Quite recently, the small studio Owlcat Games made it to Kickstarter with their new project called Pathfinder: Kingmaker. From the requested five hundred thousand dollars, two hundred were collected on the second day. And the point is not only in the popularly beloved role-playing system Pathfinder, which has long been asking for its own personal video game.
Owlcat Games is a Russian studio joined by renowned game designer Chris Avellone, best known for his work on Fallout and Planescape: Torment. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is based on the tabletop role-playing game Pathfinder. All over the world, the system presented in the board game is currently wildly popular among role-playing players. The only problem is that few people in Russia know about it, so the announcement of a potentially good project can pass by Russian players unnoticed. The GameAwards.ru team decided, in turn, to correct this annoying moment.
Where did the sprouts come from?
► “In this screenshot with interface elements, you can count six heroes in a party.”
But it’s worth starting from the very basics, so who are Owlcat Games? Owlcat Games is an in-house game development studio at Mail.ru Group. The studio team consists of experienced developers with experience, some of whom started their way from the Nival studio. Therefore, these people managed to work on such games as “Rage 2: Lord of Souls”, “Heroes of Might and Magic V”, “Operation: Silent Storm”, “Cursed Lands”, “Demiurges”. Moreover, the team of this studio also included the team that developed Allods Online and released the now popular game Skyforge.
Many of this studio have long been playing not only computer games, but also tabletop RPGs. And not only in the new, but also in the old time-tested ones. As far as Pathfinder is concerned, it’s a great role-playing system that builds on familiar classic mechanics, but also pushes the boundaries significantly for players.
The arrival of Chris Avellone
► “It looks like this is the same throne room from where you can rule your kingdom.”
As soon as the authors began to actively reflect on the project, one thing became for sure – for Pathfinder: Kingmaker needs a detailed and high-quality story, memorable characters and dialogues are still the heart of any role-playing game. At the moment, the studio employs extremely experienced specialists in this field, but the main experience of these people is concentrated on the Russian market, and this is not enough.
Therefore, representatives of Owlcat Games contacted Chris Avell and offered him cooperation. However, the actions of the developers can be understood: at one time Chris worked closely with the cult role-playing games, which are now known all over the world. In the end, this person has vast experience, knowledge and, most importantly, talent. Having told him about the project, it turned out that he is generally a fan of the Pathfinder board game, so he is very glad that he was invited to take part in the creation of the first computer role-playing game based on this rich universe. Since then, Chris began to collaborate with Owlcat Games.
The plot and events of Pathfinder: Kingmaker will develop in a world called Golarion. The world of the game is so rich that even just reading the descriptions of kingdoms and regions, one can imagine a real adventure alive. The Kingmaker campaign is one of the most popular for Pathfinder. Therefore, it is not surprising that she literally asks for a computer screen: an open world for exploration, the opportunity to create her own kingdom, a variety of ancient secrets and many vivid characters. In general, everything for which many people love RPG.
Therefore, anyone who has visited the Forgotten Realms, Middle-earth or even Azeroth will feel at home in Pathfinder: Kingmaker. The world of the game also includes dwarves with elves, gnomes and halflings, orcs and goblins. In addition, the world of the game is full of magic: any village will have some kind of magician or priest, who, although bad, will be able to create the simplest spells. And in some forest you can find fairies, or some zombies or even hydras.
► “Fairly familiar magic, and not badly rendered for the alpha version!”
The magic in the game still works according to the canons that were laid down by Jack Vance. throughout the day.
In addition, in the world of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, order and chaos, good and evil are not abstract concepts, but quite real powerful forces that have a direct impact on the daily life of all living beings. So, for example, paladins are able, with the help of a unique skill, to find creatures that belong to Evil and inflict huge damage on them, but if they just stop being loyal champions of the law, they will immediately lose divine help.
From dirt to Kings
► “The lighting effects are no less pleasantly done.”
Owlcat Games decided to make kings and queens out of players. Therefore, as you become familiar with the game and the storyline, it will be possible to found your own kingdom. Of course, at first it will be small, but it will be possible to expand it due to the adjacent territories.
It will not be easy to control, but at the same time, unique opportunities will gradually open up, both for the general plot story and for more private decisions that players will make during the course of the game. It will be possible to appoint statesmen, find unique solutions for certain events, choose paths for the development of the kingdom, annex, improve and select buildings in a variety of settlements.
Initially inhospitable allotted piece of land will be overflowing with a variety of monsters and robbers of all stripes. Therefore, having risen at the head of the young kingdom, you have to fight for every forest edge and intersection in order to make this place fit for life. It will not do without intrigues, conspiracies and other intrigues of neighbors.
Companions and Classes
► “At the moment, the control scheme is as follows. So it’s not for nothing that the developers say, they say, it won’t be easy to manage. “
One of the most important aspects of Pathfinder: Kingmaker is undeniably companions. At the moment, the developers said that they now have more than ten. Each character has their own unique story that will intertwine with the main storyline and their own personality. So, for example, the hero named Amiri is a purebred canon character from Pathfinder. The developers try to make each companion as vividly disclosed: they have their own opinion, attitude to what is happening, they will not be afraid to express everything they think about this or that decision made by the player.
Plus, Pathfinder has always been diverse, generous, and rich in class, archetype, skill, ability, spell, and ability to choose from. The authors try to keep completely the spirit of the game and all the splendor of the variety. The priority, of course, are races, classes, skills and spells. In addition, an inquisitor and an alchemist will be included in the game. In general, Pathfinder: Kingmaker will include the most interesting spells and skills, but the main goal is to preserve the builds of the Pathfinder community.
The combat system will be in real time with a tactical pause. That is, it will be possible to give orders during a tactical pause. This mechanic is perfect for such projects, allowing much more complex battles to be played out neatly and beautifully. And this approach to the game also makes it possible to visually enjoy the battles, watching the battle of a warrior or the spells of magicians.
The main idea behind the approach to graphics in Pathfinder: Kingmaker is the realization of the “honest” feeling of being in a certain place or environment. In other words: if the group of the protagonist is on a sunny summer day in some forest glade, then the authors want to convey to the players the feeling of a cheerful and bright mood as accurately as possible. When approaching the lair of a dangerous beast, hunting excitement and tension should appear. And if the heroes make their way through a bunch of thickets, which are flooded with rainy weather, then first of all there should be footprints, and the companions should be really tired. Actually, the key basis of graphics is maintaining different emotions.
date of release
At the moment, Owlcat Games is actively working on the project, but the release date is still unknown. It is not yet possible to give an exact release date for Pathfinder: Kingmaker. After all, the developers only recently came out with their new project on “Kickstarter”, so they hope that players will add a lot of interesting details and content to their original plan, which significantly exceeds the requested amount. However, this does not mean that the content will change the release date – rather, Owlcat Games will build a larger team in order to have time to do everything according to the current plan.
At the current stage of development, the game looks promising. In addition, Chris Avellone, one of the most experienced veterans of the gaming industry, is involved in the creation of Pathfinder: Kingmaker. A man who at one time had a hand in the masterpiece Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2 and even Pillars of Eternity. Now developers are overflowing with ideas, and users are actively supporting their project. There is a plan for the project, there are experienced hands and faith in future success. Therefore, we are waiting for an excellent role-playing game.