38 Studios is the game development studio founded by baseball star Curt Schilling and employs the talents of fantasy author R.A. Salvatore (best know for the Drizzt Do'Urden novels) and artist Todd McFarlane (best known for Spawn). Salvatore is said to be responsible for the background of the world and McFarlane is responsible for the visual style.
The game is being developed by Big Huge Games with Ken Rolston as lead designer. Ken was lead designer on Bethesda's Elder Scrolls Morrowind and Oblivion roleplaying games.
Of course, dropping big names is pretty much all 38 Studios has done so far and I'm not convinced in the least that a baseball player, a fantasy author and a comic artist really guarantee a good game. But I think that Ken's involvement is more promising (at least the man is familiar with making roleplaying games). The description of the game itself, though somewhat generic and sparse, holds at least some promise too as can be seen from their press release:
EA and 38 Studios Introduce Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Epic Open World RPG to be Unveiled at Comic-Con 2010 All-Star Panel Featuring Todd McFarlane, R. A. Salvatore, Ken Rolston and Curt Schilling
SAN DIEGO, Jul 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) and 38 Studios, LLC announced Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the company’s first title previously referred to under the codename “Project Mercury”. Reckoning is an epic, open-world role-playing game set in Amalur, a mysterious and magical new fantasy world created by New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore. Brought to life visually through the trademark visceral style of renowned artist and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, Reckoning brings a new level of intense action combat to the RPG genre. The game is being developed under the leadership of Ken Rolston, lead designer of the critically acclaimed RPGs Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and is scheduled for release in fall 2011.
“Reckoning is a great representation of how a team of incredibly talented and creative people with expertise in different areas can come together and complement each other so well,” said Jen MacLean, CEO of 38 Studios. “We are thrilled to be developing an open-world RPG under the leadership of one of the greatest RPG designers in the industry, with creative direction by one of the most iconic artists of our time, set in a rich universe imagined by one of the top fantasy genre authors in the world. We can’t wait to share the first details of this universe we have been so dedicated to building over the past few years.”
“In Reckoning, we started with Bob and Todd’s exceptional Kingdoms of Amalur game setting and imagery,” said Ken Rolston, Lead Designer at Big Huge Games, a subsidiary of 38 Studios. “On that foundation we built the open-world exploration, vast narrative and character customization fans expect from the best RPGs. And we’ve added something new that we’ve always wanted from the genre — a fast-paced, graphically stimulating action combat experience with fluid control and immersive, discoverable gameplay fans haven’t seen before in other fantasy RPGs.”
Reckoning is a single-player RPG that sets players on a heroic journey to unlock the mysteries of Amalur. Amalur is a magical world, filled with strange landscapes, exotic cities, colorful characters and terrifying creatures. This Thursday at International Comic-Con in San Diego, 38 Studios visionaries McFarlane, Rolston, and Salvatore, along with 38 Studios Founder and Chairman Curt Schilling, will be hosting a panel in the first-ever public discussion of Reckoning.
Attendees will be among the first to see the world debut of Reckoning’s first trailer, directed by McFarlane and will also receive a limited edition collectible poster designed by McFarlane.
The panel takes place in room 6A from 1:15 PM – 2:15 PM and will be moderated by Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley.
38 Studios is also working on an MMO, codenamed Copernicus, set in the same world as the single player RPG.
As for Kingdoms of Amalur, so far it all sounds pretty generic. But considering how few decent roleplaying games there actually are, it's at least one to keep an eye on.
Thanks for the news to VG247, Gamasutra, Kotaku, GameSpot and IGN.