Latest Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning dev diary delves into the RPG’s art and lore

Thursday, 19th January 2012 21:52 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

38 Studios has released a new developer diary for Kingdoms if Amalur: Reckoning, featuring Tim Coman and Sean Murray explaining how the game’s deep lore and a signature style make it stand out from other RPGs. The demo for the game is out now on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, in case you haven’t tried it already. It releases on all three platforms February 7 in North America and February 10 in Europe.



  1. TheWulf

    This looks mind-rottingly boring.

    And you can always spot creative bankruptcy in an RPG when the races are essentially: Human, green skinned human, pointy-eared human, bumpy skinned human, short human, and they’re all handsome/pretty with a creepy china doll feel to them.

    I can’t see this doing well, especially with Skyrim having offered at least a more interesting setting and race choices than this, which will still be at the back of the minds of anyone looking at new RPGs.

    Really, if you want to make a good RPG, be creative.

    (Also, getting a lot of server errors from VG247 currently. That’s odd.)

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Phoenixblight

    @1 I played the demo not just on the PC but on the Xbox 360 and I found it pretty fun especially with how the skills, talents and gameplay is laid out. It is everything I have ever wanted from a open world action platformer RPG.

    I am considering getting if time and money allows, we’ll see.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Telepathic.Geometry


    #3 3 years ago
  4. OlderGamer

    I was blown away with the demo. Finaly a game seems to get it right. Tight control, great combat, deep leveling up, passable story, great graphics. I am sold for a day one purchase. I played the xb360 version.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Gadzooks!

    I’m firmly in the ‘WANT’ camp too. The demo was great, its polished and varied and above all, FUN.

    Comparisons to Skyrim are pretty pointless. The style and tone of Reckoning are very different and the game can be judged on its own merits.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @4: Passable story? Just passable? :/ Too bad.

    “We didn’t want it to be another generic Fantasy World,” so they created another generic Fantasy World. Great job. If this game has any problems it is the art-direction. It doesn’t have a personality.

    To be honest it looks really, really bland.

    Even the fucking name screams GENERIC.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Gadzooks!

    Ah, decrying a game before playing it. Classic forum trolling right there.

    Nobody is saying the game is unique or groundbreaking. A lot of people that actually bothered to try it have said that it plays well though.

    Gameplay people. Gameplay.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    Not liking things is cool. I for example hate fermented bean paste. True story.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. LOLshock94

    polished? guessing none of you saw the glitch which skips conversations and fucks up the games volume?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. ManuOtaku

    I will get the game for sure, because of two things, one i did enjoy it and second becuase i want to support a new developer especially this one because is kurt schilling investment, not that iam a fan of him, but becuase he did show a lot of commitment with the gaming industry putting his saving money to start a new dev.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Gadzooks!


    Yep, I had that happen. That minor, easily patchable bug obviously renders the smooth engine, smart UI design and fluid combat engine completely null and void.

    Further more the developers, publishers and anyone who has ever used the constituent letters of the word ‘Reckoning’ should be flayed in a high pressure jet of piss-salt and hung by the left gonad to rot.

    Or maybe that would be a gargantuan overreaction…?

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Moonwalker1982

    Man i was expecting that i’d love the demo, and the funny thing is, my initial impressions were really good. I had gone through the dungeon and enjoyed that, saw the outside part and it looked great. However, it then froze on me. And decided to play the demo later.

    I did that this evening, from beginning to end.

    - Why in god’s name did they have to copy/use things Fable had? I personally hate Fable, after Fable 2 i was expecting 3 to be much much better. 2 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t ‘OMFG’ good neither. 3 was horrible in my book.

    That said…i hate when i can’t just jump into a pond of water, or when i must stand on a certain spot where it shows the A button, so that i can jump down from there. FUCK that, just let me drop at any part of that ledge…jesus. This shit screams Fable.

    - There’s something missing in the demo, the moment where you should say ‘wow this is awesome/looks awesome’ i didn’t have that at all. Also the graphical style, for me it ranges from ‘Hey this looks pretty damn cool’ to simply ‘meh’ . Several locations in the demo just didn’t do anything for me, looked boring honestly.

    - It couldn’t hold my interest for long, and i actually was skipping most of the conversations cause pretty soon i just didn’t care anymore. And normally i never skip any conversations.

    - The combat while definitely responsive, easy to use and most of the time fast paced….starts to bore after awhile. Even while combining it with magic swords special attacks.
    I would see enemies in the distance and i was like ‘Ah damn, here we go again’ And not in a good way. They became a chore :(

    - It looks and feels MMO’ish, and for me…that’s not a good thing.

    Was definitely expecting something different. Now i’m not writing this game off yet, oh no not at all. Cause you simply cannot judge a game by a demo only. But it’s not a day one buy for me, i’m in no rush to go get it.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Gadzooks!

    If you didnt like Fable then yeah, this probably isnt going to float your boat. For me its a big plus.

    I would say that the demo feels quite rounded and is probably representative of the full game, so I wouldnt expect much to change on release bar bugfixing.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. polygem

    just finished the demo. i really enjoyed it. nothing groundbreaking or new but they seem to have gotten the mix of the stuff that has proven to work in these kind of games just right. if so that´s a great achievement. seems to be deep but not too deep to become nerd only territory. very acessible for what i experienced in the demo. it plays really well, fluid and fun. combat might seem kind of generic but it feels great. the fable game i´ve waited for? you cannot compare this to skyrim imo. to fable maybe. i would get it based on the demo…but i have sold my 360 (look at the forum). i will play zelda SS instead.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. absolutezero

    As a dick-ass thief character I once again feel like I got the shitty end of the stick.

    Picking up a wand basically is a bow with the same charge mechanic only with no ammo and its spammable. So theres no huge reload time to force you into melee. The way the spawns work inside the areas just defeats the purpose of sneaking completely. Try going into say the Mine in the forest area to fight Kobolds, they come running in from the other side of whatever area you happen to be in and instantly know where you are, even though you have run into the previous room, are not sneaking and are hiding behind a massive pile of rocks.

    Worse yet instead of just having a little search then going to back to some sort of pattern which would give you a challenge to move through them and take them out one by one they just continue running forward then home in.


    #15 3 years ago
  16. YoungZer0

    @7: If you’d read my comment or the comment of TheWulf, you’d see that we don’t really talk about the art-direction, which is something you can see and don’t have to play. It really looks bland.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. fearmonkey

    I am most certainly buying this game…I played the demo 3 times, I loved it. To the others who thought it was boring, that is fine, thats why we have so many varieties of games out there. Most of my friends though Morrowind and oblivion were boring, but I loved those games.
    This game is for people that love exploration, and frankly thats a huge thing for me.
    It does feel MMO’ish, the music at times REALLY sounds like World of Warcraft, the art style definitely reminds of Wow too. It has that loose character control that MMO’s have but with fable like action gameplay.
    I love playing MMO’s single player, this is a game for people like me who love MMO’s but would rather play alone.
    Plus —-KEN ROLSTON!!!!

    #17 3 years ago
  18. DSB

    By far the worst thing about the game is the halfassed camera. Some part of me just refuses to play a game today that can’t even provide a proper point of view.

    The gameplay and the world is fine. The graphics are really ugly if you study them in any kind of detail, but the art style is quite neat.

    I can’t get enough colours. I’ll take The Witcher oranges and greens over Skyrims greys and tans any day. There’s no reason to make a world look like it was painted by someone going through a serious depression.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Telepathic.Geometry

    I can see now that I’m gonna be this game’s bitch for a few weeks as I slavishly click on every plant I see (ala Skyrim) and craft my way through my first playthrough. So colourful, thank you Jesus!

    Do think the camera could do with some tweaking, to make it pan behind you a little bit as you move in any given direction. But overall, happy.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. YoungZer0

    @16: Meant to say that we only talk about the art-direction. Really, it looks like a mix between WoW + Fable and every other MMORPG.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. TheWulf

    @7 – Oh, come on.

    Why do you spout this notion that one can’t judge the artistic qualitites of a piece of entertainment without having fully experienced it? That’s absolute tosh, it’s as ridiculous as people going on about “consolitis” is. And when you have nonsense of that calibre, it’s either just down to a person being a fanboy and not thinking, or it’s trolling.

    Obviously, you can’t the game mechanics of a game without playing it. But you can most certainly tell how whether there’s any artistic talent involved. You can quite easily judge that by what they’ve released in regards to their game’s media.

    If you have an imaginative, clever group of people, they’re going to have a riveting, exotic trailer to show off, or at least some nice screenshots. At the very least an interesting story, or perhaps just some nice lore or well put together races/species that aren’t borne of the utterly generic.

    Just hop on over to their site and take a look at the bits of lore that they have released. It’s uninspired on every level, and most of it is just a carbon copy of a billion other fantasy worlds I’ve read about. It looks more like a generic, free to play MMORPG than anything else. And if there is anything that an RPG should not look like, it’s that.

    It’s quite clear that these are dedicated people, but not talented people. They’re going to make a mechanically sound game, but not an inspiring, brilliant one. It’s going to be middling at best. That’s not hating on them, that’s just making a subjective observation.

    Indeed, this game may possess amazing gameplay mecahanics, but I can’t understand why you’re fetishising gameplay mechanics over what makes an RPG important. For an RPG to be memroable, the setting (the world and its inhabitants), the art, the narrative, the storytelling, and the characters are integral elements. Lore is also important.

    You’re talking about this like it’s Pong or Arkanoid, when it is clearly not either.

    Just think about it.

    Every semi-modern RPG since around the ’90s has either succeeded or failed based upon those elements, because if you can’t inspire a person then what’s to keep them playing? A great combat system is completely meaningless if the world does nothing for you.

    So the next time you jump on someone like that, you may want to think about what you’re saying first. Because that’s really an incredibly silly argument.

    @8 – Also, being a hipster and taking a crack at someone who’s making a subjective observation is also cool. Silly hipster.

    @12 – I expected a reaction like yours. You’re feeling exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re gripped by a game due to high artistic values then you’re able to overlook a few bugs. However, if what you’re unfortunately finding is that the game tires you due to how uninspired the proceedings are, then those bugs are going to become more of a burden.

    And that they’re borrowing things from other games in regards to their gameplay mechanics is hardly surprising. I mean, like I said, I’m sure that they’re a competent group of people, but they’re just not a talented group of people.

    (7 and 8, come back and talk with me once you’ve actually played the game enough to figure out what I already have. I suspect that when you find you’re quickly getting bored of the game’s poor storytelling and you’re longing for a better RPG to play, you’ll return with your tail between your legs.)

    Okay, not done talking yet. Read or don’t, the choice is yours!

    Essentially, I don’t think it’s right to give anyone a pass for making generic, flavourless pap with no imagination or wonder involved at all. If we do, then we’re only telling these people that it’s okay to peddle more substandard wares in the future, rather than giving them constructive criticism and telling them to try harder.

    They clearly need a good writer, they don’t have that. If no one criticises them for this, they’re never going to bother to find a good writer. So despite their best efforts, this is going to continue to be incredibly generic, whether they realise it or not.

    Whether it’s mainstream or indie, being generic is a curse, and someone should at least have the balls to come out and tell them. They deserve to know.

    Compare and contrast. That’s what a fantasy game can be when the designers decide to stretch the rules and actually evoke something that we haven’t seen a thousand times before. In all the RPGs I’ve played, I’ve never seen anything quite like the Black Citadel or the Charr.

    In this modern era of gaming, it’s that level of imagination that designers should be shooting for. Generic just isn’t acceptable any more. Not to me, anyway.

    #21 3 years ago

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