By John Walker on December 16th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.
This is too sad. Kingdoms Of Amalur, the basis for one of the best RPGs in years, has failed to sell in 38 Studios’ assets auction. As reported by Polygon, no one was prepared to put up what current owners Heritage Global Partners were willing to take, despite another $320,000 being raised for other sales, including the Rise Of titles. But poor old Amalur remains on the shelf of the money-eating firm, unloved, and undeveloped.
The whole sorry saga of 38 Studios and the hubris that saw it collapse is bigger than my disappointment at not having any more Amalur to play. A lot of people lost jobs, and it was a very sad affair. But let’s not also lose perspective about the bit where I don’t have any more Amalur to play.
Damn, it was such a good game. Seriously. I know there’s this contingent of wrongheaded people who disagree, but they’re all part of some evil cult that brainwashes people into not appreciating a lovely game when they encounter it, and you should ignore them. It was a whole new world, a huge, interesting country, in a mammoth-sized game. A game where a false ending is in fact just the mid-point, at which point it blossoms out farther and wider, stuffed with characters, quests, and choppy-choppy third-person action. It was never dark and gritty, nor was it la-la-la-bubbly-for-kids. It found this space between the two, bursting with nice ideas, or just old ideas done nicely.
I love that this was a game where I accidentally pressed a wrong button and hit a monk with a sword. This made him rather cross with me, and indeed the rest of his monk friends, and I ended up having to kill them all to protect my own life. And there it was, this blight on my past, this blot on my record – a now empty village with unfinished quests, due to my having hideously slaughtered everyone who lived there. And that didn’t break the game. That’s the sort of thing that usually sees a game sealed in the collective memory as Something Special, when you have that degree of freedom and impact. Yet Reckoning still remains far too forgotten, and greatly under-rated.
Enough that no one had enough money/the sense to grab it and its half-finished MMO follow-up. Of course, we don’t know what minimum frightening-sounding science fiction corporation Heritage Global Partners had set for it. It’d certainly be interesting to know what some of the rejected bids might have been.
Successfully sold in the auction were Rise Of Nations and Rise Of Legends, which means hopefully we’ll see some more of them, soon. However, we don’t yet know who actually bought them, so don’t get your hopes too high. The rights to the trademark of Big Huge Games was also sold, which strikes me as odd. I don’t understand trademarks, but what do you do with that? Carry on making games under the name of the once adored, now legendarily bankrupt studio, as you are them? That’s creepy, like wandering around with someone else’s face on, trying to pretend you’re them. You creeps.
So there it is. Amalur, left at the dance with only the also unsold unknown Helios social media thing to go home with. The poor thing.