The news is out. 38 Studios have announced the real title of the long in development Project Copernicus, and it is called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
So just some initial thoughts.
- I’m not taken so much by the name. Kingdoms of Amalur sounds pretty generic to me, but that may just be the result of seeing so many MMORPGs with similar names.
- Speaking of generic, and quoting through Heartless_ of Heartless_Gamer, RA Salvatore says that he has created a Tolkienesque 10,000-year-long back story: “I think we can say that we are talking about a high fantasy world with multiple races.” I tend to agree with Heartless_ on this point. A high fantasy Tolkienesque world? Why?
- YAHFWLG? (That means Yet Another High Fantasy Warcraft Like Game?) Are we going to see Orcs and Elves yet again? Paladins? Warriors? Mages?
- Generic World of Warcraft clone comes to mind.
- I’m definitely disappointed by this announcement.
Look. I don’t mind fantasy games. In fact I quite like and enjoy them, and love Tolkien, but High Fantasy has been done to death. It’s time for something different.
The crazy thing is that there is so many other fantasy styles out there. I loved The View From The Mirror (Amazon) and The Stone Mage and the Sea (Amazon) series’ by Aussie authors Ian Irvine and Sean Williams respectively. There’s not an Orc or Elf in sight. They’re just wonderfully conceived fantasy worlds. Robert E Howard created the richly detailed Conan universe, and while that particular world is claimed by Age of Conan, there is nothing stopping anyone else using those concepts in a game. And then of course, there is Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series from which to get some inspiration.
Remember when the Mad Max and Terminator movies came out? (I’m showing some age here) They quickly became cult classics. And suddenly Hollywood starts releasing a whole lot of B-Grade post-apocalyptic movies, some with Robots From The Future and some without. Many of these movies are lost in time, and best left there.
Sometimes I feel this way about MMORPG games. EQ, a success, spawned WoW, a megahit, and suddenly the bad B-Grade copies start popping up.
Now to be fair, we don’t have too much detail on Amalur yet, and 38 Studios might actually be doing something quite radical with the design of the game. But frankly, this initial announcement doesn’t give me much hope that this game will be, as the USA Today article says, a breath of fresh air.
It feels like more of the same.
Update: It looks like I am mistaken and Amalur isn’t Project Copernicus after all. It turns out that it’s an action RPG that 38 Studios are developing called Project Mercury, which I hadn’t heard about before. This other USA Today article gives more details on that. My apologies to 38 Studios. Thanks for the tip Longasc.