Amalur MMO Would Have (kinda) Aped The Secret World
That headline is a bit misleading, as the similarities between The Secret World and the now dead Kingdoms of Amalur MMO codenamed ‘Project Copernicus’ before 38 Studios’ fantastic death by mismanagement earlier this year, are shallow. But it is true that like The Secret World, Copernicus would also feature a gameplay mechanic in which death could not take the player.
That information comes courtesy of writer R.A. Salvatore. Last seen well-meaningly repeating the easily discredited poppycock put forth by 38 Studios honchos to explain how the company was ruined, he was at this month’s Dragon Con, where he talked at length about what might have been, had the MMO ever been finished.
In Amalur, a phenomenon called The Well of Souls brings the player character back to life. The idea for Copernicus is that this phenomenon would have been extended to everyone in the game’s universe, effectviely nullifying death. About this, he said “what does it mean to the societal structures of the world when all of the sudden you’ve got immortality? The obvious answer was everybody’s going to be happy, we’re all going to live forever!” But, he made clear, there are big problems with widespread immortality. Populations continue to increase, for instance, making space and food premium commodities. There’s also political problems to contemplate.
“What does it do to the leader of a church whose entire power base is predicated on promising you an afterlife?”, Salvatore point out. “What about the old lady whose lost her husband and children. Does she want to live forever? Does she want to go through the Well of Souls? What about the emotions of the last people that lost a spouse, mother, husband, child or best friend before the Wells became active?” Heavy stuff to be sure, and evidence that at least a grain of intelligence was manning the gaming side of 38 Studios’ doomed business. Of course, this doesn’t address the question of the game’s insanely long development time, nor the fact that MMOs are in serious decline, almost all of them switching to a F2P model that could not possibly support something with the kind of ambition Salvatore hints at here.
Still, it’s a promising hint. Perhaps we’ll find out if a third party picks up the rights to the IP. In the meantime, I’ll keep munching on my popcorn, waiting for more delicious gossip about 38 Studios’ decline to trickle out.