Kingdom Come: Deliverance aims to give the most realistic medieval experience ever presented in a video game. We talk combat, living worlds and playable women with Mafia designer Daniel Vávra.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
From Warhorse Studios – a new team formed by several veterans of 2K Czech, developer of the Mafia series.
Written by Mafia lead designer Daniel Vávra.
Absolutely smashed its initial crowdfunding goal.
Just over one day remains to get in on the action by backing it on Kickstarter to score backer rewards and a pre-order discount.
First episode due on Linux, Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox One in late 2015.
Sword fighting in video games is rarely satisfying. People make a fuss about Skyrim’s two-handed flailing sessions, and Dark Souls certainly makes sword-and-board feel tense and hazardous, but both games lack a sense of weight and realism.
What makes Kingdom Come: Deliverance different from other games is that its combat system is firmly grounded in a physics system called Inverse Kinematics, Warhorse Studios’ Daniel Vávra told us.
“In most other games, when you swing your sword, it’s just an animation, so there is no impact, your weapon goes through the target, the game plays some particle on the point of impact (blood, sparks, dust) and the enemy plays some hit animation,” he said.
“In our case, when you hit something, we actually calculate proper collisions and physical reactions of the target. So the swords will collide when the enemy blocks your move, your sword will slide over plate armour, or if you are in a corridor, your movement with a weapon will be limited by surrounding space – your sword will slide over the walls and the damage you deal on target will be weaker.
“It doesn’t matter where you are, what you hit, its always unique and physically accurate.”
Enemies without armour can be killed in one hit, and heavily armoured knights are almost invincible – until you wear them down enough to expose an opening in their plate mail. This applies in reverse, by the way, so you’ll need to manage your own stamina carefully.
Managing your stamina to counter your foe’s tactics is only part of the story; players have six targets to choose from on an enemy’s body, as well as multiple kinds of attack. Add to this extra skills unlocked as you level up, and scaling attributes like fencing skill, strength, agility and armour, and you’ve got something that sounds quite interesting.
Having already drawn one comparison to Skyrim, it’s easy to make others. Vávra said Warhorse is aiming for an open world that is a “little bit smaller, but more natural and unique” than Bethesda’s latest.
“We want our world to be as authentic as possible, so that everything makes sense. When somebody says something is far away, it really will be far away and not 50 meters from town gates,” he said.
“We don’t have flat stone ceilings in our castles, because they would collapse, and you can apply such logic to our quest design as well.”
The world around the player is peopled by NPCs who obey their own routines – again, like Skyrim, but Warhorse wants NPCs to have an impact on the world around them rather than simply play-acting their roles.
“We are cooperating with AI lab of Charles University department of computer science and these guys are quite good,” Vávra said.
“It’s still in development, but even now, every NPC has not one, but several routines and it adjusts to what is going on around him. So for example, an NPC wants to go to a pub, but when it sees that the pub is full, he goes to a different pub. When he finds out that the bartender there was killed, he will call the sheriff and instead of looking for a different pub, he will go home and drink there.”
Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been more than successful on Kickstarter; at the time of writing, it had raised £933,869, having targeted just £300,000. If the team hits the big one million, it hopes to add in a dog companion, but it’s already passed one of its major milestones, allowing it to add a playable female character to the game in a stand-alone questline.
“We will do our best to show how it really was to be a strong woman in medieval culture.”
This is something that Vávra seems quite passionate about doing well; if he’s going to add a playable woman to the game, he wants to do it with historical accuracy and respect, rather than ignore gender issues.
“It was very unusual for women to fight in battles, ride horses or get involved in politics. Not impossible, but very rare,” he said.
“If I would like the story to make sense, a very important part of it would have to be the emancipation and obstacles that the heroine must overcome to prove the world that she is equal, because at the time, the social roles of men and women were quite different. It would be an interesting story,” he said, “But it’s not the story I wanted to tell.
“Our story is about one particular event in history and the way I decided to tell it (is in my opinion) the best. I can promise you, that in the questline we added, we will reflect all this and will do our best to show how it really was to be a strong woman in medieval culture.”
The first episode of Kingdom Come: Deliverance is expected in December 2015, on multiple platforms including next-gen consoles.