Finally! Kentucky Route Zero Act IV Released

Act IV of Kentucky Route Zero [official site] is finally here, continuing the magical realist journey through subterranean Americana. It’s a pretty flipping special game. We declared the first two episodes our favourites of 2013 and 2014’s Act III was just as lovely but the wait for IV has been long. But doesn’t KRZ teach patience, to enjoy slowness and quiet? It’s here now, and that’s just fine. Settle down with a bottle of Wild Turkey for a lovely evening.

Kentucky Route Zero, if you’ve missed it, is a quiet and thoughtful adventure game set along a strange highway beneath Kentucky. As you might expect, some colourful characters are down there. Do read The Mechanic for a look at how its dialogue choices draw players into the world.

I’ve been pacing myself with KRZ, knowing developers Cardboard Computer are doing the same, so I’m a bit behind and currently squinting at this video of an Act IV scene through my fingers:

Kentucky Route Zero is on sale now too. You’ll find it on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux at £9.49/11,49€/$12.49, not to mention on GOG, Itch, and through Humble on the game’s site.

We’ve handed Alec a banjo and sent him back underground. We trust he shall surface at some point to tell us Wot He Thinks.

When will Act V arrive to wrap up Kentucky Route Zero? Dunno. Happy to wait.

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  1. Master of nothing says:

    The good thing about KRZ is that you can actually play the episodes and wait, unlike other recent episodic releases.

  2. ephesus64 says:

    Excellent! I most likely would have missed out on this one had RPS not given it such good exposure, so thank you all for that.

    Now, the real question: what is everybody drinking as they play it?

    I’m in Oregon so I have my pick of microbrews. Alternatively, whiskey seems like the best pairing, but I don’t know if Wild Turkey has the necessary complexity. I love Crown Royal’s Northern Harvest Rye (whisky of the year, eh), but it’s Canadian. Right continent, wrong country–I’m not sure if that’s a problem.

    If KRZ’s Hard Times were a real distillery, would something like Wild Turkey or Jack Daniels be the closest match? Bulleit maybe?

    • Canadave says:

      All I have on hand is Canadian whisky, and I’m moving at the end of the month so I don’t want to buy anything new. Any other beverage feels wrong, somehow, so it’ll have to do.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Crown’s too fancy for this I think. I’d recommend Forty Creek or some Canadian Club (12 year maybe).

      Canadian whisky is never a problem.

      • Canadave says:

        Canadian Club 12 year-old is what I had on hand, actually. It’s pretty good stuff, really surprised me the first time I had it, since I know what regular CC is like.

    • ephesus64 says:

      True, nothing at all wrong with Canadian whiskey. I have a blend called Snake River Stampede which is very good, and there’s not much of it left. Emptying a bottle seems appropriate, depending on how you see the main character.

      I kind of want something wonderful like what spoiler drank when spoiler spoiler spoiler, but I think it should still feel like it could take the paint off your car. Maybe some variety of Wild Turkey is a good option too.

    • engion3 says:

      Cincinnati here (just north of kentucky for you blokes), and I was literally drinking some wild turkey as I read this. I suppose this is more than a sign to reinstall it.

    • soul4sale says:

      Maker’s Mark. The cloying sweetness balances nicely with bitter tears..

    • changeofpants says:

      As a current resident of the dark and bloody ground, I can confidently say that Kentucky Route Zero best pairs with Old Forester Signature. It is both real and magical.

  3. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    What, like, right now!? Ermagherd! Sod the weather, I’m back in bleak Kentucky

  4. JB says:

    My usual great timing: I uninstalled KRZ this very morning. I may wait for episode V to come out and start over.

    • Just Endless says:

      in 4-5 years?

      • christmas duck says:

        I’m good with some gentle mocking of the games development pace but putting that aside Act V will most likely be much quicker in coming that IV was. A good chunk of the delay was down to overhauling the engine to allow them to do more things with the animation than they could previously (along with some other changes), as well as the new act having an entirely new setting meaning they couldn’t reuse any assets like they had previously (though I’ve not played the new act yet so I’ve no idea if the next one will be in another entirely new location or not).

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    DrollRemark says:

    Yes yes yes yes. Event of the year.

  6. Weremoo says:

    Yay, finally! Time for my traditional play through the previous episodes, then straight into number 4!

    Kentucky Route Zero is one of the few games I’ve played through multiple times, and utterly love it every time!

  7. Llewyn says:

    I’ve been pacing myself with KRZ, knowing developers Cardboard Computer are doing the same, so I’m a bit behind

    Likewise. I can finally finish Ep3 now!

  8. Anthile says:

    Is this real life?

  9. Bobcat says:

    Great. Bought this in the recent steam sale and was waiting for Act 4 before starting.

  10. Rogerio Martins says:

    Man, it’s sad that RPS writers are such apologists with the delays of this episode.

    • jomurph86 says:

      And I’m sad that you’re sad. What a world. What a world. What. A. World.

    • slavas says:

      Ah, sad. But, in a way, isn’t there a certain beauty in the sadness… in the wait… ?

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      There aren’t many games I’d like to be rushed out less than Kentucky Route Zero.

      • Llewyn says:

        Indeed. The idea that people want it to be finished more than they want it to be made is just baffling.

        • Just Endless says:

          I mean it’s not that baffling under the assumption that the game is episodic on the order of, like, a telltale game. I just hypothesize when people say things like this, that they have yet to play the game: it really isn’t any more episodic in my opinion than a series of related games would be; each has been varied in mood and internally satisfying so far.

          • christmas duck says:

            It’s really something more akin to instalments in a book series than episodes of a TV show, I’m replaying the first 3 acts before this new one but that’s because I want to revisit the earlier parts of the game, not because you need to play them in quick succession for it to make sense or flow properly.

          • Rogerio Martins says:

            A book by George R.R. Martin considering how long it took.

          • Llewyn says:

            But with significantly more merit.

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    alison says:

    YAS. Most anticipated release of the year, bar Deus Ex. Which i’ll probably only buy next year when it’s cheap. So, YAS.

  12. nottorp says:

    Can you save now? I bought it based on very positive reviews, played a bit, closed the game and it put me back at the beginning on the next attempt. Did they fix that?

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      Sunjumper says:

      How long was that ago? The game autosaves after pretty much every descion branch as far as I can tell and there are now three save slots in the main menu which I am üretty sure weren’t there before.

      • nottorp says:

        Ah well, I just checked again, started Act 1 and got into the second area. Quit the game, and it put me back at the beginning when i restarted.
        They could have put more effort into saving… this way I can only play it when I have time to finish a whole act, I guess.

        • Llewyn says:

          Saving works absolutely fine in general, and has done at least since Act II. You appear to be having a specific issue that isn’t affecting the wider player base. You could continue to decry their lack of effort, or you could engage with them to try to find a solution to your problem.

          • nottorp says:

            No, actually i think it’s intentional. If they’re saving every time i make a decision, it didn’t look like I had made any decisions yet. I just entered the basement. 2nd room in the whole game.
            They even told me “last save: 4 minutes ago” when I quit. What is not clear is what I should do to get saved.

          • Llewyn says:

            Ah, that’s not so bad then. Bugs that only affect you when everyone else is fine get very frustrating.

            Afraid I can’t help on what triggers saves though. I wondered whether it might just be scene changes but I just loaded up my current save (Act I, Scene IV) and found it exactly where I’d left it. I don’t think I’d made any decisions to trigger a save, as I’d just reached a point where my path was going to temporarily split.

            In short, no, you shouldn’t need to play an entire act in one go but you may need to play a certain amount to trigger the next save point. Given how the game’s structured I’d be surprised if that was ever much more than 10 minutes or so. Hopefully that helps a little.

  13. EkoAzarak says:

    AWESOME NEWS! got to find a good weekend free to just play Act 4 and absorb it. really enjoyed the first 3. might replay them all back to back again.

  14. Person of Interest says:

    There’s a fantastic series of articles called Kentucky Fried Zero for fans of this game who want to learn more about its cultural and architectural inspirations. I’ve linked to the first article, but there’s one for each act of the game. I hope to see the fourth article later this year.

  15. baekhesten says:

    My partner was in the middle of telling me all about the weird dream they had last night and unfortunately I will never know how it ended because when I read this I interrupted them by screaming, “AHHHHHHH” for about 15 seconds.

    I’m so mad that I made plans with my family today. Legit considering cancelling everything to play this.

  16. klops says: