Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning creator and co-developer 38 Studios has quietly released the first trailer for its in-development MMORPG, known as Project Copernicus, that is set in the Amalur universe. The video arrives only days after Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee outed the game's projected launch window of June 2013 during a press conference concerning 38's sizable state loan payment.
The video doesn't show any gamePLAY, but it does show in-engine looks at the various environments in the game that players will be able to visit. If any of them look familiar, that's probably because you visited them already in Reckoning. The Rhode Island-based studio founded by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was in some trouble recently for missing a payment on a multi-million dollar state-sponsored loan.
I'm going to go ahead and speculate the Chafee's mention of Copernicus, made during a press conference that also brought the news of 38 successfully making its required loan payment, and the release of this trailer are connected events. There are more payments to come from the developer, and with Copernicus not due out until next year at the earliest, it is widely assumed that some private investment capital will be necessary.
Unfortunately, Project Copernicus is hardly a sure thing. Amalur is a solid game (albeit an imperfect one) with a cool world and a lot of lore to dig into, but the MMO faces some stiff competition from established competitors. We're looking at a market where even a tremendously popular recent release like Star Wars: The Old Republic is losing subscribers. Given that, you have to wonder what kind of chance an MMO set in a little-known (relatively speaking) fantasy universe will have.