Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is easily my all-time favorite game. It should come as no surprise, then, that the sudden collapse of 38 Studios was a very painful moment for me, as it surely meant the end of what could potentially the biggest RPG series of the generation, and of generations to come. Luckily, EA recently expressed interest in a Kingdoms of Amalur sequel, which means that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. While it would be great to see the original team come back for work on the sequel, it’s much more likely that a new studio will be in charge of development, but either way, here are five things that a new Amalur game needs.
1. Don’t Touch the Combat!
Kingdoms of Amalur’s strongest feature was it’s action-oriented combat system. Battle played out much more like a God of War game than any other RPG on the market, with every weapon having unique combos that could be upgraded with new abilities and effects. A hammer-wielding hero played very different than a Fae Blade carrying thief, yet both were fun and never got tiring. The old saying of “don’t fix what isn’t broken” rings true here. Adding a new weapons would be greatly appreciated, however. Several enemies in the game used spears, which were unavailable to the player, but adding them in the next game could open up a whole new branch of abilities. Battle axes for warriors, bow staffs for martial-arts-type classes, claw blades… maybe even scythes.
2. More Varied Races
Okay, while Kingdoms of Amalur had great character customization, it’s lack of different races was a big surprising. There were only four playable races, with very little to set them apart other than looks. Giving players access to multiple races, each with their own unique skills and extra abilities, would greatly enhance the ability to create the exact type of character they want. Dwarves could have bonuses in all things mechanical, such as setting traps and lock picking, and could have a race-based skill tree with abilities that only Dwarves can obtain. Playing as a Fae could give players health bonuses and resistance to certain diseases, at the cost of not having certain speech options when talking to other races due to their lack of understanding the outside world. The choice of race should also affect how the player is treated in certain areas of the world, whether it helps the player or hinders them.
3. Players Actions Should Have a Greater Impact
As much as I loved Kingdoms of Amalur for having so many different factions and choices, none of it really seemed to matter. When I became the king of the House of Ballads, I expected something more than just a Twist of Fate bonus and some cool armor. Ending the Warsworn storyline by becoming the vessel for an ancient demon should have had a huge impact on the world in which my character inhabited, but nothing ever happened because of it. We need to see this great achievements have a bigger impact on character development and the whole of Amalur, even if it means working harder to get there. It would have been great to travel the world and have people treat me differently because of my rank in a certain faction, or to have evil actions grant me bonuses because of the demon in me. The DLC pack The Legend of Dead Kel did everything right, however, allowing players to rebuild an old keep and get some great bonuses from it, but hearing about my feats across the world would be even better. Imagine gaining control of a particular faction and being able to actually make decisions on how it is run. Perhaps your decisions could effect the economy of the world, or allow you to take over entire towns. It would truly help to bring the world of Amalur to life, and make those big achievements feel so much more rewarding.
4. Better Armor and Weapon Customization
Amalur certainly has one of the deepest and most enjoyable crafting systems out there, but the one problem is that most of the crafted weapons and armor look the same. I loved creating more powerful longswords, but when they all look the same, it doesn’t feel like such an achievement. Offering dyes to color armor and weapons would be a nice touch, but offering completely different styles to choose from would be even better. Instead of having “leather chest plate,” let us have either Fae, Warsworn, Scholia Arcana, Dark, Light, Tuatha, or Niskarua chest plate, and let us change the color of certain details. Players would then be able to create their own unique armor sets rather than being stuck with the same look throughout the game. This would also come into play in my next suggestion…
5. Online Play… Sort Of
Okay, so I’ll be honest, I prefer the game to be single-player. However, allowing players to interact with each other online could make the experience even better. If the developers allowed players to create armor and weapons in the way I previously described, there should also be an online marketplace to sell it. Certain areas throughout Amalur could have a portal that leads to an online town, where players can walk around with each other, communicate about where to find certain items or quests, and provide access to player-controlled shops. It would obviously be difficult to give each and every player their own storefront in an online server, because it would mean a lot of walking around just to get there, but providing one building where a player can search for a specific item or browse through shops would be an awesome thing. A player could search for a particular weapon, be transported to another player’s storefront (which would appear as a customizable menu screen complete with shop-owner avatar) and purchase the item. The other play can then collect gold whenever they check in on their property.
The demise of 38 Studios is a terrible situation, but there may still be hope yet. Hopefully a Kingdoms of Amalur sequel sees the light of day, and it would be nice to see all of these suggestions make their way into the game. What are your suggestions for an Amalur sequel, Explosion readers?