'Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2' was in pre-production before staff was let go

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 2 was in the works when staff at Big Huge Games was let go.

The sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was in pre-production when staff at Big Huge Games were let go last week, according to a Joystiq story.

Sources close to the deal told Polygon that the studio was in advance talks with a publisher prior to the legal drama that would lead to the loss of the team. Those talks fell through once employees were let go, we were told. Full coverage of 38 Studio's legal troubles can be viewed here.

The intellectual property, tech and code for Amalur is currently owned by 38 Studios but may soon be taken by the state of Rhode Island, making it unlikely former Big Huge Games staff will be able to save the property. In addition, Rhode Island's asking price to release the assets is too high to make this feasible, a source explained.

Plans for the sequel included higher graphical quality, no loading screens between zones, expanded and improved combat animation, fewer branching quests and greater player-influence on the world.

"We had a good base to work from, and it was going to be all about improving everything. We listened carefully to fans and critics and were going to implement everything we possibly could," an anonymous member of the team told Joystiq.

However, despite the media focus on 38 Studios, the Rhode Island company reportedly only provided info and guidance for the Amalur title. According to a former Big Huge Games employee, 38 Studios did not provide assets for the game and "didn't work on it at all."

"Reckoning was developed with EA publishing money, NOT Rhode Island tax dollars," said the employee. "It had nothing to do with the 50 million dollars from RI. That money went directly to the MMO project."

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