Name Drop: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

There are some fairly big names associated with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, including Todd MacFarlane and R.A. Salavatore. It’s an action RPG from 38 Studios (a studio which is owned by Curt Schilling), and the debut cinematic (which was shown at SDCC10 this week) also mentions that Ken Rolston (of Elder Scrolls games) is involved in the design. It’s apparently a kind of action precursor to 38’s real project, which is an MMO set in the same universe. Anyway, go browse the lavish official site, and check out the trailer below. Interesting stuff. The game is due “Fall 2011,” apparently.


  1. Choca says:

    The trailer looks bad.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      The hammer is a bit silly, but it’s not /bad/ bad.

    • Choca says:

      Look at the way the guy runs toward the big scary dude at the end :D

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The trailer voice-over is amusingly copied straight form the opening to the Fellowship of the Rings film.

      Also, everyone knows you don’t fight skeletons with slashing weapons – you’re supposed to pulverise those bones. Conversely, swords are for fighting fleshy things. The man in that trailer is doing everything wrong.

    • mlaskus says:

      Yes it’s not bad Jim, it’s terrible.

    • Elusiv3Pastry says:

      Why would you stab a skeleton?

    • PHeMoX says:

      For bragging rights of course. Just stab it!

    • The Great Wayne says:

      You really reach a point of meta-geekism when people start arguing about what’s the correct/realistic way to end a living skeleton.

      That said and to contribute to the delusion, a two handed european-medieval sword is mostly a blunt object with sharp edges, plays on impact more than cutting capacity, unlike a razor or a saber. Therefore, a two handed sword would still be perfect for crushing this kind of things, it’s not like you’re trying to hammer a nail.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Right on, Wayne.

    • bob_d says:

      @The Great Wayne:
      Yeah, absolutely. Not to mention that everyone knows that the only way to kill an animated skeleton is to smite it on the coccyx with a holy eggbeater, blessed by an arch-deacon (at least!) of the god Ningbobble. Any other method is laughable fantasy that no one in their right mind can take seriously, and any game that implies otherwise is cretinous garbage created by slope-browed pony-molesters (whew, almost forgot the obligatory ad-hominem attack!).

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Wayne: don’t confuse D&D jokes with arguing what works best on fictional undead.

      That said, stabbing them still wouldn’t work. :P

    • Jimbo says:

      Don’t be so hasty. That could be a Sword of Osteoporosisism +3 for all you guys know.

    • Tei says:

      On the video, the character “impall” one of the scheletons in the chest. The problem is, the blade never touch any parts of the scheleton, only thin air. I can imagine the next scene is the scheleton pounching the face of the hero and saying “Bad aim, bro”. But since the video fade to black, we never see that part.

      I don’t think people are running in “purist nerd mode” here, but in WTFLOL mode. I have no problem with games that force me to kill scheletons (even with knifes and skills like “bleeding wound”). But the video visuals sets a realisting settings, than the action and props (giganteous hammer LOL) denied.

      Are we supposed to think that this giganteous hammer has been all the time on his back? It was not visible before.

      Is just a video, and for what I know, the game can be the best thing ever, but this is a ridiculous video, even for the very releaxed fantasy standards.

    • Zinic says:

      Way too bad. Would have expected something a bit more flashy from the creator of Spawn in terms of visual design. Let’s just hope that this trailer is a really poor interpretation of what the game will actually be.

      Looks like another generic hack and slash without any real substance. Really too bad considering who are working on it.

    • bob_d says:

      @Tei: “Are we supposed to think that this giganteous hammer has been all the time on his back? It was not visible before.”
      Actually, looking at the video again, you can see the hammer throughout; it seems to grow a bit when he wields it, but it was always visible. If that hadn’t been there, though, it wouldn’t distinguish it from any other game ever. I can’t think of any RPG or shooter where the character’s unequipped weapons are visible. I’d love to see a game where all the gear is actually visible on the character, though, because the pile of gear carried by the typical RPG/Shooter character would be completely ridiculous.

      Skeletons have been killed by sticking a sword in their rib-cage ever since Ray Harryhausen did the fight scene in “Jason and the Argonauts.” It would be pretty nice to see a game that used their physics engine to turn the skeleton into a destructible object that you had to whittle away at to defeat it, making the skeleton a quite formidable opponent, but it has yet to be done.

    • Tei says:

      ” I can’t think of any RPG or shooter where the character’s unequipped weapons are visible.”

      Fallen Earth do that.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, there have been a few (very few) that do that, or at least partially do it like The Witcher which at least had your various equipped weapons visible when not wielded.

  2. negativedge says:

    stabbing skeletons.

  3. Tei says:

    I love the screenshot(?) on the top, with the blue gob. That would be a excellent Goblin Shaman, if I ever seen one, and I have seen lots. The video not soo much. Killing Scheletons level 1 is uninspiring, also weird. I think DDO get it rights: to damage a scheleton, you have to use weapons that crush the scheletons, piercing damage can’t kill something that is only bones, with nothing to really do piercing damage.
    The last monster could be interesting ( he is his own race,.. so he is a unque monster, with special propoerties )but the hammer is ridiculously big, so it just looks like “one-man-up-ship”-ism.
    I have more imagination than that, but I know what other people will “see” on that monster (Oh, he is fighting a zerg with a dwarven wow hammer).

    So, in the story of videos… is just good, but not epic. 3 thumbs up, one down.

    • Buzko says:

      I just loved the Take That, Physics! of the warhammer and the (Starcraft) Zealot psychic blades.

      I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the Torchlight-esque business model. Do we know how that’s working out for those guys?

    • Tei says:

      Yea, these are two protoss blades. But maybe a protoss ship crashed on this planet? Is not uneard of.

    • Wulf says:

      You’re right Tei, it isn’t. I’m reminded of how a Kilrathi ship crashed into some poor farmer’s stead in Ultima VII. Disappointingly though, one doesn’t get any space age weapons from the ship, which would have been incredible.

      * Avatar uses Shrink Ray on Batlin.
      * Avatar steps on Batlin.
      * Batlin dies an ignoble death.
      * Avatar washes his shoe.
      * Avatar saves Britannia from Guardian incursion.

      Someone needs to mod that into Ultima VII.

  4. BlackKraken says:

    That is a god-awful trailer… he was STABBING SKELETONS! How the hell is that supposed to work?

    Also, ridiculous looking gigantic weapons are soooo last decade.

  5. blunders says:

    Big Huge Games (or what remains of it, anyhow) are behind this one, right? They’ve yet to make a bad game, so I don’t see much reason to worry (yet).

  6. Aldran says:

    Did I just hear Cate Blanchett (actually, somebody trying really hard) and a horrible derivative of the Lord of the Rings opening lines?

  7. Nallen says:

    God of War: Before Kratos was a Bad Ass


  8. pipman300 says:

    R.A Salvatore? I’m sold!

    (I’m not actually, sold you need someone like George R(ape) R(ape) Martin if you’re trying to sell me on background fluff not the guy who sells AAR’s of his D&D campaigns)

    • Latro says:

      Well, in my case, Salvatore doesnt really sells me, and McFarlane actively un-sells me.

  9. Lars Westergren says:

    Reactions to this has been surprisingly negative on just about every forum I’ve been on. I’m just happy that there are more high-profile RPGs in the making.

    Ok, the hammer was very silly… But considering how much they boast of hiring professional writers, I hope we get a RPG with focus on role playing, characters and plot rather than hack and slash action.

    • bob_d says:

      I’m guessing it has something to do with the company background: a baseball player started the game company and put together a “dream team” that didn’t actually include anyone from the game industry… the designer was an afterthought. That they’re working on a generic fantasy MMO because the baseball player is big on MMOs shows how little he knows about the game industry and its markets. If they continue on that path, they won’t be around much longer.

  10. kikito says:

    These ain’t skeletons. They’re half-visible guys.

    • Tei says:

      A frame by frame inspection on a high resolution can prove you wrong. Or a 5 years old asking “Where are his pants?”.

    • Latro says:

      The pants are 100% invisible?

    • Tei says:

      Tell that to the police, wen you are arrested for public nudity.

  11. Sagan says:

    What would be a good R.A Salvatore book? I’m in the mood for some fantasy and I hear he is good.

    • pipman300 says:

      He’s not really a good author for people who aren’t obsessed with the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, and those people will read anything you put in front of them as long as it has elves in it.

    • mrpier says:

      It’s the Drizzt books he is known for, so I would start there. Entertaining and easy reading. You can start at published order or chronological order, see here: link to

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I add my voice to the “not that good” chorus. I mean, I guess he could be a good writer, but he mechanically churns out something like one D&D book every 6 months, so he doesn’t have much time to create any plots or characters that are anything less than completely straightforward. There’s the bad guy, chop-chop, happy end.

      Try The Name of the Wind instead. Or The Lies of Locke Lamora.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Or A Song of Ice and Fire, or the Malazan Book of the Fallen, or The First Law.

      Salvatore’s stuff is crap, just like every single D&D tie-in novel ever written.

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      Seconding the Malazan recommendation. Now why don’t they make a game on that? Or a Bas Lag RPG.

    • Subject 706 says:

      A game based on Scott Bakkers books, now THAT would be something.

  12. Chris D says:

    I believe the old Warhammer explanation for why you could kill skeletons with arrows and other stabby weapons was that you disrupted the “knot” of magic that was animating them.

  13. BigJonno says:

    Of course anyone who has actually swung a sword like that about will know that it’s quite capable of smashing skeletons.

  14. Orange says:

    It will be a pretty good action RPG.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      So, considering we haven’t seen a single thing about the gameplay yet… are you an optimist, or psychic?

  15. Cinnamon says:

    What sort of RPG features does this have other than a generic fantasy setting and half naked men with swords? I’d rather play Brutal Legend again TBH.

  16. jrpz2 says:

    I only remember this game because Ron Gilbert once gave the company behind it a pretty scathing slap-down:
    link to

    Ron’s beef: “Where is the game design expertise? Why isn’t there one person from the game industry headlining his ‘Dream Team’?”

    I think that was probably a bit mean, but I couldn’t help but agree.

    • bob_d says:

      Yeah, and it’s funny because no one would even dare claim a “dream team” for any other type of medium that included no one who worked in that industry. I mean, no one would take seriously a “dream team” for television or film that was similarly composed; people generally recognize that writing books, for example, is a very different skill than writing scripts. A concept artist who doesn’t understand the strengths and limits of game modeling needs a strong visual director to guide them; a writer that doesn’t understand how narrative works in games is frankly pretty useless (unless they’re just writing dialog), their work needs to be an inherent part of the design and at the very least needs a skillful creative director to integrate it into the game. To have both these people in the director positions, putting them over those who should be guiding them is completely backwards; they just don’t have the necessary skills to do the jobs.

      In the Escapist interview, Shilling seemed to be implying that he hired on these famous names to draw attention to the project (at least “400 million” people were expected to view their website as a result), but he’s naive in another way entirely if he thinks this will somehow translate into sales.

  17. KilgoreTrout XL says:

    I see Curt Schilling is involved with the project, and therefore I expect to have the option to get my avatar mercilessly addicted to copenhagen tobacco, and to act like kind of a dick once in a while.

  18. Zogtee says:

    I keep reading “Kingdoms of Amalur” as “Kingdoms of Amateur”.

  19. mondomau says:

    RA Salvatore : Talentless, uninspired and inexplicably popular hack – partially responsible for, or symptomatic of, an extended period of stagnation in the fantasy genre.


    Todd McFarlane : Talented but massively over-hyped comic book artist and toy shilling merchant extraordinaire – partially responsible for, or symptomatic of, an extended period of stagnation in comic book art.

    = Creative Car Crash.

    • Zyrxil says:

      Plus the terrible designer of shit Oblivion game mechanics. Hey, what could go wrong?

    • Vitamin Powered says:

      My thoughts exactly. Todd MacFarlane and R.A. Salavatore? Oh lorrrrrdy.

  20. medwards says:

    chime with the ‘derivative repetitive fluff’ group. Was tiresome after the second book.

    How do people feel about China Mieville, in particular the Perdido Street Station stuff? Or is the token level of industrialization too steam-punk-y?

    • Tei says:

      I will probably love it.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Sadly, there is only one steampunk book, which is The Difference Engine, because “steampunk” was coined to describe a genre in which marginalised heroes fight back against the evils of the Industrial Revolution (so basically pretty much the historical Industrial Revolution, just with even more anarchist bombings). That said, Perdido Street Station does actually have some steampunk elements. Sadly, they were absent in The Scar and played down in Iron Council. :(

      Miéville is ace, though. I wish all the boring D&D-bland fantasy authors would keel over and die. They can’t eve be called Tolkienic since Middle-Earth is actually both original and interesting.

  21. utharda says:

    Going back up a few comments, to state the obvious re: fantasy.

    Glen Cook.

    Go read the first couple of Black Company novels. The get the balance between non-elf fantasy, military grit and complication of plot right. (I mean erickson is good, but …. dear lord he likes his subplots, and his subplots subplots, and his …. yeah you see?

    • Vitamin Powered says:

      Reading Erickson is an investment in seeing how deep and awesome he and Ian Esslemont’s worldbuilding goes. Coupled with of course some amazing characters and subplots, but it’s not a good read if you need conclusions and well wrapped up plots.

      I would definitely recommend the first three Black Company books as well, especially the first one.

    • dadioflex says:

      Epic Glen Cook interview – epic how he plays up being a grumpy old git. I loved it, some people thought he was a dick, but I think he’s earned the right.

      link to

      The last few books did struggle a little but overall I think the Black Company books were excellent. Gotta remember the series started in the 80s when no-one was doing anything like it.

      re: Malazan etc etc etc. I aint reading no more epic series unless I’m certain they gonna get finished.

  22. Bilharzia says:

    Ken Rolston is one of the Great Old Ones of games designers, he had more to do with Morrowind than Oblivion. So far though KA:R looks dire.

  23. Fumarole says:

    Giant weapons need to go crawl under a rock and die already – or back to Japan.

  24. Physicser says:

    Well, Salvatore (at least from his work in Forgotten Realms) mainly writes hack and slash action books, so we will see.

    (I do enjoy his books, I’m just under no illusion that the plots and writing are great)

  25. Arnulf says:

    I played this game.

    On my PS3.

    It’s called Demon’s Souls.


    Well, would be nice if they take Demon’s Souls as a possible archetype.

  26. Hippo says:

    People seem to forget that Big Huge Games were working on their RPG project with Ken Rolston long before they were bought by Curt Schilling’s company and Salvatore & McFarlane were brought onto the project.

  27. Count Elmdor says:

    I have had it up to here with senseless subtitles! Where is the sense in subtitling the first game in a franchise? Where is the sense in franchising an MMO?

  28. Jimbo says:

    That’s the Star Warsiest medieval knight I have ever seen.

  29. UncleLou says:

    Count me in if there’s loot.

  30. The head Thorax of Abdomen says:

    Did I not hear the Inception theme in the background? Or is the foghorn suddenly in vogue for soundtracks?

  31. plant42 says:

    – Guy in a 150lb suit of plate mail jumping 15-20ft. Check.
    – Wait, is there any way to make that suit of armor look more like Boba Fett? Ok sweet.
    – Stabbing skeletons? Hell yeah.
    – Spikes on top of armor on top of muscles on top of muscles like a 1992 Spawn comic? Check.
    – Horde of generic fantasy creatures to slash up? Goblins? Skeletons? Dragons? Check, check and check.
    – Massive hammer with spikes that a human couldn’t possibly lift, let alone run with? Check.
    – Totally epic trailer with epic music and epic cutting that looks like it was made by Blur’s Z team? Check.

    Ok folks, that’s a wrap. I can’t wait to play it. $50 million well spent.

  32. Wulf says:

    Gamers have no imagination these days!

    Sure, a sword stabbing a skeleton might be bad, but it’s not like one couldn’t come up with an excuse for it. And even an excuse that I believe has been used elsewhere. For example: animated beings have an etherial field around them which provides the animation, perhaps an extradimensional force playing puppet-master with the bones of the dead. A wisp, to say. And the sword has been enchanted in such a way that it strikes at the being controlling the animated creature, through the animation field, rather than at the animated creature itself!


    Of course, that doesn’t help that it looks rather more than a bit iffy, but still, there could be reasons for this. Reasons which would be more valid if the sword had glowing runes or something. I’d actually love to see excuses like this used in games, rather than just brushing over it as game mechanics, it would be really entertaining seeing what creative jury-riggings developers could come up with.

    Or perhaps this is just another case for game developers needing to hire people who think like me! Ha.

    But yes, there can be reasons as to why a sword can stab a skeleton, no, it doesn’t stop the trailer from looking a bit cheap.

    Doo dee doo.

    Perhaps someone should do a comic miniseries trying to explain away poor game mechanics like this, that’d be really interesting. Get Grant Morrison to write it so it gets really trippy. I’d actually pay to read that.

    I have nothing else to contribute, and I’m unsure of whether I contributed anything anyway. Hooray!

    • Wulf says:

      It would also be interesting if a game actually had consequences for people acting upon preconceived notions, that’s something else I’d love to see.

      “Ah,” thinks adventurer xxslayerxx370, “a skeleton. I kill these with my hammer, my hammer of bony-creature doom! Die, bony-creature-thing, die by my… this is all getting a bit redundant, isn’t it? Oh, look. Just… have at you!”

      Unbeknownst to xxslayerxx370, he’s slain the creature but not the animating force.

      “Aiiieeee!!! A whirlwind of bone-chips, and they sting! Oh, why do they sting so?! Cruel world, and all the things in it! Auugh! MY HAMMER, IT DOES NOTHING!”



      Anyway, nothing more to see here, go about your business.

    • Tei says:

      I want to be Game Master, no.. wait… I want to be your game master, wulf. I will do horrible things to you, and your group. Game Master is another name for Murderous Artist.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m actually pretty good at dealing with GMs like that. Reason why is that I anticipate the most bastardly and otherworldly thing that I could do, and I do my best to prepare for that. Usually, the punishments of GMs don’t match up, and so I can wriggle my way out of most challenges, even those that should result in certain death.

      A party and I once so impressed a Werewolf: The Apocalypse GM that he let us get away with something absolutely hilarious and utterly stupid, which ended our games in that Universe on a high note. After doing some nefarious and game-breaking things, we ascended to a sort of Godhood, cast out the Wyrm, gave the Weaver a right telling off, became the new balance, and turned the world into a utopia of sorts.

      I really need to get into the rebooted Werewolf at some point…

      Anyway. Ingenuity is really the best thing you can have in a tabletop game, and a player should never be afraid to try to break their GM, because that’s exactly what the GM will be trying to do to the players. Well, not always, but there have to be acceptable casualties of tabletop gaming.

  33. Jebediah Adder says:

    Umm… that’s even less reassuring. I can’t even fathom how unispired the project has been before these two ‘visionaries’ were introduced.

  34. VonFIDDE says:

    Hmm ithink this idea would have been great if it was released like later this year, but they aim for late 2011… i feel sorry for them cuz they will have to compete with Diablo3. Atleast for us PC-users i see nothing fancy at all, however this game could be neat for the 360 or ps3.

  35. KillahMate says:

    This is the most generic thing I’ve seen all week.

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