Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning - A New Type of RPG?

During the years, certain RPG’s have begun to define the genre, often starting a wave of inevitable clones trying to copy the original’s success, and while this is a good thing some of the time (Can’t really fault games for working off a winning formula.), sometimes things need to be mixed up in order to revive interest.

Occasionally though, there are RPG’s that completely blow us away using an existing formula, but refining it almost to the point of perfection. (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a great example of this)

And then there are those games that try to change the genre altogether.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a game that aims to re-sculpt the genre into something more, and if successful may change the way we look at RPG’s forever.

The game is currently in development by 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, and will be published by EA in February on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

While the developers behind this game are not very well known, what is interesting to note about this game is that it has some very high profile individuals behind it.

Ken Rolston may not be someone you know by name, but he was the Lead Designer of  both The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and is currently the Executive designer behind Kingdoms of Amalur. He is also an avid RPG fan, and having seen interviews with him, he looks to be incredibly excited about the direction this game is taking.

Popular Fantasy author R. A. Salvatore has created the game universe and the lore behind it, and considering the game was originally designed be an MMO (codenamed “Copernicus”), you can imagine the amount of available content for the story and exploration of the game.

Artwork will be penned by Todd Macfarlane, who is best known for his work on the Spawn comic series.  

The founder of 38 studios (Curt Schilling) has described the game as “a marriage between God of War and Skyrim”, and if this holds true then we can expect dynamic combat with an open world and the occasional quick-time event.

Combat will be similarly styled to an action RPG, with elaborate animations and interesting combinations for spells and abilities, but those involved have quickly corrected anyone who would box this game into this sub-genre.

There will be a great deal of emphasis on strategy and RPG mechanics, with 4 playable races, 3 separate class trees and 22 skills and abilities per class.  

While you start the game as a completely blank slate, the skill tree system will determine your destiny and story progression depending on which path and skills you choose, which will allow for a great deal of replays with different outcomes.

Environments will also vary greatly, with 5 very distinct regions to explore and having seen many of the gameplay trailers, looks to be one of the most beautiful games in RPG history.

The developers have also indicated that an MMO set in the same fantasy universe is still on the way.

While I may still be playing Skyrim in February, this game is next on my list of RPG’s to check out.

And if the game is half as good as it looks, it may just surpass our expectations.

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