During a visit to Big Huge Games' studio, Editor-in-Chief Darryl Gangloff was among the first group of people to watch a demo of this upcoming action RPG. Learn about the game that sets the stage for the MMO.
Last month, members of the ZAM team were given an opportunity to visit Big Huge Games' Maryland studio to get a first look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. There are a few reasons why this single-player action RPG is glowing brightly on our radar. First and foremost, it's being made by a dream team: Curt Schilling, a three-time World Series champion and the founder and owner of 38 Studios; Todd McFarlane, a comic book artist who happens to be the creator of Spawn and owner of a successful toy company; R.A. Salvatore, a best-selling author who is best known for his Forgotten Realms novels; and Ken Rolston, a renowned designer who played a big part in The Elder Scrolls series of games.
And if that's not enough reason to keep an eye on the game, it's also our first glimpse into the original fantasy universe that will act as the setting for an upcoming MMO, as well comic books, novels, toys and additional games.
During our time at Big Huge Games, we listened to the team talk about the massive project and toured the studio to get a behind-the-scenes look at the game. We kicked things off by watching a live demo of the RPG, so keep reading after the jump for our first look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
“I cant tell you how excited we are to finally show this game,” Creative Director Mark Nelson said to members of the press as he began to lead us through the demo, which was being played by Executive Producer Mike Fridley. “This is pre-alpha software. We're a long way out. There could be bugs. Most stuff is still in progress. We're not coming out until 2012. We're showing you a small slice of a really big world.”
Character creation and tutorial dungeon
And with that introduction, we dove into character creation. Reckoning takes place in the age of arcana, a time when magic is on the rise. There are four playable races: The Almain and Varani humans, and the Ljosalfar and Dokkalfar elves. You'll meet other races in Reckoning, and many will be playable in future Kingdoms of Amalur games. Fridley chose the Almain, which he described as a traditional warrior race.
You can then choose to worship the god of fire, wisdom, war, order or justice. Each god gives a minor stat boost to your character, but it won't affect gameplay too much. “Think of it more as how you see the world,” R. A. Salvatore said.
The customization options are plentiful, as players have come to expect in RPGs. “We want you to be able to change your face and skin color to tweak out your character and make a person you want to be for a while,” Nelson said.
After all your hard work in character creation, you're going to start the game as a corpse. Your character wakes up in a pile of bodies with no knowledge of why he was dead or how he came back to life. Soon enough, you'll hear a voice echoing through the tutorial dungeon that will offer at least some explanation of your character's fate.
“The person talking to us is a gnome, one of the other races in Amalur,” Nelson said. “He's the original creator of the Well of Souls, which brought you back from the dead. It's changed us. Every mortal in Amalur has a destiny. We're a blank slate and can make our own destiny.”
Alright, now it was time to get into some combat. After looting a basic sword and shield, Fridley killed some enemies with ease. You can have a couple weapons equipped at all times, as well as use magic. All of these abilities are mapped to various buttons and require some good ol' fashioned mashing to defeat your enemies. “We want combat to feel exciting with every button press,” Nelson said, noting that there are a variety of attacks available without the need to memorize any combos.
Blocking with the shield adds an interesting layer to combat. When you block, your character physically pulls out a massive shield and parries the attack. This move actually gives you a chance to attack your enemy.
Also, Nelson emphasized that when you loot something, you can immediately compare it to your current equipment and equip it without the need to open up any other menus. You can also add it to your junk pile to sell once you reach a vendor.
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