The downfall of 38 Studios was an unfortunate event for both the State of Rhode Island, the devs working there and the gaming industry as a whole. When projects as ambitious and expensive as Copernicus end in such a tragic way, it makes publishers think twice about the hefty investment that comes attached to many ambitious MMORPG projects, let alone taking a chance on making something new to break the same stale formula that the industry has been clinging to.
Yesterday Massively managed to spot a new video of Copernicus (referred to as Kingdoms of Amalur) linked by former 38 Studios dev Steve Danuser on his blog that offered a fly-through look at Valiance. And while we may never know if Copernicus would have been a game to try and alter that forumula, Danuser took some time to talk about the video, the plans to ship as free-to-play, and a planned player-influenced storyline that had already been planned out four years ahead and would make each server different based on decisions made by the players.
"ThereÂs a lot more IÂd like to tell you about the game, such as how our fully planned four-year story arc was driven by player participation. How the theme of choice and consequence permeated our systems, content, and world design. How the choices players made during our chapter-based story arc would cause permanent and lasting changes to each serverÂchanges that could be different from other servers. How expansions to the game world had already been mapped out and were tied into that chapter storyline, so the world would grow in a very organic and logical way rather than feeling like expansions were tacked onto the core game by a new team that was bored with the work that had been done before. How our storyline had a real conclusionÂbecause you canÂt tell a great story without an ending."
Today two additional videos have emerged via YouTube that offer a look at the city of Jottunhessen and its optimization changes during development. Give them a look to see what 38 Studios had been working on.