The official web site for Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom is now live, and while the scantily-clad warrior babes remain, the addictive mix of action and strategy that has defined the series is being replaced by a hack-and-slash RPG. If you were turned off by the disappointing Ninety-Nine Nights, you might say Phantagram has done the smart thing by giving Blueside a little creative freedom to experiment with "never-before-imagined innovation and fresh ideas" (from the web site). 2006 has also been a banner year for RPGs, not to mention the fact that 30% of Joystiq readers prefer role-playing adventures. So why not ride the wave?
There are some potential pitfalls: random dungeons, branching stories, and characters who get tired aren't all that innovative. There's also Blueside's inexperience with RPGs, and the imminent risk of diluting the franchise. On the flip side of the coin, you have KUF's rich fantasy world to play in and the impressive production quality that highlighted KUF: Heroes. Do you think Circle of Doom will be another Champions of Norrath, or a Seven Sorrows?
And despite N3's shortcomings, Phantagram hasn't necessarily become gun-shy. This RPG diversion is supposedly just a side quest in the series, and the Korean developer is currently working on another KUF sequel of the more familiar action-strategy variety -- after they finish the PC version of Circle of Doom.
Kingdom Under Fire's new direction
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