Project Copernicus, the Kingdoms of Amalur MMO possibly irretrievably lost in the closure of 38 Studios, would have actively engaged with a mechanic many MMOs prefer to leave unexplained – death and resurrection.
Kotaku reports co-creator and fantays author R.A. Salvatore, Reckoning lead designer Ian Frazier shared details of the MMO’s plot with DragonCon attendees.
Salvatore said character death is something you have to accept in an MMO, but Kingdoms of Amalur had an explanaiton. Copernicus wouyld be set long after the event sof Reckoning, when the Well of Souls – a technology for bringing people back to life – would have been perfected, and death forever defeated.
“In an MMO the fact that you have to accept is that when you die you come back. Because if you spend $100 million making an MMO and people die and they stay dead, then you’ve lost $99.9 million in a hurry,” he said.
“You have to come back from the dead – that’s level one, every MMO has it, whether you spawn naked in Freeport and have to do a corpse run. Why is there a Well of Souls? This didn’t just happen. It took the better part of 5,000 years to happen. That was the thing that was going to start the MMO – the Well of Souls becoming active.”
But Salvatore didn’t intend to just throw a handy explanation for a mechanic out there with the Well of Souls; Copernicus would have narratively engaged with the consequences of defeating death,
“What does it mean to the societal structures of the world when all of the sudden you’ve got immortality? The obvious answer was everybody’s going to be happy, we’re all going to live forever,” he said, glibly, going on to discuss issues such as over-population.
“What does it do to the leader of a church whose entire power base is predicated on promising you an afterlife? What about the old lady whose lost her husband and children. Does she want to live forever? Does she want to go through the Well of Souls? What about the emotions of the last people that lost a spouse, mother, husband, child or best friend before the Wells became active?
“This was the philosophy of Amalur. When you did something that was going to have implications you had to explore those implications. Instead of giving me a quest series to go collect 11 rat ears, give me the quest about the woman that doesn’t want to go through the Well but her family wants me to. Give me the quest about the bitter person that’s trying to get back at the Gnome who she thinks created the Well of Souls in her town because her son died before. Give me those kind of quests. That’s what we were trying to do.”
Creditors including the State of Rhode Island took possession of 38 Studios’ assets when the developer shuttered. The Kingdoms of Amalur IP and builds of Copernicus and a Reckoning sequel were expected to be sold, but no further news has surfaced.