Big Huge Games, developer of Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning, has admitted that the biggest threat to its fantasy RPG's chance of success is that people are still playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Like Skyrim, Reckoning is a high-fantasy RPG set in a huge open world. Speaking to Eurogamer, lead designer Ian Frazier described Bethesda's offering as "our big competitor" – which is putting it mildly given that Skyrim shipments passed the ten million mark last month.
"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'," he said. "In which case, we're hosed. It's going to be one of those extremes.
"[Skyrim's] a good game. It's got problems. It's not God's gift to gaming, as some are describing it. But a lot of folks are still playing it, and that's one of my biggest concerns.
"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."
Reckoning, then, needs to stand apart from Skyrim somehow. Launching without a variety of technical issues across all platforms that has left players waiting for fixes more than two months after release would be a start, of course, but Frazier prefers to put emphasis on something that even the most ardent Skyrim fan would admit could be improved.
"The combat – I'll be blunt – is leagues better than Skyrim's," he said. "It's better than pretty much everything in the RPG space. I'm very proud of our combat."
Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on February 7 in North America, and February 10 in Europe. A demo is available now on Steam, EA Origin, Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store.