Kingdom Come: Deliverance became widely popular even before its official announcement. And it's not surprising, considering Warhorse consists of the great minds behind one-of-a-kind gangster action title from decade ago. Not to mention huge and unusually detailed even for independent developer posts in Daniel Vavra's blog dedicated to Warhorse's «kitchen». When Kingdom Come appeared on Kickstarter, we simply couldn't miss the opportunity to talk with Daniel and fish out a couple of the most interesting details about his new projects.
Hello, Daniel! First of all we'd like to offer our congratulations upon long awaited announce of the game. Knowing how long you had to wait for this idea to come to life, we're really happy for the studio (and the industry).
Warhorse is formed by developers who have been recently working mostly on shooters set in more or less modern era. What's with the sudden change towards RPG? Also, seeing people responsible for titles like Arma, Mafia and Operation Flashpoint in your team, I wonder if any of the traits of these games are going to get carried over to Kingdom Come in one way or another?
Its about the experience. In Mafia, I wanted to let you become a gangster, with everything it involves — good and bad. OFP or Arma is your best chance to try how its like to be a soldier in a war. Real war, not the one from cool action movies and blockbuster games. In Deliverance, we want to put you into time machine and let you experience medieval times.
Couldn't miss all the historical reenactment photos. Was that a part of team's hard work getting prepared to recreate medieval battlefield in Kingdom Come? What period of history were you covering? Also, what type of weapon do you prefer personally? Single- or two-handed? Broadswords, flails or an axe plus shield combo?
I am not a swordsman at all:) I had one or two lessons just to learn the basics of how it works. We have several people in the team who are more experienced, Martin was into sport fencing for example. I am only a visitor at reenactment battles, but made couple of good friends there. Personally I like one and half hand bastard swords.
It was really interesting to read that blog about how the project was funded. I am pretty sure you never underestimated the risks you were taking with Kingdom Come since you're familiar with how the industry works. What motivated the team to start working on such expensive and large, ambitious debut project, obviously an AAA-scale title and not something more humble?
We love the era and setting and we love RPGs. And since there were no games that would mix the setting with our favorite RPG mechanics, we had to develop one:)
Couldn't help but think Mount & Blade — a series so familiar to historical reenactment enthusiasts — when I was reading Kingdom Come description. Are you familiar with the series? How different is your concept and vision of the gameplay mechanics from those of TaleWorlds?
Of course we know MB. I played it, but less than I would like to. We share the setting and the ambition to be authentic, but they are true procedural sanbox, while we are more based on story -open world, but with strong storyline. Our combat will also be a lot different than theirs.
Speaking of realistic approach… In your opinion, where is the line a developer shouldn't cross when trying to recreate a certain historical event? What are the pros and cons of the realism in video games?
I had a lecture on this. Its on Youtube, but only in Czech I guess. But to sum it up — the difference between a game and reality is, that reality is much harder, unforgiving and sometime boring. Just an example. Call of Duty is mainstream game, you do only the cool stuff and when you die, you can continue in few seconds. ArmA is a simulator, its more complicated, sophisticated, you do even some boring stuff, like travelling long distances and when you die, you need to repeat large part of a mission. If you go outside to play some milsim paintball as I do, you will realize, that the enemies are much smarter, the encounters are less frequent than in arma, you will have to walk loooong distances and when you die, you will have to wait up to several hours for respawn. But in real world, you train for years, then you wait several weeks for your first mission, you will be happy that there was no shooting at the mission and when you die, you are dead. When you think in these terms, even ArmA is just a game:) and are somewhere around ArmA level of «realism». I made a definition of a game for my lecture if you wish — «Game is a voluntary experience in which you try to achieve goal, which is prevented by obstacles. We are trying to reach the goal by using mechanics defined by restrictive rules and in case of failure, there is a penalty. Motivation has important part in the game (be it score, story, or the experience itself).»:)
According to some of the Western resources, the game events will be tied to a particular historical period. What is the time span the plot is going to cover? As far as we understand, the game is set during the interregnum era with Hohenstaufen fallen, Habsburg dividing the territories and Kurfürst emerging? Does our hero start his way to the throne here? Or are you going to send players to the unquiet era after the death of Frederick III?
Its set in 1403. Emperor Charles IV. died some time ago and his two sons Sigismund and Wenzel the Idle started to fight over the throne of the empire. So its about Luxembourg dynasty, but you are right as well, Habsburgs and Kurfursts were involved a lot in this.
Who and from what are we going to have to «deliver» or is the title isn't related to the main goal of the game in any significant way? By the way, where does the team get inspiration from? The title makes me think of Peter Flinth's Arn — The Kingdom at Road's End. I wonder if it's just me.
Actually I read the Flinths book and saw the movies, but my biggest inspiration for this is te history itself and my childhood. I was obsessed with castles and knights as a kid. My gradparents took me to all the castles in our country (and we have lots of them) and i was drawing battles since I was 5:) So its probably my dream project.
Press release states that Kingdom Come will feature a non-llinear storyline. Is it non-linear just in terms of side-quests or in a much larger scale?
Every quest could be solved by several ways. There will be several variations of the main story, you can make enemies or friends, so some quests will have the same ending, but the way how you play them will be different. I would say, that we are not as much nonlinear as Fallout New Vegas, and similar to Witcher I.
In my opinion, dismissing magic as a common gameplay element could affect its variability. What features are you using to provide the depth to gameplay instead?
There will be a big variety in combat, different weapons, techniques, different situations, larger battles, sieges etc. But you may skip the violence most of the time and play the game as a wiseguy who talks himself out of trouble. I think that the variety, authenticity and different possibilities how to do stuff is more important than fireballs which you can find in every other game.
The above-mentioned press release says something about a «revolutionary combat system». It might be to early to ask something about it, but still, could you give us at least a couple of hints on what to expect from Kingdom Come in terms of combat?
We are working on it with real fencers (http://warriors.cz for example) so its going to be very authentic. It’s a first person which usually sucks, or is too simple, but we managed to make the controls simple and give the player lot of options at the same time and most importantly its based on physics, so when you hit something, you really HIT it, there is collision, clash, proper reaction on target. When you fight in a corridor and your sword hits a wall, its slowed down and the impact is smaller, the swords slides over the armor etc. Nobody did this before. Its very complicated.
What about horseback riding or combat? If there is such a thing, what kind of weaponry are players allowed to use and does it play any major role in the game?
We are still working on this, so its little bit early to disclose any details, but you should be able to use the horse as a weapon. That is the most important feature.
Could you tell us about the range of classes available in Kingdom Come? Are there any non-lethal or even civilian classes that will allow player to finish the game avoiding bloodshed? If there's a «civilian part» in the game, how important is it going to be?
There are no classes, only skills which you can develop. You might be warrior, bard and thief at the same time if you train your strenght and fencing, speech and agility the same. And as I already said, we want to give you the option to avoid violence whenewer its possible.
How large is the world of Kingdom Come? Are all of the areas available from the beginning?
Act I is about 9square km. As far as I know, its more that Red Dead Redemption and about the same as Oblivion. Whole map is accessible after the prologue.
Could you provide us with more details on how does the game play like during siege events? Is it more of a planning and strategy gameplay or are you going to throw players right into the heat of the battle?
You are just one regular guy in the battle. The siege might be a quest, so if you are a defender, you my first scout in the enemy camp, then find some supplies to prepare for the siege and then finally defend the castle during the last attack.
Online seems to be somewhat of a really important element of a modern game. Do you plan on featuring a multiplayer or co-operative mode in the game?
No, it would be too much for a team of our size and it wouldn’t even fit the kind of experience we want to provide.
In conclusion, weren't you surprised when The Witcher 3 — a highly anticipated title on both sides of the ocean — didn't receive any award on VGX2013 despite being an obvious candidate in several nominations? We're really curious about relationship of American developers with their European colleagues.
Well, I don’t care about awards that much:) Especially those given at mainstream events. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to get one one day:)
Thanks for answering our questions! Can't wait to try Kingdom Come in action!
Thank You! Hopefully we will not disappoint :)