Interview: Curt Schilling Talks 38 Studios’ “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning”

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Going back to my question­–the problems that you feel like kind of plague the fantasy genre–it seems kind of implicitly answered, because you guys are focusing on combat. In fantasy titles, it always seems like someone said, “I guess we need to like have some swordplay there.” It seems like it’s something that’s more written about, the prowess of a particular protagonist than you actually get to control. Was that one of the places where you guys started? I see big head nods…

Curt Schilling: The analogy that I always use is, if you think about all the big RPGs and you think about what made them fun, the most compelling ones had this incredible story that I cared about. I will go back to ‘Curse of the Azure Bonds’. I mean, that was a blast to play, because that story was really compelling and the tattoos were dissolving off my characters. That was really cool. There was the story I was trying to get to, and in between that I had to fight some stuff. There was some combat that just kind of happened, because that’s the game mechanic. But there was never a good marriage of the two. It’s always “I’m at the story thread, and oh, this awesome encounter is going to be fun as hell to fight, and and then I am going to go to the story again.” And vice versa, when you have an action RPG game. “These battles are awesome, and I can’t wait to see these animations again, and then, okay, I have got to do the story stuff, and then I get to fight again.”

So now you take, what I believe we are doing is, you have got this incredible story line that — again, ‘Reckoning’ is resonating as a game name, because it actually is part of the game itself. The choices and decisions you make in the game are going to impact you, which is incredible from a story standpoint, and you have got this incredible combat that I can’t wait to see the next animation. And there is a deep animation thread to the game and combat thread to the game is every bit as deep as there is a story thread.

So to use the sports metaphors again, you are ostensibly in the same division as BioWare now, whose games I am sure you have played and enjoyed.

Yeah, huge fans.

Do you see it competitive? Do you see it as additive?

Curt Schilling: Yes, we compete against everyone. I want to be the best in the world. I want us to be the best in the world. However, BioWare is 110% an asset. We have been able to have Greg and Ray and the guys at BioWare in to talk and confer and give advice. I would tell you, they are the best in the world at that genre right now. Hands down! And that’s not to slight anybody else, they are just great at what they do. That’s absolutely a value-add for us. Through the EAP partnership, we have them for whatever and they have us as well. To get their sign off, to have them come in and say, you know what, this is pretty bad-ass. That’s another one of those rubber stamps that tells us that we aren’t lying to ourselves.

Mark Nelson: These are complementary games. I mean, even though they are in the same genre, like ‘Dragon Age’. Ray and Greg are our friends. They have come in and they have looked at our stuff and they have provided valuable advice. They are geniuses at what they do, but obviously it’s a very different focus for the games.

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