I was reading the latest Penny Arcade story accompaniments when something Gabe said really struck a chord with me on game design, and why I like some games over others.
Gabe was talking about an upcoming game he is playing called Kingdoms of Amalur, and said;
A big part of the reason I play games is for “new art”. That is the thing more often than not that keeps me progressing. What will the next level or zone look like?
As soon as he said it, I knew it was true for me.
Before I go on about what that sparked in my brain housing group though, I want to say, I never heard of Kingdoms of Amalur before. I HAVE heard of a game that Gabe compared it to… Skyrim. Gabe seemed to think Kingdoms of Amalur had all the lore and exploring depth of Skyrim, but with much more entertaining combat gameplay, and with more beautiful worlds to experience.
All I heard talk about a few months ago, at least before SWTOR came out, was “Oh, Skyrim, Skyrim is so awesome, all I want to do is play Skyrim, oh I just want to have Skyrim’s giant-destroying shouty babies.”
To hear Gabe, who I respect, say that he thought Kingdoms of Amalur was more enjoyable than Skyrim made me sit up and take notice.
I saw the trailer for it on Youtube, okay, nice trailer, but I’m not playing a movie, I’m playing a game. Much like cover art, a movie trailer can show you awesomesauce , but reflect nothing of the final gameplay experience. Show me the gameplay.
SHOW ME the gameplay!
Then I found this;
I haven’t said this in years. Actually, I think I haven’t said this in a decade. Maybe I said it for Starcraft II.
I HAVE TO BUY THAT GAME.
Curt Schilling, who I am actually aware of and also respect, is the design studio head behind this? Oh shit, is THIS the game his studio is coming out with?
And wait a minute, WHO is behind the lore? R.A. Salvatore?
Hmmm… I dunno, that could be a plus or a minus. He is the man responsible for giving us Drizzt, after all… and giving everyone that wanted to play an angst-ridden vampire in D&D and wasn’t allowed to the Dark Elf race for a replacement.
What he did by introducing scimitars alone into a medieval setting!
But on the other hand, I did love his writing. At a time when books based in D&D were mostly crap, his brought actual character and personality and placed them above stats, an incredible concept at the time.
As far as Todd McFarlane being behind the art design…
I know this is out of style these days, the cool kids mock Todd McFarlane, but I was a fan of the Spawn art style back in the first 50 issues. The characters I loved were the Medieval Spawn and Angela characters that Neil Gaiman created for Todd McFarlane for the Spawn comics, but the art was all Todd.
Something to remember. Neil Gaiman was responsible for my favorite character designs in Spawn, but the art style was all Todd’s, and as long as he is doing the art style of this game without the lore, that excites me.
Not interests, not intrigues, excites.
I really like what I see in that video.
A game world originally designed to be as huge as an MMO, made into a single player game? Character classes that are organic, growing and changing direction as you place points in different ways in skills that sound cool to you as you level?
Oh, hell yes. Sign my ass RIGHT up.
Everything I love about WoW, but without people.
On second thought, maybe it’s not THAT solid a must have after all.