It’s been too long since my last History Lesson post. Nearly a year! Time to get back in the swing of it. This time I decided to tackle a game I’ve been meaning to play for some time: Betrayal at Krondor, originally released back in 1993. It is fondly remembered by fans as one of the earliest attempts at an open-world role-playing game, and for its strong ties to Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar novels (Feist later novelized the game, officially accepting its events as canon in his fantasy world of Midkemia). Given the huge popularity of Skyrim and the other games in the Elder Scrolls series, known for their open-world role-playing design, I thought it would be interesting to look back at one of the first attempts at this type of game.
I actually tried to play Betrayal at Krondor a couple of times in the early ’90s. My first attempt was foiled by an insufficiently powerful computer, which could barely even load the game before crashing. Later, I borrowed a copy of the game from a friend to try on a newer machine, and managed to get a little ways into the game before hitting a game-stopping bug, probably due to some hardware incompatibility. In 1994, the game was re-released on CD-ROM (instead of 3 1/2″ floppy disks), but I never had a chance to try that version. Now, it’s conveniently for sale on GOG.com, bundled with its less popular semi-sequel, and pre-configured to run on modern machines using the DOSBox emulator. A good opportunity, then, to take another look.