Remember when Curt Schilling was in the news for a settlement with the taxpayers of Rhode Island? That all started with a video game called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – and it was incredible.
KoA:R is back in the media spotlight once again this week, as Curt Schilling and the guys from 38 Studios have apparently settled their case against Rhode Island. Long story short, 38 Studios was created by Schiling himself, borrowed some money, and allegedly couldn’t foot the bill when payments needed to be made. Unfortunately, the whole financial fiasco completely overshadowed how awesome Kingdoms of Amalur actually was. Kingdoms was assembled by a veritable supergroup of fantasy masterminds, and used its slick gameplay, breathtaking visuals, and memorable score to make it something other than “just another” hacky-slashy third-person RPG, it had an entire universe waiting to be tapped for potentially years of sequels, and probably a few novels and comics. Hell, I’d watch a Kingdoms of Amalur movie.
Coming back to the absurdly talented team that put together Kingdoms – let’s start with Ken Rolston, who you might know from such small-time indie games such as The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion. Ho hum, no big fucking deal. Rolston served as the lead creative brain for Amalur, and anyone familiar with his previous works could see his beautiful, godlike fingerprints all over it.
Then we have R.A. Salvatore, best known for the 6 trillion books he’s written for the Dungeons & Dragons universe. R.A., another Massachusetts guy (what up bro) served as lead creative director for Kingdoms, wrote all the dialogue, and created a backstory spanning ten thousand years for the game. Keep in mind – Amalur was supposed to be a part of a much larger, sprawling creative project entitled “Project Copernicus” that never reached fruition due to the legal troubles. Hell, I get ticked if my gaming group needs to skip a week and I wrote a bunch of stuff for nothing – imagine how R.A. feels having 10 millennia worth of lore and nothing to do with it?
And then we’ve got Todd McFarlane, who was the art director for Amalur. You know who Todd fucking McFarlane is. And the fact that one of the most recognizable names in comics and concept art was put on a team with one of the greatest minds in fantasy novels and the man behind two of the greatest roleplaying games ever played is fucking bananas.
My point here is, so much love, care, affection, and work was put into Kingdoms of Amalur and its surrounding universe(s). In a world where reboots are happening all the time, you mean to tell me Electronic Arts can’t find another publisher to pick up the IP? What if some of the money made from the sequel went to paying off the debt from the original game? You mean to tell me that Lethal Weapon, MacGyver, Hawaii Five-O, Rush Hour, and fucking Training Day (!!!!!) can get television reboots but we can’t find a publisher on the face of this planet that’s willing to take on an already insanely fleshed out universe and make it into something great? This world is crazy.
Anyway, Kingdoms of Amalur was amazing, and if you haven’t played it already, you can check it out on previous-gen consoles and Steam for like $20. The game is well worth it. Talk to us about your favorite games that never got the sequels they deserved on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames.