Curt Schilling Calls Amalur a "Billion Dollar Franchise," CliffyB Disagrees

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Curt Schilling Calls Amalur a "Billion Dollar Franchise," CliffyB Disagrees

Project Copernicus screen

Former 38 Studios boss Curt Schilling says Kingdoms of Amalur could be a "billion dollar franchise," but Gears of War mastermind Cliff Bleszinski sees things a little differently.

Curt Schilling won a few World Series rings last decade and then decided that qualified him to make videogames. And not just any videogame, but an epic, sweeping fantasy MMO - the sort of thing known for swallowing experienced and well-established studios wholesale. The results were ugly: The single-player RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning holds a respectable 81 on Metacritic but 38 Studios is no more, Rhode Island is on the hook for about $100 million and Schilling's reputation is badly and quite likely irreparably tarnished.

In spite of all that, Schilling isn't willing to throw in the towel on it just yet. "If someone were to buy Amalur, put team back on it, it's a billion dollar franchise, 2 years later and still no ones done what we were doing," he wrote earlier today on Twitter.

He didn't elaborate on what 38 Studios was doing when it went under for the last time that nobody else has been able to duplicate, but his words nonetheless drew a rather heated response from Bleszinski, the former lead designer on Epic's hit Gears of War franchise. "Curt you can't just throw a bunch of bodies at it and attempt to make WoW and Skyrim. I wouldn't try to pitch the world series," he tweeted. "If you're putting together a band you don't open at an arena, you play shitty small venues and suck a lot first before building up."

"Didn't mean to be disrespectful, just stating the obvious," he added.

Obvious, but still a valid point: If 38 Studios had worked its way through the minors, so to speak, and paid some attention to sustainable growth, it might still be around and Amalur might actually be a lucrative property - maybe not a "billion dollars" lucrative, but at least as a durable franchise. Instead, it and everything else related to 38 Studios is going on the block in December, and will probably end up in the hands of an insurance company.

Source: Twitter

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i only played the demo of that but it felt.. off and creepy. like playing an mmo on a ghost server where you are the only one there

I'll file this under 'Cliffy B says a thing' in the 'not really news' folder.
At this point I'm wondering if anything is going to come from the work that's been done on the MMO that crashed 38.

Please tell me he's kidding. I got the game for free and still felt like I was getting ripped off.

Fantasy is the most saturated genre in MMOs. Amalur would have been instantly up against World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, The Lord of the Rings Online and soon The Elder Scrolls Online... plus the rest. It would've been an instant also-ran.

Anyway, I imagine he's just trying to big it up in the hope of convincing someone that it's worth something in December.

I've seen Project Copernicus and I would like to walk around and see more... but that's it. Actually, that would be a cool idea... A MMO where you're a tourist trying to experience it all by going to places so remote and beautiful others might have missed! No fetch quests or anything, just places you want to work getting to, and then share your expereience with others.

Well as "refined" as Cliffy is he did hit the mark with that, Amalur had the very clear problem of people just making a thing, their exec cock sure he already knows all the games on his first go completely oblivious how far off the mark it all is.

God Damn It >.< that bastard finally said something intelligent, now I have to agree with him ...

I feel dirty for it to :/

I really enjoyed the game, but it was far from being a 'billion dollar' game.

TL;DR:

S: "I'm proud of a company-shutting commercial failure. Two years of successes still haven't measured up to it by my unspecified metrics."

B: "I'm primary respected for my success at making entirely different games. That said, shoulda-woulda-coulda. No offense though bro."

Maybe he meant it would be a billion dollar franchise for the debt collectors and lawyers sorting through the aftermath?

Tanis:
I really enjoyed the game, but it was far from being a 'billion dollar' game.

Indeed.

KOA:LA was fun and entertaining, but it didn't have anything that really opened it up to that level of success. As full of crap as I find Cliffy to be, I think Schilling is just too in love with his own project to be realistic.

You know a lot of people like to give Cliffy B. crap but I've actually read all of what he has to say on the more controversial subjects he's spoken out about and I have to say, guy knows what he's talking about. He can be kinda asinine at times but eh, doesn't take away the validity of his statements.

I am ready for your rage.

Arnoxthe1:
You know a lot of people like to give Cliffy B. crap but I've actually read all of what he has to say on the more controversial subjects he's spoken out about and I have to say, guy knows what he's talking about. He can be kinda asinine at times but eh, doesn't take away the validity of his statements.

I am ready for your rage.

I agree.

People on this site seem to hate him primarily for Gears of War and the wave of "gray tinged dudebro action drama" storylines that flooded the market after the original came out. Which is foolish because CliffyB has been one of the great designers for shooters that weren't made by ID Software, 3D Realms, Monolith Productions and Croteam.

People seem to not want to have mindless shooting fun anymore, which is unfortunate because those are the best shooters with the exception of No One Lives Forever.

He was in the business for a long period of time and usually has valid points about the industry. Plus he knows how to not take himself seriously at the appropriate times unlike David Cage or Peter Molynuex.

A billion dollars? That's a ridiculous overestimation. The one and only game the non-existent "franchise" (surely > one title is required before something can be called a "franchise") spawned was a bland, thoroughly uninteresting and uninspired title that failed. The studio went under and development costs put others in debts that won't be repaid. The setting and characters did not have sequel potential, heck they didn't even have one game potential.

A franchise is created because a world and its characters are rich, lore filled and interesting. I can't remember a thing from the 5-6 hours I gave KoA, so forgettable it was. While Elder Scrolls OTOH, I could name most races/countries from memory, racial strengths/weaknesses, most of the daedric gods and so on.

Sorry but KoA isn't a franchise, it's not worth a fraction of a billion dollars and it certainly wouldn't revolutionise MMOs. You know why? Because WoW already exists and companies have tried to clone it, repeatedly, and failed. KoA wasn't even an evolution of the offline RPG. CD Projekt, that's a company that knows how to make compelling and unique RPGs. Take The Witcher with its lore, factions, bigotry, sex and political intrigue. Or Cyberpunk 2077, with the cyberpunk/dystopic thing, cyborgs and which I want to play so badly I'd punch a hobo.

It might be a billion dollar franchise if it was doing something nobody else had ever done... but it was essentially a Skyrim/WoW/Diablo hybrid/clone that had a story that was best described as "convoluted".

Oh, it also led to the economic collapse of a State-financed company with the litigation still continuing to this day.

The last place smart money would go is that franchise.

A Tolkien-esque fantasy RPG entering a market saturated by long-established franchises of Tolkien-esque fantasy RPG's? Ya, overnight billionaires!

I like it when Cliffy B calls bullshit. He's not tactful, but he's right most of the time.

Billion dollar franchise, no. Multi-million, yes. Pushing the envelope on games, no. The potential to do so, yes.

Cliff might have a point, but an 81 on meta with around 2-3 million sold on a new ip is no feat to mock. That's extraordinary respectable, and although Curt is off, he has a point about the same team. They made a great game with flaws that can be easily fixed(camera, hidden walls, corridors instead of truly open areas, add a jump, bump the difficulty). Get a different writer and maybe co-op, and you have yourself a hell of a game.

So they both have a point, but are to far up their rear ends that they over value it.

The first game was.. ambitious. From what I've read 38 started work on an Amalur MMO because they couldn't secure funding for a sequel; that should have been reason enough not to burn what money you have available on a MMO.

Amalur was no fresh spin on the fantasy RPG genre.

Swords and magic? Check.
Not-Elves? Check.
People rambling on about fate and destiny? Check, check, check.

The game ranged from "disappointing" to "not really that bad". There were no breakout characters or mechanics, nothing worth building a franchise off. I'm perfectly content with the IP just disappearing, it's the studio I feel bad for. Utter mismanagement ruining things for developers that deserved better.

AzrealMaximillion:

Arnoxthe1:
You know a lot of people like to give Cliffy B. crap but I've actually read all of what he has to say on the more controversial subjects he's spoken out about and I have to say, guy knows what he's talking about. He can be kinda asinine at times but eh, doesn't take away the validity of his statements.

I am ready for your rage.

I agree.

People on this site seem to hate him primarily for Gears of War and the wave of "gray tinged dudebro action drama" storylines that flooded the market after the original came out. Which is foolish because CliffyB has been one of the great designers for shooters that weren't made by ID Software, 3D Realms, Monolith Productions and Croteam.

People seem to not want to have mindless shooting fun anymore, which is unfortunate because those are the best shooters with the exception of No One Lives Forever.

He was in the business for a long period of time and usually has valid points about the industry. Plus he knows how to not take himself seriously at the appropriate times unlike David Cage or Peter Molynuex.

Actually, statements like this:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/124957-CliffyB-Thinks-Used-Games-Are-Bad-Sony-is-Playing-Us
are why people hate him. He is a PR disaster waiting to happen whenever he speaks publicly.

MCerberus:
I'll file this under 'Cliffy B says a thing' in the 'not really news' folder.
At this point I'm wondering if anything is going to come from the work that's been done on the MMO that crashed 38.

But it seems to have been a while since the last "Cliffy B says a thing" story. I missed them.

Of course young Clifford said that, he's not insane.

The idea that practically any new fantasy MMO could do well in the current market is ridiculous.

The gameplay was good, there was nothing else interesting about it. I played the demo over and over, and it was really cool to have an "action" combat system, but I never read nor cared for any of the story since it was that "you're the most important guy/anomaly ever".

I agree that it might've been a "billion-dollar franchise", in debt though.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

AzrealMaximillion:

Arnoxthe1:
You know a lot of people like to give Cliffy B. crap but I've actually read all of what he has to say on the more controversial subjects he's spoken out about and I have to say, guy knows what he's talking about. He can be kinda asinine at times but eh, doesn't take away the validity of his statements.

I am ready for your rage.

I agree.

People on this site seem to hate him primarily for Gears of War and the wave of "gray tinged dudebro action drama" storylines that flooded the market after the original came out. Which is foolish because CliffyB has been one of the great designers for shooters that weren't made by ID Software, 3D Realms, Monolith Productions and Croteam.

People seem to not want to have mindless shooting fun anymore, which is unfortunate because those are the best shooters with the exception of No One Lives Forever.

He was in the business for a long period of time and usually has valid points about the industry. Plus he knows how to not take himself seriously at the appropriate times unlike David Cage or Peter Molynuex.

Actually, statements like this:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/124957-CliffyB-Thinks-Used-Games-Are-Bad-Sony-is-Playing-Us
are why people hate him. He is a PR disaster waiting to happen whenever he speaks publicly.

Pretty much. The man may not be a complete moron all of the time, such as in this case, but he is generally a dick, and fairly anti-consumer based on some of his past comments. He may be a reasonably successful game designer, but the man has the business sense of a brick.

and yet I would play it over anything Cliffy has ever designed. It was definitely an interesting title with a lot of potential.

I played KoA only to dislike how generic it looked.

In fact I haven't played a game that felt that generic since the first Saints Row.

....

Wait.... a KoA game that somehow came from Volition if Deep Silver bought it.... And played like Saints Row 4....

....

Yes! Take all my money please! (Assuming if it ever happened.)

wombat_of_war:
i only played the demo of that but it felt.. off and creepy. like playing an mmo on a ghost server where you are the only one there

This is exactly it. A solo mmo. Awful. The story had an interesting Tormenty start...but then it all turned to shit.

Having R.A. Salvatore at the creative back end, Amalur had a lot and I mean a lot of promise. But having Schilling running a company into the ground, its a far cry from being a billion dollar franchise.
Being a fan of Salvatore's fiction, both in D&D's Forgotten Realms and his own Demon Wars universes and having spoken to Bob on many occasions, I honestly believe Amalur could have been more. As it happened though, KOA: Reckoning wasn't directly written by him, rather he was working on the overall universe. KOA: Reckoning was supposed to be a prequel set-up to the Copernicus MMO. Now, beyond the writing part, it would have taken a good dev team to truly bring the universe to life and sadly it was Mr. Schilling's ego that tanked 38 Studios... Sure Reckoning wasn't the greatest RPG, but it was fairly well put together and played well which made me believe with a little more time the folks at 38 Studios could have made something better.
They probably should have ditched the MMO idea until they had a few games under their belt though. I feel bad for Bob the most, because he honestly loved the universe he was helping create and watching it crash and burn before it was even fully revealed had to hurt.

While it does have the name R.A. Salvatore connected to it, Amalur isn't worth billions.

Millions perhaps, but a generic fantasy in this saturated fantasy market...

i havent played the game myself but i had a game who was fanatical about it and made me watch couple hours of streaming he was doing of the game. The game looked... okay i guess. he really really enjoyed it though.
The thing about this news is that one company that went under claism to have a billion dollar worth of assets, and another guy that wasnt made anything worthwile in decades now claims they dont. Neither side really has the backing to be believed.

CapchA: grand slam

No, nothing grand here

Andy Chalk:
"Didn't mean to be disrespectful, just stating the obvious," he added.

That was a pretty disrespectful way of stating the obvious, actually.

--Morology!

For once I agree Bleszinski

It could have been a contender, but alas it was not to be. As much as it twists in my scrotum to do it, I gotta side with Cliffy B on this one; too many mistakes made early and not enough interesting story to overcome the setting.

Which is a shame because it was more pleasurable to play than Skyrim was.

For all of the cool concepts it had, I feel like it really needed better writing when it got down to it. I love Salvatore's work, but world-building and an overarching mythos aren't the only things you need in a well-written game.

As for the gameplay, it was amazing... in theory. Too bad the designers' inexperience at balancing things and juggling the challenge and variety left a game that was easily broken and casual to the point of boredom.

Lastly, for all the creative visionaries involved in the project, they decided to pad out the length of the game with typical MMO sidequests that left much to be desired. The boss mechanic design was quite loose, the world hardly had any impact to it, and the pacing felt really off with the only significant moments concentrated into the last half of the game in stark contrast to how easy the game became.

Oh and there were also bugs that they never fixed since they bit off more than they could chew.

image

What a shame.

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