Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Five Things it Does Better Than Skyrim and Interview

We're less than a week away from Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, so it's not particularly surprising that it's so heavily featured in our newsposts and all over the web, with editorials such as this one from GamesRadar, that points out five things the editors at the website believe the game "does better than Skyrim":
1. Skills and Abilities

Skyrim: Each level earns you two things in Skyrim: a stat to buff, and a single skill point to use. This point is extremely valuable. There's no differentiation between combat, social, or crafting trees, so it's remarkably easy to screw yourself over. Put too many points into crafting at an early level and you'll barely know how to use the weapons you make. Split your points between a few social and stealth skills and you'll be lucky to survive a single encounter with a dragon or giant. Spreading yourself too thinly can lead to having a much less powerful character, and since there's no way to reset skills, you might need to restart if you mess up. Oops.

Amalur: Amalur has a clear definition between (skills) and (abilities.) At each level, you'll gain one point to put into a skill, which includes things like crafting, persuasion, and stealth, as well as three points to put into combat abilities. You're still not able to become a master of everything, but the system promotes trying out different elements of the game without fear of getting trapped. If you do decide that you made a mistake, or don't like the skills you picked, you can return to a blank slate for a few thousand coins, which lets you experiment even more.

While the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is hosting an interview with 38 Studios' chairman and founder Curt Schilling, which tackles his baseball player career, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and the upcoming Amalur MMO codenamed Project Copernicus:
MP: So, (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.) Is this the game that you envisioned your company creating when you first founded Green Monster?

CS: Reckoning is a lucky break to be honest with you. I would love to tell you, (Oh my god, I designed this from day 1.) (Copernicus,) which is our MMO, was the reason this company was founded. We've been building it for five years and we're still building it. (Reckoning) honestly fell in my lap.

About three years ago, THQ was divesting themselves of third-party studios, and [CEO of 38 Studios] Jen McClain walked in and told me the news. From a business perspective, I'm not sure if I could've made a bigger gamble, given that this company is founded and built upon its culture. At the time we were a pre-revenue startup, slugging away on an MMO and we were about 80 people big and in one fell swoop we were talking about doubling the size of the company and doubling our burn rate each month.

There was a very intense 72-hour conversation because [Big Huge Games] was set to close in 72 hours. We scrambled and I flew down and met [with Big Huge Games] and I became convinced that [lead designer Ian Frazier] and the team down in Baltimore were likeminded, good people that I would hire and want in my company. So we made a huge gamble at the time. It's funny because [38 Studios] is a Harvard business study and after the initial study we've been back two separate times in two separate years. One of the conversation points of the class is, (Would you have done what we did?) To a person they said, (absolutely not,) but we might not be here if that hadn't happened. They had been working on a single-player role playing game for a couple years. They were coming off (Rise of Nations,) which is one of the greatest games ever made, and they were going into a new genre.

This company was founded on changing the way people get entertained. We had always had the MMO as the core, (eco system) product. If you think of the universe, the MMO is the sun, and all of these products are planets revolving around it: Mobile applications, mobile games, single player games, console games, movies, comics, tv, everything. So we kind of lucked out. We met with them and sent a pile of our in-game assets down to [Big Huge Games] on a Wednesday and they flew up here Thursday afternoon with all of our assets running in the game engine.

We were in two divergent paths. They were out shopping an RPG that no one was biting on and no one had any interest in, and we were shopping an MMO that was way too early in the process for anyone to make any type of commitment to. Everyone loved [Copernicus]. When we were talking to investors [and] companies, everyone loved [Copernicus]. But we were too far from the market to get any interest. We had multiple conversations with EA about what we were doing and obviously they were knee-deep in [The Old Republic] and all that they were doing with BioWare. When we went back to them, there was this beautiful niche that they had open and it gave us breathing room. So the partnership began there.

I think every great success story in life revolves around good people and some luck, and this was just a really lucky break that we caught I think on both ends and we're a week away from realizing how lucky.