38 Studios Employees: Thank You & Good Luck

To the former employees of 38 Studios,

I am distraught over the news that 38 Studios is no more.  I’m crushed over the thought that the screenshots I spoke so highly of this morning are most likely the last glimpse we will ever have of what could have been, what should have been, a great game from a passionate team of developers. We are both fans of Reckoning. Thank you BHG team for giving us over 150 hours of enjoyment in Amalur. Copernicus team, you had us excited by only an idea and a glimpse at what could have been. Your work will not be forgotten, and we remain fans of Amalur and your hard work.

To everyone formerly at 38 Studios, Graev and I wish you all the best of luck with whatever future adventures you embark upon.  We look forward to the excitement you’ll bring us when we have the pleasure of writing about your future work.

– Keen and Graev

For our readers, after the jump you’ll find the Copernicus screenshots released today as well as the fly-through of the world. Following games closely and being so excited for something, just to have it shut down at a moment’s notice, is the hardest part of being such eager gaming enthusiasts.  Such potential for something fresh or new is destroyed, but we’ll continue to see a new Call of Duty game released every year and a horrible MMO will see the light of day simply because it has a huge publisher.  So frustrating.



Graphics are Important, Copernicus Screenshots

There’s no secret to the fact that I love stylized graphics, and I’m a little bit of a graphics whore.  I prefer stylized over the ‘realistic’ approach for a number of reasons including: (1) My imagination works better with stylized, (2) I think they age better, and (3) Many more liberties can be taken in the design of a game when the graphics aren’t constraining you to reality.

If I had to identify my favorite look, the perfect look of stylized graphics in a game, it would be the graphics in this screenshot below from 38 Studios’ Copernicus. Yeah, yeah, I’ve been talking a lot about them lately.  Screenshots were leaked today, supposedly by some unknown person.  For all I know they’re fake (which I doubt since Curt linked to them via his twitter) but that doesn’t matter.  The images inspired me to write, and already my imagination is creating landscapes, places to go, and gameplay to experience based solely on the art.

Graphics need to excite my imagination.  I’m positive that they play a bigger role than I’ve given them credit in the past.  There’s a lot of “gameplay over graphics” argument out there, and I am 100% on board with the idea that if the gameplay sucks nothing else matters.  Once the gameplay is solid, though, the graphics must bring it home.

Anyway, what do you think (about graphics in general for you and the Copernicus screenshots)? I predict plenty of “Looks like WoW” comments, and to them I guffaw because even my untrained eye can see them as night and day, despite both being stylized.  I love the lack of texture on the horse contrasting the detailed brick work … sheesh I sound like those people I hate from back in my college humanities classes.  I’m done.  Your turn.

The other two Copernicus screenshots can be viewed after the jump. (more…)


Reckoning Demo Impressions

Reckoning PC vs. Console Image
Keen's Xbox360 (left) and PC (right) Reckoning setup.

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo released today for all platforms!  In a surprise twist, it’s even available for STEAM.  This is an exciting moment for us.  Reckoning is on my personal list of most anticipated games releasing this year and I’m stoked to see the 38 Studios’ first product.

Is Reckoning as good as expected?  What platform should I get it on?  What are some important details worth knowing?  We hope to answer those questions for you by comparing the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the demo.

Before we get into too much detail, let me just say that both of us enjoyed the demo enough to pre-order.  The world really captured our imaginations and the experience as a whole, all things considered, was positive.  It’s nice playing a western RPG with some color!

Read on for our look at the console and PC versions. (more…)