The Kingdoms of Amalur: Spiritual successor to Oblivion?

The apprentice takes on the master in an all-out fantasy brawl...

It's not been a brilliant time for vanilla fantasy titles recently. Dragon Age was great, but Gothic IV and Final Fantasy XIII (if you can actually call it 'vanilla') both failed to make the grade.

Two Worlds II failed to even arrive, and the inevitable next Elder Scrolls outing is still bubbling under the radar.


So it's both an exciting and slightly nervy welcome to the all-new realm of Amalur, its 10,000 years of mythology-spattered history, and its triumvirate of head honchos.

Working on Reckoning are the fantasy equivalent of Shadows of the Damned's Suda51, Mikami and Yamaokan: retired baseball ace, Republican hopeful and RPG obsessive Curt Schilling created 38 Studios to develop a huge MMO, and paid Forgotten Realms scribe Salvatore to imagine a brand new universe, with ten millennia of history to delve into.

Then, to round things off, 38 bought up Elder Scrolls IV designer Rolston's company Big Huge Games and decided to ease gamers into their world with a tight, violent role-player.

Having cherry-picked his favourite period from Salvatore's insanely epic timeline, Rolston brought in action-figure, er, figurehead and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane to work with him on the look of the game; a game which hopes to combine the depth of an RPG with God of War-style melée combat.

So far, despite a screenshot dump, the one existing teaser of the game in action shows our bold, bald hero being winched into a torture device as a Marks & Spencer-ad-style female voice intones, "It is said that there is but one thing certain in this world; all that lives must die... for each life, a reckoning."

Cue our hero's transformation into a dazzling knight in armour, facing off against a Jabberwock-style dragon and... a load of skeletons with swords? Well, if it was good enough for Oblivion...

There's a lot of talent behind this game, both technically and artistically, but as of yet it's difficult to say what marks Kingdom of Amalur out from its competitors.

Fingers crossed for more soon... although we wonder whether Rolston may be fated to watch his former friends at Bethesda trample all over his new creation.

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