Kingdoms of Amalur was "significantly easier" to develop on the Xbox 360
With the 2012 gaming season now finally under way, we’ve seen a few big releases already in the shape of Soul Calibur V and the latest Final Fantasy. Things kick off in grand fashion tomorrow however, with not one, but two big debuts, in the form of the gory shoot ‘em up sequel, The Darkness 2, and the fantasy genre introduction of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
It’s a game that has been in the works for quite a while now, having gone through numerous phases and tweaks in order for the development team to be satisfied. Naturally, it hasn’t been the easiest game to develop either, with the team facing numerous challenges along the way.
Especially with the PS3 version of the title.
Speaking to OXM, Lead designer Ian Frazier explained how the Xbox version was “significantly easier” to create when compared to the one that was made for the PS3, while he also explained how he would love to be able to design titles on a next-gen Xbox, due to the advantage of working with “mature and stabilised” platforms.
As a player, I’d love another generation of Xbox,” Frazier said. “I feel like we’ve been pushing this technology for a really long time, and I’d love to jump to the next level, the Xbox 720 or whatever it ends up being.
As a developer? It’s really nice having a stabilised platform. Especially with the Xbox, it’s so solidified, people know it so well – it’s just really, really easy to develop for at this point.
Our team were coming from a PC background, we had Settlers of Cataan on Xbox Live Arcade but that’s it, that’s the only previous console experience we had. Going to Sony platforms was a little bit tricky, Xbox was significantly easier, but across the board it was really nice going to platforms that were mature and stabilised.
So as a player I say ‘Yeah, let’s bring on the next generation!’. But as a developer, I’m like ‘Oh god, no, please, let’s all stay the same.
So far, KOA:R looks like an RPG title, that despite having somewhat dated visuals, makes up for the lack in high quality imagery with a massive world and polished combat system. It’s part of a compromise that had to be reached however, in order to bring KOA:R onto consoles.
“One of the things we wanted to do really late was go to Direct X 11, which wasn’t possible in the timeframe we had”, Frazier said.
But as far as the platform goes – not really.
We could have done things with motion controls and whatnot, but we didn’t really want to in Reckoning. Voice control similarly didn’t really fit, we don’t have squads and it’s not really a militaristic kind of game, or even a party-based game. So those things, not really.
If you gave me the holodeck I’d love to work with that. But as far as things that are on the table tech-wise? Nah, just better graphical quality would be nice, more memory would have been nice.
I wish every Xbox came with a hard drive, that would make things much easier. Not being able to bank on a hard drive makes everything a whole lot harder, tech-wise.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning launches tomorrow on all major platforms. If you’re too stingy or flat-out broke to invest in what looks like an amazing RPG experience though, stay tuned to the site for our weekly Lazygamer TV episode, as we’re going to be giving away a few copies.