Mega-Impressions – Kingdom Come: Deliverance

By Nathan Grayson on January 22nd, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

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Kingdom Come: Deliverance has kind of a silly name, but it’s one heck of an intriguing prospect. The hyper-detailed historical RPG heralds from a small army of developers who once steered the creation of Mafia and Arma, among many others. Despite coming from a relatively small team by triple-A standards, the game’s production values are through the roof, and the dev team really wants it all: Skyrim-like exploration, a Mount and Blade-style world, entirely procedural combat, and choice reactivity inspired by The Witcher. Can Warhorse pull it off? I checked out an early build of the game and talked extensively with project director Daniel Vávra to find out if they’re on the right track.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance’s elevator pitch is so simple that I’m surprised no one else has done it yet. It wants to be Skyrim without dragons, The Witcher 3 without anything remotely witchy and also in first-person. A historical playground, in other words. It wants to be what Mafia was for gangster games, but in a bigger, more accurate world and with combat so ludicrously detailed that no sword blow will ever land the same way twice. Is it madness? Is developer Warhorse biting off more pie in the sky than it can chew? I went into a brief demo session thinking so, and I’m still not entirely sure they aren’t. But boy do I ever hope they can pull it off.

The demo began by introducing the world of Kingdom Come and its main character, a blacksmith’s son whose village was burned down by the army of a warring king. The story is deeply intertwined in a real 15th century historical conflict that saw two brother-kings (presumably Sigismund and Wenceslaus) bicker over a claim to the throne of the whole damn Holy Roman Empire.

Whoooo Are You? (Slash-Cut! Bang-Boom!)

Unsurprisingly, many people suffered during this time period, with your character ending up in one of the game’s main cities as part of a refugee camp. So you start from the bottom and work your way up. When the demo began, our presenter had only the clothes on his back, but he quickly plied his trade to sharpen up a sword via a quick yet physical minigame, the effects of which were visible on the finished blade. Next, it was time for a quest, but not to save the world or Enact Vengeful Revengeance Vengefully. No, this character needed money, because losing everything you own can be kind of expensive sometimes.

During these opening moments, I observed a brief dialogue scene in which choices were presented, though Warhorse fast-forwarded through much of the (obviously incomplete) narrative. But still, the developer got its point across. Despite the historical setting, you will be a character with agency and the ability to leave your mark on a place hewn from stone and bone. You’re not playing a blank slate, though. While I didn’t get to witness, well, any of the main character’s personality, project director Daniel Vávra likened him to Geralt from The Witcher. His appearance, sex, and past are pre-determined, but his future is up to you.

“Our goal is to create a story-based historical playground,” explained Vávra. “You can’t change the history. If the king was saved, he will be saved in the game. You can’t kill him during the operation. But your personal quests and life are pretty free, and there are lots of ways to do things. So there’s a little bit of compromise of total freedom, but you get a pretty great story.”

“There won’t be quite as much reactivity as in Witcher. You can change the ending, but you cannot change the history. Every quest can be solved different ways. There will be consequences to how you approach the story.”

Big Swords, Big Words

This character’s task early on, however, was rather un-epic – though not necessarily in a bad way. Essentially, we were playing medieval detective. Somebody descended upon a settlement in the night and hamstrung all of its horses, and just like that, we had a good ye old-fashioned whodunit on our hands. In a world where horseback is the de facto method of travel (created by a developer called Warhorse, no less), that is the most serious of offenses.

After some light investigation, our intrepid… guy tracked the perpetrators – a couple of no-good bandits, as videogame bandits are rarely given the benefit of the doubt – to a nearby forest. It was, then, time to combat! What I initially saw looked like an exceedingly intricate dance of death, but there was also a fair amount of jank in between all the clanks. First-person, which had so far sucked me into the game’s gorgeous world face-first, made combat feel disjointed and disorienting. Clipping issues abounded. Impact was seriously lacking. I couldn’t really understand timing or cues, and based on how much he was getting hit, neither could our presenter.

Warhorse explained, however, that this scene was from an outdated demo, at which point they switched over to something more combat focused. Here, I began to see the potential in Kingdom Come’s proposed system. Everything connected better, whether it was blade on blade or a hammering blow to the helmet. But obviously tweaked physics and effects weren’t the only reason it began to shine. For the purposes of this demonstration, Warhorse had pulled the camera out to third-person. It made a world of difference, which makes it all the more disappointing that the developer currently has no plans to implement a functional third-person mode. It’s first-person or bust, for now at least.

But goodness gracious, the systems underpinning all of these sword shenanigans nearly turned my brain into a number-skewered pincushion. The long and short of it? Everything is procedurally generated. There are no pre-made animations.

“Combat is calculated entirely with inverse kinematics, so it’s not even animated,” boasted Vávra. “It’s all procedural. On non-flat surfaces – say, stairs or something – we don’t need to do special animations. If characters are on something or hit something, then everything is calculated. You have a move, the move has its rules and its look, and then the game calculates what happens.”

“For example, if you are next to a wall and you swing toward the wall, your sword will slide off the wall, slow down, and the impact will be less when you finally make contact with your enemy.”

You can aim at individual parts of individual limbs, too. Blows can connect in up to 18 different locations, all of which are worthy of the most anguished “ouchies!” you’ll ever hear.

“Armor can be damaged,” Vávra noted, offering an example. “So if you hit a guy in the arm again and again and again, you will damage his armor so much that you will start to deplete his health or hopefully cut off the arm. But we’re still trying to figure out if the latter is technically possible due to physics systems and our multi-layered armor.”

“But we do want to have healing to individual parts. If you get hit in the hand, you’ll have to apply bandages there. Or if you get a leg injury, you’ll probably be worse in combat. You’ll be slower and stuff. If your head is injured, you’ll have blurry vision. Those kinds of things.”

I am, however, a bit more skeptical of the basic workings of combat. Don’t expect Mount and Blade’s control scheme here, or even War of the Roses’ for that matter. The way Vávra explained it, it sounds like combat is tailored to controllers (Kingdom Come is also headed to Xbox One and PS4), and without being able to grasp a button-studded hilt myself, it came across as fairly confusing and potentially limited. While Warhorse is striving for obsessive historical accuracy in world design, battles have block-based bullet time and QTE-ish combos. And yet, despite that, Vávra claimed that Kingdom Come’s combat will make the aforementioned slashers look like amateur hour whether you’re using a gamepad or keyboard-and-mouse.

“We don’t have any crazy mouse movements or anything like that,” he admitted. “Nothing like in Die By The Sword or War of the Roses. It’s very similar to any first-person game. I mean, I played Chivalry and Mount and Blade and everything. But, for example, War of the Roses system works, but it lacks options. The trick we do is, when you’re close to an enemy, you can select by slightly moving one of the joysticks. You can select which body parts you want to attack. Then it’s just buttons, like press A to attack from the top, or press B to step, or press X to kick the guy.”

“So it’s very simple and intuitive. And then since you can select where you want to attack, you have a flood of options. And then you also have bullet time and combos, and you need to be aware of your stamina. So there’s a lot of technique to it.”

It already looks quite nice, but I’ll believe it when I play it.

War And Peace

But what if you want to forgo fighting altogether? Well then, you’re in luck. While some Kingdom Come scenarios will almost certainly result in characters coming to blows (for instance, gigantic thousand-character siege battles), nearly every quest will allow for one of three basic approaches, and one of them is almost all bark and no bite.

“There are three main types of character you can be,” said Vávra. ”You can be a fighter and assault stuff with brutal power or just threaten people [if you don't want to be violent]. You’ll have a reputation for strength, so people will know to be afraid of you. Or you can be agile and fast, like a thief or stealthy guy who solves things by killing from behind and stealing stuff. Or you can be a kind of bard/intrigue guy who’s trying to solve stuff by talking, lying, and convincing people. We’re trying very hard to make sure every quest is playable in every way.”

“It’s really non-linear and emergent in that way,” he added, noting that there’s no pre-selected character classes either. You simply get better at skills the more you use them. So a stealthy beeftank or a silver-tongued horse whisperer? Entirely possible as long as you use the right skills frequently enough.

I asked for an example of one of the game’s more elaborate quests, and Vávra unspooled like a ball of yarn stuck to a kitten’s toenail. One quest, apparently, will see us investigating the tragic murder of a young girl, and it’ll be able to resolve in all sorts of ways. Most intriguingly, we’ll be able to accuse and convict people without solving the entire mystery. Partial evidence and false accusations might even get you a reward, because how can anybody really know you’re just pulling it from beneath the plates covering your hindquarters?

Oh, right: because after a brief period of peace, the murders will start right back up again. Great job, detective. The end result? You’ll lose reputation and karma with both individuals and whichever city you’re in. But who knows? Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you just need some quick cash.

He went on to tell me of other quests – both within the main plot and on the side. There’ll be a fair amount of espionage and infiltration of the enemy king’s ranks, for instance. Sometimes you’ll be legitimately attempting to negotiate for peace, other times you’ll be playing goody two-shoes while looking for somebody to stab in the back. And then there’ll be sieges, which require both preparation and execution on a positively massive (again, we’re talking in the thousands) scale.

“Publishers were very afraid of this – that there wouldn’t be anything interesting to play [in this time period],” Vávra confessed. ”But we’ve only discussed a couple quest lines. On top of that, there’ll be a lot of more typical RPG quests, like a thieves guild and an assassin’s guild. They won’t include monsters [like in Skyrim or other fantasy games], but I’m totally not afraid that we’ll have no interesting quests.”

Staging History

But just how accurate is this world going to be? Well, I’m no historian, but I was pretty darn impressed with the level of detail in the (largely outdoor) environments I saw. Glorious green forests, towering castles, rundown refugee shanty towns, and bountiful space in between. Before embarking on a quest, my presenter just rode around on his warhorse (which had its own AI, auto-pathfinding capabilities, and presumably made videogames) and took in the scenery. Even at this early stage, it was a marvel to look at.

And while I might not be a historian, one of Warhorse’s newest hires totally is. ”We’re doing a lot of research,” emphasized Vávra. ”A lot. Starting next month, we will have an employee who’s a full-time historian. He’ll give advice to everyone else.”

“Everything is prepared according to historical fact. We have reconstructions of the real cities, so we went through archives looking for maps of old castles and stuff. I think it might sound a little bit scary because it’s going to be so real that it will be boring or something. If we were doing a fantasy game, we would have to come up with the artwork and design for everything. Since we are doing something that already existed, the study of how it looked is taking us about the same amount of work as it would if we were building a sci-fi or fantasy world.”

The team is also modelling Kingdom Come’s nine kilometers of geography off real-world satellite maps, but with one major caveat: everything is a whole lot smaller. Well, most things. Cities and landmarks are still being built to perfect scale, but the gaps in between aren’t quite as, well, country-sized. Why? Because road horsetripping across a full-sized country – for all the kooky hijinks and murder mysteries that inevitably spring up – isn’t all that fun.

“One of the reasons the world was split into three maps is because the real-world locations are too far away from each other,” Vávra explained. ”If you placed them in one map, it would be like placing Berlin and London in one map without the sea and everything.”

“The location we’re using, I was there in a car, and I was like, ‘Only three kilometers? That’s nothing.’ But then I was driving for ten minutes, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is not fun even in the car. We need to make it shorter.’ So everything is about three times smaller than the real world. The satellite maps are exactly the same, but three times smaller. But the cities are as big as they should be. So if you’re there, you can figure out the place, but it’s a little smaller.”

That said, you still won’t find some crazy new dungeon or quest every few steps. Warhorse wants the world to feel natural, not “like Disneyland,” as they put it. There will be plenty of random events – people to save, animals to hunt, etc – but expect a little more open wilderness. This world is your playground, but Warhorse still wants you to work for it. Again, it’s all in the name of authenticity, even if that means you’re frustrated or bored on occasion. Do with that information what you will. It’s one aspect of the game that Vávra and co refuse to change.

Mount And Blade III, Is That You?

So Warhorse is crafting a hyper-accurate open world, but how about its systems? Combat struck me as slightly suspect, but also riddled with as much potential as our presenter had sword wounds. Beyond that, I was hopeful for something sanbox-y, but in reality Warhorse is aiming to hit more of a balance between the likes of Mount and Blade and theme-park-ish worlds like Skyrim. So, for instance, NPCs have schedules and lives, but they aren’t really operating as part of a giant, interwoven ecosystem. Neither, however, are they the mindless dead-eyed mannequins of, say, BioShock Infinite or its on-rails ilk. Warhorse is hoping to offer the best of both worlds, for better or worse.

“Mount and Blade is very interesting but also very generic, I would say,” opined Vávra. ”The production values are adequate to the size of their team and budget. Here, everything will look much better. More animations, more situations. But we’re not trying to simulate the world as an ecosystem. The cities have some ecosystem, the world has some ecosystem, but we’re not trying to simulate it like Mount and Blade. There are dependencies between events and stuff, but you probably won’t be able to destroy merchants if you destroy a city where their supplies come from or something. It’s more low level than games like Mount and Blade.”

You can, however, kill almost anyone. A few crucial characters will be off-limits, but otherwise you’re free to go wild. Just, you know, expect consequences. What sort, you ask? On the bottom level, there are little things. Say you kill a bartender, for example. NPCs probably won’t visit that bar anymore because they know better than to stand there and pray for a frosty beverage from their longtime pal nobody. But also look forward to losing some serious karma and reputation, not to mention making things pretty difficult on yourself in the future. Really though, what else would you expect? Past, present, probably future – wanton murder isn’t exactly something people take lightly.

“We want to make it authentic and get closer to reality,” reiterated Vávra. ”If something seems a little annoying, it has purpose. We want the player to know that if they do something, it costs something. Things are not free. It’s not fun killing people. There is responsibility and consequence in everything you do.”

But Warhorse only wants so-called “annoyance” to go so far. You will, for instance, also be responsible for your character’s overall health. Eating and sleeping will be crucial, but not to a point of tedium. Instead, the goal is to add intrigue, options, and another layer of technique both in and out of combat.

“Survival is not exactly annoying, but at the same time it plays an important role,” said Vávra. ”A day in-game will take about an hour-and-a-half. You will have to sleep at least once every 48 hours or else you’ll be very, very tired. If you don’t, you’ll still be able to walk and do stuff, but your stats will be much lower than usual. It’ll be harder for you to fight. Sleep, meanwhile, gives you an advantage. You’ll get a boost. You can prolong waking time by drinking alcohol or some potions to boost you up, but there will be drawbacks. When the effect goes away, you’ll be even more tired.”

“All this is because we want to make everything connect and make sense. So combat is largely based on stamina – more so than even health. It’s the most important combat stat. If you’re in full plate armor, you can hardly be injured by anything. But it’s very heavy and you get tired quickly. And when you’re tired, you can easily be pushed down to the ground and killed by one step in the middle of the plate or something. So if two knights fight, it’s more dependant on their stamina than their health. Stamina is derived from sleep and food, so you need to eat too.”

Killing isn’t always fun? People have to eat sometimes? Everything videogames taught me is a lie.

Joining The Medieval Mafia

There’s plenty to worry about in Kingdom Come. Tons, in fact. Will the combat system be up to par? Will the writing be interesting and “mature” like Warhorse is hoping, or will it read like an eighth grader’s history report meets an eighth grader’s fan fiction? Will the world stack up to more fantastical fare like Skyrim and The Witcher, or will it land awkwardly without convenient fantasy tropes to break its fall? Will it be a new bastion of depth, or will a potential slant toward consoles neuter it of real intrigue? And what’s the deal with all this Kickstarter business? Yeah, Warhorse claims that the game’s structure practically came ready-made to break down into three separate episodes, but that’s just soothing talk for now. Of course they’d tell us what we want to hear. They want our money, lest their game never even get off the ground in the first place.

Ambition is a magnificent thing, but it also breeds skepticism – justifiably so, I think. To its credit, Kingdom Come has some serious talent tugging its reins, a gorgeous engine powering its every move, and an impressive vision gluing it all together. For a game whose final version won’t see the light of day until the end of 2015, it’s in quite an enviable place. But a lot could go wrong between now and then, even with players partially steering the course by way of feedback on Star-Citizen-esque modules.

The passion sure seems to be there, though. For games, for history, for making cool stuff. I know I’d like a medieval Mafia, and if Vávra and co get their way, I’ll be getting an offer I probably won’t want to refuse.

“Mafia was one of the first games with a big, realistic world like this,” Vávra said. “It was different. With Mafia, I wanted to create an experience of how it was to be a gangster, and right now we want to create an experience of being a knight in a medieval world. We don’t want to make a Disneyland experience. We want to be as authentic as possible.”

“After we released the trailer, we were very curious about what the reaction would be. It got a great response! It’s like with Total War and Mount and Blade. They’re historical and ‘boring’ compared to dragons, but everyone loves them. Since there’s barely anyone else who’s doing this kind of thing, it seems there’s a lot of people who would like to get something like this. So I think we can do it.”

Godspeed, you Holy Roman emperor.

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77 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Urthman says:

    If they’d been able to get the license they were going to call it Kingdom of Amalur Come: Deliverance Rising.

  2. Ich Will says:

    I heard it was going to be called Candy Scrolls Saga: Edge Rising

  1. Laurentius says:

    ““Mount and Blade is very interesting but also very generic, I would say,” opined Vávra. ”The production values are adequate to the size of their team and budget. Here, everything will look much better. More animations, more situations. But we’re not trying to simulate the world as an ecosystem.”

    And BAM i lost interest. Seriosly there is not enough ( or barly any ) simulation going into these modern games, all shiny graphics and dead stable worlds. I had enough of it in AC:Black Flag, sunk my 20 Spanish Man O’ War or merchant and no consequences I compleltly lost heart for these games, how come old Sid Meir’s Pirates at least simulate basic economy and politics outside and inside of player interactions and this huge budget game not even trying.

    • Monkeh says:

      I feel exactly the same way.

    • derbefrier says:

      Because that’s not the game they wanna make obviously. He pretty much said so. I imagine this games main focus and feature will be its combat and story so. They decided not to worry about simulating an entire world. They don’t have an unlimited budget choices have to be made and this was one of them.

    • GenBanks says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’s made me lose interest, but having ecosystems where your actions impact the world in complex ways is definitely the future, I think. It’s crucial to what makes the idea of the ‘sandbox’ interesting: to do whatever you want and see what happens.

      Still, though, if you can capture cities, fight with huge armies, and generally explore and stuff I think there’s still tonnes of scope for fun.

      • Reapy says:

        Everything old is new again I guess. I don’t know why simulating the economy and things like that have fallen away from things like starpeace and early UO.

        I don’t get why it would be so hard to tweak spawn rates on already randomly generated things… you don’t really need huge elaborate economy chains, just some basic cause effect, kill all these guys and their spawn rate drops, leave them alone, it increases. Use other things like you are trading frequently along a preset route, piracy will increase in the area, more like to encounter a pirate ship on that trade lane. Eh anyway, I’m sure there is some difficulty in getting it to work, or the effect is so small it is not worth doing… not really sure why that has no longer become a goal, especially with there being a few pretty big ‘sandbox’ engines around now a days.

      • chargen says:

        Yes, it was actually the past where you would have these things, but hopefully it will be the future again.

        Sadly it’s still looking like another graphics arms race coming up.

    • Peter says:

      Their combat system sounds terrible on top of that. I foresee it being something akin to that new slasher game set in the Roman equivalent of Hollywood.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        Swordfights are bread and butter of this game and these guys know exactly what they’re doing. Since you can kick and parry and push away your opponent, you can even yield when you’re losing…

        I’m quite positive these FPS swordfights will be among the best ever created. I loved the swordfights in Dark Messiah of MM and they said somewhere it’s one of their inspirations. They also said swordfights are their main technological focus for the next 2 years of development. And quite honestly what else should they be focusing on, ey?

      • Slight0 says:

        Did you even read the article? Be honest.

        It sounds like Chivalry: Modern Warefare on steroids.

    • Martel says:

      I agree, that was disappointing to read.

    • noodlecake says:

      I feel put off for the opposite reason as the top comment. I MUCH prefer The Witcher 2 to Skyrim. Skyrim was a wonderful technical feat but I felt completely disconnected from all of the quests because the writing and voice acting was mediocre at best. I want this game to be much more like The Witcher 2 than Skyrium. Screw open worlds, screw simukations, give me a well realised and gritty world with interesting characters and situations to experience and influence. Suspend my disbelief

    • ahmedabdo says:

      Check “Kenshi”. It is very promising.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Eh, I’m not fussed about that. He talked about reactivity plenty – it’s just in other areas. To be frank, it’s in areas I am far more interested in too.

    • wolfinexile says:

      Wow, is he really talking shit about Mount & Blade?

      They probably owe their inspiration to M&B, which kicked off a new genre of melee-focused games (Age of Chivalry, War of The Roses) that aren’t “fighting” games like Street Fighter or Tekken.

      • socrate says:

        actually this type of fighting was already made a long time ago its just that it reappeared with mount and blade which is a good thing…most old title had better idea and gameplay element and innovation then anything you see today…gaming was just less popular back then which meant less money and way more failure

        That said the game doesn’t look that promising…not alots of good stuff come out of there to begin with and add to this that they actually think putting this on console(aka trying to cash in on next gen console) is a good idea when they are trying to have a good combat system….i mean lets face it skyrim combat is horrible and while mount and blade:warband(for me the only one worth mentioning) combat is awesome…making it work on console with the kind of fast movement required is just dumb…unless the fight will be extremely scripted and boring i can’t see them making it work on console without dumbing it down.

        Killing a bartender with nothing else then a karma penalty is just dumb and boring even skyrim had some change in it when you actually did something to change the world on some aspect and if you add the economy simulation(living economy) mod to any elder scroll since morrowind its just game changing

        i also never got why people though mafia was worth mentioning to me it was an overhyped dull and empty.

  2. Smashbox says:

    Oh wow. This is actually my ideal game.

    Godspeed.

    Laurentius makes a good point, too. More simulationism please.

  3. derbefrier says:

    Sounds pretty sweet hope they make it

  4. Lanfranc says:

    If they want to make a “hyper-detailed historical RPG”, maybe they should begin with getting their Shakespeare quotes right.

  5. phelix says:

    A very nice premise, but the bit about procedural animations is more or less hogwash.
    Inverse Kinematics means that bones down the chain (if you think of a skeleton as a tree rooting from the spine) can affect bones up the chain, i.e. applying movement animations to the hand will move the upper and lower arm and the shoulder as well. While it makes for smoother and more natural animation than the opposite, Forward Kinematics, it is by no means procedurally animated (by itself, at least) because you still need keyframes for the “controller” bones (spine, feet, hands, mostly) to animate the whole.
    Of course, if they have technology that procedurally applies keyframes it is somewhat justified, but the “Inverse Kinematics, thus procedural” bit strikes me (as a hobbyist Blender user) as complete bogus.

    • darkChozo says:

      All procedural means is that whatever you’re talking about is being generated by an algorithm and not just hard-coded, so a proper dynamic inverse kinematic animation system would be procedural even if the controlled bits are scripted. In this case, it means that your animation can react to additional inputs — collisions, mostly — that a scripted animation could not.

      By way of comparison, procedural level generation algorithms still have levers that are hard-coded by the developer; stuff like the bits of Minecraft’s level generation that define how different biomes should be generated in order to be thematically consistent.

    • Reapy says:

      Also worth a mention is I recall reading about the assassin’s creed animations, how they originally used a hybrid of keyframe and procedural, but just couldn’t get rid of the random oddities the procedural aspects threw in there occasionally. So they basically said f it, and hand made every single animation in the game so it would look right.

      The clips here certainly have a wavy, off balance kind of look to them that you can associate with procedural techniques I’ve seen in the past. Not a horrible thing considering how nice everything looks, but defiantly present.

      • arauto says:

        What I know is from robotics and not 3D graphics, solving the Inverse kinematics consists in finding just how you will move the joints to get (ie. a hand attached to an arm) from some place to another without bending in impossible ways or colliding with something else.
        So a procedural animation algorithm will always have to solve the inverse kinematics of the arm/body. Of course it will find infinite solutions in some cases, since we can move our arms in many ways to get our hand in the same final position. Most of the movements would not be done naturally by a human and will look awkward. This is why it is more difficult than hard-coded animation.

      • noodlecake says:

        They did? That sucks. I wondered why cool random stuff didn’t happen anymore in Assassin’s Creed games. I’d rather have slightly weird procedural animations with good colision detection than really tight looking hand made animations.

  6. Cytrom says:

    Didnt read the words.. all i care about are the keywords: open world medieval fanta.. i mean medieval RPG.

    Why don’t we already have more non fantasy / sci fi rpgs?

  7. Marblecake says:

    I was actually interested in backing this until the part where they said they’re developing for a controller. The reason why I’m a PC gamer is because I suck at controllers. And to claim that M&B, War of the Roses or Chivalry lack options is simply not true.

    In all, I’m excited for the game as it is being presented, but if the controls don’t work for me, the game won’t work.

    • Shodex says:

      They do lack options. Their options are attack from up, down, left, right in melee combat. I’ve never seen Kingdom Come’s combat in the works (obviously) but it sounds like they’re implying your attacks will be (instead of a choice of direction) a choice of body part to aim at. And attacking each body part will have it’s respective consequence.

      Maybe you can jostle and enemy up and bash his head a couple times, get him feeling dizzy. Then throw a couple of chops at his legs, stagger him. Kick his sorry ass onto the floor then impale him through the soft of his armour.

      Mount&Blade is one of my favourite games, I’ve been playing it actively (and obsessively) since it was but a wee baby in early beta. Back before Warband, With Fire and Sword, and all that fancy jazz. So I’m not talking from some arbitrary belief that M&B lacks depth. But the combat system their proposing at sounds, to me, like something that will put M&B to shame. War of the Roses as well, obviously. And I can’t speak for Chivalry as I’ve never played it.

      • Marblecake says:

        Oh. Yeah, actually, you’re right about that. And even Chivalry doesn’t offer much more apart from angling the 7 or so attacks you have in such a way as to hit a particular body part (preferably the head).

        However, I don’t see how a controller would offer more in the way of exact controls than kb+m would. Of course, this might be due to my thoroughly limited aptitude when it comes to controllers.
        My main argument here isn’t against their envisioned combat system. In fact, I quite like the sound of it (just like that of most other things mentioned in this preview). I’m saying that it sounds like utter madness to have such a highly detailed combat system to which, I believe, kb+m are eminently more suited and then go and throw a controller-shaped wrench into it.

        I mean, to me it basically boils down to the fact that playboxes might again be ruining something for me that otherwise could have been a fantastic PC title. Not saying it won’t be, just that these plans make me sceptical enough not to back it and instead watch how it all turns out.

        • Shodex says:

          This is the games industry, I’m always skeptical. I don’t get within 15 feet of anything new.
          I was merely defending the statement that Mount&Blade’s combat lacks depth. It’s deeper than Skyrim’s but I’ve drank glasses of water with more depth than that shallow puddle.

          You’re a PC gamer, if you’re not skeptical than you’re a filthy casual. I’ve always considered DayZ to be a big analogy for PC games. We used to love games, but we’ve been killed by them in Cherno one too many times and now we have no trust left.

    • Devan says:

      I am in a similar boat. At first I almost overlooked the article because of the uninteresting-sounding name. Then I read enough of it to start getting excited about the potential of this one. I would be right down for backing this if it wasn’t for a few points made by the developer. I’m going to have to wait and see how that combat and simulation pan out before making a decision on this one.

  8. Prolar Bear says:

    “Godspeed, you Holy Roman emperor.”

    I like this Grayson guy.

  9. Stevostin says:

    ” which makes it all the more disappointing that the developer currently has no plans to implement a functional third-person mode.”

    I for one welcome this. Third person mode kills immersion so much. I prefere really shitty fights in fpv in a fp RPG than absolutely brilliant tp fights interrupting a fp rpg. Moreover I have to see a tpv melee game that even remotely fit the thrills or fpmelee in games such as dishonored or Shadow Warrior or even Dead Island.

    • Triplanetary says:

      So what you’re saying is you welcome the lack of a completely optional option just because you don’t prefer that option. You’re happy that it’s not there, even though it’s completely optional, because you don’t want other people choosing an option that you don’t like, apparently?

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        Developing a third-person mode in not exactly free.
        I would rather see the game specifically catered to first person than something that tries (and fails) to be the best of both worlds.

        • hungrycookpot says:

          TBH it sort of is… usually your character will have a model, whether you can see it or not. It’s there when the scene zooms out for a conversation, or you see your reflection in a mirror/lake. All you have to do is zoom back and show it. The devs already said they had one, because the demo included third person. But now they’re just going to remove a feature that was already built…?

          Personally, nothing takes me out of the immersion of a melee game than not being able to see my character on screen. If I was fighting in real life, I’d have a sense of where my body was, what posture I’m in, where my arms are. I’d be able to hear and locate people coming up behind me, and I’d be able to look (or simply use my peripheral vision) to my left without turning my entire body that way and exposing myself to attack from the front.

          In a first person game, I have none of these advantages, and IMO it’s just as jarring as a “gritty” first person action sequence in a movie, which, they generally don’t do for very long, because it’s f’ing annoying.

          This game really had my interest up until the point where they said they were removing third person. I’m still going to keep an eye on it, but I really hope they don’t cripple the game like this.

          And as for the dude who said he was glad they removed the feature, why the hell would you be glad about that? If you don’t like 3rd person, don’t play it?

          • The Random One says:

            I would prefer that 3rd person existed, but it’s not just a matter of showing the animation that already exists. NPCs need to offer a completely different kind of feedback to the player, and don’t need to be so detailed because the player won’t be staring at their bum for eight hours, so it is indeed a lot of work to create animations and models for 3rd person if you don’t plan on doing that from the get-go.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Yeah, if you add in a feature such as 3rd person, unless it’s a completely token gesture then that requires time and effort to balance things for that feature. In some cases that can mean compromises have to be made in other areas.

  10. Urthman says:

    If they’d been able to get the license they were going to call it Kingdom of Amalur Come: Deliverance Rising.

  11. Dezztroy says:

    Blade-on-blade? So they’re going for flashy combat over realistic combat then?

    • Horg says:

      Seeing as how realistic combat isn’t very fun……yes.

      • Dezztroy says:

        I’ve yet to see any game do realistic melee combat.

        • Shodex says:

          Play Neo Scavenger, if you’re man enough to handle text based combat. If there has ever been a combat system more desperately realistic than Neo Scavenger’s I’ll eat my graphic’s card.

          • toxic avenger says:

            Wouldn’t it be “if you’re man enough, go out and get into a bar fight with Mike Tyson?” I mean, how manly do you have to be to try a text adventure (I love text adventures).

        • hungrycookpot says:

          Toribash!!! I take kung fu, and I kick peoples arms off ALL the time.

          • Shodex says:

            I don’t do kung-fu, but out of sheer luck I once did a front flip in the air, put my ankles around a rowdy jobber’s head and was able to pull his head off and send it flying. Man, what a night at the pub that was.

  12. amateurviking says:

    ‘…set in stone in terms of appearance, sex, and past, but his future is up to you.’

    Seems odd to provide a ‘sandbox’ experience but also compel players to ‘be’ a certain character.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Budget reasons, probably.
      It’s first-person anyway, should be easy to mod in some pink/blue gloves.

    • Lanfranc says:

      Not all that extraordinary, is it? All the GTA games have you play a specific character, the Mafia games, Just Cause 2…

      • Shodex says:

        The Witcher, and to a lesser extent Mass Effect does this. You can change the Commander’s gender but that’s really just appearance and voice. You’re still just Commander Shepherd. Even then, Commander Shepherd defaults to a specific appearance. He had a face custom made for him, but some people would rather use the generic NPC face with some sliders jiggled around.

        But would you say Geralt and Shepshep are not characters tailored to your game? Hell, even Gordon Freeman has a name, gender, background predetermined appearance. But he’s different for everyone, for example in my play through Gordon was a kind, intelligent, and honorable gent. But we all know that YOU were looking at Alyx’s behind that one time she was climbing that one ladder, you lecherous dog.

        • SominiTheCommenter says:

          Gordon is a physicist, of course he was studying the jiggling fat concentrations. I just zoomed in, that’s all.

    • Kapik says:

      You can’t change gender and probably a name, but it doesn’t really matter. Can you imagine playing as woman in the realistic historical game from 15th century? I can’t.

  13. serioussgtstu says:

    I think ‘Warhorse’s Medieval RPG’ would have been a better title than ‘Kingdom Come: Deliverance’; a name so forgettable that I had to scroll to the top of the article to remember what it was called, despite having read about the game several times today.

    Aside from the Kickstarter campaign, I’m a bit worried about this whole episodic open world business. Nine kilometers sounds like a large area to me, but I can’t really contextualise that without seeing it. I just wonder if Warhorse are shooting themselves in the foot by committing to making three separate maps. Why not edit the story down to better fit into their first map, and deliver a thirty hour RPG instead of a one hundred hour epic. That would really free up their resources for this game, and also leave them in a better position for future titles.

    Look at what CD Projekt have done, their first two games were relatively small compared to many open world RPGs, but their sustained success allowed them to build up to the open world ventures like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk. I think Warhorse may have bitten off more than they can chew.

    • Shodex says:

      I wish people would stop using subtitles on the first title of the franchise. It’s obnoxious. “Kingdom Come” has a nice ring to it. And as the comment below demonstrates deftly, there’s lots of room for reviewers to show how brilliantly witty they are with deliciously gag worthy puns.

      Is the “:Deliverance” really needed? What does it add? Does it explain anything about the game that “Kingdom Come” did not already? Why can’t we be happy with one name? I hate the use of subtitles for sequels because it makes the order of the series confusing. Subtitles should be left for spin-offs (AC: Brotherhood, Fallout: New Vegas, etc.). Using it for your first game is downright silly.

      If the “Deliverance” doesn’t change to something else equally generic, ambiguous, and obnoxious (maybe “Retribution” or “Rising”, maybe “Asylum” or “City”) it’ll completely defeat the purpose and I’ll be oddly even more peeved.

      • razgon says:

        The name probably alludes to the story told about the Holy Roman Empire though. Kingdom Come is because of the location, Deliverance is because of your actions.

  14. SominiTheCommenter says:

    My mind is blown to kingdom come.
    To back, or not to back, that’s the question.

  15. NarcoSleepy says:

    Sounds good, but I am sure we all want to know: Will it offer historically accurate dental hygiene?

  16. SillyWizard says:

    Mmmmm, peasant wenches!

  17. tormos says:

    This game will either be a stunning success or a big impressive tragic failure. As a consumer and someone who likes PC games, both are preferable to mediocrity.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      This. It’s better to have a game that aims high and misses the target than to have another COD or DOTA or Saga of the Scrolls: Edge.

  18. CookPassBabtridge says:

    You know, I think I am all medieval-fantasy- RPG’d out. Queens and princesses and wizards and alchemy and vampires and magical swords and all that are cool. But… its like always having tikka massala for dinner. I long for sea bass. It reminds me of John’s article a few months back about fantasy settings, how they can be anything – and so why do we just keep recycling the same old ones?

    What would I like? I think I would like … a slightly magical, very near future, post-rapture (where only the evil and atheists are left), faithfully created London. Yes. That is what I would like. Maybe a British STALKER type scenario. I want a mission where I can salvage paranomal artifacts from Boris’s stupid (but still electrified) cable cars. Then sell them to a psychotic cockney. Who has made a home of a Routemaster bus. In Hyde Park. Then raid some Royal Armoury or other. Or steal missiles or weapons or spaceships from the science museum. Oh good Lord yes. I want a sci-fi story about the origins of humanity, and how our current explorations of cutting edge physics affect the understanding of who we are.

    Proper sci-fi, with an existentialist bent, in a familiar yet utterly bizarre world. That would be nice. And not a bodice in sight.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      It’s not fantasy. That’s one of the selling points they keep stressing.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Fair point, though it is still medieval with the standard gaming touches of that era. I’m not saying this is bad (the game looks lovely) but still… Maybe this wasn’t the post to say this in but what with all the castles and sword sharpening kickstarters lately, I would love to see Johns jelly gun taking down a dream powered cat autogyro or something

        • socrate says:

          doubt that would sell well…on the other hand if you like steampunk alots of title like that are coming…problem is creating something new is easy…but something interesting to other people and actually making the story not crappy is something quite rare…just look at harry potter and hunger game and all these new novel that were made into movie…they aren’t really..new or fantastic to me,but their interesting(well not hunger game i still don’t get why people love this)…were far from Jules Verne who was actually making each story special and that hollywood still fail to make interesting sadly,Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm also did some really interesting thing that should be read instead of that really boring Disney crap

  19. JiminyJickers says:

    This looks absolutely incredible. I really hope they pull it off.

    Don’t think that I will Kickstart it though. Have kickstarted to many big projects and not one have been completed yet, so I’m a little bit kickstarted out.

  20. The Random One says:

    “You can’t change the history. If the king was saved, he will be saved in the game. You can’t kill him during the operation. But your personal quests and life are pretty free, and there are lots of ways to do things. So there’s a little bit of compromise of total freedom, but you get a pretty great story.”

    Hmm, what a shame. Imagine have the same kind of ultimate freedom you had in the original Fallout’s, except that after the end you are not only told of what happened to the world but also have it extrapolated to the present day. “You killed a guy who was important. The Holy Roman Empire degenerates. Feudal skirmishes destroy the land. Eventually, in the 20th century, all of Europe is conquered by the Holy Ethiopian Empire.” OK, something like that, but good and making historical sense.

  21. rockman29 says:

    I can’t even grasp the scope of this game right now. How big is it really?

  22. Perkelnik says:

    Well if somebody can pull this off, it’s Dan Vávra. He really knows his business and Mafia proves it. He wrote and directed the game, he even made the cutscenes (after studying about movie making).
    Ive read many columns by Dan and what I like the most about him is that he uses common sense and can use it in game design.
    Also, I noted that they reached 2/3 of thei Kickstarter goal. Things are looking good.

  23. guygodbois00 says:

    “The way Vávra explained it, it sounds like combat is tailored to controllers (Kingdom Come is also headed to Xbox One and PS4)”. Interest lost. I surmise the whole game will suffer the case of bad consolitis. But I see it could be of great interest to console owning crowd.

  24. Sandepande says:

    Ooh, funded.

  25. Kethis says:

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  26. toxic avenger says:

    I’m unsure after reading all of that, that people’s first reaction is abject horror and skepticism. Even reading the article, I was curious at the skeptic tone of it all. I’m not saying throwing logic and desire out the window, not every game can do everything perfectly as there are always finite resources, but there is a lot from this article to be excited about.

    On a side note, can anyone recommend me a game that actually has a convincingly deep ecosystem? Skyrim boasted how each citizen had their own clock, set path, profession, etc and how awesome it all was going to be but it felt like those features were more to be expected and less of a revolution that everyone made it out to be. People were talking about Mount and Blade, how deep does that go? The game itself crashes for me after the 20 minute mark, so I’m not too sure.

  27. Curundir says:

    I’m sorry Nathan, but your style just doesn’t cut it for me. My interest in RPS is dwindling since you came aboard. This time, it’s the overwhelming use of hyphens – there seems to be one in every four sentences. You even put a hyphen in pre-determined! Why is that necessary? To me it feels artificial. So artificial that I cannot finish reading one of your articles! I sometimes think that you can’t keep up with RPS’s other writers and their cunning wit, so your try to come up with all these constructs. I remember your time where you used extremely long sentences with many, many commas. Or the time where you used extremely long sentences, followed by single words. Or your recent favorite, the comical ultra-exaggeration. I’ve seen all of these styles used before, on the internet’s many discussion forums, and it doesn’t feel original or fresh to me. I think it’s dull, and that it looks out of place. (I’m starting to doubt myself here. Should I have written out-of-place?)

  28. ralphdlough says:

    my buddy’s step-aunt makes $82/hour ℴn the internet. She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her pay check was $13120 just working ℴn the internet for a few hours. lℴℴk at this web-site…..
    http://www.dub30.com

  29. Zorn says:

    I did await to find a ‘Godspeed you! Black Emperor’ here.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEsdiiYkhT8

  30. exoslav says:

    Hello, join my fanclub facebook page :)

    https://www.facebook.com/kingdomcomewarhorse

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