Bringing Kingdoms of Amalur to life

Comic-Con 2011: 38 Studios developers detail how they're building a rich fantasy world for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Who Was There: Big Huge Games art director Tim Coman, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, animator Young Vo, and artist Sean Murray.

Team Reckoning.

What They Talked About: The panel kicked things off by talking about how it's risky to start a new IP, but when a development team has 10,000 years of lore from best-selling author R.A. Salvatore to work with, it can create a rich world with backstory for everything from characters to creatures and architecture to plant life.

Coman and McFarlane stressed how they wanted to create a world that would engage players who would want to spend the time to learn about the fabricated universe, but have it also be fun for those who just want a fun romp through a fantasy realm. McFarlane talked about how the best editor he ever had always made him go over each comic book after he was done and ask himself why he did certain things. There should always be a reason for everything, he said.

Even though McFarlane comes up with the ideas, the animation team has the freedom to animate the creatures its own way and the team meets again for tweaking and fine-tuning. As an example, the panel showed the audience concept art of the Bolgan, a large red tribal creature with one eye. The inspiration for the creature was drawn from Irish mythology, and there's an entire story to the Bolgan that explains why it only has one eye.

Everything begins with the writing, and from there, the artists and animators can mold and create. Developing the Bolgan begins with a digital sculpt and then turns into an in-game model, which reduces the complexity of the sculpture but retains most of the information. Creating a walk cycle gives the viewer an idea of its personality, and details like the way the Bolgan pivots its foot to adjust its massive weight may be lost on most people, but the team's goal was to make the creature as realistic as possible--beer belly and all.

Murray stressed that they wanted to build a world that is worth saving and make the towns feel like they're integrated with the culture of the people who live there, rather than just build another fantasy city. The environment and the structure should tell just as much of a story as the people who live in it.

Now that 38 Studios has brought the Balor to life, they just need someone to kill it.

Before wrapping up the panel, the team showed some artwork of the Balor, an enormous creature that shoots a beam from its eye and moves around with crablike legs. Every detail, down to the way the Balor's breasts jiggle when it attacks, was deliberate. McFarlane even got up at one point to demonstrate just how much movement you need in your body to make a sword strike look convincing.

Quote: "Reckoning: The best man boobs in the industry."--Todd McFarlane, in response to moderator Adam Sessler's comment about realistic man-boob animation.

Takeaway: Most people will play a game like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and not notice every little thing, but the fact that those details are there will make the universe feel more alive.

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Discussion

18 comments
kedj
kedj

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

kedj
kedj

Is there any way we can get the full Panel?

Wensea10
Wensea10

i hope kingdoms of amalur is not open world gameplay-related also

Elrax
Elrax

"Reckoning: The best man boobs in the industry." That really cracked me up. I liked what they explained, but I got bored in the middle of the video.

TerraMantis
TerraMantis

Love spawn, love forgotten realms, love TES: Morrowind Hope this game launches the birth of an incredible new IP.

Eliianar
Eliianar

I am interested in seeing what this game has to offer. A couple of cool videos displaying game play, art, or something would be really great. Seems the developers are not quite ready for that yet. Quite a shame.

TechnologoDoom
TechnologoDoom

Probably the best thing going for it isn't RA Salvatore, but rather the 2nd lead dev behind TESIII Morrowind. That alone makes me sit up and pay attention.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

i hope this game will do good...there are lots of big rpg's to compete with

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

this game sounds great, the amount of hard work and passion these people are putting into it shows me they really care (And not just about money like some) about this project. i like this, it can be the difference between a good game and a great game...the amount of care and attention to detail that they put into it.

shaks101
shaks101

Looks like a game to play mid 2012. Late 2011 and full 2012 will be a good time for games.

J-Man725
J-Man725

Here's hoping it'll be a gem.

kaem79
kaem79

Sounds and looks good so far. Make realistic features, because: flashes when you hit, no blood, unrealistic animation, goofy looking enemies is just bad in a game and there are already a lot of games having that.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

Keeping an eye on this one. Like JS0 said, it has the potential for greatness, but potential is nothing until it materializes into something tangible.

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

I wasn't much informed about this game but i'll check it out, it got my attention specially when he said they are trying to build realistic cities, they should follow the example of elder scrolls series, i got absolutely immersed by every game in the series.

psycho75
psycho75

i think this game will be a great surprise for everyone...

JS0123456789
JS0123456789

A video of this would be cool. The game sounds like it could be great.