Pathfinder: Kingmaker Interview

I would be lying if I said I wasn't surprised when I learned that the upcoming Pathfinder CRPG, Pathfinder: Kingmaker was aiming to launch a Kickstarter campaign in early June. Apparently, I wasn't the only one, since VentureBeat now has an interview with a couple of Owlcat developers that focuses on that exact issue.

As a result of this interview, we get a clarification that the overall goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to merely secure funding for additional content, in a similar way to what Larian did with Divinity: Original Sin back in 2013.

Apart from all the Kickstarter talk, the interview also contains a few interesting tidbits about the game. In particular, there's some stuff about the engine and a bunch of questions sneakily testing the developers' RPG cred. Check out this excerpt:

GamesBeat: What’s the Kickstarter going to be? Will it be for special content, additional goals? It’s not just Kickstarting the full game, correct?

Shpilchevsky: Luckily, we have some money from our parent company that’s allowed us to build a solid prototype. Right now we have a good-enough quality sample of gameplay that we can go to show for the first time at PaizoCon. It’s a convention that will be held at the end of the week in Seattle. Once again, we’re lucky enough to have the money to complete a solid game. We’ll be able to ship that to our players.

But there’s a big temptation to add a lot of new features and content to the game. The universe is very big, with a lot of reach and depth to it. We can’t squeeze the entire wishlist into the budget we’re currently on. We’d like to ask Pathfinder fans and RPG fans to support us on Kickstarter, which will let us add a lot of additional features. We’ll have more companions, more depth to the companions, more dungeons and wilderness to explore, … and more new quests and content by famous Pathfinder authors and RPG authors.


GamesBeat: How much money are you asking for on the Kickstarter before you start reaching stretch goals?

Shpilchevsky: The initial goal starts at $500,000.

GamesBeat: It’s higher than I’ve seen for a lot of other RPGs lately. Are you worried about meeting that number?

Shpilchevsky: You’re right. The majority of Kickstarter projects are starting at a lower level. But we’re making a game on the same level of quality and content as something like Obsidian’s [Pillars of Eternity] and Larian’s [Divinity: Original Sin] games. Their Kickstarter campaign started at over $1 million. To be honest with you, we’re certainly concerned about the money. Nobody knows, at the beginning, whether something like this can be successful or not. But we hope this initial goal is quite reasonable. We’re really trying to put a lot of interesting things in the first stretch goals. There’s a lot of content and resources we can pull in to work that out.

GamesBeat: So the additional content is characters and dungeons. Will there be additional items as well?

Shpilchevsky: Yes, everything you mentioned and a lot more. Starting with our unique selling point feature, the Kingdom. That’s one reason why we chose the Kingmaker adventure path, because it has a very unique and interesting feature where you can build and develop a kingdom of our own. Despite the fact that the base kingdom will be included in the game, we want to be able to develop this and make this a really great feature. Our initial stretch goal on Kickstarter will be devoted to the kingdom system.


GamesBeat: Will Kingmaker include every part of the adventure path: Stolen Land, Rivers Run Red, Varnhold Vanishing, Blood for Blood, War of the River Kings, Sound of a Thousand Screams? Or are you starting with one part and adding the rest as goals or episodic content?

Mishulin: No, it will be the whole game — the complete story is present in the base game. It’s based on the adventure path, so you can expect some twists and turns, some expanded content. Chris [Avellone] is really helping us with fleshing out the whole story and building up on it. But the whole original story is here.

Shpilchevsky: The base game that we would, all that — it’s not something that we have all of right now. But it’s something that will be completed if the Kickstarter campaign is successful.


GameBeat: Why did you want to make a game in the Pathfinder universe?

Mishulin: We’ve played a lot of tabletop RPGs throughout the years, starting from the ’90s, when there wasn’t very much material in Russia, and we’d all gather around in our dorms and stuff like that. Pathfinder is great. On one side it’s very familiar, but on the other side it’s a completely new world with very interesting kingdoms. We’re reading about each kingdom, and they’re mentioning all the stories and adventures behind them. Paizo is great at writing campaigns, their adventure paths. It’s just what we play, and what we really wanted to make as a computer game. It reminds us of the games we played in the past.

GamesBeat: Are you making your own game engine?

Shpilchevsky: We’re making our own engine. We considered — it’s based on Unity, to be clear. A lot of people have assumed we might use the Infinity Engine, that a lot of old RPG games were based on, but that’s not what we’re doing. We’re using Unity and building some of our own infrastructure on top of it.

GamesBeat: What character classes can people play? Are you adding any extra classes as part of the Kickstarter?

Mishulin: Pathfinder is very big, of course. It’s enormous in its scope. We’re starting with all the classes in the core rulebook. We’re also adding a couple more classes from other sourcebooks.

Shpilchevsky: We’re keeping that secret right now. We have a couple of more classes coming, but we’ll reveal that as part of the Kickstarter campaign.

Mishulin: Also, there will be some classes as part of the stretch goals.