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…)


Conglomoblog: Marvel, DC, SWTOR, and Amalur

Marvel Heroes

I have zero faith in the MMO devs of this generation to create a MMO based on a major IP, especially an IP like Marvel.  I think the isometric view is a great choice, like Ultima Online, but I doubt Marvel Heroes will be a true virtual world.  In fact, I bet it won’t resemble a MMORPG at all.   Everything I’ve seen leads me believe it will work like Diablo 3 does, and if that’s a MMO then I’m out of touch. Then there’s the free-to-play, and I don’t need to elaborate.

SWTOR Layoffs

First and foremost, I feel for the employees losing their jobs.  This can’t be a surprise to anyone, though.  SWTOR hasn’t done as well as anyone hoped, and I think this is exactly what I was talking about yesterday.  MMO’s are not single-player games, and single-player games were never meant to be turned into MMO’s.  SWTOR is a mediocre MMO and a sub-par single-player game -only- because Bioware chose to go for this hybrid model instead of focusing on making it one or the other.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Open World Trailer

Heads up LEGO game fans! LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes looks amazing.  500 square miles of city to explore, voice acting, and a whole lineup of DC Super Heroes and Villains.  If you’re one of our long time readers you know we love the LEGO games, so we’ll be all over this when it launches.


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – Completed!

I also finally beat Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning today.  To avoid spoiling it for anyone, click ‘read more’ to see some of my thoughts. SPOILERS AHEAD.  You have been warned. (more…)