- Written by Adam Wasdovitch /
- Published: 23 January 2014
If you're a gaming enthusiast, odds are you're familiar with Kickstarer campaigns and their inherent benefits and risks. Kickstarter projects have been used in the past by developers to bypass over burdening publishers to develop a niche title that would not have seen the light of day otherwise. Instead of placing the burden of financial risk on a publisher, the risk is deferred to those who voluntarily donate to the project for some sort of a reward upon the game's completion or even a chance to help in the development of the game. Over the past few years, Kickstarter has become a very popular tool for small developers that has resulted in many niche titles being funded. Despite the volume of Kickstarter related projects, Kingdom Come: Deliverance stands out from the pack with a very impressive showing that is oozing with potential.
New developer Warhorse Studio, founded by Dan Vávra, the lead designer behind Mafia, along with several other veterans of open world video games, is pitching a "Realistic single-player RPG set in the medieval Europe" along with videos and screenshots of this beautiful, CryEngine powered open world sandbox. The premise is very similar to that of Mount and Blade where magic and fantasy creatures have been removed from the equation and the focus is on portraying more believable and realistic world that mimics the lifestyle and culture of those who lived in medieval Europe. Using the capabilities of the CryEngine, Warhorse is promising a non-linear story, a highly detailed world filled with dynamic NPCs, an interesting sound kinetic based combat system, fully customization characters, crafting, and large scale battles. More detailed information can be found on their Kickstarter page as well as their website.
As with most Kickstarter projects their goals sound quite ambitious as an attempt at captivating people enough to convince them to donate which sound all too familiar to goals outlined by Bethesda when they were first showing off Oblivion or Skyrim. While those large budget titles were great fun, Bethesda was not able to bring many of their outlined features to fruition and the games felt almost incomplete in areas. Considering Bethesda, a much more veteran and well funded studio, could not finish the features they so proudly touted as the future of RPGs makes me very skeptical about this entire project. Optimistically skeptical of course.
I'm a big fan of the Mount and Blade series which is an open world empire, building RPG that is devoid of magic, potions, and pointy ear elves. I like the focus on realism and the changes that brings to a role playing game. Time becomes a more important factor as healing wounds cannot be done instantly through the aid of magical spells or potions. Combat becomes a more intense and deadly endeavor as there are no magical properties or mystical weapons and armor that can give you an advantage over your enemy. The factors in each fight change from looking at stats sheets to calculate how much damage you can resist to variables such as armor and shield coverage, weight of your equipment, properties of your weapon, and the amount of men fighting along side of you. This approach is not only more realistic but strikes a very different feel than other RPGs that focus on magic and statistics.
Warhorse seems to be applying the same design philosophies with Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The promised kinetic based combat system puts emphasis on the player's ability to effectively use a weapon and shield in battle instead of the Skryim method of hacking away at an enemy until it dies. The videos show well animated, first person fights which look too well polished to be real gameplay and are most likely scripted for show.
To help showcase the unique combat mechanics, Warhorse is promising massive siege and open field battles between sizable armies. The promotional video released for the Kickstarter campaigns contained a few notable shots of these battles. One scene had the player engaging multiple enemies on a green field littered with dueling knights and bodies of the fallen with armies in formation and brightly colored uniforms. Another panned the camera along a wall of a castle under siege where sword and shield bearing soldiers climbed ladders up the side of a castle while arrows flew overhead. The scale is impressive and I know the CryEngine is capable of preserving the detail during these sequences despite the scale. My experience with Mount and Blade and the Total War series dampens my excitement for these battles as large amount of AI driven characters fighting on an open field can end up feeling too busy and clustered while siege battles can completely break and be a lesson in frustration.
The rest of the major features announced through Kickstarter are more familiar. Large open world with dynamic AI much like the promises Bethesda and Peter Molyneux have made in the past, non-linear quest design that promises to be different than others, and a robust character creation system with the ability to form relationships with other characters. This is where my skepticism comes into play. We've heard of these feature being touted as "revolutionary" before and rarely has any actually delivered on the promises made.
Warhorse may be ambitious with their features and promise but they are much more realistic with their timetable and investors. Kingdom Come: Deliverance is tentatively scheduled for Quarter 4 of 2015, nearly two years from now on the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. The developers are not using Kickstarter as a primary means of funding. Instead, like Star Citizen, Kickstarter is a tool being used to show potential investors that there is enough people willing to pay for a singleplayer RPG. They are asking for £300,000 (roughly $500,000) for the Kickstarter and are offering multiple levels of pledges with early access and other goodies. The Kickstarter campaign started on January 22nd and runs through February 20th. Already they have met their funding goal but you can continue to donate to receive a cheaper copy of the game upon launch.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the first of three planned acts each shooting for roughly 30 hours of main story content with multiple endings depending on players choices. I remain cautiously optimistic about the title. I have not decided if I want to pledge support just yet as I have a lot of other games that I have pledged too recently but I will be looking forward to hearing development updates going forward. Check back with Endless Backlog for more details and discussion about Kingdom Come in the future.
Here's another link to the Kickstarter if you're interested in helping fund. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1294225970/kingdom-come-deliverance
If you want to further discuss the Kingdom Come: Deliverance or other Kickstarter head over to our fourms at http://www.endlessbacklog.com/index.php/forum/index.