Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 was in preproduction - Report

[UPDATE] Sources say sequel to role-playing game was just beginning when 38 Studios went under; mystery publisher pulled out of $35 million deal to finance follow-up after Rhode Island expressed concern with company.

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning sequel that 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling confirmed was in the works in February was in preproduction and was aimed at "improving everything," Joystiq reports. Unnamed sources told the site the team at Big Huge Games wanted to make a sequel with better graphics, no loading screens between zones, expanded combat animations, fewer branching quests, and the ability for players to affect the gameworld on a deeper level.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 had bold ambitions, sources say.

38 Studios went belly up last week, with all employees across it and its subsidiary Big Huge Games laid off. The site reports that even if Big Huge Games were to continue to exist under a different banner, the team would likely not be able to work on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2. Though 38 Studios presently owns the Amalur intellectual property (believed to be valued at around $20 million), the company is likely to be forced to hand it over to the state of Rhode Island as part of a collateral arrangement originally agreed upon as part of the 2010 $75 million loan that brought 38 Studios to the Ocean State.

The site also reports that Electronic Arts--which published Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning--passed on working on the sequel due to "executive politics." 38 Studios then sought other publishing partners for the game, though no companies were named.

[UPDATE] Rhode Island newspaper the Providence Journal reports today that an unnamed publisher pulled out of a $35 million publishing deal for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 after word came that 38 Studios may be in trouble.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning shipped in February to a warm critical reception and sales of 1.2 million units over 90 days. Despite this, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee said the game was a "failure" and needed to sell 3 million copies to break even.

Troubles at 38 Studios first came to light earlier this month, when reports from the Rhode Island government indicated that the company had failed to make a $1.125 million loan payment to the state's Economic Development Corporation. The studio eventually made the payment, but it also enacted a round of unspecified layoffs, before shutting down completely.

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Discussion

176 comments
Rizer
Rizer

That's...terrible. The western world needs more devs dabbling in rpgs. Only a few dev companies seem to bother with the attempt anymore and that because it's been a specialty for a LONG time. And the eastern world has a tiny issue with repeating core mechanics and story lines for the last 3 years or so...The only JRPG that made much creative headway in gameplay mechanics lately is dragons dogma and I'm STILL holding my breath for Persona 5.

FlyingAce1016
FlyingAce1016

sucks I just started playing the first one it's fun

GeorgeSyll
GeorgeSyll

Good ridance. The first one was a dissaster. There was no need for a second one.

 

In fact, there's no need for more RPGs from this developer. At least not until they hire the right people for the job, not only some half famous people just to create a hype.

Shinteikun
Shinteikun

Koar is one of the best games I've played in years! I really hope koar2 will be released and if it turn out to be at least 50% like the original, I'll love it! I don't care for the studios... As far as I'm concerned game can be developed by mole people, as long as it's good!

JACOBDRAGON666
JACOBDRAGON666

as i had said state and goverment should remain out of video game affairs

darkcomedian
darkcomedian

That's a shame. KOA was a very interesting property.

Nightrain50
Nightrain50

I'd love to see 38 studios rise from the ashes. KOA is underrated, it had flaws but it's a gem, and I'd love to see the next one improved in every way.

Eraldus
Eraldus

Meanwhile, games like Diablo 3 keep comming toward us... (I wonder how many people will get what I meant...)

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

Rhode Island should sink into the depths of hell.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"the company is likely to be forced to hand it over to the state of Rhode Island" Lol, so we could get a Kingdom of Rhode Island: Beckoning (i.e. Rhode island beckoning another game company to move to Rhode island).

gambit001
gambit001

My #1 confusion, if they had to sell 3 Million copies that's $180 Million.  How would you need to make that to break even on a $75 Million loan?  I'm sure they already had some start up funds and other loans, but $105 Million more is near impossible.

otacon645
otacon645

Man that sucks, i just picked up Kingdoms Of Amalur and its such a well made game, fantastic art style and some of the best RPG gameplay in recent memory. 

xMoonDevilx
xMoonDevilx

Having only a decent launch...and not even out for a year to get better numbers...not wise in my opinion to start a sequel already. Just sorta removes the focus on the original, takes away some of the mustard on it...like you did what you could but wanted to do better on an entirely new and different setup. Just doesn't show faith in the first title. Could have easily enhanced, made improvements (patches), continued DLC and such like Dragon Age did for example....get more out of it than what they did, perhaps gaining better interest and sales. Totally a management thing doing this...coupled with a separate and new large scale MMO in development as well...just too much too soon.

etr1969
etr1969

hmmm the mystey publisher like EA may be.

 

PredatorRules
PredatorRules

1.2M copies seems pretty fair, not every game nowdays gets that amount of copies sold

tightwad34
tightwad34

This reminds me I was in the store earlier today to but a new controller, and I remember browsing the games and did not see KOA there. Are they going to continue to sell it? I know they wouldn't take it out of stores yet, but I want to know if I should pick it up soon in case they do.

Kingofbluelions
Kingofbluelions

No wonder why games suck nowadays. You release a hit, it doesn't sell enough, but when you release crap, it earns a trilogy and spin-offs with DLCs included. Anyone want to jump back on the PS2/Gamecube wagon? Games are cheaper, FUN, and have less load time.

steelmouth
steelmouth

not to worry fan boys and girls Reckoning 2 shall see the inside of a console disk rom sooner or later

edubb85
edubb85

Really shows why game companies are so afraid of taking chances and doing something new or out of the box.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

Is too bad. Amalur was great. The most fun combat I ever had in a fantasy RPG. A sequel could had been even better but, at least I got to enjoy Amalur. This studio did not deserved to close down.

MVan86
MVan86

Thanks so much for pulling the plug on a promising series Chafee...

toddx77
toddx77

Hate to day it but expect more of this kind of stuff most likely.  I get the feeling gaming is officially starting to die, I mean needing to sell 3 million to break ever, thats not a good sign.

Stevo_the_gamer
Stevo_the_gamer moderator

This is a sad state for gaming when a game has to sell 3 million in order to break even.

stabby_mcgee
stabby_mcgee

From what I understand, this is basically what is happening.

 

Chafee has no reason to want 38 Studios to fail since if they can't pay back the loan, it would only hurt the state of Rhode Island.

 

The reason why Chafee made those statements about Amalur being a failure is because 38 Studios was pouring money into its other projects rather than trying to pay off the loan. Despite the fact that 38 Studios wasn't able to make that loan payment, they were still spending a ton of money, $4 million a month according to Chafee. Chafee thinks that 38 Studios has failed and rather than let 38 Studios spend more money on its other projects and potentially risk not being able to pay anything back, he wants to get back as much money as he can.

 

Schilling on the other hand, wants to get more investors so that 38 could finish its other projects in hopes that those projects will be successful and earn enough money to pay all the debts off. However, Chafee basically killed the chances of 38 Studios getting new investors.

 

Who's in the right on this? I don't think anyone can say just yet. Chafee is trying to play it safe while Schilling is taking a lot of risks. If Schilling's right then Chafee just screwed all the employees at 38 Studios and hurt Rhode Island's economy in the long run. If Chafee's right, then he's avoided an even bigger disaster because if Schilling isn't able to get new investors or if 38 Studios' next project isn't a huge success then things will be much worse since not only will there be no chance of 38 Studios paying back the loan from Rhode Island, they'll also owe a lot of other people a ton of money.

MVan86
MVan86

Well this makes me even sadder about the company folding... Hopefully someone will pick it up so we can get more entries in this series and have it force needed changes into the RPG genre.

daedalusmachina
daedalusmachina

@gambit001 If they are using the same rules as in movies, which is certainly possible, 50% of the sale price goes directly into advertising, right off the bat. Production cost gets filtered out of the remaining 30 bucks, so you're probably looking at 8-10 bucks per sale going into the loan, maybe even less.

TTDog
TTDog

@gambit001: Except that the studio doesn't get all the $60 income from the sale of a game does it... there's the store profit, distribution, the cost of producing the disk, advertising the game in magazines and on websites. On top of that all the costs that would have accumulated in the years it took to make the game, when there was no income coming in... which is why they took the loan in the first place... to pay the bills until their portion of the sales got back to them.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

 @sasabig Really?  TOO honest?  Yeah, sounds like your life is hell.  Honestly, thank you SO MUCH for providing me with this site, it's sure to fill the lonely void in my miserable life.  P.S.  Shut up.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

 @tightwad34 I'd bet EA are still making money out of it... and while they do it'll keep being printed.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

 @edubb85 It really doesn't show that at all... It shows why companies need to manage their finances better, the game was good (according to the majority of people) and it sold over a million... All the crap behind the scenes is what ended the company.

cr8ive
cr8ive

 @buccomatic 

And KoA:R would be 10 hours long if it wasn't for all those go-fetch and come back missions.

 

Not to mention the Zelda level lock method... "no, you can't go to that part yet.. you'll have to come back later when your skill is high enough"...and put it right next in 1 of the first few missions..

 

I'd take 10-15 hours of endless fun

MVan86
MVan86

 @toddx77 Gamin won't die, it's likely to go through a rougher patch though.

ggregd
ggregd

 @Stevo_the_gamer

 It didn't.  Maybe it had to sell 3 million copies to completely bail the entire 38 Studios organization out of it's financial mess.  The Governor was either misinformed or deliberately lying to destroy 38 Studios ability to attract investors.  Time will tell.

Link2Kev
Link2Kev

 @Stevo_the_gamer The developers said that the 3 million statement from the governor of RI was completely false. 

MVan86
MVan86

 @Stevo_the_gamer It's a sad state of affairs for gamers when a state essentially  pulls the plug on a study.

Wula_
Wula_

 @mrboone01 So them taking a chance and making a good game that is different from the same crap all the time. Somehow screwed it up for everyone else and explains why no on else is willing to take a chance? please explain as I am honestly curious as to how your thinking works.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@MVan86 @Stevo_the_gamer It's a sad state of affairs for the taxpayer when their money gets invested without their consent in a company that was horribly mismanaged and had no chance of survival.

ggregd
ggregd

 @buccomatic

 BHG had just gotten the greenlight for the patch when everything collapsed.  Beyond that you're venturing into the territory of wild speculation.  5 million?  You seriously think 4 people out of 5 didn't buy the game because they heard it was too easy?  Always remember a game's forum is never representative of real life.

MVan86
MVan86

 @cjburnfist Just because YOU don't think it's that great does not mean that it's so. It deserves an honourable mention in the GotY category and most definitely deserves a sequel.

ggregd
ggregd

 @ProjektInsanity

 mrboone01 has an unbridled venomous hatred for 38 Studios for some reason and it compromises the intellectual integriity of his coments.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@Wula_ @mrboone01 I'll field that one. They screwed it up for everyone, not by taking a chance on something different, but by SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY making it. If the governor is correct and 3 million copies was their break-even point, that means they spent something in the range of $180 million making and marketing the game, which is completely insane. It was bad business, not bad game design, that killed them.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

 @mrboone01 LOL.  LOOOOL.  How was your comment funny?  It still makes no sense.  Whether KoA was amazing or not, I fail to see how the mere act of releasing it somehow "screws it up for the rest."  It doesn't.  Lol.

leimonides
leimonides

@buccomatic @MVan86 that is something to think about, however, somehow I doubt anyone is taking that train of thought - though they (the industry) should...

fume0101
fume0101

 @buccomatic I feel it's attributable to the rising popularity of the casual gamer business model. While casual gamers do account for a large percentage of the market, the games that are being pushed out are increasingly lack-luster, marketed toward people who just want to dance their little butts off to a party game, rather than put time and effort into a scripted story, or a game that has a quazi-steep learning curve. The developers need to stop making casual games and marketing them to core audience. They need to start making core titles, that have elements the casual audience can get behind. Because let's face it, casual gamers aren't going to pay attention long enough to notice that the game has more content than the parts they're interested in anyway.

MVan86
MVan86

 @cjburnfist personally I appreciated having complete control over exactly who my character was.  Yeah again, I just hope any sequel that may emerge will be good regardless of where it comes from.

MVan86
MVan86

 @cjburnfist I don't really care who develops a sequel I just want there to be one. I really like the game, especially the progressive class system instead of picking a class at the start.