A Fistful of Schillings

Error 37 last week, 38 Studios this week

‘Kingdoms of Amalur’ seems like an interesting game. I never got around to playing it. As a rule I very rarely buy full priced games and I have a huge backlog of older titles to get through. I definitely intend to play it eventually since I gave the demo a go and I really enjoyed that. It is sad then to hear that 38 Studios, the development house behind the title, is no more.

It is even sadder since they were working on an MMO version of the game which we might never get to see. Now granted, that did not seem like a very good idea to begin with. Why, you might ask? Well the game was praised for its action oriented combat (similar to something you might find in ‘God of War’) and lambasted for its drab storyline and lore. I will not pretend to be extremely knowledgeable on internet infrastructure but I believe an MMO with twitch based combat has not been done before because current technology still lags behind such gameplay mechanics. This, I assume,  is the reason why most MMOs depend heavily on hotkeys and invisible dice rolls for hit detection and why virtually all action MMOs have, to date, been heavily reliant on instances. The release of ‘Tera’ might have disproved this assumption although I still need to try it out myself. There might be a chance that some clever and invisible mathematics are at play giving the impression of true action gameplay, which ultimately would still be a neat feat if pulled off. But I digress.

Back to my point: What all this means is that the (now scrapped?) Amalur MMO (codenamed Copernicus) risked having a watered down combat system while being based on a fiction which most people have found boring. I believe it would have made much more sense to weave a limited multiplayer experience into ‘Kingdoms of Amalur’ in the first place and drop all ideas of an MMO altogether, but that’s just me. What I am certain of is that if KoA had a cooperative mode I would have bought it on day one, and so would have some of my friends. This reminded me of David Braben saying that they stopped work on ‘The Outsider’ because it does not have a multiplayer component and that makes it a much more risky proposition for the developer.

Anyways, best of luck to all those made redundant. I am sure that there are well over 38 studios willing to take on good talent.


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