Supergroups and Kingdoms of Amalur

The idea of the Supergroup isn’t a new one. It’s been around in music for a long time, and fails more often than not, either because the nominal superstars aren’t actually very talented after all, or because the strong personalities of those that are can potentially clash. But just as often they make a big splash for a little while, because such constructs are so marketable. Thus you have, say, the Bay City Rollers.

Sturgeon’s Law, in addition to telling us that 80% of everything is crap, also implies that 20% is not, and out of that 20% come a counterexample like Asia, which while it didn’t really anything in the style of the bands that most of its component members came from, was very good on its own terms, producing a long strng of hits and albums spanning almost 30 years.

Thus we come to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which released a trailer yesterday built from gameplay footage.

The Supergroup here consists of author R. A. Salvatore, comic artist Todd McFarlane and game designer Ken Rolston, all masterminded by superstar gamer Curt Schilling. The title is a single-player game that’s supposedly a predecessor to an MMO the same group has in development. So will it be part of the 80%, or the 20%?

I’m not a fan of R. A. Savlatore, whose claims to fame lie in writing some of the less amateurish D&D novels and in introducing one of fantasy’s most mockable characters. Nor of Todd McFarlane, who along with a cadre of even less talented imitators ruined an entire decade of comic art. I suspect, though, that both will be pretty good at the kind of thing they’ll likely be called upon to do for a video game – come up with not-especially-imaginative concept art and lore. In a property where these are just fluff and gameplay is the defining element, they can’t do to much harm, and the kind of property this appears to be (a traditional fantasy) may actually play to Salvatore’s strengths as a writer. Ralston I have a favorable opinion of, and the least that can be said about Curt is that he’s a fan with a lot of money who appears to be putting together a team of top talents. But then, that’s what the Bay City Rollers appeared to be, too.

As for the trailer… well, the graphics don’t impress me. It looks a lot like Rift, to be honest, but that’s not a bad thing. I still don’t know much if anything about either the world or how the game will play, although Rolston’s involvement implies that it will be somewhat sandboxy, which appeals to me. It’s said to be about a year from release, which gives it a lot of time yet to build some buzz by doling out information. Right now, I don’t see anything that excites me about it, but there’s potential there, especially when (if) we get to the MMO leg of the project, and I’m keeping an eye on it.

3 responses to “Supergroups and Kingdoms of Amalur

  1. I found R. A. Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms stuff to be fairly enjoyable trash. Sort of the literary equivalent of a big dumb action movie. Todd McFarlane is a decent artist, but never seemed to figure out that he had no business writing (like many of the guys over at Image comics). He at least had a good influence on the action figure market, even cheap mainstream toys are much more detailed now. The other two on the “super team” I know nothing about.

    The trailer to me looked very “meh.” Nothing wrong with it, but until we know more about the gameplay nothing to really get excited about. If R. A. Salvatore’s in charge of the writing, expect a pretty generic world riddled with cliches (but one that’s at least more coherent than whatever mindless drivel T.M. would have come up with, I really do dislike Spawn).

  2. Didn’t entirely understand your set-up. To the best of my knowledge, the members of the Bay City Rollers weren’t from other groups, or at least not other successful groups. I thought a “supergroup” was made up of several already-famous people, not several non-entities who then went on to become famous.

    Actually, even though I was a teenager at the height of Rollermania and a voracious consumer of popular music to boot, you put sufficient doubt in my mind to go check their wikipedia entry. It confirms that they were unknowns, who’d only ever been in the Rollers or the same band before they renamed it. I didn’t know they’d begun in the mid-60s though.

    Were you perhaps mixing them up with someone else?