At href="">New
York Comic Con, we caught up
with 38 Studios Founder Curt Schilling to discuss the latest on style="font-style: italic;">Kingdoms of Amalur:
Reckoning. During the
interview, we learned of the launch timeframe for style="font-style: italic;">Reckoning,
whether R.A. Salvatore's involvement with the Cryptic Studios-produced style="font-style: italic;">Neverwinter
will affect his involvement with the game, and also learn just a little
more about what our character's initial experience will be like in 38
Studios' freshman project.

Ton Hammer: How's development on
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Reckoning style="font-weight: bold;"> moving along?

It's coming. We're getting into some big milestones, some big
completion dates, and the game - well, I'm obviously biased, but the
game is a blast.

Ton Hammer: So you're playing
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Reckoning style="font-weight: bold;"> internally?

Oh yea, I've been playing it for about 8 months now. This last twelve
months is where you really turn it from an 85 to a 95, and we're trying
to make sure we didn't drink our own Kool-Aid - start the focus
testing, validate our decisions, and make sure what we believe to be
true is true.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 435px;"
alt="curt schilling at ny comic con 2010"

Curt Schilling at NY Comic Con

Ton Hammer: That pegs
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Reckoning style="font-weight: bold;"> for a holiday 2011
release. Are you comfortable with that date?

Yea. Recognizing we need to be fluid there - there are a couple of
titles that we're paying attention to, that everyone's paying attention
to, and we're trying to make sure we have breathing room when we do our

Ton Hammer: R.A. Salvatore recently released
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Gauntlgrimm style="font-weight: bold;">, the first of three
tie-in Drizzt novels for style="font-weight: bold;"
href=""> style="font-style: italic;">Neverwinter style="font-weight: bold;">, the Cryptic
Studios-produced co-op style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Dungeons
& Dragons style="font-weight: bold;"> PC game.  Has
his involvement with style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Neverwinter style="font-weight: bold;"> impacted his time with style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Amalur style="font-weight: bold;"> at all?

No, not at all. style="font-style: italic;">Reckoning,
from a story standpoint, is more a matter of R.A. checking in and
making sure that the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. The Age of
Arcana, the time period that was chosen for the setting of the game, is
something that was already written and fleshed out.

Ton Hammer: Turning to the game, what's the level of individuality
we'll see in
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Reckoning style="font-weight: bold;">? Will the story line
branch based on players' decisions? How much is the game about your
story versus a generic story you're living out?

It's everything. It's a single-player role playing game, so if the
single most important entity in the world is not you, there's a
problem. And that's the case not only from an appearance perspective,
but from a gameplay perspective. For someone who's relying on story and
world to be tangibly different and carry forward to other products, the
character has to be everything. A lot of companies pay lip service to
the fact that you're the hero, but not a lot of games make you feel
that way.  That's one of the things I've noticed happening
with Reckoning
in the last 8-10 months; a shift towards making sure that's actually
the feel you get from the game.

Ton Hammer: Do you start as a major character, a major hero in the
story, or do you have to work your way up Jeffersons-style?

I can't really tell you right now, but needless to say, the entry point
into the game has massive consequences across the entire experience.
How, and where, and when you're coming into the game is an enormously
huge piece of content.

Ton Hammer: From the
style="font-weight: bold;"
href="">trailer style="font-weight: bold;">, we know that the story
explores the Well of Souls and how resurrection came to be in the
history of Amalur. Is resurrection something that players discover
haphazardly (maybe by getting too close to that giant winged, three
jawed thing), or is it something that players are directly involved
with bringing into existence?

Yes to both. I've always talked about how the first 15 minutes of
gameplay needs to feel like the first 15 minutes of style="font-style: italic;">Saving Private Ryan,
right? You're going to have to catch your breath a couple of times.
That's not just action and animation, that's got to be like, "Holy
@#!T!" from a story perspective. So we've got to make you understand
that right off the bat. It's a lot easier to do in a single player
experience than as an MMO.

Ton Hammer: We all know Todd McFarlane as a specialist in all things
dark and gritty - you see his stuff all over the place here at Comic
Con. But we've seen fairly
style="font-weight: bold;"
environments style="font-weight: bold;"> presented for style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Copernicus style="font-weight: bold;"> too. Will both be part of
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Reckoning style="font-weight: bold;">? Can Todd pull that off?

Yes. Yea, there's a darkness to Todd that doesn't always involve blood.
There's a subtle, McFarlane way to do that. We wanted to nail the
artistic vision of the world, and we wanted the two products to have a
tie, artistically and visually. I mean, we're talking about
immortality, which depending on your perspective could be incredible or
really dark. Todd brings the angle to the dark side that few people
could bring.  The other big piece is the animation. Todd is
intensely involved with the animation on both products, and that's
another one of the places where I feel Todd has a signature impact.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 580px; height: 361px;"
alt="kingdoms of amalur: reckoning screenshot"

Reckoning niskaru battle

Ton Hammer: So if Todd's the dark side, is R.A. the bright, heroic side?

Yes, but R.A. has both. R.A. always talks about creating a world that
players actually care about enough to protect or destroy. So, you need
both, and in my mind you create one side and then you go to the other
side and do the push-pull. For a lot of the bright side, it was getting
the beauty and the wow factor, and then going, "Ok, let's get nasty."
That's where Todd came in.

Ton Hammer: You've been playing the game for quite a while now, and I
know you get down to the Big Huge Games studios in Maryland to check
things out on a regular basis. Despite being involved in such a
fundamental way, is there anything really special about the game that
continues to surprise you?

There's a lot of things. The first thing is, you can hear about open
world and play open world, but it's a far different thing to be on the
developing side of open world. When you say open world, I can go off in
any direction and I'm not going to run into a collision matrix that's
unfinished art. It's massive on a scale I never could imagine. The
second thing is that a particular amount of play time is being added in
content per week. Watching the combat evolve, the tech evolve, and
thinking about where we were at a year ago, there's a couple game
systems that are coming online right now that are badass - our stealth
system, in particular, is bad ass. Bad ass. Some brilliant people are
involved in making these game systems for us.

Thanks to Curt Schilling and the 38 Studios crew for taking time out to
chat at href="">NY
Comic Con 2010.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.