When 250 people line up for autographs from former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, baseballs are usually involved. But on Monday night, at a GameStop video game store in Bellingham, Schilling instead scrawled his name on dozens of copies of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the first release from his video game company, 38 Studios LLC of Providence.
The reception appeared to please Schilling, who has invested $30 million in the company and years of development before producing his first game. “I knew two years ago that we had something special,’’ he said.
Schilling was surprised by the large crowd that turned up for the game’s midnight launch. “I honestly thought it was going to be all people from my company,’’ he said. “I don’t recognize anybody in line. They’re all gamers.’’
Andrew Stone of Milford, 21, said that playing a free demo version of the game, which he downloaded from the Internet, convinced him it was worth buying at a retail price of $59.95. But rather than wait until a more reasonable hour, Stone wanted to line up with fellow game buffs.
“It’s a fun environment, to see the people who are kind of like you,’’ he said. Andrew and his brother Matt, 31, live in the same home; but each bought a copy “so we can play it at the same time,’’ Matt said.
R.A. Salvatore of Leominster, the best-selling novelist who created the storyline for the game, was also at the launch event in Bellingham. “For five years, I haven’t been able to say a word about this,’’ said Salvatore.
Now, he said, “the game gets to talk for us. . . . I think this game is outstanding. It’s the world I envisioned back in 2006.’’
In Reckoning, players create personalized characters, then guide them through adventures set in a medieval fantasy world. Its play style is similar to other popular video games, like World of Warcraft. But Salvatore said that just as avid readers tackle several books at once, gaming fans will always make room for one more.
It’s too early to get a read on how well the new game is selling. But industry tracker VGChartz Ltd. said that as of last week, gamers had placed about 301,000 pre-orders for the game before it was available in stores.
By contrast, total pre-orders for another highly anticipated game, Mass Effect 3, currently stand at about 916,000. However, that game, scheduled to be released in March, is a sequel to two others that have sold about 7 million copies combined, so it already has a large base of loyal fans.
Reckoning is 38 Studios’ first published game, and as yet an unknown quantity for gamers.Hiawatha Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Watha.