Ian Frazier, lead designer on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, has said each designer working on the game brought various ideas to the table in terms of development in order to create an IP Big Huge Games hopes will be redefine combat for the RPG genre.
Speaking with CVG, Frazier who’s previous works include Titan Quest, said due to such varying backgrounds for each of the developers, it’s no wonder Reckoning strikes a familiarity chord with some gamers.
“We didn’t set out to do something deliberately Fable-esque,” he said. “We set out to do good action combat in an open world, and this is where we ended up. It’s got a lot of influences in there from a lot of the team, so you get a lot of reactions from the press: ‘It’s like a single-player WoW’. Okay, I don’t feel that personally, but more power to you. I’ve heard it compared to Fable, Dragon Age, even the Elder Scrolls.
“Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, they’re all great games, and I think they’re progressively better, but they’re all the same game. It’s not like they’re radically changing with time. [Ken Rolston] wanted to do something new – what can we do to take RPGs in a new direction? With Reckoning, there’s a lot of things we’ve upped the bar on, but the really exciting one was combat: he was just excited to do combat well which, frankly, they didn’t do in the Elder Scrolls series.
“They have a lot of other strengths, but combat isn’t really their thing.”
Frazier said one of things the team wanted apply to the game’s combat, was variety in both weapon classes and abilities so gamers would have “a lot of different toys to play with.” In all, nine weapon classes are included in the game, and players change choose between 60 different abilities which were imputed into the combo system.
“We didn’t want to make an action game, we didn’t want it to be like God of War where you have to know, XXYYA or whatever,” he said. “[There’s] nothing to memorize. RPG gamers in my opinion don’t want to deal with that. I don’t want to. I love God of War, but I don’t want that here, and a lot of people simply can’t memorize seven different combos. It’s hard.
“That said, we wanted the variety of moves those games offer, so our system is all contextual. Let’s say you have the longsword: tap the button four times in a row and you’ll get a basic attack chain. If you really don’t give a crap about action combat, you can just dump your points into passive things, make yourself more durable, more damage-dealing and whatever and mash through the whole game – probably not on hard mode, but on normal, you can get away with that.”
However, those who are more into action combat can hit buttons more slowly and pull off alternate combos which will do everything from launching players in the air, to defensive moves and parrying.
That being said, there will be differences between the difficulty modes in the game, and while hard mode will indeed be hard, it won’t be anything like Dark Souls which relished its ability to “kill you and pee on your corpse.”
Reckoning is out early next month on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.