On Abusing the Peasants in Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has published a preview of Warhorse Studios' open-world historical RPG, Kingdom Come: Deliverance. The preview is based on a hands-off presentation given by the developers and seems to focus entirely on the sandbox AI and unscripted interactions of the title, which greatly impressed the writer. An excerpt:

Other fun activities in Kingdom Come include getting drunk whenever you quicksave, because the only way to quicksave is to take a swig of a particularly heady local liquor, which means that overly prudent players risk spending half the game with a crippling hangover. Oh, and if you’re really at a loss for direction, you might while away a few hours reducing well-adjusted villagers to sickly introverts by poisoning the cheese, starting brawls at all their favourite watering holes and stealing their fishing equipment. From a distance, Warhorse’s much-postponed open worlder can seem rather dour, obsessed with historical accuracy and depth of simulation to a degree that makes you wonder whether this is a game or an interactive monument to a period. But somewhere beneath the boiled leather jerkin of this dragonless Skyrim tribute, there’s some of the farce and fanciful nature of a first-person Fable reboot struggling for air.

The period in question is the early 15th century, and you are the whey-faced sprog of a humble blacksmith, scraping a living in the shadow of a castle wall. An hour or so into the prologue, your entire family will be put to the sword by the Hungarian army. Cue a heroic struggle to restore the rightful ruler to the throne. At the outset, however, the task at hand is simply to shop for beer and charcoal, pick up a crossguard from a merchant at the castle and track down a belligerent drunk who owes your dad money.

This last mission proves a small-scale advert for what happens when you mash Kingdom’s malleable quest design, day-to-day AI behaviours and arsenal of item variables together. The obvious thing to do is to beat the drunk into submission, but he’s stronger than you and besides, that nice cold beer might get warm in your pocket while you’re ducking and diving, much to your father’s ire. Another option is to break into the guy’s hut while he’s out drowning his sorrows, steal his work tools and sell them on but, this being one of those cosy backwaters where everybody knows each other, the local tradesman can spot pilfered goods and may refuse to do business.