Does anyone remember Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? It was a Western RPG developed by 38 Studios that, despite positive reviews, failed to make a profit and seemed doomed to obscurity. However, this has changed with THQ Nordic’s recent purchase of the Kingdoms of Amalur license from its developers.
Initially released back in 2012, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was an ambitious RPG, featuring an epic backstory written by acclaimed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. In particular, its action-focused combat and vibrant art style were aspects that fans of the game enjoyed. However, strife behind the scenes meant that it would have had to sell over 3 million copies just to break even. For a new IP from a studio that hasn’t released anything else, that just wasn’t going to happen.
Despite good reviews and selling one million copies, the game’s development was so long and expensive that 38 Studios folded soon afterwards. Not helping the matter was the fact that the game was funded via a loan from the state of Rhode Island, which ended up suing 38 Studios for fraud.
THQ Nordic as a publisher has recently been reviving and remastering many of its products that it acquired from the original THQ. These remasters include the Darksiders: Warmastered Edition and Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-Tered. Whilst we don’t yet know what THQ Nordic’s plans are for Kingdoms of Amalur at this stage, it wouldn’t be a stretch to anticipate a remaster for modern consoles in the near future. The original developers planned for Kingdoms of Amalur to be a franchise, so if a remaster does well, it could revive interest in a sequel too.
In addition to Amalur, THQ has also purchased the rights to 38 Studios’ unreleased MMO, Copernicus. THQ Nordic’s acquisition of Copernicus is somewhat puzzling because the most we have seen of the MMO is a conceptual trailer. The market for MMOs is a lot different now than it was back in 2012. However, THQ Nordic could have plans to revive that, or use the IP for a more popular online multiplayer format. Kingdoms of Amalur: Battle Royale, anyone?
Regardless, it is nice to see a publisher digging up an underappreciated gem. Hopefully it will find more success the second time around.