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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Interview

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Interview

Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Mon 17 October 2011, 12:06:17

Tags: Big Huge Games; Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

There's a two-part interview with system designer William Miller available on GamerZines concerning different design decisions they took with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
Snippet from part I:

GZ: Could you explain the law system a bit for us?
WM: Yeah, it's harsh and that's intentional! There's some cool experiences with crime, especially when you go to jail. There are several unique jails in the world and you can sneak out of them, and there's some reward for you there if you decide to go that route or you can go on a rampage and that's fine too. There's no morality system in the game and of course that's intentional. All the crime is localised to the place you commit offences in. That being said, there are of course moral choices in the narrative and they have far reaching ramifications, but in terms of the crime system it's pretty simple.
And another snippet from part II:

GamerZines: Unlike other RPGs, Reckoning features a silent protagonist, why did you guys go for that?
Will Miller (Systems Designer for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning): There were a couple of considerations with that and one was localisation. We wanted to localise all of the voices in the game, we didn't want any speech that wasn't localised and having the player character talk ballooned that very quickly. However that was a very minor component to this decision, the big reason why we did this was because the less that's explicit about your character the more, the player gets to infer their own personality. Some of the best games have silent protagonists, Zelda for example, and if he ever speaks I swear - I'll march to Tokyo myself. That was a conscious choice and we think it was the right one.

GZ: That's really interesting, because games as a medium seem to be moving away from that idea. Take the success of BioWare's approach for instance...
WM: I love BioWare RPGs I really do, but I think there are better things that games do than tell a cinematic narrative. We want you to walk away from Reckoning with the story that we've chosen to tell you, but also the story that you've told yourself with our game. I feel like when you walk away from a game where your character talks, you've lived more of the designer's story than your own, but with Reckoning we give you a great set of building blocks to tell your own tale. The anecdotes that your friends always tell you about these games aren't about great scripted sequences, instead it's along the lines of; "I invested in this crazy combination of skills which made me totally invincible and that was awesome because it broke the game!"
Hopefully we won't ship with anything like that, but it's all about that kind of stuff. These great little experiences that the players had, that they did, not what the game did for them is what is super important. I worked for Firaxis for two and a half years and one of Sid Meier's big things is that the game should never have more fun than the player and that the systems always serve the game. My own personal design philosophy, as well as Big Huge Games', aligns very closely with that and that was the motivation behind that decision and many more.

Spotted at: Gamebanshee

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