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THERE HAS BEEN A RECKONING
by Philip Athans on 02/13/12 07:40:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

One of the many great things about working at Wizards of the Coast for as long as I did, and in the particular capacity in which I worked, was that for years I was among the first to read the new novel by R.A. Salvatore. What’s more, Bob Salvatore and I became friends, and close allies, working together not just on his Forgotten Realms novels, but on the complex and demanding series R.A. Salvatore’s War of the Spider Queen.

One day he called me and said, “You’re never going to guess who called me yesterday!” I couldn’t, so he told me: “Curt Schilling.”

There was something in the tone of his voice that told me I was supposed to know who that was, and though as a general rule I don’t pretend to know stuff I don’t know, I kinda played along.

Bob Salvatore, mind you, is a Red Sox Fan, and anyone reading this who’s ever met a Red Sox Fan knows what that means. It’s not just a baseball team but a sort of religion back East. That aside, I know that not knowing who Curt Schilling was does make me out to be either a huge geek or someone who’s lived for a period of time deep beneath a rock someplace—and someplace far from New England.

I will plead guilty to the latter. I’ve just never been a big baseball fan, and though I don’t live under a rock, I do live on the opposite end of Interstate 90 from Boston. That’s so far away, I might as well be under a rock.

But anyway, what Bob told me—how many years ago was it?—was that Curt Schilling was starting his own video game company and he wanted Bob to be a part of it. Turns out Mr. Schilling is a big Drizzt fan, an avid reader of fantasy, and avid gamer.

Long story short: Bob said yes, and so did comic book legend Todd McFarlane, and 38 Studios was born.

In the years since then, Bob’s told me what he was allowed to tell me, which is to say not much except how excited he was to be a part of the development of a fantasy gaming property from the ground up. He raved about the team Curt had gathered, and I got a chance to meet a few of them several years ago at San Diego Comicon.

And now, just last week, finally: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

I downloaded the demo from PSN as fast as I could and played through it like the drooling fanboy I am. Even a glitch that made the ground drop out of the center of the little village didn’t temper my enthusiasm. I had a blast, and not just because it’s a good game—and it's a fantastic game—but because as I was playing through it I could still hear the enthusiasm and excitement in Bob’s voice when he talked about being a part of it. I’ve often been in the position of hearing an author talk about a book then having to wait a year to read it for myself, and there's something about that that always makes the book better. This game took more than a year to finish, and that just made the tangential connection I have to Kingdoms of Amalur all the stronger.

And now I have a copy of the PS3 disk, and sit here glancing at my to do list, glancing at the game, glancing at the to do list, glancing at the game . . . aw hell.

 

—Philip Athans


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