $54.99 used:

If your idea of "used game sales" means checking Ebay for old copies of hard-to-find titles, it's easy to get upset when companies make this sort of move. It's something altogether different to realize that the "Used" game market is controlled by a company that creates scenarios like the above (a screenshot from Gamestop's own website, taken today).

The current price Gamestop pays for a copy of MW3 is $23. The remaining $31.99? Pure profit -- and that's what's so upsetting. In the eyes of game creators, Gamestop isn't a noble company keeping prices low for users -- it's a leech that controls the market to fatten its own wallet and pays gamers a pittance. 

Sunday - January 29, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review in Progress #3 @ IGN

by Dhruin, 10:53

IGN's Colin Moriarty has written the third part of their Review in Progress for Reckoning, with one final part that includes the score yet to come. There are some pretty strong claims that are rather incredulous, to be honest:

Indeed, it's Reckoning's gameplay that keeps rising to the top for me, because it's just so much better and far beyond what its WRPG contemporaries have done. It's arcadey, to be sure, but when you compare it to the three popular fantasy RPGs of our time -- Skyrim, Dark Souls and Dragon Age -- Reckoning easily outclasses all of them in the gameplay department. The competition isn't even remotely close in any respect. 

There's also another batch of readers questions, leaving me wondering if Colin is much of an RPG fan:

deadgod22 asks... Does doing certain quests exclude you from doing other quests? (i.e. You have to choose between rivals or something like this?)

Colin answers... I haven't yet encountered something that locks me out of another quest entirely (other than making a bad choice within the confines of a quest, having the person who gave you the quest die, et cetera). Reckoning doesn't place considerable emphasis on choice, which is something not everyone is going to be a fan of. But I like this system, since it gives you an admittedly more static and predictable experience, which I feel there's a place for in the greater WRPG market. That's not to say you don't make choices and decisions in the game -- because you do -- but it is to say that you shouldn't go in expecting the sheer amount of choice-and-consequence that you'd find in a game like Mass Effect. 

Friday - January 27, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - House of Valor Free DLC and More

by Dhruin, 21:26

Joystiq has a photo of a redemption card packed in with a new boxed copy of Reckoning that shows EA is using the common technique of free DLC to new purchasers to encourage new sales rather than used. Those that purchase Reckoning new can access a sixth faction, titled the House of Valor:

According to the insert included in our copy of the game, online pass owners (read: those who purchase new copies of the game) will get access to "seven additional player quests" throughout the House of Valor faction questline. It's unclear whether the PlayStation 3 and PC versions of the game contain the same stipulation, but we've reached out to EA for clarification.

Looking at the official forums there's a massive (over) reaction and the developers posting were apparently getting ready to post a FAQ but were caught off guard with this early release of the information. Nevertheless, it was confirmed all new copies will offer access to the House of Valor regardless of platform - we'll post links when they release the official FAQ.

In the meantime, Gametrailers has a new trailer titled A New World to Discover offering a 3 minute tour of Amalur.

Thursday - January 26, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 21:21

Here's the latest Reckoning Answers from the Team:

Q: Amalur has 10.000 years of History and I was wondering if learning/reading more about the history/story of a place/person could sometime give you an in-game reward of some sort: clue about a secret item/place, new dialogue choices, etc... – By Cjail01

A: In the Age of Arcana, the mortal races have learned to use Lorestones -- magical objects created by the Fae that can store a person's knowledge, experiences, and stories. These stones are hidden around Amalur and contain stories about Amalur, past and present. Lorestones come in sets, and most are themed around a given area. As a reward for exploration, you will receive a permanent bonus when you uncover the entire story of a set of Lorestones. – By Erik "DoctorSpooky" Caponi, Principal Narrative Designer

KoA: Reckoning - Roundtable Interview @ Eurogamer

by Aries100, 21:02

RPG Gamer participated in Q&A Round Table discussion with members of the KO:A team.
As always a snip:

On Fate and Destiny:

Fate and destiny play into both the game's storyline and its mechanics. In terms of the story, the main character is the first mortal in the world to have awakened from the dead. Everyone else in the world has a deterministic fate that they cannot escape, but the player character has been released from fate via resurrection. This provides a lore-based rationale for why the main character is special. In terms of gameplay mechanics, the Destiny system allows players to choose their own fates by picking from any class that's available based on the abilities that the player has chosen. There's also the Fate Shift mechanic, which allows the player to store up fate via defeating foes in combat. When the fate bar is full, a Fate Shift can be executed, making time slow down for the enemies and making the player powerful.

In other KO:A news there has been a 24th Community Q and A newsletter released.

A sample:

Q: Amalur has 10.000 years of History and I was wondering if learning/reading more about the history/story of a place/person could sometime give you an in-game reward of some sort: clue about a secret item/place, new dialogue choices, etc... – By Cjail01

A: In the Age of Arcana, the mortal races have learned to use Lorestones -- magical objects created by the Fae that can store a person's knowledge, experiences, and stories. These stones are hidden around Amalur and contain stories about Amalur, past and present. Lorestones come in sets, and most are themed around a given area. As a reward for exploration, you will receive a permanent bonus when you uncover the entire story of a set of Lorestones. – By Erik "DoctorSpooky" Caponi, Principal Narrative Designer

And in this comment on Eurogamer Ian Frazier  says that Skyrim is KO:A's biggest competitor:

The biggest concern at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer Big Huge Games right now is you're still playing Skyrim.

According to lead designer Ian Frazier, if you and lots of other gamers are still playing Skyrim, you may not be interested in Reckoning, out next month.

Reckoning is a huge, open world high fantasy RPG. Sound like a game you've played?

"Frankly, Reckoning is either going to do well enough that we're going to be in a good place or people are going to go, nope, I'm still playing Skyrim, I'm not interested, in which case we're hosed," Frazier told Eurogamer.

And finally, there's a third visonary news letter, this time penned by Art Director Todd McFarlane via Totally Gaming Network.

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - Demo Impressions # 1

by Aries100, 20:14

Demo Impressions for this game can be found at many websites. I'll mention one of them and list the others.

A demo impression can be found at TeamXbox.   A snippet:

It would seem that this demo is the first hour or so of the game. So, one of the first things out of the gate, it’s time to make your dude! Fairly standard character creation options, two genders, four races, eight or so faces, and some hair, hats, nothing really special, except no class choice… which is one of the things about this system that stands out. As you play you pick fate cards that give class style buffs, almost it seems as it suits you and the situation. Now it is time to learn how to slice and dice, which is really what shines early on in this demo. It does a very nice job giving you all the various combat options, at a pace that allows for some play with each one.

Another preview can be found at Action Trip


The next preview comes from Dual Shockers

And then there's the previews:



Attack of the Fanboy



Gaming Union you have to scroll own half a page or so





The Paranoid Gamer


The last demo impression coming from

Games Eye View

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - January 25, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Music and Sound Dev Diary and More

by Dhruin, 22:40

A new Inside Reckoning video has been offering insight on the sound and music.

In other news, the official forums are offering an opportunity to Ask the Reckoning Visionaries, collecting questions for Curt, Ken, Todd and R.A. Salvatore to answer. We'll post the answers when they are released.

Lastly - and I'm not sure if this is already known - Reckoning has an in-game Achievement system, regardless of the platform:

Reckoning has an in-game achievement system that is the same regardless of what version you are playing. Where the difference comes in is where you can view the list of achievements. For the PC version, you can view it in-game (and on Steam). For the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, you'll be able to view your full achievements list on your PlayStation Network and/or XBox Live profiles.

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Eurogamer

by Aries100, 19:42

Eurogamer talked to Ian Frazier,  the lead designer for the game. Ian Frazier maintains that the bugs in the demo won't be in the final game.  The demo seems to be based on a three-months old build and was made by another company. A quote from Ian Frazier:

There's a lot of tension about the demo, which we didn't build in-house," Frazier told Eurogamer. "It was branched off our code about three months ago. It got a lot of bug fixing. We sent them what we had, but there are a lot of bug fixes they didn't get. So we're all nervous, like, the demo's really buggy.

"But all the time the demo was worked on is time we spent de-bugging the main game. It should be clear from the reviews the main game is in way better shape. That's been a source of nervousness."

In other KO:A news R.A. Salvatore has been interviewed by Amazon.com
It mainly centers around the setting in this game, where Salvatore explains that he has been trying to create a world e.g cultures that the gamers can relate to.

Ken Rolston has made a newsletter. Here's an excerpt:

The first time I could play Reckoning's combat, even in its early, limited form, I could tell how amazing it was ... how much better than I could imagine. I could dodge and roll and dash for handy corners, keep my enemy off-balance and moving to re-target me. And everything happened so fast. It took me a while to adjust. I've never enjoyed console action games, so it was a steep learning curve. That first experience with an early build was the answer to all my role-playing tactical movement dreams. But it didn't even begin to scratch the surface of the other RPG combat delights that Reckoning had in store for me.

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - January 23, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Gamefont

by Dhruin, 21:00

Ken Rolston has been interviewed at Gamefront about Reckoning, though he comes across as having had too much coffee before the conversation:

KR: Video RPGs are so good now, and there are so many to choose from, that I make the frequent mistake of thinking we live in the Perfect Golden Age of RPG Utopia.

And then someone goes and makes something new and cool, and we’re off to the races again.

But despite the fact that video RPGs have made such deep and passionate inroads into the mainstream market, I still feel they are slow-paced, abstract, and awkward. Reckoning reflects my hunger for a faster pace of action and combat drama, and a desire for simpler, easier-to-use interfaces. Video RPGs are naturally the deepest,longest, and most complicated kinds of video game entertainment… that’s whatmakes them great. But making them just a tiny bit less clumsy in the interface, and just a big, fat, huge amount more physical and exciting in combat, gives them more fun-per-unit-time. Me? I want All-Fun, All-the-Time, Right-Now, thank-you-very-much.

Pen-and-paper narratives and settings continue to influence me in video game design, but systems? Not so much. Combat in tabletop RPGs is already, and always has been, slow-paced and awkward, mired in its wargame traditions. Dialog, improvisation, open-ended story-telling… that’s what tabletop RPGs are still best at… WAY better than video RPGs.

You might want to work on those interface goals a little more, Ken.

Sunday - January 22, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Review in Progress #2 @ IGN

by Dhruin, 11:47

IGN has posted the second part of their Reckoning Review in Progress, with the author providing some enthusiastic details of his experiences and then a short community Q&A at the end:

As I browsed the notes I've been taking as I play Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, what immediately struck me was how many positive comments I jotted down. Most of what I've seen and done in Reckoning so far I've enjoyed thoroughly (even though I still feel like I've barely gotten anywhere in the greater context of the sheer size of the game). In short, I'm becoming more and more confident that RPG fans looking for something deep, immersive and satisfying will be very pleased with Reckoning.

Friday - January 20, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ 360 Magazine

by Aries100, 22:48

An interview for this game can be found at 360 Magazine.  It features the Lead Designer Ian Frazier talking about how big the game world is, the background for the world in KO:A as well as some thoughts about combat and character class. A sample:

This helps us to sell R.A. [Salvatore]’s core idea that Amalur is a world worth saving, a place that’s so beautiful and varied that you really want to save the world from the various evils that plague it. Second, we have an innovative approach to character class –what we call the Destiny system – which lets us get around one of the big historical problems of the RPG genre: buyer’s remorse. We let you get a feel for the game before settling on a class, and even after you have settled on one, we let you evolve and change it further over the course of the game. Finally, our combat is simply spectacular. It’s smooth, it’s responsive and it gives the player an obscene amount of freedom in how to approach it. It’s incredibly fun. Frankly I think Reckoning’s combat is head and shoulders above any other game in the genre when it comes to raw entertainment value.

Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Amazon

by Aries100, 22:39

Amazon.com has set up for visionary interviews with the people behind this game. The first one came out on Amazon yesterday and features an interview with the founder of 38 Studios, Curt Schilling. Listen to him talking about what he wants 38 Studios to be recognized for, why he's always been drawn to fantasy role-playing games, his favorite destiny tree, and more.

Here's a sample from the visionary interviews page:

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a single player Action Role-playing Game (RPG) set in the brand-new game fantasy universe of Amalur. The game features an expansive Open World game environment, the unique "Destinies" system that limits character development only by the combination of equipped spells and items carried, intuitive yet challenging combat, a robust crafting system and a range of special attacks. Additional features include: the written and design talents of R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane and Ken Rolston; dramatic special and metered attacks; as well as multiple in-game races.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - January 19, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Art Design Trailer

by Dhruin, 20:43

An art design trailer for Reckoning has been released with input from Art Director, Tim Colman, and other developers.

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 00:01

GameBanshee has a new preview of Reckoning, saying "based on our extended hands-on time with the game, it's looking to be one of the best games of its type in the last couple of years":

One thing that we did get a sense for based on our time with the game is the style of the writing and the quests. Reckoning, while never really straying from traditional RPG quest design (go here, collect an object, kill a few monsters), also manages to wrap them up in entertaining ways. Almost all quests have some sort of interesting twist or tie-in to the game world (such as one where a disciple from a monetary is convinced he'll be granted great powers, and constantly debates his future "wizard name" even as he depends on your help), and very few play out exactly as expected. At the very least, it seems most quests involve some dialogue options, or a dungeon crawl, and several have a couple of different outcomes based on choices made. After playing hours of Skyrim, it's nice to see the designers and writers having some fun with the usual RPG tropes, rather than following them to the letter without even a hint of self-awareness. 

Wednesday - January 18, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team, Curt Schilling Profile

by Dhruin, 22:09

I thought they might end this series with the demo released but the Reckoning forums have a new Answers from the Team entry:

Q: What are some of the long lasting consequences that we could expect to encounter? Will some consequences lead to some NPC's not ever wanting to speak to us again? – By TheHolyKnight

A: In many ways, Reckoning is a game about choice. There are the obvious examples, such as selecting your character’s appearance, skills, and fighting style, but there are plenty of other opportunities for visitors to Amalur to change the world. All our notable NPCs have agendas. If you choose not to cooperate, you can expect a strong reaction. Some will hate you. Some will fight you. Some may disappear, never to be seen again.

In the guise of the Fateless One, you have the power to alter the outcome of lives around them. Many side quests feature one or numerous choices, the consequences of which vary widely. In some cases, it may just be a difference in the quest reward. In others, it could mean lies, betrayal, or even murder.

Factions are an especially great place to make a profound impact on the world. The Age of Arcana is a time of change, and many of Amalur’s established orders are finding themselves overwhelmed by the transition. You will have a hand in shaping the future of these powerful institutions, for good or for ill. Everywhere you go, you will leave a trail of consequences behind you. – By Andrew "Fiend" Auseon, Narrative Designer

...and Bedwyr sends in this profile of 38 Studios founder and baseball legend, Curt Schilling from CNN:

“Gaming, outside of the Lord, baseball and my family, was always my thing,” he said. “I took this very much as I did my baseball career. I scouted the industry for about five or six years, and I took notes and I went to a lot of lunches and a lot of meetings with people that were in the industry and just get a feel for what I was up against.”

He knew he wanted to focus on a new fantasy role-playing intellectual property, but also knew he wasn’t going to be the one to put it all together. So he played a little “fantasy baseball” and visualized who he would want to put together his vision of a different kind of fantasy game.

Using his connections, Schilling was able to bring in author R.A. Salvatore to write the story, designer Todd McFarlane to do the art and animation, and Ken Rolston, the lead designer of “The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind” and “The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion," to act as the executive designer. This all-star line-up formed the backbone for the work on “Reckoning.”

Tuesday - January 17, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Demo Available, Steam Preorders Open

by Dhruin, 21:36

The promised demo for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is available and you can grab it from EA's Origin or Steam (2.75Gb).

Reckoning is also open for preorders on Steam though, oddly, the preorder bonuses are TF2 hats versus the in-game items on offer elsewhere.

Saturday - January 14, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Preview Roundup

by Dhruin, 22:27

There's a flurry of Reckoning activity as we getter closer to release, so here's a selection of previews and the like.

A lengthy, general preview from The Guardian:

This flexibility also extends to other areas of the gameplay. Looting and Crafting, for instance, has been designed to cater for fans of both expediency and depth. You don't need to access the Inventory to select, equip or discard items if you just want their value in credits; but if you want to delve deeper, you can head for a town and start experimenting with the game's three distinct crafting systems - Alchemy, Blacksmithing and Sagecraft.

Use Sagecraft, for instance, and you can start socketing weapons with magical gems; if not, you can still gain bonus points (and a cool onscreen appearance) from collecting complete sets of armour items.

There are also nine non-combat skills – some which have unexpected affects on the gameplay. Improving Stealth, for instance, not only introduces some fantastic stealth kills, but opens up corrupt career paths like pick-pocketing. Neither are you all alone in your quest. There are six joinable faction, including Nomads, Travelers, Scholars and Warrior Priests.

IGN has a Review in Progress, which is usually a format they use for MMOs:

Dense. That's the first word that will likely come to your mind when you go through the introductory dungeon of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and finally find yourself outside, free to explore to your heart's content. It's not that the world itself in Reckoning is unruly or unmanageable, nor does the game give you too much to do in terms of control input. It's simply that you're going to find a world so chockfull of plot that you might have a hard time keeping up with it all.

Of course, this isn't a gripe at all. On the contrary, it's actually a testament to the incredible work done by famous fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore and his team of writers that, as I discovered back at New York Comic Con, created a world with a 10,000-year history. So as you begin to speak to people, hear the names of characters and places, and start to put everything together in your head, don't feel bad if you're a little lost. I'm only several hours into the game, and I'm already feeling a tad bit overwhelmed. 

Over at GameSpot, Ken Rolston and Joe Quadara explain they have found it difficult getting the message across:

In an interview with GameSpot this week (video below), Rolston and Amalur lead combat designer Joe Quadara discussed the difficulties of describing exactly how people should think of their blend of fantasy action and role-playing games.

"[That's always] a difficult problem for our messaging," Rolston said. "This is a role-playing game because I would be killed if it weren't. I make role-playing games." 

Shacknews has a podcast with Ken Rolston and Joe Quadara, Machinima has a 30 minute video preview and G4TV has a 16 minute preview video.

Thursday - January 12, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Soundtrack Release on Feb 7th

by Dhruin, 21:07

38 Studios announced the original soundtrack for Reckoning will be released on the same day as the game:



Score by Renowned Composer Grant Kirkhope & Prague Philharmonic Orchestra Released by Sumthing Else Music Works on Same Day as Innovative Video Game

New York - January 12th, 2012 - Marking the next step in the evolution of video game soundtracks, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™ Original Soundtrack is scheduled for release on February 7, 2012-the same day that the highly anticipated fantasy role-playing video game becomes available.  Featuring original music composed by renowned composer Grant Kirkhope, the soundtrack will be distributed through Sumthing Else Music Works-the leading video game music company created by famed musician/producer Nile Rodgers-and will be released through a licensing relationship between 38 Studios LLC and Big Huge Games.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™ Original Soundtrack will be available at all physical and online retail outlets, and through digital download at www.sumthingdigital.com, Amazon MP3, iTunes® and other digital music sites.


Wednesday - January 11, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Demo 17th, Mass Effect 3 Cross-Promo

by Dhruin, 21:12

EA and 38 Studios sent us a press release announcing the demo will come to all platforms on January 17th. They've also teamed up with BioWare for cross-promotional in-game bonus unlocks for those that want to get a bit of scifi in their fantasy epic and vice versa. There's also a demo FAQ and Crossover Promo FAQ on the Reckoning forums. 

From the FAQ:

In the demo, you will get the chance to experience Reckoning’s unique Destiny system and riveting combat. Beginning in the Well of Souls, where your character is reborn, you will have access to the full range of races, genders, and customizations that appear in the main game.

From the Well of Souls, you will venture into the Allestar Glade and meet Agarth the Fateweaver, a key character who will introduce you to the exciting, visceral combat of Reckoning. From this point, you will have 45 minutes to explore Allestar Glade, Gorhart Village, and Odarath, three areas within the rich, massive world of Amalur. You’ll also have the opportunity to embark on a variety of quests.

...and the lengthy press release:

Cross-Promotion Rewards Mass Effect 3 Fans with Exclusive Items Designed by Todd McFarlane and Reckoning Fans with Items Inspired by Mass Effect
REDWOOD SHORES, CA. – JANUARY 11, 2012 – The massive world of Amalur will finally break open when Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) and 38 Studios, LLC release a demo for Kingdoms of Amalur: ReckoningTM on January 17, 2012. Available for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC, the demo will give players a taste of the rich, diverse, action-packed world of Amalur, and will also unlock special items in the final game.  

In addition to the demo, 38 Studios has teamed up with BioWare to create a cross promotion to reward fans of both Reckoning and Mass Effect 3*. By playing the upcoming demos for both Reckoning and Mass Effect 3, gamers will receive special in-game items, including Mass Effect inspired, Omni-blade daggers in Reckoning and special Reckoning-themed armor and assault rifle in Mass Effect 3 designed by award-winning artist Todd McFarlane.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver this massive one-two punch with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and Mass Effect 3. We wanted to provide fans of the Mass Effect franchise with a unique set of rewards for diving into the expansive universe of Reckoning,” said Curt Schilling, Chairman and Founder of 38 Studios. 

“We are excited to be collaborating with 38 Studios to bring pieces inspired by the Mass Effect universe into the world of Reckoning and to have items designed by Todd McFarlane in Mass Effect 3,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label and Co-Founder of BioWare. “This is an awesome way to reward our fans with unique content that not only looks cool, but also delivers some great in-game benefits.”

By playing the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo,gamers will receive two unlocks for Mass Effect 3 when the highly anticipated game releases on March 6, 2012, both designed by the renowned creator of Spawn, Todd McFarlane:
  • Reckoner Knight Armor: This armor will maximize damage done in close-quarters combat while a beefed–up power cell feeds energy into weapon systems to increase projectile velocity.
  • The Chakram Launcher: This weapon uses a fabricator to manufacture lightweight, explosive ammunition discs. This weapon is earned after completing the Reckoning demo and watching the trailer at the end.
By playing the upcoming Mass Effect 3 demo, fans will unlock the following items for Reckoning when the game launches on February 7, inspired by Mass Effect:
  • N7 Armor: Players can unlock special armor inspired by Commander Shepard’s iconic N7 battle armor including Helm, Cuirass, Gauntlets, Chausses and Greaves.
  • Onmiblade Daggers: A holographic blade stemming from Commander Shepard’s Omni-Tool, the Omni-blade allows players to stab enemies in close combat. Once players install and play the Mass Effect 3 demo, they will unlock the daggers.
The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo features the introduction to the game, allowing players to experience the game’s Tutorial Mode and a portion of its large, open world. Players will create and customize their hero and drop right into the action. Once players master the basics, they will have 45 minutes to explore the vast world of Amalur and begin to embark upon a quest that could redefine their character’s destiny forever.  

KoA: Reckoning - Demo Coming Soon

by Dhruin, 00:36

Microsoft's Major Nelson lists an X360 demo for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for January 17th - a mere week away. For PC and PS3 fans, 38 Games Community Manager 'Muse' confirms a demo will be released for all platforms, though we don't know if the date will be the same:

We can confirm that a demo for Reckoning is coming, and it will be on all platforms. We'll have all the details for you very soon!       

Founder Curt Schilling subsequently made some general comments about the difficulty in designing a demo for an open-world RPG:

We've always believed in the quality of the game, we better ALWAYS believe in the quality of what we make, from game to toy to comic etc.

The problem is the actual demo itself. Not specifically our demo, but ANY demo for a game with 2-300 hours of game play. How can you provide a demo that hits on EVERYTHING that makes your game awesome, without a 4 hour demo, or hit on just ENOUGH to make sure people see the depth in the world AND the combat?

That's the fear, always has been. I've played it, and I think EA did as good a job as could be done with a game of this type. Most of 38 argued against a demo for a long time for the reasons above.

Quick, think of the last time an OPEN WORLD RPG gave you a demo....

Ok now name the last time an OPEN WORLD RPG gave you a GOOD demo.....

It's VERY hard to do, having said that I think EA may have done a good job in setting up Reckoning for gamers that haven't seen the game yet.

If you are buying Reckoning and one of the hard core fans already I'd only buy it for the news that will be coming out shortly, in a few days..... That would be why I would buy it

While we're on Reckoning, a new trailer has also been released.

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 00:12

GameBanshee caught up with Big Huge Games' Ian Frazier to talk about Reckoning - which is due in three weeks or so now. There's a lot to cover and, as usual, GameBanshee asks some good questions so I'm just going to take an early quote but make sure you head over:

GB: You've mentioned that killing an NPC linked to a quest will cause that quest to end - do we have the freedom to kill any NPC in the game, or are key NPCs invulnerable? If we're able to kill an NPC without any other NPC witnessing the crime, will the crime still get us into trouble? Finally, are we able to loot all items on a dead NPC, even quest-related ones?

Ian: Some characters are effectively invulnerable, at least for a while. In general we try to make it impossible to accidentally break the main quest or the faction quests by accidentally murdering someone important, whereas with the side quests we pretty much say “feel free to kill everyone, but don’t be surprised when suddenly you can’t do as many quests in this area.” It’s worth noting that even in the cases where we do make characters invulnerable to prevent quest breakage, we generally turn that state off when the quest is complete, so players can still indulge their darker natures afterwards if desired.

If you manage to do something devious (murder, theft, etc.) and no one manages to see you and report you to the guards, then yes, you can get away with it! For the purposes of Reckoning, a crime only exists if it’s witnessed. …I try not to ponder what that says about our designers’ personal philosophies.

As for the last question, yes, you can loot NPCs just as easily as monsters, and where appropriate you may find a quest item on them. For that matter, you might be able to pickpocket that item from them instead if you’d prefer not to opt for murder.

Saturday - January 07, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Official System Reqs

by Dhruin, 01:11

The (modest) official system requirements for Reckoning have been released on their forums:

      Official Reckoning System Requirements

Below are the minimum and recommended system requirements for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on the PC.


Windows XP with Service Pack 3
Windows Vista with Service Pack 2
Windows 7 with Service Pack 1

Intel Core2 Duo (or equivalent) running at 2.2GHz or greater
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (or equivalent) running at 2.6GHz or greater

At least 1 GB for Windows XP
At least 2 GB for Windows Vista and Windows 7

Disc Drive:
CD/DVD ROM drive (required for installation only), 8x or faster CD/DVD drive

Hard Drive:
At least 10.5 GB of free space

Video Adapter:
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB or better
ATI Radeon HD3650 512MB or better
Supporting Pixel Shader 3.0
Minimum Resolution Supported is 1280x720

9.0c Compatible


Windows XP with Service Pack 3
Windows Vista with Service Pack 2
Windows 7 with Service Pack 1

Intel Core 2 Quad (or equivalent) running at 2.4GHz or greater
AMD Phenom X4 (or equivalent) running at 2.6GHz or greater

At least 3 GB for Windows XP
At least 4 GB for Windows Vista and Windows 7

Disc Drive:
CD/DVD ROM drive (required for installation only), 8x or faster CD/DVD drive

Hard Drive:
At least 10.5 GB of free space

Video Adapter:
NVIDIA GeForce GTX260 1GB RAM or better
ATI Radeon HD4850 1GB RAM or better
Supporting Pixel Shader 3.0

9.0c Compatible

You will also need an internet connection for product activation/registration.       

Wednesday - January 04, 2012

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 22:59

Despite the holiday time of the year, there's a new batch of Answers from the Reckoning Team on the official forums. A bit on the bounty system:

Q: How is the bounty system handled? Let's say I steal some cheese, and I resist arrest and return after a few in-game days, will the guards of had completely forgotten or would they open a dialogue with me or attack on site? Does the severity of the crime affect this? – By Artificer

A: When you commit any crime, if you get out of town without going to jail and manage to avoid anyone associated with that group for a few in-game days, then when you return the guards will no longer be actively looking for you. They won’t have entirely forgotten though, you will still have the same bounty – meaning that if you commit a second crime and are caught for it, you’ll have to answer for both the first crime and the second. So depending on what crimes you’ve committed that could really add up! (Stealing a piece of cheese would result in a much lower bounty than murdering an innkeeper.)

Keep in mind that crime is tracked by what we call "factions." Sometimes this may be a story-based faction (like the Warsworn or House of Ballads), but other times it can be simply the people of a particular village. This means that if you commit crime against people of a world-wide faction, you'd best watch out where you go next! – By Andrew "Andre" Frederiksen, Producer

Friday - December 23, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Inside Reckoning: Combat Video

Wednesday - December 21, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 23:45

Here's another batch of Reckoning Answers from the Team, covering more on the Jack of All Trades Destiny, quests, enemy-scaling and dialogue:

People relate this to a mmo...are the quests mmo-like too? Go kill some wolves. Go kill x more creatures? Or will there be legitimate immersive quests that draw you in like Dragon Age, The Witcher, Final Fantasy, etc. Will there be elements of choice in the quests that will affect the outcomes? – By Bluebullets

A: Our quests are too legit to quit. Given R.A.'s and Ken's presence on the team, quests and narrative are key features of Reckoning. Because we have such a detailed combat system, you are going to find a few "kill something" quests scattered throughout the Faelands. But we have a huge fiction that we need to communicate -- and as quests are one of the best ways of doing so, you'll find that the scope and presentation of quests ratchet up pretty darn quickly. In Reckoning, you'll see quests covering a wide range – you can encounter a mini-questline about stopping a doomsday cult from waking evil incarnate, and you can help a lonely fisherman make contact with a mermaid he caught a fleeting glimpse of.

We have factions which present stories that span 6-10 quests, dealing with different locations, personalities and activities. Similarly, the majority of our Narrative Zones have overarching stories that are presented in a series of related quests. In many instances, you're given the opportunity to choose what’s going to happen to these organizations and these areas – but I don't want to give too much away. – By Thomas "Bentaporst" Murphy, Narrative Designer

Friday - December 16, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Trailer

by Dhruin, 23:56

A new trailer has been released for Reckoning titled Power & Mastery showing some of the character combat approaches, divided into Might, Finesse, Sorcery and Hybrids.

Source: Joystiq

Wednesday - December 14, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview, Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 20:41

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an excellent preview of Reckoning after Andrew Smee spent four hours at EA's local office with the game:

Victorious, I emerged in the city the castle looked over. A bustling market, merchants of every description and agitated persons with exclamation points hovering above their heads vied for my attention. Finally let loose in the open world, I dutifully ignored the main quest marker and embarked on a series of small adventures, first in the city itself and then in the rolling green hills outside it. My first adventure was to crouch unseen to steal some much needed health potions from an alchemist, be caught red handed, enter into combat with the city guards who I just fought alongside with and was summarily thrown into jail. Hero of the people, that’s me.

I could have waited out my sentence in return for an XP hit, Elder Scrolls style, but because I’m not a total wimp I picked the lock of my jail cell, sneaked through the guard’s quarters, stole back my equipment and hightailed it out of there, Elder Scrolls style. Reckoning really does owe a lot to that series, but that’s unsurprising, as the lead designer of Morrowind and Oblivion, Ken Rolston, is the executive designer on Reckoning. It plays much slicker than those, however, and not just because combat is straight out of God of War – the general minute-to-minute wandering feels more like Dragon Age. 

...and the latest Answers from the Team is available:

Will we get to see or can you show us soon more of the "open world" nature of the game? Such as examples of just how far off course you can stray, into the wilderness and beyond and if there are any nooks and crannies with deliciously prized loot and scary powerful monsters? – By MemoryKill

A: This is my favorite thing to talk about.

As you've probably heard us say, the Reckoning team is made up of huge open world RPG fans, myself included, so making the world of this game was a dream. It was a deeply personal goal of the folks here to make the world lush, exciting to explore, and sprawling enough to feel real and immersive.

At any point, you can veer off the main roads that connect the dots of cities and towns throughout the world and submerge yourself into an ominous swamp, wander in the canyons of a red-rock desert, or prowl the massive Plains of Erathell. The vast majority of the areas to explore in the game are off the main quest path, and present their own dangers, stories, and rewards for the intrepid players who strike out on their own.

As for nooks and crannies, the entire world of Reckoning is hand-made. Every rock and bush and blade of grass was hand placed by a world builder, so we had the opportunity to custom build a huge number of places for the player to explore off the beaten paths.

Actually, and I know Ian Frazier and Jess Campbell have both spoken about this, one of the best sets of armor in our game is hidden in specific locations throughout the open world. You should see if you can find the whole set, but be prepared to really dig deep into the world to do so. – By Colin "Hugohan" Campbell, Lead World Designer

Monday - December 12, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interview, Preview

by Dhruin, 20:17

Fighting Fate is a new feature at IGN with Reckoning producer Sean Bean that offers his perspective on various elements of the game, such as:

Dungeon Design

Sean Bean: As we broke the world up into the different regions, we've given those to what we call narrative designers. A narrative designer will sit down and think – what is the story of this area? Who are all of the NPCs? What are all of the things they could say at different stages of different quests? How do the quests inter-relate? And that goes as far as dungeons as well, so when they're thinking 'I've got this special item that I want to give away' or 'this group of people are going to be in some sort of underground den' they'll come up with a story for it, then work with our dungeon designers, and they'll map it out on graph paper or in drawing form and then they'll actually start constructing the dungeon.

They think about – what would be really good at this point? This would be a good place for a fight. This would be a good place for a jump. Once they've passed this point, I want it so they're not able to come back. What's some of the set dressing that we can put here that would make this fit in with the story? This is compared to – here are a bunch of dungeon parts, this feels like it would be a good track for a dungeon to follow, and then filling it with content. We go the other way around.

...while Joystiq has a preview with a focus on loot:

I found myself enjoying Reckoning, but on terms different and distinct from the ones that EA and 38 are using to sell the game. And then I started finding loot, and realized that Reckoning could become a problem -- as in drugs.

Reckoning's loot system hearkens back to Diablo II, and that's a very good thing. There are so many different types, including uncommons, rares, uniques, and sets, and there's a well-developed socketing system in place. There are rings and amulets and ... I'm getting all wistful just thinking about it. These choices in equipment are reflected in your character's appearance, which is great, but more importantly there's a feel and utility to the gear in Reckoning that just scratch that itch, if you know what I mean.

I spent time comparing items and doing the hard math as to what would better suit my playstyle, or what weapon would be useful against the elemental attributes of the enemies I was facing. Because you have access to a primary and off-handed weapon separately, rather than a fast and strong attack, you can prepare yourself for more eventualities -- but you've also got twice as many decisions to make about the weapons you're using. And every character class in Reckoning has a variety of weapon types they're particularly adept with.

Saturday - December 10, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Premium Edition Details

by Dhruin, 22:10

Information on the various premium editions of Reckoning that will be offered (in NA?) has been revealed at GameSpot. Beyond the basic game, various special editions will apparently range from $80 - $275:

The $80 Special Edition is the least expensive of the premium bundles and includes Kingdoms of Amalur, a parchment map of the game world, a seven-piece dice set, a soundtrack, a set of 40 Destiny Cards, and a downloadable content pack of nine weapons that grants experience point boosts. When gamers step up to the $200 Collector's Edition (limited to 700 copies), they will receive all of the aforementioned swag, as well as an individually numbered 12.5-inch solid resin Prismere Troll figurine designed by McFarlane Toys and one of 1,000 lithographs signed by designer Ken Rolston.

The top-tier, $275 Signature Edition of Reckoning is limited to 300 bundles and includes all of the Collector's Edition swag, with a couple key differences. First, the troll figurine will be signed by one of the game's celebrity frontmen, either Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, best-selling author R.A Salvatore, or Major League Baseball Hall of Famer (and 38 Studios founder) Curt Schilling. Additionally, the Signature Edition packs in an individually numbered sketch screen print by Todd McFarlane. 

Source: Blues News

Friday - December 09, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Previews @ IGN, Destructoid

by Dhruin, 23:03

IGN has a plea for gamers to pay attention to Reckoning with Give Kingdoms of Amalur a Chance:

I guess I could also tell you that everything in Reckoning is fleshed out into a surprisingly complex system. Smithing isn't an affair of just pressing a button in order to make money, but involves a multitude of component parts, allowing you to craft weapons and armor and progress your skill with new recipes. The abundant random item drops in Reckoning can be sold, broken down into parts for crafting, or donned on your character. Essentially, loot can make you feel richer in a number of ways.

Potion making also offers a lot of additional distractions. Every few feet in the environment another piece of flora appears for you to raid for potion ingredients. If you're the type who can't wander around without collecting everything, the world of Amalur is going to grab you and never let go. 

...and Destructoid has a 'Talkthrough' video as Max Scoville talks through some walkthrough sequences over 10 or so minutes.

Thursday - December 08, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 20:51

The latest Reckoning Answers from the Team is now available, covering magic damage scaling, chakrams, save files, voice overs and the Jack of All Trades Destiny, which I'm not sure I understand:

Q: During the newest Reckoning Destiny and Fate trailer with Ian Frazier, Will Miller, and Matt Berner, Will mentioned the Jack of all Trades Destiny that at the highest rank can equip all weapon mastery's. I was wondering is that because a Jack of all Trades person would have chosen to invest all points only in weapons as they leveled up? Or could I equally invest points into other skills like traps in Finesse, Mark of Flame in Sorcery, and Quake in Might as example and still gain the perk to use the weapon buff? I'm trying to make sure I don't waste points investing all into weapon upgrades skills if the perk does that for me, or understand more clearly how that works. – By Falkon

A: To earn the Universalist Destiny, it doesn’t matter which points you invest in, as long as you satisfy the requirements of putting a minimum amount of points equally in Might, Finesse, and Sorcery. So you can avoid investing in weapon upgrades and then get them all later for free! My own strategy would be to invest in the weapons that I use, but then pay some gold to reassign my skill points at a Fateweaver once I’ve earned the Universalist Destiny. – By Joe "JoeQ" Quadara, Lead Combat Designer

Wednesday - December 07, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interviews @ Gameplanet, GameSpot

by Dhruin, 22:16

Big Huge Games' Ian Frazier and Sean Sean (not the actor) have been touring around presenting Reckoning. Here's a snip from their Gameplanet interview:

Gameplanet: Ian, you worked on Titan Quest, which was a highly respected game. A lot of people were annoyed when Iron Lore got shut down...

Ian: We were also very annoyed!

Gameplanet: ...Is there any influence from Titan Quest in Amalur?

Ian: There's two that you'll definitely pick up on. One is our Destiny system, it's something I always wanted to do with Iron Lore, it was always "some day, we'll get to do this!", and some day we did, because we got to use it with Reckoning. The way that it works is that you start the game off, you've got these three different ability trees, and you'll notice the structure is a lot like how they looked in Titan Quest. You can invest in the abilities either on a single tree, or across all three trees. You may remember in Titan Quest you could have two different masteries, and you could combine them to make hybrid characters. We always loved that, it was something that was received really well by the community with Titan Quest, so we wanted to keep that hybridisation in Reckoning. We not only let you hybridise like Titan Quest did, but you can do it with three trees at a time, and we reward you with these dynamic classes, what we call Destinies – because of the decisions you've made, the way you've chosen to focus on a tree, or hybridise between two or three trees.

Another thing that is somewhat inspired by Titan Quest is the way we do loot. Normally hardcore open-world RPGs are all about exploration, they do tons of quests and all that's great, but the loot tends to be a little bit lacking. I saw no good reason to not bring over all the good aspects of the loot system from Titan Quest and full-on jack them into Reckoning, and that's what we did. We have a huge affix system that can generate countless items, so there's not only your "flaming helm of resplendent glory", but also hundreds and hundreds of hand-crafted unique items, much like Titan Quest. We also have custom art pieces that have their own history, names, facts and custom effects. So the loot experience is very much in the vein of Titan Quest.

...and a video interview from GameSpot that runs for a lengthy 20 minutes. Some gameplay video is interspersed, though I don't know if it is new.

Thursday - December 01, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Capsule Computers

by Dhruin, 20:33

Reckoning has been previewed at Capsule Computers, with the author focused on killing as many NPCs as possible:

By the time I had found the nearest town, Gorhart I believe, and eagerly engaged with the Guards of the town. What I was surprised to find was that when I initially hit one of them, they would first try to arrest me. This brings up a prompt similar to the one found in the Elder Scrolls series. Go to Jail, Pay the Fine or Refuse (these are not verbatim). Seeing that my fine was fairly large, 24k gold, I decided to continue my slaughter. What I was not expecting, as these guards were pretty alone, was for the entire cities guard to become hostile and march over to my position. My first reaction upon seeing such a large force advance on my position was one glee. However, glee was soon morphed into fear, as the guards were very difficult to kill. I had considered lowering the difficulty, but, where’s the fun in that.

Wednesday - November 30, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 22:40

Another week, another set of Reckoning Answers from the Team. Music, the length and armour "types" are all discussed but I couldn't resist this quote with a gentle dig at Skyrim:

How stressful is it to have a new IP come out in a time where 3 or 4 of the established big named RPGs have been released? Do Reckoning team members plan on playing any or all of the new RPG releases? – By bassglass

A: Not as stressful as you might think! The toughest part has been finding time to play them all – something I’m sure every gamer can appreciate in this crowded season of games. But while we realize we’re entering a field with some excellent titles, we’re certain that there’s space for a new major RPG, because we’re bringing something new to the genre that the players will love. As fond as we are of the other major RPGs out there (and I say that as someone who was a designer for Skyrim before coming to BHG), you don’t realize how important good combat mechanics are for an RPG until you play one where combat is actually exciting. – By Fred "Fizzbang" Zeleny, Narrative Designer

Saturday - November 26, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 00:24

The latest Reckoning Answers from the Team is up on their forums:

Hey guys, I have a question about weapons in Reckoning. Will weapons degrade over time, and need repair? If so, how quickly do they degrade, and what system is used to repair them (Blacksmithing, perhaps)? Also, will unique items degrade? Will we lose the use of our loot if we choose not to invest in the Blacksmithing tree? Thanks! – By Baseblgabe

A: Your favorite new piece of gear won't completely break or vanish, but all weapons and armor will eventually require repairs to stay effective - including unique and player crafted ones. And while they do degrade, you'll be able to get through several quest or dungeons before your new sword needs to be sharpened. To repair them you have two options – use repair kits or speak to a NPC. Anyone can use a repair kit regardless of their skill choices, but if you choose to invest in Blacksmithing, each kit you use will restore a higher amount of the equipments max durability. The NPC blacksmiths can be found throughout the world, and will gladly fix your gear in exchange for some of your gold! – By Andrew "Andre" Frederiksen, Producer

Thursday - November 24, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Skill at Arms

by Skavenhorde, 16:25

Here's a new video detailing the combat in Kingdoms of Amalur. It discusses Fate points and describes a few tactics for the different types of creatures you will encounter.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - November 17, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 09:56

The Reckoning team has posted their latest batch of answers to community questions, with responses on enemy strongholds, deeper quests and the claim of an open world:

Will there be big areas to explore without those paths we saw in the mini-map in the demos? I'm concerned about that, because though we've got an open world, if you only see paths to go, and you can't go wherever you want, it seems the world is not so open... – By alexdeguays

A: The world of Reckoning is made of gigantic areas to run freely through and explore. It's the very heart of our exploration gameplay. We do have some areas that are designed to be tighter to focus the player on a specific place or stage an ambush, or just to simply create a beautiful trail along a river's edge, but you'll always find yourself stepping out of these into open vistas, vast sprawling forests, and more.

From the very first step out of the Well of Souls, the opening dungeon, you're set loose on the world to run through massive plains, deserts, forests, coastlines, and more without anything holding you back. It's incredibly important to us that you have this free exploration experience as a player in a massive open world, so we hope you get out there and explore the far reaches of the Faelands. Come back and tell us what you find! – By Colin "Hugohan" Campbell, Lead World Designer

Saturday - November 12, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Developer Walkthrough @ G4

by Aries100, 16:36

G4 TV presents a three part developer walkthrough with Lead Designer Ian Frazier, all three parts are, in total, 7 minutes.  Part 1 deals with dialogue, Brigand's Hall and collectible armor sets.  Part 2 focuses on dungeon traps and the means to avoid these, the socketing system as well as the fast-paced combat.  Part 3 covers pickpocketing, Fate Energy, how to get it and how the use it - and the stealth system.


Source: GameBanshee

KoA: Reckoning - Trailer: Destiny & Fate

by Aries100, 16:04

A new trailer for this game can be found at Youtube. Lead Designer Ian Frazier and systems designers Will Miller and Matt Berner talks about the game's destiny system and how everything in the world is "governed by fate."

Source: GameBanshee

Friday - November 11, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Screens @ Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 23:59

Worthplaying has a handful of screens from Reckoning.

Wednesday - November 09, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interview, Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 22:04

RPG Codex recently had an interview with Ian 'Tiberius' Frazier about Reckoning. We've been discussing the "choices and consequences", so let's take a final snip on that topic and next time I'll choose something else:

7. Other than choosing between different abilities, what other choices will the game offer? Branching storyline? Multiple quest solutions? Friends and foes? 

There are tons of systemic choices in the game (abilities, Destinies, gear, skills, etc.) but if you’re talking about narrative choice, yep, we have that too! 

Many quests have multiple approaches and/or multiple endings based on how you choose to handle them, and those alternate endings can sometimes grant you permanent, exclusive systemic rewards that we call “Twists of Fate.” Dialogue and quest rewards can vary based on your skills (especially Persuasion!). NPCs can react to you differently based on your race, your gender, or even the god you worship. You can commit crimes and tick off individual NPCs or even a whole town. And in some cases those choices are directly integrated into a quest, like an NPC who asks you to do something devious and if you do as he asks without being seen, you get a very different end result than if you succeed at the mission but are spotted while you were doing it (I can’t say much more without spoilers).

...and the latest Answers from the Team is up, with some longer lore-related responses so here's a quick question:

If you fail a sidequest mid mission through reason other than you dieing (such as you are guiding someone and they die) will they be back at the town you initially got the quest in waiting to try again or is that quest ruined for good and you can no longer do it? – By CeliriaRose

A: It is possible to fail quests under certain circumstances. In these cases, the quest is logged under a "failed quests" section in the quest ledger and you won't be able to repeat it since in most cases (i.e., the death of a quest-vital NPC), it wouldn't make a believable story to simply try again. – By Erik "DoctorSpooky" Caponi, Principal Narrative Designer

Monday - November 07, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 20:31

I missed the latest Reckoning Answers from the Team last week because of their new website layout, so here's a catchup. This snip also addresses the "choice and consequence" aspect we discussed last time:

Q: Will quests have multiple ways to be finished? Such as instead of killing someone, you can persuade them to go away, etc. – By Fluent

A: Yes, there will be some quests in which the outcome can be altered by making different decisions. Some quests that have Persuasion options in them, may also give you extra EXP or varying rewards based on successful or failed Persuasion attempts. Quests which allow you the option to make different narrative choices may result in an NPC’s demeanor changing, one NPC living versus another, allowing the player to either keep a particular item or return it to its owner, and many other scenarios. There are also quests where you may decide that rather than attempt to persuade an NPC, you can help them out by running a side errand for them to progress the quest, or bribe them with gold to save yourself the time of running the errand. NPCs that you agree to help may offer you services after completing a quest for them, where they previously didn't offer you any before.

As you might imagine, another alternate way to prematurely end a quest would be to kill the quest giver or an NPC crucial to that quest. Some side-quests are linked together, or supplement the outcomes of other quests, so killing off quest NPCs may hinder the end result of a quest chain. You may have to complete favors for a few NPCs before they will unlock more quests, in which case killing the original quest givers might never allow you to unlock the follow up quests (sometimes, this may cause you to miss out on valuable rewards as well!). If you complete the tasks asked of you, the NPCs may reward you with certain weapons or items that will aid you in defeating a more powerful enemy at the end of the quest chain.

Quests in Amalur offer a wide variety of exploration, choice, and reward. I have found that this adds greatly to replay value, especially if you’re like me and enjoy creating multiple saves so you can see how things would have turned out if you made all the opposite decisions on another play-through. – By Kitty “Neko” Hughes, Level Designer

There's also an answer on PC controls.

Thursday - November 03, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - New Website

by Dhruin, 20:57

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning websites have been relaunched with a new look, including the main site and forums. More interesting is Amalur.com, which offers an interactive map with lore, history, regions and so on - worth a look.

Thanks to Sin, whose submission contained a typo that sent me to a Spanish real estate site. I didn't buy the property on offer for 85,000 Euro but thanks, anyway!

Wednesday - November 02, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - A "Nerd's RPG" @ IGN

by Dhruin, 21:12

IGN has a piece titled Reckoning is an RPG Nerd's RPG, which I guess is good news, but I don't think too many are going to trust IGN on that call. Here's a snip from the preview, which was on the PC for once:

While I was left utterly impressed by the plot, setting and characters, I was equally impressed by the give-and-take between these various factors and how they all fit in with one another. Like Fallout and Mass Effect, there's an emphasis on choice in Reckoning. But when I spoke with Benjamin Smith, a producer at EA, about Reckoning's choice system, he assured me that it wasn't quite as punishing as what you'd find in, say, Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas. Choices may direct you into different conversation branches and give the game a fresh feeling, but making the wrong choice won't cut out a piece of content for you like Fallout 3 and New Vegas so infamously did. Likewise, the game's persuasion system may net you different rewards in a side quest or more experience points for completing a task but won't lock you out of finding or completing any task in the game.

Wednesday - October 26, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team, Trailer

by Dhruin, 23:30

The latest batch of community questions have been answered on the Reckoning forums. Here's a lengthy answer about difficulty and skilled players using the action combat system to cut through the game:

Q: Because of the Destiny system in Reckoning, your character is set up to be a real powerhouse. I am aware of Reckoning's difficulty setting, but what other measures will be taken to ensure that players will not be running through Amalur with such a powerful character being pit against opponents who do not measure up? – By TheAgarrar

A: Great question! This is a unique design challenge we ran into when we started out, because we didn't want a highly skilled player to be able to dominate extremely high level enemies. We really want your RPG choices to matter – the investment in skills & abilities, the armor and weapons you have equipped, and Destiny you have chosen – these should all play a larger impact on combat than your ability to parry or kill groups of enemies without getting hit.

The answer to this question could go on for a while, so I'll limit myself to three points: One Versus Many, Enemy Variety, and Over-Leveled Enemies.

One Versus Many is a great way to think about our combat as a whole. The hero in Reckoning IS a powerful being, and fighting against one enemy is rarely a challenge. Fighting enemies in groups presents the real combat challenge. While a strong hero can juggle a single Murghan until it's dead, doing so with two other Murghan and a Banshaen is a sure-fire way to get flanked and take a lot of unnecessary damage. So, you’ll need to think about where each enemy is, be on the lookout for incoming attacks, and consider the presence of any obstacles like walls or poison pools. Our combat camera does a great job at keeping all the enemies on screen so you have all this information and aren't getting hit with any cheap shots.

Enemy Variety is how we keep things fresh and keep you on your toes. We put a lot of effort into making a bunch of enemy types, and keeping them different enough from each other so no two enemies fight exactly the same way. Then we thought about how these enemies fight alone, how they fight together, and how they fight when mixed with other types of enemies. This gives us a huge palette to try out different combinations, and be really creative with how we challenge you with groups of enemies. One of our most devastating combinations has turned out to be the Ettins and wolves. Ettins are strong melee fighters and try to get close to the hero, but are moderately easy to keep at bay by themselves. But when they are paired with a single wolf, the wolf will use its long range running attack to hit you, and by the time you've recovered, the Ettin will be right up in your face – often with a flying leap attack!

Finally, fighting Over-Leveled Enemies, or baddies that are much higher than your player level, is an exercise in futility. They will shrug off attacks as if your weapons were feathers. Their own attacks can't be parried, and they have bonus resistances to damage and stun. When these action elements are combined with the sheer damage numbers they can deal out, the fights are clearly not in your favor.

These are just three examples of how we keep things challenging for you. We can't wait for you to get your hands on it and see just how fun it is. – By Joe "JoeQ" Quadara, Lead Combat Designer

There's also a new Destinies and Fate trailer.

Saturday - October 22, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Inside the Cinematics

by Dhruin, 14:00

The second Inside Reckoning video is available, delving into the cinematics in the game:

In this episode of Inside Reckoning, we take a closer look at the cinematics in the game with Cinematics Director Marty Stoltz. Join us to for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the movie-magic is made, and what it brings to the epic Reckoning story.

Thursday - October 20, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interactive Story Continues

by Dhruin, 22:24

Two more parts have been released in Reckoning's interactive story on Facebook (Part 2, Part 3). Here's the story snippet and, if you recall, social types can vote on Facebook to decide the direction of the story:

You reach into the wooden chest at your bedside and retrieve your worn leather armor and daggers. The smell of the leather, the weight of the daggers… it all seems familiar. After clearing your head, you carefully tighten the straps on the armor and slide the daggers into your belt.

After finishing with your preparations, you head downstairs to the great room. The innkeeper gives you a warm smile and gestures at a hearty breakfast arranged on a long table. You grab a few morsels for the road, offer hasty thanks to your gracious host, and leave the Gorhart Inn.

Outside, the early morning sunlight filters through the trees, casting a warm glow on the village. The citizens of Gorhart are already set about their daily tasks, feeding livestock, tending gardens, and opening shops.

The path before you is open and its destination uncertain. To your left, you see a building with a hammer and anvil on the sign. To your right, you see a house with an herb garden. And behind you, a mission with a tall steeple sits atop a grassy hill. Which direction do you go?

Wednesday - October 19, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 22:27

Time for the latest Reckoning Answers from the Team. A "meaty" answer:

Meaty content and special "epic" events, found in hidden spaces and far corners of the world is very rewarding and exciting for most RPG-players but one could think that spending a lot of resources on this kind of hidden-away content would be very unrewarding for the developers. A lot of people might not even find this content because they are not interested in exploring. Is this something that you think about? Do you have to find a good balance when it comes to how much resources you put into something that to some will be awesome, whilst others might not find this content at all. – By Goatrek

A: Actually, creating special areas for hidden content was one of my favorite things to do when creating the world. When we're handed new exploration reward items that we need to find homes for, it's like a field day for the world design crew. Crafting secret areas and visual stories relevant to that item really give us a chance to come up with ideas that no one has thought of yet and lets us give context to the world in our own way.

True, it's a fairly involved process to come up with some of this stuff. Often the idea starts in design, gets passed to concept, then to character or environment art, maybe even animation and then to us (world designers) to integrate into the world. For art, it's a chance for them to flex their muscles and come up with their own ideas that aren't dependent on quests. On our end, it means sculpting out passages in mountains, setting up particular encounters and traps, locking the treasure away behind hidden doors and using a whole slew of other devious toys at our disposal to make you really work to find the content.

When I found out that our Lead Designer, Ian Frazier, was designing a set of unique armor to be hidden throughout the world, I was super excited to start working on their hidden locations – because, with Ian being our D&D group's DM, each of the five armor pieces of the set were named after our characters. We had free creative reign for these one-off moments and somehow they all turned into the area where they either died or were laid to rest with varying degrees of brutality and serenity (it's surprisingly fun to kill your beloved D&D character – don't tell the DM!). I was even able to work with one of the narrative designers so that when you wear my character's helm, you’ll find that some NPCs have commentary for it. At that point, when you're having so much fun with the project, it's all about the time you want to put into it to make it really special.

We know that there is the possibility that some folks will never find the things we've hidden away, but when people do, it's extremely exciting and gratifying. One of my favorite moments was hearing that one of the Narrative Designers stopped play-testing quests when he discovered a piece of the unique set we had hidden away, and spent hours searching the rest of the world to obtain the rest of the armor set. – By Jessica "Meridian" Hara Campell, Principal World Designer

Tuesday - October 18, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Rolston Interview @ Atomic

by Dhruin, 22:55

Ken Rolston has been interviewed at Atomic, with the first part of this in-person conversation now online. This first half is mostly about Ken's approach, rather than Reckoning specifically:

Atomic: I’ll give you a little bit of something. Right, actually derived from the chat that you guys had this morning [at the RPG influencers roundtable], one of the questions towards the end was about this ultimate payoff at the end of an RPG: killing or becoming the villain. What are the RPG standards? It seems to be, you’re either good or your bad but there’s also this really fertile grey area. Is that something you’re exploring in Reckoning?

Ken: Well, I would say that I always explore the grey area because I don’t systemise it. And I would say that, on the other hand, that’s a cheap copout because as long as you’re not telling the player that he’s in a rich moral environment, maybe he’s gonna miss that message. But I actually think being heavy-handed is worse for the experience of the person. Let me try another approach. Live-action roleplaying. I love to live-action roleplay. There’s nothing I like better than being totally screwed. I love that disaster because it’s a special kind of experience. Now, if I’m told by the system that that’s what happens, then it feels mechanical, it doesn’t feel like it’s my real choice. Also, if I think I can tell clearly what’s good and bad, that’s not a real dilemma. So in a game, my ideal situation is you come to a branch in a quest and you can do the thing that looks to you like it looks bad and looks to you like it looks good, and the game rewards for both are identical or perfectly balanced, so that you never feel like you have to do anything to improve your gameplay. So you just say, ‘This is who I am.’ And that’s the best moment in any game, when I say... my favourite moment is any game when you see something on the table, and in a role-playing game you know you’re supposed to steal stuff, but the new game, you’re not quite sure what’s right. And then at that point, partly, you’re testing the interface, but what I want you really to do as a player is say, ‘Do I want to be a guy who steals stuff?’ A guy who steals cups? That’s not very fucking cool, y’know. So that’s the experience I want. And it turns out to me that games like Fable, though they’re fun in a kind of a playful way, they’re not about morality or anything like that. It’s about fun, and I don’t mind fun. That’s just not a fun I want to do narratively.

Thursday - October 13, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Video @ G4TV

by Dhruin, 22:11

G4TV has a video on the character creation in Reckoning, although it basically shows you some opening scenes and a two-second glance at some of the character UIs.

Wednesday - October 12, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Factions and Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 23:17

The Reckoning site has new information on the Factions:

As the Fateless One journeys across the land of Amalur in search of destiny, he will cross paths with a diverse array of the kingdom's people. Many swear allegiance to one of Amalur's factions, each possessing their own beliefs, closely guarded techniques, and way of life. In the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, it is up to your hero to decide which factions to join.

To gain more insight into some of the factions the Fateless One can benefit from, the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning site has released summaries and banners for six factions. Click on a banner to learn more about that faction's history and its place within the realm of Amalur.

...and the latest Answers from the Team is up on their forums - quite worth a read:

Q: I would like to know if it is possible to complete EVERY SINGLE QUEST in one playthrough or not? Would prefer if it wasn't possible so I could go through several times and enjoy the different options. Also if it is not possible to complete every single quest in one playthrough, will there be any quests that are taken from a set and randomly chosen (think Diablo 1 random quests)? I think it would be pretty cool to have something like that on a larger scale. Maybe if not implemented in shipping version then some DLC/x-packs could have that make its way into the game. – By Kaloris

A: So the short answer is that if you are diligent enough, you can play any and all quests throughout Reckoning. However! Many of our quests involve decisions that change the outcome, or even the entire course and nature of the quest. That's true for parts of the main quest, the faction lines, and a good number of side quests.

There are some other things you can do, too, to get a different experience between playthroughs. First off, pick a different race, patron god, and gender. There are people in the world who will treat you differently, based on those things. Then try a different class and different skills. I guarantee you that a rogue with high lockpicking and detect hidden will play differently than a warrior-mage who crafts armor, potions, and gems. Try playing the Travelers faction with a rogue and the Warsworn with a warrior-mage. – By Ben "Tesseract" Schneider, Narrative Designer

Tuesday - October 11, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Well of Souls Video

by Dhruin, 23:25

EA has a short Well of Souls flythrough video. Here's the accompanying blurb:

The Well of Souls... the promise of life reborn from death. For centuries the gnomes quietly labored to complete this grand achievement, a device that would change Amalur forever. Yet success had long eluded the gnomes, as time and again they failed to reignite the spark of life in one who had fallen.

But in an instant, a spark oft begets a flame.

In the era of rising magic known as the Age of Arcana, the prototype Well constructed by Fomorous Hugues succeeded at last, bringing a single mortal back to life. But why this time, when all the countless attempts before had resulted in failure? What secrets lie within this Fateless One, whose past had been wiped clean and whose destiny had yet to be written?

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ RPS

by Dhruin, 23:11

Alec Meer has written about Reckoning for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, although I found the piece trying too hard to be clever. Anyway, a snip:

Not that these are entirely comparable games beyond the superficial. Kingdoms of Amaretto is far more about combat than world simulation, with the hyperstabby likes of God of War namechecked as inspirations. You can wander the land at will and have a few pick-a-response conversations enroute, but for the most part you’ll be dancing the artfully-posed dance of death against a legion of assorted monsters, thugs and especially the Fae, a sinister race out to do all manner of nastiness to humanity and its elven and gnomish allies. (I’ll guess that dwarves crop up at some point too, but don’t quote me on that. Point is, Reckoning doesn’t fall too far from the trad. high fantasy tree, albeit opting for a grimdark take on it).

Saturday - October 08, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - "comparable in size" to Oblivion and More

by Dhruin, 23:03

GamesRadar has excerpts from a conversation with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's Craig Krstolic, talking about the size of the gameworld:

“How big is the game world overall?” we asked as he showed off the game’s map. At a glance it looked very large and open, unlike Fable's, which was broken into small segments.

“I’ve looked at this, and if I look at something like Oblivion, it’s very comparable in size,” he said, though we shouldn’t expect the worlds to look all that similar, even if they’re approximately the same size.

The article has a screenshot of an in-game map.

Over at GamePro is a piece titled Five Objections to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Overruled, written by Tom Chick. Since the "open-ness" has been a topic of conversation on our forums, here's a snip on that:

1) It Won't Be As Good As Skyrim/Diablo III/Mass Effect 3.

If there's one thing I came away with after playing Kingdoms of Amalur for a few hours, it's that it doesn't really compare with any of those games. The closest analog I could come up with was Divinity II. You probably didn't play that, so it might not help.

Think of Kingdoms as an in-depth RPG in the style of Fable with a free-form character development system in which everyone -- even spellcasters and stealth-oriented rogues -- gets to partake in some hearty toe-to-toe combat. A God of War comparison, which the developers have made, isn't bad in terms of describing some of the moment-to-moment gameplay. But that completely misses the flexibility and depth in the character development. As a detailed action-oriented RPG in a fully realized world, Kingdoms of Amalur seems to have its own niche.

2) Eww, the World is All Corridors.

This is certainly the case with some of the areas, particularly early in the game. The first few lands between loading screens are definitely canyons, even though they're supposed to be magical forests with magical forest type names. But if you push eastward far enough, you'll come to a place where the landscape opens up considerably. A town called The Wold is actually a town, and not a set of canyons. This was the first place I felt like I wasn't in hallways anymore. North of here is The Foresaken Plains, which are definitely plains, albeit pretty modest. Don't expect gorgeous vistas, but don't worry about being hemmed in the entire time.

Friday - October 07, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Inside Narrative Design Video

by Dhruin, 22:20

The first of a new Reckoning video series titled Inside Reckoning has been released. This episode, which runs to a meaty 12 minutes, sees Principal Narrative Designer Erik Caponi and others dicsussing the narrative design. The impact of Salvatore and Rolston, the story structure and the role of various Houses in the game are all covered. Personally, I found their passion rather catchy.

Thursday - October 06, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Miscellaneous Roundup

by Dhruin, 22:43

Here's a small Reckoning roundup.

First, GameSpy has a preview from the recent event:

During my patient, explorative two hours of playtime, I discovered a hidden cave behind a waterfall that was full of monster rats guarding loot, gathered samples of exotic plants, accidentally awoke a massive bear from its slumber and fought for my life, battled a horde of enemies, and met with a number of diverse people in the game's small town starting area of Allestar Glade – people anxious to find a hero willing to fulfill quests big and small.

...and I couldn't resist this quote:

The only glaring drawback to Reckoning's impressive world is it's look. While this is strictly a matter of taste, the Fable-meets-World of Warcraft visual style of the game is a turn off for me. And as a proud owner of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 298, it pains me to say so. While Salvatore's distinct fantasy stamp is clearly on Reckoning's world, McFarlane's artistic flourish should be posted on the back of a carton of milk.

Speaking of the art style, ZAM has an interview with Big Huge Games' art director:

ZAM: I'm here with Tim Coman, studio project art director at Big Huge Games. Thanks for the interview, Tim!

Tim Coman: My pleasure.

ZAM: Do you have any major influences when it comes to designing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? 

Tim: With Reckoning, one thing we didn't want to do was set out to recreate one game or another. The internal team put together what we felt was the strongest art style, based off of the group that we had. Essentially, we chose a style that the team could all hit, and we built our strengths around that. Generally speaking, there are two paths that people generally go with for RPGs in this genre. Some try to make that Lord of the Rings movie feel, where it's as if you got a camera, went on location, and just tried to make everything look realistic while putting fantasy elements into that. And that's certainly a valid approach for games; I certainly don't knock it!

For our thing, however, we really wanted to come up with something more fantastical. We really wanted break away from games that are focused on browns and greys. It's great for certain games, but for us, since we're doing a fantasy game, there's almost any place we can push this from an art standpoint. This is one of the most fun places to be in development, where we're building a new IP from the ground up. We really wanted to create our own unique identity and, for me, the big thing was to have a consistent feel to the style; from the environments to the creatures, to the weapons, to the characters. We didn't want anything to feel wildly out of context. We really just wanted to create a game that people can recognize.

The Reckoning blog has a full roundup of recent articles if you want a comprehensive list.

...and for Facebook users, they've started up an Interactive Story. Here's the description from the forums with a link over to the Facebook page:

Hi everyone,

We wanted to give you a heads up that our Reckoning Interactive Story will be starting today, on our official Facebook page. We hope you'll check it out!

Before it starts, we wanted to explain how the interactive story works. Each week, we'll post a bit of the story along with a screenshot and a poll with choices that will impact the next week's story entry. Your choices will determine the story's overall direction and details, so please be sure to cast your vote!

The poll will be posted every Thursday, and we'll tally the votes every Monday at 9:00 AM Eastern Time. After the votes are in, the next story update and screenshot will be based on the choice that won.

We'll also keep a thread of the ongoing story on our official forums, so you can follow along. (We'll update this post with the thread link.)

Please let us know if you have any questions!

Wednesday - October 05, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 22:25

The latest edition of Answers from the Team is available on the Reckoning forums - here are two good questions:

Q: Any chance we'll see some puzzles, riddles or environmental hazards (swinging blades, shooting flames, etc) in the some of the dungeons? Thanks! – By subotai

A: You'll find many dungeons to explore in Amalur that offer puzzles, hazards, and traps. In some dungeons, you may find puzzles that you must solve in order to progress on certain quests, and also to gain access to deeper reaches of the dungeon itself. You may find hidden doors and levers, as well as secret exits or jump platforms. You may also notice there are a variety of traps in Reckoning—we sometimes use these as puzzles, and also sometimes they conceal ways to get to special loot or reach other areas of a dungeon.

We also sometimes present traps themselves in the form of environmental hazards, such as pools of poison water, or the more naturally occurring plant traps that will snap at you. Some of these traps will add to the dungeon's environment in a way that affect your pacing or timing. You may have to dodge certain traps or use an ability to quickly maneuver swinging traps hanging from the ceilings. Some good advice for the stealthy hero might be to invest some points into your Detect Hidden skill, making these traps easier to spot on your map. Be careful where you tread, heroes of Amalur! – By Kitty "Neko" Hughes, Level Designer

Q: Just how "open" is the world? I know it has been said you can stray off the path, and there are five distinct zones. But how will the transition between these zones take place? Is it Elder Scrolls level "If you can see it, you can go to it?" (Within reason) – By Outlander

A: The world of Reckoning is huge, and at any point you can decide to veer off the main roads or take a break from the main quest. We strongly encourage it! The main quest does a good job of giving you a tour of the world, but it only touches on the depth and breadth of the different regions. A lot of care went into giving those explorers out there a vast world to roam and fight through. There are sweeping plains and dense forests that are stocked full of side content, but there’s also a great deal to be found from just free exploration. You might uncover some of our secret nooks and crannies that are hiding some of the best loot in the game, or even extra bits of lore.

There are load screens between the five biomes for technical reasons, but you can spend real-world days exploring the massive amounts of content of each one. There are also over a hundred and twenty hand-crafted dungeons to explore.

All in all, you could spend countless hours just wandering the world of Reckoning and uncovering its secrets. Please tell us what you find! – By Colin "Hugohan" Campbell, Lead World Designer

KoA: Reckoning - Preview Roundup

by Dhruin, 00:29

Here's the first full batch of previews and videos expected on Reckoning (thanks to various posters on the 38 Studios forums for many of these).

We'll start with GameInformer, who have a massive 50 min video gameplay preview with Ian 'Tiberius' Frazier. The quality of the actual video is poor but you get to see plenty of the game.

Sticking with videos for a bit, G4TV has a series of shorter trailers:

GameSpot also has a video preview.

Some press previews:

A snip from RPGamer:

I passed through the forested areas of Dalentarth into the vast Plains of Erathell. I found the desert plains filled with bands of raiders and abandoned caravans, a huge island city with lots of merchants and quests, and beautiful areas with waterfalls that were just enjoyable to view. I was avoiding combat as often as possible, though in one of my encounters I did happen upon a piece of an armor set. It was a helmet that boosted my elemental abilities and finding the rest of the set would have added even more. A carrot that kept me looking for more pieces to complete the set.

My exploration came to an end in the Southeast corner of the map in an area called Detrye. It is a dusty, rocky region where I encountered many more beasts that I had not seen before. Without going into too much detail, it seems as if this area is meant for much later in the game than where I was in the story. During a talk with Ian Frazier, he stated that the game's main story will have players zigzagging across the map, though touching every area for at least a brief stop. Despite trying to see as much as I could, it turns out that I'd only seen less than a quarter of the world, and only small portions of those areas. There was even a whole other continent to the east that I'd not found access to yet. For anyone that likes exploring, this game will keep you busy for a long time.

Tuesday - October 04, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ TenTonHammer

by Dhruin, 08:53

38 Studios recently held a big press event for Reckoning and the embargo for that ends today, so we'll see a mass of new previews soon. Here's an early one from TenTonHammer, who see "flaws" where others might see good news:

The narrative did have its flaws – if not necessarily in content, than in execution. The downside to having a game that would easily function as a series of novels is that you’ll have to read or listen to dialogue after dialogue to get the full effect, which really bogs down the otherwise intense nature of Reckoning’s gameplay. There’s ways around this – action RPGs have gotten very good at feeding players voiceover as they move and fight – but in Reckoning I fear too many players will miss out on some great storytelling in the rush to click past dialogue and get into the action.

Another disappointment with Reckoning’s storytelling, and something that simply won’t change before launch, is that the player character isn’t voiced. Studio Head Sean Dunn explained that with Reckoning’s 30,000+ lines of dialogue, it wasn’t possible to do several alternate voicings for both genders of the game’s 4 playable races and not add several Xbox discs to an already full cases. Other games have featured a mute protagonist to great effect, notably the Fallout series, but I personally prefer the more BioWare-ish, Ubisoft-ish tack of letting you experience your character’s choices from their own lips.

...and Blue's has some screens.

Source: Blues News

Monday - October 03, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Losing Myself @ IGN

by Dhruin, 21:28

IGN has a piece titled Losing Myself to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

I have a hard time getting into role-playing games that don't let me make interesting choices. In essence, my character doesn't end up representing me; I'm just playing through an adventure that someone else designed for me to play in a very specific manner. Thankfully the upcoming action RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is full of choices. From what character you play to how you play them and where you choose to go, your life is yours to lead. I thought Reckoning's fantasy setting looked interesting, if uninspired and forgettable, before, but playing through some of its loosely structured content for myself has me completely hooked. I'm ready to lose myself in Amalur.

Worthplaying also has some apparently new screens.

Thursday - September 29, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 22:59

Time for the next batch of Reckoning Answers from the Team:

Q: Will you be able to dual wield weapons in general? – By TecHead

A: Some weapons are automatically paired, such as Daggers, Fae Blades, and Chakrams, and others would be traditionally impossible to dual wield, such as Hammers, Greatswords, Longbows, and Staves. So we decided to implement a unique method with our two-weapon system. You'll notice immediately when you play Reckoning that you can equip any weapon to your primary and secondary slots. Switching between each weapon is seamless and fluid, so you can create your own combinations to match your play style.

For instance, I like having a Frost Bow in my primary slot to slow enemies down from a distance, then that buys me time to slice them up with my slow (but very damaging) two-handed sword. A mage could focus on using a Sceptre for damage output, and use a Staff when enemies get too close to push them away. Want to equip two Hammers? Go for it! We don't restrict any combination of weapons.

Additionally, there aren't any class restrictions on weapons. Investing in different masteries will increase your damage output and unlock new attacks. We built the two-weapon system like this so that you would always feel free to try out a new weapon without sacrificing your main play style. Once you feel comfortable enough with a weapon class, you can start investing in it to make it part of your own Destiny. – By Joe "JoeQ" Quadara, Lead Combat Designer

Sunday - September 25, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Meet the Key Characters

by Dhruin, 00:04

EA's Reckoning subsite has a new Key Characters page:

Everyone has a history—a story—and the diverse cast of characters you'll meet in Reckoning are no exception. Learn more about some of Reckoning's key characters, including Agarth the Fateweaver and High King Titarion of the Summer Court, on our new Key Characters page!

Friday - September 23, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Optional Quest Icons

by Dhruin, 22:36

Here's a nice example of a developer responding to fan feedback. Fantasm writes that the recent Reckoning news of quest icons over NPC heads caused a bit of an uproar with some fans (you may remember some discussion on our own boards). Lead Designer Ian 'Tiberius' Frazer eventually chimed in with this:

"That said, it's clear that this issue is important to some of our fans, so tomorrow I'll sit down with the UI team and get some estimates on the time it would take to make this a toggleable feature and the estimated level of risk (bug-wise) in making it a toggle.

I am by no means promising that we'll implement a toggle for quest markers (if it looks like it'll be a bad thing for the project, especially if it looks likely to introduce new bugs, then we certainly won't do it), but I wanted to at least let you know that we take fan concerns like this one quite seriously and we will spend the time to investigate our options.

Thanks for the feedback and your support."

True to his word, Ian followed the issue up and posted an update yesterday to say quest markers would remain on the map but in those in the actual gameworld will be fully toggleable:

"Ok, so I've met with the UI team and we've investigated our options. For a variety of reasons, toggling quest markers on the MAP is not something we'll be doing. But the quest markers in the world itself? Yes, I'm pleased to report that our Principal UI Designer is going to work a little magic and make them fully toggleable (on by default).

If you don't want to see floating !s, ?s, and arrows in Reckoning, you will not have to do so."

Thanks, Fantasm!

Thursday - September 22, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - A Hero's Guide @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 23:32

GameSpot has a video titled A Hero's Guide to Amalur, a narrated video tour of Reckoning that runs for almot 5 minutes. The narrator is Claudia Black, which I'm sure a few of you will appreciate.

Wednesday - September 21, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 23:51

This week's Reckoning Answers from the Team is up, with questions about the story, monster placement, the engine and this one on dungeons:

Q: How long will some of the dungeons take to complete? Are some of the dungeons maze-like and confusing? – By Fluent

A: The dungeons we create range in size, however there are plenty of larger-sized spaces for those who love a good dungeon crawl. I wouldn't put an exact time on how long it would take to complete one because there are too many variables based on your level, Destiny, types of enemies, and even the player's individual playstyle (for example, I am an investigative player, so I might play much slower than others as I seek out every little inch of a dungeon and look for all the loot).

There can be a few dungeons that may riddle your brain, but there is always a way out. You may want to be on the lookout for places where you can jump or detect hidden doors. Oftentimes, these types of additions to our dungeons will help the player exit back out of the space gracefully, so there won't be too much backtracking. Fae Hollows dungeons in particular may get rather "maze-like" due to the large amount of vines and overgrowth there. Some of them might give you the feeling of wandering around a lush forest. Their beautiful lighting, along with a strong influence of magical energy, will pull you in. – By Kitty "Neko" Hughes, Level Designer

Thursday - September 15, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - NA Preorder Bonuses

by Dhruin, 22:53

EA and 38 Studios have announced the NA retail preorder bonuses for Reckoning:

RPG Players to Benefit from Mighty Exclusive Armor, Dynamic Weapons and Fate-Altering Treasure Hunter Packs

GUILDFORD, UK – SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 – Welcome to the world of Amalur! Electronic Arts Inc., 38 Studios LLC and Big Huge Games today revealed the in-game bonus items that players will receive when they pre-order* the epic role-playing game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™. In this unique game, players can choose their own destinies by customizing their characters through a wide array of varied skills and abilities. Armed with the exclusive Armor, Weapons and Treasure Hunter packs, players can help shape their destiny even further. 

·         The Destinies Choice Pack: Offers a unique "Twist of Fate" card to enhance the beginning of your gameplay experience, the Compass of Fate and three unique armor sets. Each armor set is tailored to a specific class which players will define and redefine during their time in Amalur.

 ·         The Fate-Touched Weapons Pack: Players can enter battle as fully prepared as ever with an arsenal of rare Fate-Touched weapons including a longbow, hammer, staff, faeblades, daggers, scepter, chakrams, longsword and greatsword. The weapons will help satisfy every player’s combat style with Reckoning’s on-the-fly weapon swapping in combat to take down even the most dreadful of foes.

·         The Ultimate Treasure Hunter Pack: For treasure hunters who will dive into every nook and cranny in the world of Amalur, the Dowsing Rod will seek out all reagents for concocting potions on your in-game map.  A worthy companion tool for any adventurer, the Dowsing Rod will help players get the most out of their alchemy skill..

Participating retailers may vary. For more information on pre-order item availability and retailers, please visit www.reckoningthegame.com.

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 00:44

The Reckoning team has their latest collection of dev answers to community questions. No official mod support is on major response but here's a snip on quests:

Q: I would love to know more about the quest system. How it is incorporated in the game. Are there any secret hidden quests? Any big yellow questions marks? – By mhowrad

A: We've worked hard here to walk a very specific line: we don't want to bog down the game with too much required dialog for the folks who want action, but we still want to deliver the goods for those who like deep story and living worlds. As a result, we do indeed have icons floating over our quest givers, and icons on the minimap. We have also found some clever ways of hiding some starts to quests, though, and giving some of them multiple endings. Sometimes you'll help someone in one place, and you'll find them again a ways down the road, doing better or worse depending on how you helped.

Do quests in a village, and the villagers will start commenting on how things have changed; get far enough into the main quest and the people in cities and other places will begin to recognize you as that hero -- the one they heard about from the front. – By Ben "Tesseract" Schneider, Narrative Designer

Saturday - September 10, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Curt Schilling Interview @ Forbes

by Dhruin, 01:38

This interview with 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling focuses on the business and background aspects but might be of passing interest to Reckoning followers:

38 Studios doesn’t look like any other first-time game developer. Schilling’s gone in big, investing at least $35 million of his own cash and raising $75 million in loans; hiring superstar comic book artist Todd McFarlane and bestselling fantasy author R.A. Salvatore to craft the game’s fictional world; and acquiring another studio, Big Huge Games, for their hit-making designers and game technology. The studio’s first release, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, is scheduled to be published in February by Electronic Arts.

In short: Curt Schilling is looking to win a championship in his rookie season.

Thursday - September 08, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - 20 Minutes of Action and More

by Dhruin, 00:47

IGN has a 20 minute video demo of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, titled the "Brigands Hall Cavern Demo" and featuring developer input from Ian Frazier and Joe Quadara.

In other news, there's a new batch of Answers from the Team, which focuses on peripheral issues. A sample:

Q: When play-testing the game, do you get feedback from testers if they understand the plot and storyline/lore, or are you just testing game play? – By Falkon

A: Not only do we have an extensive team of Functional Quality Assurance testers (FQA, the bug hunters and breakers of the game) but we also have a team of Playthrough Quality Assurance Testers (PQA), or as they like to call themselves "Team Raptor".

The PQA team works directly with the design department and bridges a commonly open gap between QA and Design. Their work primarily focuses on taking direction from the designers on what areas to test, and provide extensive feedback on those areas. They have a weekly meeting with design leads where they discuss balance concerns, gaps in gameplay, and other things they feel generally don’t make the game fun! Along with PQA’s feedback on the previous areas, the entire QA department also keeps an eye out for any potential breakdowns in the story arc, plot, and / or other instances of unclear lore and dialog. – By Chris "CoreFracture" Coleman, QA Manager 

Friday - September 02, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Ken Rolston Interview @ AusGamers

by Dhruin, 23:19

I've filed this under Reckoning but the surprisingly good interview with Ken Rolston at AusGamers spends most of its time discussing Ken's attititudes to RPGs and development. Here's a clip on the worst thing to happen to RPGs - fully voiced dialogue:

AusGamers: Yeah, but RPGs are big business now. And back in the day, they were almost closet in themselves. You had your kind of core audience and now they’ve reached this mainstream saturation point. Surely people can take that kind of risk factor, like “let’s just put this out there and see what happens”.

Ken: Ah no, because what the audience wants is a polished product, and it turns out that if you wanted to make an experimental role-playing game, you could not make a modern looking one or a modern feeling one. For example: let’s talk in the abstract about the worst thing that ever happened to role-playing games is recorded audio for dialogue. I happen to believe that was the death of my joy. Because that limits... that causes production things... the content has to be nailed down at a certain point.

So [voiced] text is not easily revisable. As I play, text is easily revisable; audio isn’t. As I play, I want to make tiny little changes to the tone, to the feel of things, but you can’t do that when you have all this audio -- oh my god, all the audio that we have to record! So what I’m going to say is: for what the audience wants, we are forced to create these things that are very brittle, that cannot be revised.

Whereas in the happy old days of Baldurs Gate and things like that, I thought you had the best of both worlds. You could have a little snippet of dialogue that would give character, but then you would get in text trees which you could easily scan and click through. For page, that’s the important thing; dialogue pace. In a good old-fashioned role-playing game, the user controls the pace, where unfortunately in both video and recorded audio, you can’t scan it and you can’t backtrack in it.

Source: Rampant Games

Wednesday - August 31, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 23:03

It's time for another batch of KOA: Reckoning Answers from the Team. Here's a snip on housing and characters:

Q: Will we be able to own a house or have a place you can call home in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? – By JDTwoSixTwo

A: Creating a feeling of ownership and a sense of belonging in the world of Amalur was extremely important to us when designing Reckoning. To that end, we have created unique houses which range from modest village dwellings to a massive castle. Each house is unique to its surroundings, and is acquired in a different way. Some houses are a reward for completing quests, while others play a more active role in the story line.

All houses offer some basic services. In them, players can regenerate health and mana by sleeping, customize their appearance using a Mirror, or store excess inventory items in the Stash. For convenience, stashed items show up in every house, regardless of which house you originally stashed them in. In addition, some houses can be upgraded to feature additional rooms, Sagecrafting, Alchemy, and Blacksmithing tables, and even pet monsters! – By Will "BHG_Miller" Miller, Systems Designer

Q: What's your favourite character build to play with, and why? – By Ajwol Semreth

A: That's a tough question, of which I've seen a lot of different favorites here in the studio! Early on, we surveyed the studio in order to classify everyone's play styles. We asked all sorts of questions, ranging from how important do you consider potions to ranking your interest in stealth and their understanding of hit reacts in fighting games. Throughout development, we've tried to service people's play styles rather than focusing on archetypal classes in order to balance the game and promote our classless Destiny System.

My personal favorite is a hybrid Rogue-Mage, with about a 70-30 split. I love the Finesse tree, and really enjoy mixing it with a bit of Sorcery for support. With our Two-Weapon system, I'm generally wielding a set of icy chakram and poisoned faeblades. This particular combo lets me slow enemies, while navigating the field and dishing out exorbitant amounts of damage! The ability combos are pretty nice too, with both traps and a summonable familiar helping me keep the enemies I'm not focused on at bay. – By Matthew "MBLucid" Berner, Combat & Systems Designer

Saturday - August 27, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - New Screen

by Dhruin, 00:46

Another day, another Reckoning screen - battle with a troll.

Thursday - August 25, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team, New Screen

by Dhruin, 01:08

There's a new set of Reckoning responses from the development team on their forums to community questions. Here's a sample:

Q: Is there lots of "hand-placed" loot, or is most of it randomly generated. How about chests, are their contents random or hand-placed? – By Fluent

A: Reckoning features extremely robust affix and loot table systems, which can randomly generate thousands of item and equipment variations. In keeping with the emphasis on hand-crafted content in Reckoning, we have also created hundreds of unique armor pieces, weapons, and items that you can discover! – By Will 'BHG_Miller' Miller, Systems Designer

...and a new screen showing an Ettin

Wednesday - August 24, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Screens @ Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 00:40

Eight new Reckoning screens are on offer at Worthplaying.

Sunday - August 21, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Gamescom Chat Video

by Dhruin, 00:13

Fantasm sends news of a 45-minutes demo/live chat from Gamescom with Ian Frazier and Ken Rolston from the Reckoning team. The video is now available from EA and word is "Highlights include a little more lore background, the first bow combat we've seen, a drawn-out boss fight, and some new info on additional game mechanics like Lore Stones and Twists of Fate."

Thursday - August 18, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Previews @ Gamespot and Metro

by Aries100, 17:23

Two previews for this game can be found at Gamespot and Metro. 

A quote from Gamespot's preview

As well as playing the game, we also got to hear about Reckoning's interesting approach to classes, which it calls Destinies. You start out by creating your character and customising them in detail, but what you don't do is put them into a character class having not played any of the game. Instead, you spend the first hour of the game experimenting with different play styles, and as you level up, the more you can specialise using the skill tree.

A quote from the preview by Metro:

The gist of the plot is neatly tied into the gameplay though, with your main character having been recently brought back from the dead by a new gnomish invention. This allows you to circumvent the ‘destiny’ ordained for all the other characters in the game world and choose – and frequently change – your own as the game progresses.

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the team # 2 and Trailer Shown at Games Com

by Aries100, 17:00

As we told you here, there has been a  fan Q&A session with the team behind the game. Yesterday,  agian the team members answered questions from fans in this thread at KoA forums. Art Director Tim Coman and Producer Mike Freedly answers the questions about armour, wildlife and more.

A few quotes, first one about what books etc. inspired them during the creation of the game.

Q: What books/movies/comics/etc. have influenced your own personal design aesthetic? – By Lady Nerevar

A: The works of Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore are some of our primary influences; in addition, each artist on the team brings with them all their personal inspirations. Jay Gillen (the artist in charge of developing up the first in-game look at each of our outdoor environments) was looking at Eyvind Earle’s work early on. The Hudson River painters, films of Terry Gilliam, Tolkein, and Dylan Cole are also personal inspirations for environments. There’s a rich tradition of fantasy artists that we have discussed over the duration of the project, but our goal has never been to recreate their work; rather, we strive to bring something new to the conversation. The recurring theme was to approach the material with a fresh set of eyes. – By Tim "HundredMonkeys" Coman, Studio/Project Art Director

And a quote about the wildlife:

Q: Will there be neutral wildlife? As in creatures in the wild that are strong and everything, but will not fight you unless attacked. Going along with this, will certain creatures in the wild attack each other? – By RPGbacon

A: Yes! Neutral wildlife adds a living, breathing quality to our environments. Some are magical, some are more traditional, but each has been crafted to work within the environment they live in. Creatures do attack each other; it’s very cool to come onto a scene and see them locked in battle. It adds a sense that these creatures are engaged in their own storylines and you’re just crossing paths with them. – By Tim "HundredMonkeys" Coman, Studio/Project Art Director

In other news, a Games Com trailer has been release. Can be seen on Youtube.

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - August 17, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Release Date Announced

by Aries100, 11:06

Via GameBanshee comes word that this game will be released on February 12th in the UK and on February 7th in North America. Head on over to Gamebanshee for the full press releases as they are too lengthy to post here. A snip, though:

Get ready to discover the secrets of Amalur as today Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) and 38 Studios, LLC have announced that the action RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™, will launch in Europe on February 10, 2012. Reckoning is an epic single-player game -- and the first chapter of a vast new fantasy universe -- that sends players on a fast-paced journey to unlock the mysteries of Amalur while redefining their hero’s destiny and the fate of the world.

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - August 15, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Gamasutra

by Myrthos, 23:51

Gamasutra looks back in time with Ian Frazier, lead designer on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and recaptures the events that occured during the development of the game.

With the studio sale well in the rearview, the Reckoning team is now around 120 people, including QA. Building that team, as well as switching from a strategy game studio to an RPG studio, was a daunting challenge, Frazier said.

"I would say [the transition was] pretty hard, honestly," he admitted. "We finally fully made that transition, but the two biggest challenges were hiring experienced RPG designers, and just RPG developers in general, because there aren't that many."

He added, "The industry, the RPG side of the industry, is really small, so it was hard for a long time to get people who knew how to make quests, to get people that knew how to build advancement systems and all that good stuff. We did it, but it was hard and it took a while."

"The other big challenge was just technical, just the engine. We built the Rise of Legends engine back in the day, and that was proprietary. Rise of Nations -- I'm not saying that was easy [to develop], but in comparison to this game it sure was. To have a multiplatform engine that's covering the action combat the way that we're doing it in Reckoning, which also has this massive streaming world -- for our tech team it's definitely been a very large challenge."

Saturday - August 13, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Answers from the Team

by Dhruin, 01:46

The Reckoning forums have a new thread with the team answering answering a handful of questions from the community. Here's a snip:

Q: I apologize if you have covered this elsewhere but could you speak about how linear the game is? Also how easy is it to diverge from the main quest line if I decide I want to do a faction or just do some open world exploration? Thanks! - By Stormsurge

A: Reckoning’s structure is extremely open. The main quest and each of the six factions contains a mostly-linear narrative you can follow, but you can veer off and pursue hundreds of different sidequests at any time. Even if you choose to ignore all the quests completely, the world is ripe for exploration, with all manner of rewards to find (both hand crafted and systemic) for the explorer. - By Tiberius

Thanks to Sin, on our forums.

Thursday - August 11, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Ian Frazier Interview @ EGMNow

by Dhruin, 23:38

Webzine EGMNow has an interview with Big Huge Games' Ian Frazier, Lead Designer on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. You may remember this name because Ian 'Tiberius' Frazier was the lead on Ultima V: Lazarus, the incredible Dungeon Siege conversion. No quote because of the silly webzine format but head over for a read.

Wednesday - August 03, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - A Story of Screenshots

by Dhruin, 01:23

The Kingdms of Amalur: Reckoning Facebook site has a new screenshot in what they are calling "A Story of Screenshots". If I understand correctly, they are going to add new screens regularly with a bit of lore text underneath that will create a story.

Friday - July 22, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - February Release?

by Dhruin, 22:43

VG247 has a comment from Todd McFarlane saying 38 Studios has February in mind to release Reckoning - though it all depends on EA:

Todd McFarlane has told folks attending Comic-Con that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is scheduled for a February release, “unless [EA] tells us otherwise.”

Thursday - July 21, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Three Races Revealed

by Dhruin, 22:16

Three more races have been revealed from Reckoning:

In celebration of Comic-Con, we’ve released three new races:  Summer Fae, Winter Fae and Tuatha

Wednesday - July 20, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Ausgamers

by Dhruin, 21:54

There's an updated preview of Reckoning at Ausgamers. Here are a few numbers:

For example, there are more than 120 hand-crafted dungeons in the game, with no two alike. They don’t adhere to “rubber stamping” in Amalur, which incidentally is set across five different geographic regions, each with their own unique look and feel (they will need to load though - no full world streaming here). Throughout these regions, the game serves up a heady map of settlements, villages, towns and cities with the sort of pedestrian life you’d expect, and all NPCs have day-to-day tasks they perform, with most being interactable.

There are also six joinable factions available to you, and each has its own major quest-line, alongside the game’s main narrative quest. Outside of this there are still 100s of side-quests available to you as well, meaning this is no light RPG, and we’re expected to be able to play it in the 100+ hours realm.

Monday - July 18, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview Roundup

by Aries100, 20:56

Previews have surfaced for this game. I quote from 1 of them and list the rest.

First we have Eurogamer - a sample:

Roleplay games don't necessarily need to dazzle graphically, nor reinvent a genre, to be fun to play and compelling to construct a character within. There is, however, a degree of ‘epic' that's missing here. Amalur is a fine drizzle compared to the thunder and lightning of the Elder Scrolls tempest. It's easy to say that Reckoning should be judged on its own two feet, certainly, but when the feet in question are such heavily-stitched Franken-legs from countless RPG forerunners that's quite a tall order

Then we have NZ Gamer

Next up is INC Gamers

CVG has a preview, too.

Source: GameBanshee

Saturday - July 16, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Strategy Informer

by Dhruin, 01:56

Strategy Informer has a look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Here's a snip:

There are also several smart design decisions running under the game’s hood. Some might sniff at the thought of inventory management being a key feature in a game, but if you’ve ever played a loot-heavy RPG with a terribly designed inventory system you’ll know how much a bad one can bog down the experience.
The junk pile is the key to this, providing a separate place for you to quickly dump items that you don’t have a need for. You can move any found loot to the pile with the touch of a button and when you arrive at a vendor you can sell all of your junk in one blast. It’s simple, elegant and it means you’ll spend far less time trawling through menus and micromanaging dozens of items that you may not even want.

In related news, Worthplaying has some new screens.

Monday - July 04, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Destiny Card Pack Giveaway

by Dhruin, 01:04

38 Studios dropped us a line to say they are giving away a card pack from E3 that feature the Reckoning's Destinies to new members of their forums that do a Facebook "Like" thingy. They go to the first 700 so they may be gone but head to this thread for details.

Thursday - June 30, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Official Forums Launched

by Dhruin, 23:36

38 Studios has launched official forums for Reckoning. I haven't really checked them out yet but hopefully there will be some dev participation in due course.

Wednesday - June 29, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Gameplay Preview @ G4TV

by Dhruin, 01:11

G4TV has a video preview Reckoning from their Xplay feature. There's a little under three minutes of footage, with quite a bit I hadn't seen before.

Thursday - June 16, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 00:08

Worthplaying has a general preview of Reckoning from E3:

During the demo, we were shown a few things that made Kingdoms of Amalur stand out from other RPGs in the market. There's a pretty heavy looting system in place as well as an item creation system that lets you craft your own artifacts for use in combat. A minigame system for disarming booby traps was also shown off in the demo, making it more about skill if you wish to not rely on pure stats for a successful disarm. A dialogue tree is also in place where, as expected, various choices made during each conversation help branch out how your particular story is going to unfold.

Wednesday - June 15, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - The Basics @ IGN

by Dhruin, 00:03

IGN has a "Basics" look at Reckoning, summarising the main points. There's no new information if you're up to date but it might serve as an intro if you haven't been watching this game:

What's the world of Amalur like?
Amalur is divided into five distinct regions. What we've seen so far is a pretty colorful world, a bit like Fable, but just a touch grittier. It's not dim and ugly like Oblivion or most fantasy worlds. It's filled with unique-looking versions of well-known monsters (Kobolds, Trolls and the like). Big Huge Games is promising that everything in the world -- all the ancient ruins and any architecture -- exists for a reason. There's a story behind everything, some of which is told to you by non-playable characters, and some you can read in books found in the game world.

Thursday - June 09, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Video Commentary @ EA

by Dhruin, 23:22

An EA Live Event video from E3 offers a good look at Reckoning with commentary over live gameplay footage. Word from Melvil is "This video gives the best idea of the world size to date", so worth a look.

Wednesday - June 08, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ GamesRadar

by Dhruin, 22:03

GamesRadar serves up a hands-on preview of Reckoning:

Monday - June 06, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - New Site, E3 Trailer, Races, World Map

by Dhruin, 23:29

A flurry of activity at the Reckoning site with a makeover, a new 1:22 E3 gameplay trailer, a world map to check out and details of the five races (Almain, Ljosalfar, Dokkalfar, Varani and Gnome). As exotic as some of these sound, they appear to all be human and elf variants (other than the gnome, of course).

Sunday - June 05, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interrogation Room @ GameSpy

by Dhruin, 00:49

GameSpy has an "Interrogation Room" piece on Reckoning with two editors discussing the game together. There's really nothing new but it does give an overview:

Eric Neigher: Hmmm, I've often wondered about putting an honest-to-goodness fighting system in an RPG, or even an action-RPG, but it's hard to duplicate that Bayonetta perfection without a lot of trial-and-error. Tekken seems like it might be kinda button-mashy for an RPG system, but hey, that's better than The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's mouse-swing thing. So how about the storyline itself? R.A. Salvatore is a pretty well-known dude, and Todd McFarlane and all his Spawn stuff is involved. What's the tone of the game?

Gus Mastrapa: Reckoning doesn't look like Spawn at all, which is appropriate. You may remember that Todd McFarlane also did some art for the aborted Ultima Online 2 back in the day; the look of this game seems like a continuation of that train of thought. Though if you look closely, you can certainly see some of McFarlane's style come through in the universe. During one dungeon crawl, I saw characters called Bolgans, which were pink, tubby brutes not too dissimilar to the grotesque Clown from Spawn. R.A. Salvatore's contribution to the game feels even bigger: The author cooked up a 10,000-year history for the world of Amalur. 38 Studios' long-gestating MMO project will take place in the same universe, albeit sometime in the future. Reckoning's focus is on one hero's contribution to the history of the realm. With an open world and 100 hours of gameplay, it feels like you get to write that history as you see fit.

Saturday - June 04, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Video Interview @ Wired

by Dhruin, 01:13

Ken Rolston once again pops up in a video interview to promote the combat in Reckoning:

Just when Ken Rolston thought he was out of the videogame biz, the creators of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning pulled him back in.

After serving as lead designer of the acclaimed Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Rolston retired. But when his friends at Big Huge Games told him they wanted his input as a “lead creative visionary” for their new RPG, to be published by Electronic Arts, he couldn’t resist getting back into the game.

In this Wired.com video, Rolston recounts the story of how he became involved in creating Reckoning, to be released early next year for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, then tells us what differentiates it from other role-playing games.

In a word: combat. He’s not just whistling Dixie, either. Wired.com tried the game at a preview event and found that slashing orcs and setting people on fire felt really good — not quite as good as a straight-up action game, but not the sort of sluggish half-measures that you typically associate with RPGs.

Tuesday - May 31, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Kotaku

by Dhruin, 00:21

Kotaku looks at Reckoning with liberal quotes from Ken Rolston who, in turn, says "cool" far too much:

"Nobody's ever gotten a dagger as loot and been happy," Rolston jokes, with the exception of a blade he names that talks and eats planets. "Now the daggers do cool stuff, like you can go through a guy and stab him from behind." (He means literally go through a guy. One of the cooler attacks we saw pre-E3 was a character teleport through his prey, then backstab him, leaving a toxic trail in his wake that could poison multiple enemies.)

Also apparently cool? Chakrams as weapons, the circular blade people may be familiar with from Xena: Warrior Princess or Tron, a rare weapon that has popped up in a handful of video games, rarely as a starring weapon.

"Magical Frisbees? How are you going to make that cool?" Rolston says, implying that nothing was off the table when talking about Reckoning's approach to new combat ideas. "I think because we had stupid ideas and prototyped them, like 'Let's make the daggers as much fun as anything else you can use in the game.'"

Friday - May 27, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ G4TV

by Dhruin, 22:41

There's another pre-E3 preview of Reckoning over at G4TV:

It’s our first exposure to the choices you make in Reckoning, but certainly not the last. When speaking to a quest giver, we’re presented with a familiar dialog wheel allowing us to get more color on the quest at hand, to accept or decline the quest, or even engage in specific actions. For example, when offered money upon completion of a quest, I was able to attempt a dialog option to be paid up front, a racial specific skill, and one with only a 20 percent chance of success. If all that bores you, the dialog system is designed to provide the next steps front and center  so that casual players or those not invested in the story can move onto their next task easy peasy.

While Reckoning is clearly being designed as an action game, it’s not skimping at all on the RPG elements. Players will encounter forges, where they can salvage weapons they find in the field into parts. These grips, hilts, etc. can be used to create all new weapons; the better the parts, the better the weapon. And whatever you make, you’ll easily be able to determine as Reckoning boasts a "What you have is what you see" philosophy, i.e., you’ll see glowing frost on ice daggers or licks of flames from a fire-based sword.

KoA: Reckoning - Preview, Video Interview @ VentureBeat

Wednesday - May 25, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ IGN

by Dhruin, 22:14

IGN has a pre-E3 preview of Reckoning. It's one of those "I don't like fantasy games" articles that is more likely to turn you off than get you excited - if this guy likes it, it can't be good.

Some people don't like sports games, but I traditionally don't like medieval times with dragons and crap. Reckoning looks like it could be the exception to the rule. The combat is fluid, customizing my character to the specific specs I want is exciting, and hell yes I want to make a sword with a crazy core and snazzy binding. It all looks like something I could jump into and start having fun in the first few minutes. Sure, the menus and meters look a bit barebones at the moment, but there's plenty of time before Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning releases in 2012.

Friday - May 20, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ GamePlanet

by Dhruin, 00:54

NZ site GamePlanet has an interview with Ken Rolston about Reckoning. I found this quote interesting, although perhaps I misunderstood his last sentence:

Gameplanet: Amalur is also described as an open-world game, but that’s another term that gets bandied about these days. To what extent is Amalur an open-world game?

Rolston: I’m proud to say that, in many ways, I’ve defined open-world games. What I would say is that an open-world game is one that is so big – that there are so many things to do – that you’re constantly being distracted from what you’re supposed to do, which is usually to save the world.

So first, the world has to be big and it has to be extra interactive – perhaps in ways you didn’t expect – and then it has to feel inexhaustible so that when you stop exploring it’s because your spirit is broken, there’s just too much. And when your spirit is broken, that’s a happy time for you.

So that’s what an open-world game is, and because we’ve made some open-world games before, we know what they’re supposed to look like. At the same time, we might be a little jaded with an unpolished presentation of open worlds because if you get into a world that’s really open and there’s nothing to do there? The bloom is off the rose. So [with Amalur] we’ve already been much more careful about making sure that the boundaries of what’s fun are clearly defined to the player, but subtly. That is, he never makes the mistake of thinking there’s fun over in that dark corner because we would hide something there, because we’ll never do that.

Friday - May 13, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - 5 minute taste of the Pax demo

Wednesday - May 11, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Video Interview @ IGN

by Dhruin, 22:25

Fixing Combat in the RPG Genre is the title of a video interview at IGN with Ken Rolston on "the merits of making an action RPG".

Monday - May 09, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Why It's Awesome @ IGN

by Dhruin, 22:17

Zohaib sends in this preview of Kingdoms of Amalur from IGN titled Why It's Awesome. Essentially, this article summarises the main points, such as the strengths of the dev team:

Written by veteran author R. A. Salvatore
From the opening moments of the game, when you're dragged through the halls by two bantering dwarves before awaking on a pile of corpses in an ethereal subterranean cavern, Reckoning oozes quality. It should too, since acclaimed fantasy novelist R. A. Salvatore penned the story and dialogue. Salvatore, whose work includes The DemonWorks Saga and a bunch of books in the Forgotten Realms universe, brings undeniable quality to the fantasy writ.

Working with Ralson, you can see the potential for amazing quest design, convincing dialogue, deep lore and an overall immersive world. This is the same Salvatore who also crafted one of the most memorable hardcore fantasy characters out there - Drizzt Do'Urden – who went on to appear in Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate. We can't wait to see what he brings to Kingdoms of Amalur.

Friday - April 15, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ VG247

by Dhruin, 00:57

It's VG247's time for a Reckoning preview, with a number of quotes from Ken Rolston:

We’re shown long-range chakrams – “glowing magical frisbees”, says Ken – that give mage players the same action-game combat thrill as a warrior’s swords. Rogues’ daggers are cool-looking dual weapons, and used in combat with teleporting and poison spells, they’re as flashy as they are deadly. Kingdoms of Amalur doesn’t restrict you by class, letting you flesh out warrior, mage and rogue skill trees concurrently, creating cross-over classes tailored to your playing style.

“Your skills should be customisable in the same way as your clothes,” Ken believes. “It’s not just about those three archetypes, it’s about making the hybrids inbetween playable. I think people’s role-playing impulses are to be someone somewhere inbetween those.”

“We wanted to win on the four basic things – exploration, narrative, advancement and combat – and we wanted combat to be our leader. We wanted that to be the sizzle that was better than anything else.”

Wednesday - April 13, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ IncGamers

by Dhruin, 23:57

IncGamers is the next site along with a preview of Reckoning:

The standard stat-heavy RPG staples of item crafting, blacksmithing and looting are present and correct. A Diablo-esque randomised loot generation system is in place in an attempt to keep things fresh and varied between playthroughs and, presumably, to give you and your friends something to compare and discuss.

An emphasis seems to have been placed on these sorts of ‘organic’ systems throughout the game; picked flowers grow back over time, NPCs react differently to your presence depending on your status and achievements in the world and a day/night cycle impacts quests and inhabited locations.

IGN has also kicked up some screens, although I'm not sure if they are new.

KoA: Reckoning - Interview, Preview

by Dhruin, 00:15

Here's a couple of new Reckoning items. First, AusGamers has an interview with Ken Rolston. Oddly, Ken identifies himself as a PC gamer but then goes on to admit he hasn't played around much with the PC version:

AG: Now among our readers we have a big die-hard PC gaming contingent.

Ken: Good. Like me!

AG: Right. I think a lot of RPG developers are cut from that cloth. Now I’ve seen the Reckoning gameplay demo and its loot and inventory system and it has been very tailored to be user-friendly towards console players, but I’m a bit concerned as to how that would translate to a PC experience. Are there going to be any differences between how that works on PC? To make it easier for someone with a mouse to use?

Ken: How do you mean? The interface of going through loot?

AG: Yeah, and when you pick up loot from the ground or you’re adjusting the items equipped to your person, it seems to be very tailored to a control-pad experience.

Ken: Oh do you mean the ways the menus work and stuff like that?

AG: Yeah, exactly.

Ken: The first step for me as a being a role-playing gamer, I want to make sure that the interface is better than other games are. For example... it’s interesting, the console gives you the... even though there are fewer buttons, our having a weapon on each of the different buttons gets past one of the awkward things. For example: you always want to switch between your ranged weapon and your melee weapon, so that happens automatically and easily. And for example: when you open a chest or a body, you can equip directly before you go into your inventory.

So that we have all of those consciousness things of what hasn’t been done well in the past for RPGs. I admit, it hadn’t occurred to me -- I haven’t played the PC version that much -- if there’s any kind of a problem with using a mousewheel... do you consider the mousewheel to be an acceptable.. is the mousewheel a familiar tool?

AG: Yeah I think it is for most PC gamers.

...and StrategyInformer has a general preview that looks gathered together from existing information:

Considering the game engine being used was last seen in the likes of Catan and Rise of Nations, it's rather impressive to see how the company's proprietary 'BigHugeEngine' has come a long. They hope to dazzle us with a wide range of high-quality locations and assets, and we're told there's a lot of visual content in the game that helps bring it to life and to create a world that'll make you want to protect it. Big words, and whilst it certainly looks impressive, what we've seen isn't necessarily striking in any particular way - but with plenty of time to go, perhaps that will be improved.

Make no mistake though, this is going to be a content filled game. Along with the main quest, there’s supposed to be side-quests, as well as separate faction quests. Players can also engage in crafting, such as alchemy, smiting and sage-crafting and we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s other meta and mini games tucked in there somewhere as well (and that’s not forgetting Achievements, Trophies etc...). Prepare yourself for many an hour of travelling, collecting and grinding... although from what we've seen of the combat system, it should be entertaining at least.

Monday - April 11, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - "Visions" Gameplay Trailer

by Dhruin, 23:09

This is interesting - we finally get a look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Big Huge Games and 38 Studios has released a trailer titled "Visions" that shows a colourful game world reminiscent of World of Warcraft at a glance with a couple of combat glimpses. The blurb from their news:

The public has been clamoring for more — and who are we to say no to our fans? Today we are proud to announce the public release of the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning™ Visions trailer. The Visions trailer has spectacular, action-packed gameplay footage that will introduce fans to the lore of Reckoning, the beauty of Amalur, and the pulse-pounding excitement of combat.

Thursday - March 24, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Bad Ass Mage @ IGN

by Dhruin, 21:15

IGN looks at the mage class in Reckoning, which apparently offers more butt-kicking than the average scholarly mage type:

Dual-wielding razor-edged throwing discs, called Chakram, the mage can be a force in combat even without the benefit of his spells. The combat is simple button presses with a system similar to Fable -- with a button dedicated to melee, one for ranged attacked and one for spells. While the mage's staff may not cleave enemies in half like a sword, it can have similar attack chains. The mage lacks a true warrior's strength, but not his skill at putting the beat-down on enemies.

And, like any character in Reckoning, the mage has access to fate-shift kills. These special finishing moves are rewards for effective use of combos and lead to brutal, cinematic kills of enemies. These end with a simple button mash to finish off an enemy, but fate-shift kills give that sense of combat superiority over an enemy. An odd feeling, for sure, for a mage in an RPG.

Friday - March 18, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - PAX Preview @ The Escapist

by Dhruin, 23:17

The Escapist has a look at Reckoning from the PAX presentation that I missed from a few days back:

After finishing up in the cave, 38 brought us above ground to what they hope will be a "world worth saving." 38's design philosophy is to create a gorgeous world that players will want to protect, and judging by the demo they're already succeeding. Imagine World of Warcraft, but with a major upgrade. The use of color, particularly within the lighting system, makes everything look vibrant and attractive to the eyes. It'll be worth it to explore the world too, because a path in the forest could lead to a hidden cache of treasure, a special gathering point, or even unique foes that you won't find anywhere else.

Monday - March 14, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - PAX Mini Preview @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 20:47

GameSpot has a quick look at Reckoning from a PAX demo. Apparently this was more or less the same as GDC, so we probably won't see much dramatically new information for a bit:

The team's answers offered up additional bits of info on various aspects of the game. A question on swimming in the game revealed that while there will be swimming, there won't be underwater swimming, although there will be dive points where you'll be able to go underwater to collect items. A targeting question revealed that there's a soft lock system for combat. A question on difficulty was answered with the revelation that there will be a difficulty slider in the game. The answer for a question on how many major classes will be included in the game was a cryptic "a lot." The subject of morality revealed that the game won't have a set system of good and evil that includes a traditional morality meter; instead, some of the world choices you make will have an impact on your adventure. Other info of note from the panel included word that there will be an absorption ability for mages and that the game will feature some level of control customization that will let you choose between different presets.

Friday - March 11, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Interview @ Shacknews

by Dhruin, 21:46

Big Huge Games' Sean Dunn has been interviewed at Shacknews about Reckoning. Here's an introductory snip on the Oblivion meets God of War thing:

Shacknews: There have been a lot of comparisons made from your team and [38 Studios boss] Curt Shilling about what Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is like. We've heard it's a marriage between God of War and Oblivion, for example. Let's examine that because I think there's an impression from players that, since they haven't seen it in action, it's a lot of talk verging on hyperbole. What's the core idea behind Reckoning?

Sean Dunn: The core idea behind the game is that it's an open-world RPG. It's a core, hardcore RPG that really is built to cater to those fans of products like Oblivion and Elder Scrolls games. What we wanted to do is, well we were never really satisfied with combat that was offered to open-world RPG players.

The whole team is made up of industry veterans. We have Ken Rolston, he's one of the visionaries who was the lead designer on Oblivion. We have Mark Nelson, who is the creative director here, he was was the lead designer on the Oblivion expansion. Our executive producer was at Bethesda, the system designer from Titan Quest... there's a lot of RPG knowledge in the studio now.

What we wanted to do is pull all of the combat in. We wanted to put combat that's geared in that "simple to pick up, but hugely deep and fulfilling and satisfying" gameplay. We didn't want to over complicate it with memorized combos and things like that. It's all based on single-button combat, based on your weapons, and it's based on your timing. Just like any good RPG those skills and those combo trees that you can execute through the progression of your character.

If you don't want to do in-close, tight combat you can go through a Mage build or maybe do a Hybrid build. Anything like that. It was really bringing fast paced combat into an open-world RPG.

Thursday - March 10, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer

by Dhruin, 21:05

Ten Ton Hamer is another site with some impressions of Reckoning:

The world feels huge, yet familiar. There is a potential play time of 200 hours in this game, so you can imagine the sheer size and detail of the world. The intent behind the design was familiarity and to feel that Amalur is worth defending. The level of realism in the game is set to a level where the world is believable yet mystical. Everything was hand-placed in the world; there was no auto-generation of terrain or debris. This is particularly evident as the game switches between day and night cycles which are set at a 1:30 ratio.  At night, lights will come on and town residents will head to pubs or go to bed to sleep.

Source: Blues News

Wednesday - March 09, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Destructoid

by Dhruin, 20:53

The Reckoning previews are still dribbling in and Destructoid is the next site along with a look at Curt Schilling's first game:

Expect Reckoning to offer up the full range of expected options in its character creation. Visually, you’ll have control over things like bone structure, skin color, facial hair, eyebrows, tattoos, and whether you’ll be male or female. Beyond that, you can choose from four of the game’s races -- two human and two elven -- each of which will provide a bonus for the game’s non-combat skills. Depending on that very choice, you’ll be offered the option to choose a patron god; I saw a slew of different deity options in the demo, each offering up their own bonuses, as well.

“We want you to create a character that you really feel is your own,” Nelson says of the opening process.

What you won’t choose, however, is your character class. That comes into play based on your own choices, with something that is being referred to as the Destiny System. Reckoning will feature a very traditional-looking skill tree system, broken up into three branching paths: might, finesse, and sorcery. Where you invest your skill points will ultimately determine the class you’ll become. The idea is to have the game recognize how you’re building a character and then offer up the equivalent of a traditional character class.

Tuesday - March 08, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Eurogamer

by Dhruin, 22:18

Here's another Reckoning preview from GDC, this time at Eurogamer:

With a lot of combat apparently about managing the space around you as much as picking your attacks, the camera has to be on the ball, and this has been an area of focus for the devs, who say that it is always intelligently framing up the most obvious aggressors that you might want to target rather than expecting you to do it yourself (although you can do that, too).

Those kinds of guiding hands are a common theme of the GDC presentation. We're also told to expect lots of subtle visual signposting, like making sure that the two kobolds outside a dungeon are of representative difficulty for what lies beyond the entrance. That way, if you are going to bite off more than you can chew by entering, you do at least know what you're getting yourself into.

Monday - March 07, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview Roundup

by Dhruin, 21:16

We're finally getting some updates on Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur with a small handful of previews hitting the 'net. Let's start with VG247 - it's still general overview territory but we learn a few useful things, such as an expected release in 2012 and no scaling. A snip on the world size and scaling:

“It’s really big,” said Dunn. “It’s really hard to put a square footage or anything like that on the world. It is an open world kind of in the frame of, like, an Oblivion. You can go just about anywhere. Also, there’s the power of the player [to consider]. We don’t auto-level the power of the world depending on the level of the player. You can get yourself into trouble by roaming into an area or a dungeon where stuff is just too powerful for you.”

“And the beauty of that is that you may get your ass kicked in a place, but you get to go build up your character and then return to exact retribution on the stuff that caused you problems. To feel powerful in a world, you have to also feel in danger, you know? So it’s really important that we don’t want to pigeonhole the player into playing this area and then this area and then this area. It is an open world, but there are places where the player can get themselves into trouble.”

IGN has an article titled The Basics:

Amalur is divided into five distinct regions. What we've seen so far is a pretty colorful world, a bit like Fable, but just a touch grittier. It's not dim and ugly like Oblivion or most fantasy worlds. It's filled with unique-looking versions of well-known monsters (Kobolds, Trolls and the like). Big Huge Games is promising that everything in the world -- all the ancient ruins and any architecture -- exists for a reason. There's a story behind everything, some of which is told to you by non-playable characters, and some you can read in books found in the game world.

Suddenly Oblivion is "ugly". Anyway, on to Joystiq:

Combat is certainly a focus -- it starts out simple, with just a few one-button combos using your first weapon. But soon a shield gets added into the mix and you can learn to not only block attacks but also parry them when timed correctly, causing a stun or extra damage. Soon, you can assign multiple weapons to the various buttons (the warrior I saw wielded a broadsword and a hammer, and could switch them up instantly), and doing things like holding them down or pressing them in a certain timing sequence creates all sorts of flashy and rewarding action combos, even including things like aerial launches and juggles.

There are even -- yes, God of War-style -- quicktime events, usually the last enemy in a sequence, that use extra button presses for extra damage and action. The combat is more like Bayonetta than Kratos, actually -- even the warrior adds a little magic to his attacks to bring spikes up out of the ground or slash with a flaming sword.

Finally, some new screens from GDC at Worthplaying.

Wednesday - March 02, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Being Shown at PAX

by Dhruin, 22:29

Looks like we might finally get a real look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning with Curt Schilling saying the game will be shown live at PAX East. That's the only relevant part in a conversation with Joystiq about the move of 38 Studios to Rhode Island, so here's the full quote:

He also made sure to point out that Reckoning will be given live demos throughout PAX East and two panels by the game's developers are also on deck. Perhaps Mr. Schilling and his studios will have more to say about their grander plans next week.

PAX East is in a week's time.

Tuesday - January 18, 2011

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ TheSlorg's World

by Dhruin, 22:25

A site called TheSlorg's World has a short preview of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, based on exisiting information.  I can't see anything new but if you've missed this game from 38 Studios, head over:

At this point you may be wondering “This sounds nice and all, but what brought these industry legends together to make video games? What does Curt Schilling know about games anyway?” It all starts with Schilling who is a confessed gaming nerd. His last three contracts before he retired from baseball required high-speed Internet access in each hotel room so he could still play EverQuest on the road, and he is quoted as saying “I’d be looking at the time and thinking that if this inning ended by eleven, I’d still be able to get in the raid at 12:30.” It was Schilling’s love of fantasy and video games that led to his constant wondering of “What if?” As a longtime player of MMORPG’s, Schilling experienced everything from Everquest to World of Warcraft and, more recently, Warhammer Online. He thought about what he liked and disliked about each game and thought “Why can’t it be this way” or “What if this game had this feature in it”. Unsatisfied with simply pondering the possibilities, he decided to make them a reality by bringing in one of the best fantasy writers in existence to create a fantasy world, bringing in one of the best fantasy artists to create the world, and bringing in one of the best RPG designers to put it all together. Several years later the fruits of their hard work is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated games of the year.

Tuesday - November 30, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ CVG

by Dhruin, 22:52

Hey - a new preview of Kingdoms of Amalur...pity it doesn't say anything new.  If you need a brief catch up, head to CVG:

Having cherry-picked his favourite period from Salvatore's insanely epic timeline, Rolston brought in action-figure, er, figurehead and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane to work with him on the look of the game; a game which hopes to combine the depth of an RPG with God of War-style melée combat.

Wednesday - October 13, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - New Screens

by Dhruin, 20:52

Been a little while since we've heard anything about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning but Worthplaying now has three screens.

Monday - August 09, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Three New Screenshots

by Myrthos, 20:07

Omega points out that there are three new screens that can be found amongst others on the official site of the game.

Saturday - August 07, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Preview @ Ripten

by Dhruin, 22:55

There's a "picture heavy" preview of Reckoning at Ripten, with the currently released screens and photos from Comic-Con making up the bulk of the content.  They actually rely on official PR instead of describing the game themselves but the photos and so on might be of interest.

Tuesday - July 27, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Interviews @ Joystiq, GamePro

by Dhruin, 11:15

While the real details are still scarce, Joystiq has a preview-slash-interview on Reckoning with comments from Schilling, Salvatore and Big Huge Games' lead designer, Mark Nelson.  Schilling continues to call the game "God of War meets Oblivion" but here's a bit that really caught my eye:

But he does want to say that 38 plans to put something great in the game for both RPG players and action fans. "Curse of the Azure Bonds, which is an SSI Gold Box game, old D&D game. I can remember that storyline like it was yesterday, playing through that. RPG players, that's what we want." Action gamers love pressing buttons for big hack and slash moves that leave them almost hyperventilating with intensity. And Schilling wants to see both thrills in Reckoning: "I've never played a game that had both of those. And that's the game I'm playing, that I see. I see these incredibly deep quests, this incredible combat, and I'm having fun doing both."

Meanwhile, GamePro has separate video interviews with Schilling and Salvatore.

Thanks to Omega for these three.

Sunday - July 25, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Video Interview @ G4TV

by Dhruin, 22:13

Todd McFarlane speaks to G4TV from the Comic-Con floor in this video interview.  The lengthy conversation also covers his toy lineup and the Spawn movie, so skip to around 4.47 for the Reckoning stuff.  He doesn't reveal anything specific about the game but talks about his goals as Art Director, saying too many game enemies use the same wireframe with a different paint-job and he wants more diversity, better animation and for the big enemies to have "weight".

Thanks, Omega!

Friday - July 23, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Comic-Con Panel Overview

by Dhruin, 23:28

GameSpot has a summary of the Comic-Con presentation for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, presented by the famous quartet of Schilling, Salvatore, McFarlane and Rolston.  Nothing new is really revealed but it does give a small feel for their intentions:

As for gameplay, Rolston took a survey of the crowd, asking who considered themselves role players and who had played Morrowind and Oblivion, drawing lots of cheers at each question.

"So you basically have an idea of the kind of game I want," Rolston said.

He talked about wanting to capture the tone of worlds with vast narratives, with fans "arguing about the obvious truth" of things like the Kingdom of Amalur teaser trailer. Rolston said he wants to instill in gamers a perverse desire to see a powerful story through to its end, but make them so reluctant to see the experience come to an end that they'll spend their time searching for stray tasks throughout a vast world rather than completing the game.

Rolston doesn't just want the game to be in people's heads though. He also wants it to be in their hands, saying he wants their chemicals and pheromones to cover their controllers. He wants them thinking about how to streamline their combat approach to be slightly more efficient. He added that he wants that "to be in your viscera. I want it to be inside you. I want it to be chemical."

Thursday - July 22, 2010

KoA: Reckoning - Website, Trailer Launched

by Dhruin, 22:29

The website for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is now online, with a cinematic trailer, handful of screens and concept art, FAQ and so on.  The screens reveal some conventional fantasy elements, such as trolls and kobolds and an exaggerated art style.  All the current media seems to use the same hero, so it isn't clear at this stage if the game uses a pre-determined main character or if this is just for their PR purposes.  From the FAQ:

What can you tell me about the game?

Set in the Kingdoms of Amalur universe, Reckoning will offer unrivaled RPG action combat, seamlessly integrating magical and melee attacks into an innovative and visceral experience. Reckoning includes hundreds of quests, characters, creatures, weapons and spells. More details about the game will be revealed over the coming weeks and months.

R.A. Salvatore is the creator of the immortal Drizzt Do’Urden and author of The New York Times best-selling Forgotten Realms series. Todd McFarlane is a Grammy and Emmy-award winning artist, writer and toy designer best known for creating the fantasy series Spawn. Ken Rolston served as the lead designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion before joining Big Huge Games development studio, the Baltimore, MD-based wholly-owned subsidiary of 38 Studios, based in Maynard, MA.

Reckoning is an epic, open world role-playing game that gives fans their first experience with Kingdoms of Amalur, a new universe imagined by R.A. Salvatore, brought to life by Todd McFarlane, and designed by Ken Rolston and his team at Big Huge Games.

Kingdoms of Amalur is an original fantasy universe that serves as the setting for both Reckoning and 38 Studios’ upcoming massively multiplayer game, codenamed Project Copernicus. Amalur's cultures and expansive history were created by R.A. Salvatore, and the world is being brought to life through the artistic vision of Todd McFarlane. Legendary game designer Ken Rolston provides players their first journey into Kingdoms of Amalur through the hero’s journey in Reckoning. The story of Amalur will continue to expand through comic books, novels, toys and additional games.

What roles in the game design and development did Ken Rolston, Todd McFarlane, and R. A. Salvatore play?

Each visionary brings a unique expertise to the team, and together they have made far more than just a game. They have created a living world with incredible history and depth, filled with breathtaking scenery and unforgettable adventures. Reckoning blends R.A. Salvatore’s storytelling mastery with Todd McFarlane’s eye for artistic excellence, all wrapped up in an expertly crafted RPG by Ken Rolston.

Tuesday - July 20, 2010

KoA:R - Interview @ USA Today

by Dhruin, 22:04

USA Today has a roundtable conversation with Curt Schilling, Ken Rolstan, Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore about Kingdoms of Amalur.  Nothing is really revealed yet but they talk about the style and direction.  Here's a bit from Ken Rolstan:

Ken, what can you say about the action aspect of this game?

I am celebrated justly for being an advocate of free-form, open-world gaming because it is a lot of fun. As well as being a warrior, a mage and a thief, I'm really a pilgrim in the games that I go through. It's that pilgrim's interest or tourist's interest, in just wandering around and seeing everything and playing around with things, that was the thing that brought me the excitement of working on The Elder Scrolls projects. And in many ways they probably have defined the standard for any large, vast, narrative single-player role-playing game that will be an award-winner or best-seller. But we have already done that and I wanted to find some other place where we could be distinct and special and I have always had a lingering sense that RPGs are in some way hampered by their tabletop and PC-based, turn-based past. They are comfortable with being slow-paced and being comfortable with requiring you to go look at your character page or look at your character interface in a PC game or to have to fuss with all those things.

What I really wanted was the same kind of action immersion that you get in other games where if you are skateboarding, you are skateboarding. You're not checking your interface to see if you have the right gear on to be skateborading. You are in that moment. ... You'd think it wouldn't be so hard. You just take an action game and then adapt it to an RPG. But if you look at an action game, they almost always have very simple worlds that you are moving through, levels and levels specifically designed to certain aspects of the character. So the player doesn't really have that much choice. He is going through a maze and he is not improvising. Whereas the soul of role-playing games is defining your own character and being whoever you want to be and customizing yourself. So the challenge was finding something that would allow us to have the experience of an action-adventure game but sill have the complexity, richness and customization of a RPG.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Announced

by Garrett, 19:44

EA & 38 Studios have released a PR announcing a new RPG:

EA and 38 Studios Introduce Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Epic Open World RPG to be Unveiled at Comic-Con 2010 All-Star Panel Featuring Todd McFarlane, R. A. Salvatore, Ken Rolston and Curt Schilling


SAN DIEGO, Jul 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) and 38 Studios, LLC announced Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the company's first title previously referred to under the codename "Project Mercury". Reckoning is an epic, open-world role-playing game set in Amalur, a mysterious and magical new fantasy world created by New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore. Brought to life visually through the trademark visceral style of renowned artist and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, Reckoning brings a new level of intense action combat to the RPG genre. The game is being developed under the leadership of Ken Rolston, lead designer of the critically acclaimed RPGs Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and is scheduled for release in fall 2011.

"Reckoning is a great representation of how a team of incredibly talented and creative people with expertise in different areas can come together and complement each other so well," said Jen MacLean, CEO of 38 Studios. "We are thrilled to be developing an open-world RPG under the leadership of one of the greatest RPG designers in the industry, with creative direction by one of the most iconic artists of our time, set in a rich universe imagined by one of the top fantasy genre authors in the world. We can't wait to share the first details of this universe we have been so dedicated to building over the past few years."

"In Reckoning, we started with Bob and Todd's exceptional Kingdoms of Amalur game setting and imagery," said Ken Rolston, Lead Designer at Big Huge Games, a subsidiary of 38 Studios. "On that foundation we built the open-world exploration, vast narrative and character customization fans expect from the best RPGs. And we've added something new that we've always wanted from the genre -- a fast-paced, graphically stimulating action combat experience with fluid control and immersive, discoverable gameplay fans haven't seen before in other fantasy RPGs."

Reckoning is a single-player RPG that sets players on a heroic journey to unlock the mysteries of Amalur. Amalur is a magical world, filled with strange landscapes, exotic cities, colorful characters and terrifying creatures. This Thursday at International Comic-Con in San Diego, 38 Studios visionaries McFarlane, Rolston, and Salvatore, along with 38 Studios Founder and Chairman Curt Schilling, will be hosting a panel in the first-ever public discussion of Reckoning. Attendees will be among the first to see the world debut of Reckoning's first trailer, directed by McFarlane and will also receive a limited edition collectible poster designed by McFarlane. The panel takes place in room 6A from 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM and will be moderated by Spike TV's Geoff Keighley.

Reckoning will be available for the PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360(R) videogame and entertainment system, and PC. For more information about Reckoning, please visit www.reckoningthegame.com beginning Thursday, July 22, or follow the game on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ReckoningGame and become a fan on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ReckoningTheGame.

Information about

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Developer: 38 Studios

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2012-02-07
· Publisher: EA