Rolston: Skyrim and Reckoning have a “lot in common” – but not combat

Tuesday, 24th January 2012 04:43 GMT By Brenna Hillier

38 Studios’ Ken Rolston, who famously served as lead designer on two past Elder Scrolls games, belives Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has one massive advantage over Skyrim.

“What makes Reckoning differ from Skyrim? The simple answer is that Reckoning has the best, coolest, fastest-paced, most tactile and silly-exciting fantasy combat of ANY video RPG,” Rolston told Gamefront.

“The pace, fluid movement, tactical richness, and physical and visual theater of fantasy combat has always seemed the weakest feature of video RPGs, and Reckoning offers a fresh new answer in that department.”

Rolston also noted Reckoning’s “more vivid, colorful art style” and “easy-to-pick up, faster-paced gameplay in general”, but added that the two epics have ” a lot in common”.

“Both games are Way-Too-Big, and have Way-Too-Much-to-Do, and they both seduce you into playing for hours and hours and hours,” he said.

“They both have whacking big epic storylines, and elaborate faction quest lines, and boatloads of quests, and lots of characters and books, and lots of crafting and alchemy, and lots of ways to customize your character.

“But in many large ways, and in many small ways, Reckoning tries to take a fresh look at the RPG genre, and is trying to be What RPGs Will Look Like and Feel Like in the Future Utopia.”

Rolston was lead designer on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowingd and The Elder Scrols IV: Oblivion, and noted elsewhere in the interview that he had enjoyed Skyrim.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is expected on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in early February. A demo is now available on Steam and both console networks.



  1. OlderGamer

    Already preordered mine, the gameplay is actualy fun! Take that Skyrim!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Gekidami

    Going off the demo, Reckoning’s world is pretty much made of corridors whilst Skyrim, well, isnt. Thats a pretty massive difference, honestly.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    Did you play the demo past the opening sequence? The demo opens up in a corridor style dungeon-looking area. But once you step outside … I can’t speak for the rest of the game but at that point your not in anything remotly close to a corridor.

    The outdoors area I experienced was large and open.

    I can’t wait for this game.

    Skyrim, and excuse my opinion if it differs from yours, was one of the most over rated over hyped games I have played. Full of bugs. Very grindy. And if I am being honest, not much fun – it features the same old Elder Scrolls slow and clumsy combat that was only berrly passible in Morrowind.

    But too each their own.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Samuel

    I liked the demo, it seems like it could be a good game, but I have no idea what he’s talking about with the combat. Seemed like absolutely standard fare.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. TheWulf

    Sounds like someone decided to make a heel-face turn after their previous interview.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. GwynbleiddiuM

    I smell desperation again. He’s basically calling out Skyrim fans to let them know we’re everything they are only in 3rd person view and much much faster. I was really interested in this before Rolston start talking. I just have to blacklist him on my daily news monitoring, otherwise I might lose interest in the game altogether.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Phoenixblight


    Read it again. There are no attack on Skyrim. THe interviewer asks what differentiates his game from SKyrim and he lists it without even attacking Skyrim.
    What differs skyrim from KoA? The combat and the colorful visual style. Is this true? Well from the demo I played, yes, yes it is. So I see no desperation at all there is no saying Skyrim blows and his game rules. He lists the differences while promoting his own game like most or all designers do. He even goes into to saying things that promote Skyrim;

    ““They both have whacking big epic storylines, and elaborate faction quest lines, and boatloads of quests, and lots of characters and books, and lots of crafting and alchemy, and lots of ways to customize your character.” This is definite words of a man in desperation. Look at how he is attacking Skyrim fans…. I have seen worse from Politic commercials and that I would call is desperate.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Moonwalker1982


    I could never agree with you on that, it’s exactly the other way around for me. Amalur at first seemed fun, but the more i played this time, outside of the dungeon, the more it became a chore and simply boring for me. Eventually it became zero fun for me, while i absolutely love Skyrim. Skyrim is much more ‘alive’ while Amalur feels like a MMO, only it isn’t, it just totally wasn’t engaging for me.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. ManuOtaku

    I will get this game for sure i love the demo, it is what fable II and III should have been
    p.s #7 and #3 +1,scratch that i mean +2

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    @8 Yup, I have to agree after playing further myself. It feels like an MMO. It’s a bit like The Witcher in that it’s very procedural and it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of life going on beyond simply putting down hubs to contain quests.

    I hope that isn’t true, but I can’t stand big worlds full of nothing, especially in a singleplayer game.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. absolutezero

    The dungeon design in Skyrim is terrible and for a game thats basically based around moving from dungeon to dungeon it gets very tiring very fast. Here is a Dwarf ruin, it has metal walls and is a straight line, here is a tomb it has spiderwebs and is a straight line.

    We’ll see how much variety Amalur can produce once its released but im not really holding my breath, it really is like a more traditional take on Fable, with large open areas devoid of anything interesting (going from the first area it gives you access to anyway). I’ll still be getting it but for this instead of its in-depth story and attempts at face paced combat.

    Brief note about when he pulls out the scepter, it has no ammo, unlike the Bow and can be spammed to hell and back. Good design for breaking stealth characters.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. GwynbleiddiuM

    @7 Mate it seems you didn’t read mine correctly. Never said anything about attacks. He basically talks big game, while their demo ain’t that impressive. What he says is “come play our game it’s as good as Skyrim” oh wait, “Only bigger!”

    There are so much randomness in Skyrim that at least in the Reckoning’s demo were non existent. I played my 45 minutes out of the dungeon to the full. And I also can’t believe that I couldn’t save my character data and have to go through that boring opener again once the game is out.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Moonwalker1982


    The dungeons are terrible? Oh my….oh my!!! I guess its just never good enough then. In Oblivion there were maybe 10-15 unique dungeons and the rest was more of the same, in Skyrim i have yet to find a dungeon exactly like the previuos one. These dungeons are awesome, totally the opposite of terrible man, damn.

    Some have little ponds of water, or waterfalls. Others are a totally different design, like those Dwemer dungeons, or ice dungeons, and so on. Its awesome stuff. Bethesda said all dungeons were unique and different from far i say thats accurate.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. DSB

    @13 That’s not really saying a lot is it? They’re usually made from the same bits. It’s not rare I walk into a castle tower that’s identical to the last one, and mostly it’s just a question of a different composition based on the same building kit.

    I think it’s fair enough in such a big game, and I think the AI is more of a let-down (at least for people wanting to stealth) but the dungeons aren’t exactly varied.

    I am impressed by the general quality of the content they managed to put in them though. It’s mostly fantasy clichés, again probably accounting for scale, but they’re pretty good clichés considering that.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. OlderGamer

    Well moonwalker, for me, I love the MMO feel of the game. I would play WoW, Rift, and the like, and prolly enjoy it more if it was a SP tuned experience. So that part doesn’t bother me at all.

    I think a lot of games boil down to Tetris. Meaning that I am ok with repeating the same tasks over and over again so long as they are fun. Sports games make their living off of that idea, as do OMP Shooters, and racers, and almost anything really.

    All Amular needs to be for me to enjoy it is fun. Give me a large world to explore, make it 99% bug/glitch free. Give me an interesting story to follow. Give me some crafting. Give me tight and fluid game controls. Sprinkle in some colorful(and I can not tell you how much I miss bright and colorful games this gen – I could do an entire ten pages on that one tid bit alone), some nice ambionce/sounds. And I am pretty much good to go.

    Seems to me there are three types of gamers involved here. Those that loved Skyrim, and there fore dislike Amular. Those that don’t like Skyrim, and there fore are drawn to Amular, and those that will think both games are good. Perhaps a fourth gamer that dislikes both, but considering we are talking about said games, the fourth gamer wouldn’t care one way or another.

    I am not an Elder Scrolls fan, never have been. Mostly it has been because of the Tetris effect. The gameplay was slow, clunky, and clumsy. And if I have to do that over and over and over again, I am not having fun. One of my all time fav games is Phantasy Star Online/Universe. The stroy is crap. The art style/graphics are sickening Japanese, and the gameplay and the char development are outstanding. I have always been hooked. I can see that happening with Amular for me. But with better story, graphics, crafting, and more world to explore.

    I can’t wait for the game to come out.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DrDamn

    Agree – they are a good step up from Oblivion but a little away from what I would call hand crafted. It’s obvious building blocks have been reused. For hand crafted see Dark Souls / Demons Souls. Now that is hand crafted and it shows.

    #16 3 years ago

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