Before the mass implosion of 38 Studios and Big Huge Games last week, it seems the team down in Baltimore, Maryland was hard at work on KoA: Reckoning 2. Well, they were at least in the pre-production phase but more details have leaked out which shine more light on the game that may or may never be and also to set the record straight on a few facts about the situation with 38 Studios.
As it stands now, 38 Studios does continue to exist even without any employees. This means that the Amalur IP, technology, code, and Project Copernicus are theirs. With things continuing to spiral downward, more than likely, all of this will end up being owned by the state of Rhode Island. With a probable substantial asking price in order to recoup most of their loan money back, it’s probably unlikely that a reformed group from Big Huge Games would be able to get their hands back on it.
Now the disappointing news. In the sequel, the team was looking at ways to improve the experience further by listening to fan feedback and improve the areas where they thought they could expand on. Such enhancements included no loading screens when changing zones, higher graphic quality, even more dynamic and improved combat animations, fewer branching quests, and the ability for the player to have more of an effect on the overall world while they are playing. Honestly, hearing about the planned improvements above on an already fun game leaves me so disappointed that the situation turned the way it die and they were unable to keep working. It also makes me a bit angry with how bad the situation got in Rhode Island.
Interestingly enough, the word has it that that Project Copernicus was always planned as releasing before Reckoning. As we know now, delays pushed this back to a projected June 2013 window. Not only that, Big Huge Games never saw a dime from the $50 million loan 38 received from Rhode Island. They worked solely off of publishing money from EA.
I really hope the team at the former Big Huge Games finds a way to unite and start really making this game, whether they find a way to stay in the Amalur universe or not. It’s a well-known fact that Big Huge had already been working on this game before the studio was scooped up by 38 (after being dumped by another financially troubled company, THQ) and shifted the project to fit within Amalur. So, one would think, that if the team managed to reassemble, maybe they could find a way to take the ideas and concepts to create a new RPG game from their old “Ascendant” build. The ideas presented above coupled with the established foundation from the first game would add up into something real special. It’s really too bad how all of this went down, and I wish all the best for those guys.