Every so often, a game comes about which is remembered not for the merits of its gameplay or the technical achievements it accomplishes, but for the back office shenanigans and absolute insanity which surrounded its development. One such game was Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
What was supposed to be a single-player RPG introduction to a larger MMORPG world, built in cooperation with luminaries such as Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore, turned into a debacle which destroyed careers and ruined lives. In the aftermath, THQ Nordic acquired the rights to the game back in late 2018. Today, using the game’s original Twitter account, which has been silent since 2012, they announced Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning.
The game, so far, appears to only be present on the Microsoft Store and is explicitly listed for Xbox One. However, the Twitter thread seems to be indicating that it will also be available on PS4 and PC, though neither the PlayStation Store nor any PC storefront currently has it listed. The game’s listing on the Microsoft Store promises to deliver “improved graphical fidelity” and “refined gameplay.”
Additionally, both of the DLC expansions, “Teeth of Naros” and “Legend of Dead Kel” will be packaged with the game, presumably along with the “Weapons & Armor” add-on. From the screenshots, it certainly looks like the art has been polished up. How exactly the gameplay has been improved, we likely won’t see until launch. The game is slated to be released on August 18.
Much has already been written about the development process of Kingdoms of Amalur. For those who haven’t kept track, a brief history. 8 Studios was founded by former baseball pitcher Curt Schilling. Schilling, known at the time as a deeply involved World of WarCraft player, decided to spend his money in retirement trying to create his MMORPG. After starting up 38 Studios in Boston (where he’d ended his baseball career), Schilling moved the company over to Rhode Island to take advantage of state programs for technology company development.
To improve the development process of both the MMO and the standalone RPG, 38 Studios acquired Rise of Nations developer Big Huge Games. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was released in early 2012, published by Electronic Arts, to modest sales and decent but rarely glowing reviews.
Shortly after the game’s release, 38 Studios shut down, having blown through $50 million of Schilling’s own money and $75 million in state funds. The MMO never came about. As for the development staff who’d been relocated from Big Huge Games, they were left without their final paychecks, and in many cases on the hook for mortgages, 38 Studios had promised to pay off.