Reckoning dev's biggest concern is you're still playing Skyrim

"I'm not going to pretend that Skyrim doesn't exist."

The biggest concern at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer Big Huge Games right now is you're still playing Skyrim.

According to lead designer Ian Frazier, if you and lots of other gamers are still playing Skyrim, you may not be interested in Reckoning, out next month.

Reckoning is a huge, open world high fantasy RPG. Sound like a game you've played?

"Frankly, Reckoning is either going to do well enough that we're going to be in a good place or people are going to go, nope, I'm still playing Skyrim, I'm not interested, in which case we're hosed," Frazier told Eurogamer.

"It's going to be one of those extremes."

Frazier described Skyrim as "our big competitor". "It's hard not to go, it's the devil! It's evil!" he said.

But, he's a fan - perhaps not as big a fan as others, but a fan. "It's a good game. It's got problems. It's not God's gift to gaming, as some are describing it. But it is good. It's a lot of fun. They do a lot of stuff really well.

"But a lot of folks are still playing it, and that's been one of my biggest concerns. It's the same thing as if we had released first. It's hundreds of hours of content and it's a high fantasy world. Are people just going to be bored? Are they just done with high fantasy for a while? I hope not. But that's the big concern at the studio."

Alternatively, Skyrim's incredible success - 10 million players and counting - suggests interest in fantasy RPGs it at an all-time high.

"Not just Skyrim, but RPGs in general have been in an upswing over the last few years," Frazier explained.

"Skyrim in particular, here's a giant open world game where you can do whatever you want in this fantasy setting, and everybody goes, wow, this is fun, I like this. And a few months later, oh, this is the same sort of thing I like except I can do a lot more awesome stuff in combat. Let's hope that is the thing that makes us succeed."

Gamers and press have been quick to compare Reckoning to Skyrim ever since it was announced.

This situation has "its ups and downs", Frazier said, but he's happy to discuss his gargantuan rival - even if it's bad PR.

"PR wise it's not a good idea for us to talk about any of our competitors too much, or anything else in the RPG space because we're trying to sell Reckoning," he said.

"Our livelihood depends on it. But I'm not going to pretend that Skyrim doesn't exist and it doesn't have a pretty big bearing on our success in both directions."

Reckoning chief Ken Rolston - who led development on Elder Scrolls games Morrowind and Oblivion - raised eyebrows earlier this week when he said his game "has the best, coolest, fastest-paced, most tactile and silly-exciting fantasy combat of any RPG".

Frazier echoed those comments - indeed he went one step further.

"The combat - I'll be very blunt - it is leagues better than Skyrim's. It's better than pretty much everything in the RPG space. I'm proud of our combat," he said.

Frazier pointed to Reckoning's Destiny System, which governs the game's class system, and its art style, as other points of difference.

Reckoning's art style in particular is "a big selling point".

Skyrim "is a little monochromatic, and it's snowy. It's just very white," Frazier said. "It's snowing, it was just snowing and it's about to start snowing again.

"It is cool, it's just it is samey throughout. And it's a big world, so it's like, I just want some variety.

"One thing I think we've done a pretty good job with is the art for each major zone and each of the dungeons is completely different. It's like, I'm in a desert, I'm in a swamp - really radically different environments.

"We embrace colour left and right."

Reckoning has over 130 hand-crafted dungeons, Frazier revealed. "We just made them" with "brute force"," he said.

"Our level design pipeline is great. You can make a dungeon that's pretty cool-looking pretty darn fast. So we've been able to craft a lot of them with a lot of variety to them across the course of development."

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