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Saving Throw: Amalur Dev Pays Gov, Pegs MMO For 2013

Dear whoever this reanimated skeleton belongs to, we've taken him hostage. Please send $75 million to the PO box below, or we will hit him with this giant hammer. Signed, 38 Studios.

Generally, the weekend is life’s pause button. But occasionally, things happen. Strange things. Vile things. Things involving incessant backstabbery and good people falling on impossibly hard times. Oh, wait, I’m just describing yesterday’s Game of Thrones (wasn’t it great?). No, no, the real world weekend actually yielded a bloom-lit bounty of good news. In short, Kingdoms of Amalur developer 38 Studios (and subsidiary Big Huge Games) managed to at least temporarily ward off the Grim Reaper using that $1.125 million it wasn’t able to previously muster. Even so, this is just the beginning, and – somewhat terrifyingly – 38 still plans to plug the gaping wound in its bank account with an MMO. I’ve heard those things aren’t exactly cheap.

Hilariously,  Copernicus – as the previously announced Amalur MMO is known – had its cover broken by the governor of Rhode Island.  “What I understand is Copernicus is June of ’13,”  Lincoln Chafee said during a press conference (via Joystiq). Given that the bulk of 38 was racking its collective brain to come up with silly fantasy names for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning until a scant few months ago, that seems like an epic, danger-fraught quest outside the realm of possibility. But then, desperate times call for desperate measures, and 38 needs to knock one out of the park sooner rather than later.

Adding to Chris Shilling and co’s troubles, another payment of $2.6 million is due in November, followed by a total of $12.6 million throughout 2013 – all of which looks downright manageable compared to the $75 million that it owes in full. Chafee noted that the heavily indebted developer hopes to bring private investors on board to help make up the difference, but I imagine that’s a dicey proposition no matter how you slice it.

Presumably in an attempt to drum up interest, 38 released the first footage of Copernicus in the form of an environmental highlight reel that, promisingly, looks absolutely gorgeous. But then, the question of “Does the world really need another fantasy MMO” looms heavier now more than ever – especially in light of recent releases like Tera (which beat Copernicus to the action-based punch), upcoming games like Guild Wars 2, and the thus far frigid reception of Elder Scrolls Online’s announcement.

Honestly, though, I’m getting ahead of myself. Right now, there’s no telling if Copernicus will ever see the light of day, let alone make its hopeful 2013 date. For now, give the footage a look and see what you think.

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Nathan Grayson

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