R.A. Salvatore Hated the Names in Amalur: Reckoning

R.A. Salvatore Hated the Names in Amalur: Reckoning

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But otherwise he loves the game for which he wrote the lore.

R.A. Salvatore is the prolific author of fantasy novels set in the D&D world of the Forgotten Realms and creator of arguably the most valuable D&D character ever in Drizzt Do'Urden. But he also contributed heavily to 38 Studios' lore for the upcoming MMO based in the Kingdoms of Amalur and the single-player game made by subsidiary studio Big Huge Games this winter. Speaking to Bob Salvatore at PAX East 2012, he said he absolutely loved playing the action RPG, even though he is much more of a PC and tabletop gamer. But there were a few things he thought Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning could improve upon. First on the list: the gobbledygook fantasy names you were bombarded with as soon as you entered the world.

"I hated the names," Salvatore said. "That was the biggest fight I had with people." He created the names of the the different cultures and major characters, but the individual character names were all made up by Ken Rolston's team at Big Huge Games. Salvatore wrote the backstory of Amalur, but he didn't have a hand in the writing of the script. If he did, Salvatore might have handled it differently.

"Peter Jackson's LOTR movies did a great job of introducing characters by condensing the cast," Salvatore said. Movies tend to err on the side of less is more with naming conventions, and Salvatore wondered if games should consider condensing the amount of lore exposed to the player. The characters are what drives the players into the story.

"I loved the character of Alyn Shir," said Salvatore," and I wish she was in the game more." He also thought there might have been too many sidequests because, as a completionist, he felt too distracted by them to progress through the main story at the right pace.

All the quibbles aside, Salvatore absolutely adored the final product. "I wrote a long letter to Big Huge Games and I was almost crying as I wrote it," he told me. Salvatore is immensely proud of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, especially how fun the action combat ended up.

Salvatore and the rest of Curt Schilling's 38 Studios is busy working on the MMO set in the world of Amalur. There's still no word on the release date for that or how it will compete with The Old Republic or WoW, but work continues apace.

Meanwhile, based on Reckoning's critical and commercial success, I inferred from Salvatore that a single-player sequel might be in the works. If that's the truth, we may have more time to spend in Amalur before we can enter it massively. Given how much fun I had with Reckoning, I don't think that's a bad thing at all.

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I'm still waiting for it to get marked down for purchase during the drought. Can't say I am struggling financially right now... I just have heard mixed things about this title so I am going to make sure its worth what I spend for it.

Once I heard that R.A. Salvatore was writing most of the lore, I expected something painfully generic and a bit shallow. He didn't disappoint.

I really want to play KOA, but it is in serious need of both a price drop and a patch that makes it actually challenging.

I don't want to spend 50 hours doing nothing but mashing the attack button.

The lore did have some promise. For example, I loved the idea of the immortal guys living their lives according to pre-written stories.

However, the game didn't make sufficient use of it. All that lore comes to nothing when 90% of the game consists of clicking through lousy dialogue and button mashing my way through re-spawning MOBs.

Overall, a great big "meh".

I'd say something about the names, but I can't remember a single one, which is a problem in its own right.

Amalur was entertaining...but not somthing I'd buy.

Certainly not a game to make into an MMO.

There doesn't seem to be enough there for an MMO.

I'M SORRY MR SALVATORE BUT THE MAN WHO CAME UP WITH DRIZZT HAS NO SAY IN ANYTHINGS NAMES. ESPECIALLY WHEN SAID NAMES ARE ACTUAL THINGS FROM IRISH AND CELTIC MYTHOLOGY. SO FUCK OFF.

Besides. Salvatore is a hack.

Loving KoA:R and it really deserves to sell more than it has, I'd certainly pre-order a sequel.

In a market dominated by re-releases and sequels, it's pretty shameful that everyone cries there are no new IPs but when one arrives, never purchases it.

Amalur is just one of those games for me that I hear is really good, but I just have no interest in, much like Katawa Shojo.

Still I might grab it when for a fiver on Steam or something one of these days, assuming I've culled my backlog enough by then.

GoaThief:
Loving KoA:R and it really deserves to sell more than it has, I'd certainly pre-order a sequel.

In a market dominated by re-releases and sequels, it's pretty shameful that everyone cries there are no new IPs but when one arrives, never purchases it.

When your stuff could just as easily fit under a Lord of the Rings or DnD branding, it's a new IP in name only. Why should I drop 60 bones on another generic looking fantasy game when I already own a few of those that I already know are good?

I saw Salvatore on the interview Day9 did with him and I have to say it's fascinating hearing the man talk. He talked about having his own team design the lore and backstory, and the research he did into old cultures and how random natural events might shake their views of the world and eventually evolve into legends. He was speaking about a product that almost wasn't the same as the game he helped create.

At one point he started talking about the mythology of the Amalur universe and brought some very interesting ideas forth, like the idea that Fate was a myth spurred on by religious and political leaders to control the population, and that free will did in fact exist. Sadly, the game didn't echo, rather it contradicted this notion. Quite sad how the game differs so much from the version of one who envisioned its world.

Mcoffey:
When your stuff could just as easily fit under a Lord of the Rings or DnD branding, it's a new IP in name only. Why should I drop 60 bones on another generic looking fantasy game when I already own a few of those that I already know are good?

Why buy this "Super Meat Boy" when I can just play Mario? Why buy Minecraft when I have Legos?

Pretty much everything is derivative, it's in the execution and as far as story driven high fantasy RPGs go these days, I'd say Amalur is pretty damn good. (Lets not pretend Skyrim is story driven).

Glad to know that the writer and I feel the same way about the names. The game to me felt like it was trying to channel the first fable game but the difficulty curve and boss fights were way to easy, pretty disappointing.

Frostbite3789:

Mcoffey:
When your stuff could just as easily fit under a Lord of the Rings or DnD branding, it's a new IP in name only. Why should I drop 60 bones on another generic looking fantasy game when I already own a few of those that I already know are good?

Why buy this "Super Meat Boy" when I can just play Mario? Why buy Minecraft when I have Legos?

Pretty much everything is derivative, it's in the execution and as far as story driven high fantasy RPGs go these days, I'd say Amalur is pretty damn good. (Lets not pretend Skyrim is story driven).

You'd never hear me say Skyrim has a good story. I was thinking more specifically Dragon Age: Origins. And while you're always going have similarities gameplay-wise, you can at least try to make your story more unique. This just seemed really "blah" to me, in the same way the single player of Modern Warefare 2 was. The shooting is great, sure, but I've seen all this before.

Fappy:
I'm still waiting for it to get marked down for purchase during the drought. Can't say I am struggling financially right now... I just have heard mixed things about this title so I am going to make sure its worth what I spend for it.

If you don't mind ordering from the UK it's pretty cheap in The Hut at the moment. I was also putting it off, but when I noticed the price drop on KoA and ME3 I quickly ordered both.
Currently 25.
I get free delivery(1 for package though) to Sweden, but I'm not sure if it's the same for USA.

Edit: forgot the link -_-
http://www.thehut.com/elysium.search?search=amalur

My guess is that he had some really great ideas, but as far as I could see, they weren't implemented in the game very well.

I agree with him about the side quests too. I'm not even being mean, the story/characters were VERY bland, also

"I loved the character of Alyn Shir," said Salvatore," and I wish she was in the game more." He also thought there might have been too many sidequests because, as a completionist, he felt too distracted by them to progress through the main story at the right pace.

Alyn Shir was the best character yes. But she only really got good at certain points, even she fell into the generic spiel in the middle. I felt like the ending was the best part, but it was incredibly short, and everything else was a bunch of meh.

The game was still fun and worth playing though. But you know something's wrong when the game is praised for its combat, and nothing else

I liked Reckoning, but I haven't finished it yet. Its currently on my gaming backlog. The sad thing is, i don't even remember who Alyn Shir is.

*One Google search later*

Oh her! Yeah, she was a good character. I always called her elf lady #2 though.

It must be really disappointing for him when the public can actually pronounce the names of his characters.
I guess there's nobody named Zxalaklnakkithlxabob in KOA.

The thing that bothered me most was the huge wasted potential of the premise. Your character has no fate and can thus change the destiny of himself and everyone he directly and indirectly influences. That's perfectly set up for the developers to create a game where choices really matter, playing on the idea that in most other RPGs your choices never make a difference (The Witcher series and alpha protocol being nice exceptions).

But nah, nothing you do really changes anything that wasn't predetermined by the game anyway, which directly goes against the whole theme. The whole story, everything, is predetermined, so you do in fact have an unchangeable destiny, despite the game insisting otherwise.

Remember how Bioshock played with the idea of the silent protagonist blindly following the omnipotent voices telling you what to do? Amalur just seems to have wasted a good premise that could have tackled both high fantasy and video game tropes to create an experience that really resonated with the players themselves.

But no... boring as shit story with generic characters. No spark of life or inspiration, it felt like the kind of game that a robot would build. Combat was fairly fun for a while though.

I might pick this game up on steam if it goes on some super discount, but I'm more hesitant now after reading that R.A. Salvatore wrote part of it. I read one of his books and it was either the second worst or worst fantasy story I ever read, and a chore to finish.

 

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