It's got all the stars aligned in its favour
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, as Angus covered off quite nicely in his E3 preview, is a new RPG property from 38 Studios, Big Huge Games, and Electronic Arts. Those aren't the only big names associated with it, either, as it also features the talents of fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, illustrator and artist extraordinaire Todd McFarlane, and the game design genius of Ken Rolston.
All that aside, what has us really excited about it is the team's intention to innovate - and in the way they're innovating, at that.
One of the weakest aspects of your traditional RPG game, most will agree, is in the combat. Exploration and narrative? No problemo. Stats and leveling? Of course! Boring combat? That's fairly typically included in an RPG too - but not here.
Instead, the designers of Amalur: Reckoning are intending to bring the kind of combo and skill-based fighting systems that you're used to seeing in the likes of Mortal Kombat or God of War to the fore, to make combat entertaining - rather than a chore.
There's a lot more to the game than that, of course, so to back up all the coverage we've already done of the title, we thought we'd have a chat to the developers themselves and find out from the mouth of the beast, so to speak, what the game is all about.
It was an incredibly fascinating interview, with loads of interesting detail on the games and the universe they've created for what is sure to be a multi-title franchise. If you have any interest in the game, either as a combat or RPG fan, read on...
Can you please each take a moment to introduce yourselves, including a quick overview of your day-to-day responsibilities on the title?
Ian: I’m Ian Fraser, lead designer on Reckoning at Big Huge Games. My role is to manage the vision of the game - what makes it cool and fun, and why people should give a crap.
Understanding that, and then communicating to the team on a regular basis, so that the artists are doing things that are awesome and that are in the same vein as to what the programmers and designers are doing so that it all fits together in a single cohesive world.
And also communicating outside the team - to folks like yourself and the rest of the world - what we’re trying to do and why we think it’s awesome.
Sean: I’m Sean, I’m producer on the title. What I do is mostly manage a lot of schedules and make sure everything is done on time, whereas Ian focuses on making the game fun, I focus on making the game done. I do a lot of crushing dreams and crushing souls.
Ian: I build dreams and Sean crushes them.
Sean: Yep, they’re delicious [laughs].
For someone who's completely unaware of the title, how would you describe it? What's the 10,000 foot view?
Ian: It is a very large open-world single player RPG, and we take really intense action-combat like you might see in God of War, and we’ve fused it at a core level into a backbone of hardcore RPG systems.
You think about all the things you want out of an RPG - all the kind of stats and number crunching and building, and really specific tool-kitted character that has exactly these bonuses and this kind of weapon, and this kind of helmet that makes my head explode whenever I get hit by a boggart, etc.
All of that depth and all of those systems that you have built around it, merged with the moment to moment experience of an action game, where you can dodge in the middle of an attack, or block in the middle of an attack, you can combo through different moves, launch guys into the air and keep them juggled up in the air so they don’t fall down.
Just crazy, crazy, intense visceral combat but still in that strong RPG foundation.
Continue reading on page 2.