Betrayal at Krondor is the third and possibly most interesting set of games in the Betrayal series of games. This is a series that revolves around the idea that the world is not what you would expect, and with Betrayal, that’s a theme that’s at the core of the games. Each one is based around a different character and plot and is a great example of the way you can use the same characters in different settings.
In the world of role playing games, there’s a lot of talk of “balance” and “fairness”. Get really good at one aspect of the game, and you can get away with a lot of cleverness, dodgy tactics and downright bullying, because your character is so powerful. Get really good at another aspect of the game, and you can beat up your character’s opponents in a fair fight.
The best-selling computer game series Betrayal at Krondor, started in 1988, has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. The first three games in the series: Betrayal in the Dark, Betrayal in the Dark II, and Betrayal in the Dark II: Battle for Betrayal, were all released in the late 80s. The fourth installment of the series, Betrayal’s End, was released in 2005. A fifth installment was released in 2006, however it is currently in development limbo.
RETRO – In this retrospective article, we want to think back to one of the most atmospheric RPGs of all time, Betrayal at Krondor and its sequel, Return to Krondor.
Based on the novels of Raymond E. Feist, Betrayal, published in 1993, is a classic nine-chapter fantasy story written in elegant English. The vast area to cover, the complex and well-developed combat and magic system made even those who had never read Feist’s novels fall in love with the world of Krondor. But true fans like me not only read the author’s main works set in Midkemia, Mage and its sequels, but also the novels based on the game….. Our goal in developing Betrayal, Feist said in an interview, was to make a truly interactive novel in which the player determines how the characters act. This sense of newness was enhanced by the fact that the game’s creators added a bookmark feature that allows you to pick up the book at any time, meaning you can pick up the game where you left it. There have been adventure games largely based on novels by real authors (450 Fahrenheit, Ringworld), but there has never been such an attempt to merge the novel genre with that of video games. The plot is not only present in the first few chapters, but also in almost all main and side quests. At each important event we were treated to a long passage of text, very stimulating and entertaining.
A real adventure with real heroes
Another major innovation over traditional RPGs is that while in those games the player had to create two characters, in Krondor we started with pre-defined characters. In fact, it would have limited the player’s creativity by preventing him from participating in the creation of the character, but it made the story much more enjoyable by allowing him to control the characters in a real novel. Plus, fans of Feist’s books will love that they can control their favorites like Jimmy the Hand, Pug, Sir Locklear and other characters from the Mage and Riftwar sagas.
Of course, Krondor is still a role-playing game: Again, the attributes of the various stats (melee, archery, magic, false key, etc.), which are constantly developed through combat and practice, play an important role. It was a great innovation (for some reason it hasn’t been used in other RPGs) for characters to get better at something they practiced a lot. Those who fought constantly became professionals, those who preferred the bow refined their bow skills, those who did a lot of magic became masters of magic, but you could also improve in areas like sword sharpening, armor repair, stealth, or unlocking locks. In addition to the traditional skills, one character (Owyn, the wizard) could also play the lute, but very poorly at first, bringing tears to the eyes of his companions. But later, with much practice (and tormenting his friends), he learned to use the instrument, and we were able to make money by inviting Ovin to sing in cafes. The battle system was a traditional circle fight, but designed in a much more dramatic way than in the SSI RPGs, where all battles were fought between small tiles drawn in rather unsafe locations. In Krondor, many of the actors and monsters have been digitized, and the battles take place in for the time extremely spectacular three-dimensional spaces. Krondor was superior to modern RPGs in every way (and even to current Marvels in many elements…), but initially it didn’t get the recognition it deserved for financial reasons. The triumph of Westwood’s Lands of Lore, which came out around the same time, played a large part in this, and while it was in no way superior to Krondor, it had a great publicity campaign….. In the end, it was the release of the CD two years later (!) that tipped the scales. This version contains real CD tracks instead of General Midi, Sound Blaster music and an interview with Raymond E. Feist.
After its initial failures, Betrayal gradually gained a large fan base, so much so that no one understood why Dynamix or Sierra themselves hadn’t made a sequel for years. When Sierra finally came to its senses, Feist had already signed with 7th Level for an official sequel. So Sierra was forced to make a quasi-sequel in 1996 with a barely updated graphics engine (they still had the license), an entirely new world and new characters. At the time, I wrote to one of the creators, who proudly told me that her husband was writing the story and that it would be much better than Feist’s….. For example, Betrayal at Antara, which came out in 1997, had a strong muscular touch: They tried hard to outdo Krondor in terms of story and gameplay – in vain, of course. The whole game is reminiscent of one of those Eastern European westerns in which the main character storms into the saloon waving his guns around and paying close attention to his English pronunciation…..
Feist also had bad luck with level 7: While the game was halfway through production, the company went bankrupt. To everyone’s surprise, Sierra bought the Krondor license and the Return to Krondor game itself after their own clone failed. Originally planned for 1997, the game wasn’t released until 98, but it was worth every minute of waiting! It wasn’t as perfect as the timeless Betrayal (which may never be surpassed…), but the atmosphere of Krondor, the great story (which unfortunately wasn’t even written by Feist this time, but at least he was more involved in the development of the game) was very good. The main change is the play area, which has become both smaller and larger. While in Betrayal in Midhimia we could walk around like in a simulation, the major cities and buildings were only sketchy. In the sequel, it was the opposite: We could see all corners of Krondor and the villages that were in our path, but if we were with our team, we could only see them on the main map. The game’s plot only remotely resembles that of Betrayal: Crondor Locklear and several other playable characters from the previous game were missing, and James was the only familiar character among the many new ones. Of course, the software engine has also changed fundamentally: This time it was half 3D graphics, half Alone in the Dark. The buildings were very detailed and the battles, enriched with 3D effects, were extremely spectacular. Unfortunately, despite its many positives, Return is no better than Betrayal: What bothered the player the most were the unfortunate camera angles, and four or five days of play did feel awfully short compared to the monumental Betrayal… Perhaps that’s why the game never became a bestseller and why, despite its efforts to license Krondor, Sierra abandoned the project so quickly. So there is no prospect of a sequel for Krondor at the moment, but for those who have played both games, I highly recommend reading the Riftwar Legacy trilogy, based on the games and written by Feist – you won’t regret it. -BadSector-When I was a kid, back in the day of CRT monitors, there was a game called Betrayal at Krondor. And I remember it like it was yesterday.. Read more about betrayal at krondor walkthrough and let us know what you think.
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